Outgoing UN Representative Urges Talks With Mullah Omar

Eide Warns Bribery Might Actually Strengthen the Insurgency

In what will likely be one of his last public interviews before leaving office, outgoing UN Special Representative to Afghanistan Kai Eide today urged Western officials to accept talks with Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

Omar, the former de facto ruler of Afghanistan, has been in hiding since the 2001 American invasion. US officials have ruled out including him or other high ranking Taliban members in the Karzai government’s rapprochement strategy.

But Eide warns that the strategy, which amounts to offering cash to militants to support the Karzai government, could actually strengthen the insurgency if it is done without Mullah Omar’s involvement, as it would underscore the perception of a Karzai government that runs on bribery and corruption.

Eide announced his resignation in December, following mounting criticism of his role in Karzai’s fraudulent reelection. Swedish-Italian diplomat Staffan de Mistura will replace Eide next month.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.