Gates: Unlikely Taliban Will Accept Reconciliation

Says Locals May Accept 'Reintegration' to Protect Their Families

With the Karzai government looking to offer some sort of plan that will convince the 25,000-30,000 Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan to switch sides, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates isn’t holding out much hope.

I think it’s our view that until the Taliban leadership sees a change in the momentum and begins to see that they are not going to win, that the likelihood of significant reconciliation at senior levels is not terribly great,” Gates insisted.

Yet Gates did express some hope that local Taliban fighters could be forced to “accept the terms of the Afghan government, (so) that they and their families can be protected.”

Despite repeated predictions by officials that they could “divide” the Taliban through recruiting locals, the Taliban has lost remarkably few fighters, and increasingly it has been Afghan security forces defecting to the insurgency, not the other way around.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.