Taliban Undecided on Karzai Talks

US Rules Out Allowing Talks With Taliban's Leadership

According to a spokesman for the group, the Taliban’s leadership has yet to decide whether or not it will accept an offer from Afghan President Hamid Karzai to take part in a broad tribal jirga aimed at starting peace talks.

Karzai made the offer following a week of high profile Western officials expressing support for the Taliban rapprochement, and the spokesman insisted he expected the leadership would make its decision soon.

But at the same time, the US seems to be torpedoing the prospect of any large-scale reconciliation, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the US will not allow the “really bad guys” to enter into the talks, naming Taliban leader Mullah Omar in particular.

The US is said to be troubled by the idea of such peace talks, though the comments have been strangely inconsistent, with some officials declaring the Taliban a “cancer” to be destroyed and then a few days later calling them a key partner in rebuilding Afghanistan. This may sew doubt among the Taliban, however, that Karzai can be trusted as a partner, as his government exists largely at the pleasure of the US.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.