Taliban can reconcile with India

Yusuf

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Just read a report in ToI that the Taliban spokesman has said Taliban is not against india in principle and can live with India and reconcile. What they are against is indian support to Karzai and western forces and therefore justifying the feb 26 attack in kabul.

Can some one post that news article here. I cant copy paste from my phone.
 

ajtr

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Taliban says it can 'reconcile' with India

NEW DELHI: Claiming that it was not in "direct conflict" with India, Taliban has said there was a possibility of reconciliation even as it justified the February 26 Kabul attack on Indians as a "legitimate" action.

In a self-contradicting interview, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed his organisation did not want India out of Afghanistan but attacked the country for supporting the Hamid Karzai government and western forces.

"If the Taliban returns to power, we would like to maintain normal relations with countries including India. It's possible for the Taliban and India to reconcile with each other," Mujahid told a news magazine.

He said "India's role is different from those countries that sent troops to occupy Afghanistan."

At the same time, he added that, "India isn't neutral in the Afghan conflict as it is supporting the military presence of US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan and working for the strengthening of the Hamid Karzai government."

Also, he said, "India has never condemned the civilian casualties caused by the occupying forces", a reference to US-led troops in Afghanistan.

Asked about the February 26 attack in which Indians, housed in two hotels in Kabul, were targeted, the spokesman said Taliban was responsible for it.

He said it was carried out by "Taliban fighters after we got intelligence information that RAW agents were holding a meeting there."

The February 26 attack targeted Indians engaged in developmental projects like medical and education programmes, killing seven of them.

Claiming that India was supporting the Afghan government and the western forces, Mujahid said the country is, "therefore, a legitimate target for us."

Asked if Taliban wanted India out of Afghanistan, he said, "We are not saying that India should be out of Afghanistan. Nor can India be completely expelled from Afghanistan."
 

ajtr

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No Direct Conflict With India, Can Reconcile: Taliban

Claiming that it was not in "direct conflict" with India, Taliban has said there was a possibility of reconciliation even as it justified the February 26 Kabul attack on Indians as a "legitimate" action.

In a self-contradicting interview, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed his organisation did not want India out of Afghanistan but attacked the country for supporting the Hamid Karzai government and western forces.

"If the Taliban returns to power, we would like to maintain normal relations with countries including India. It’s possible for the Taliban and India to reconcile with each other," Mujahid told Outlook magazine.

He said "India’s role is different from those countries that sent troops to occupy Afghanistan."

At the same time, he added that, "India isn’t neutral in the Afghan conflict as it is supporting the military presence of US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan and working for the strengthening of the Hamid Karzai government."

Also, he said, "India has never condemned the civilian casualties caused by the occupying forces", a reference to US-led troops in Afghanistan.

Asked about the February 26 attack in which Indians, housed in two hotels in Kabul, were targeted, the spokesman said Taliban was responsible for it.

He said it was carried out by "Taliban fighters after we got intelligence information that RAW agents were holding a meeting there."

The February 26 attack targeted Indians engaged in developmental projects like medical and education programmes, killing seven of them.

Claiming that India was supporting the Afghan government and the western forces, Mujahid said the country is, "therefore, a legitimate target for us."

Asked if Taliban wanted India out of Afghanistan, he said, "We are not saying that India should be out of Afghanistan. Nor can India be completely expelled from Afghanistan."

The Taliban spokesman noted that India and Afghanistan have had historic ties and said "The Taliban aren’t in any direct conflict with India. India troops aren’t part of NATO forces, they haven’t occupied Afghanistan."

He claimed that Taliban "favour neither India not Pakistan" but hastened to add that it cannot "ignore Pakistan as it is a neighbouring Islamic country" and was on good terms with them when they were in power.

"India, on the other hand, backed anti-Taliban forces of the Northern Alliance (NA) and refused to do business with our government... Our complaint is India backed the NA (Northern Alliance), and is now supporting the Karzai government," Mujahid said.

He was also critical when asked about Indian projects and whether those were beneficial for Afghan people.

Claiming that India was doing all this to promote its interest in Afghanistan, he said, "If India were so fond of the Afghan people, why did it not undertake development projects under Taliban rule?"
 

ajtr

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But before that India's said position was this on 19th march

India: No reconciling with Taliban, only 'reintegration'

NEW DELHI: It's coming down to two `R' words. And they are worlds apart. As India seeks to sensitise the world about its position on the future of Afghanistan, New Delhi will give full support to the "reintegration" efforts in Afghanistan.

"Reintegration is something we agree with. In fact, we do it all the time," said Shivshankar Menon, national security adviser, on the sidelines of a book release function here. "Reconciliation, which essentially means power sharing with the Taliban, is a completely different matter."

In the new approach to Afghanistan, as crafted by the UK and US in the wake of the January conference in London, reintegration and reconciliation are being used in the same breath to try to bring an end to the war in Afghanistan, even as the US pushes through its military offensive with Operation Moshtarak in Marja in southern Afghanistan and extending it to nearby Kandahar.

The reintegration process involves bringing individual Taliban members back into the mainstream, breaking them away from the insurgency into regular society, by giving them a viable way out of the insurgency. This is a process that has been on in fits and starts for the past few years, but the process has failed to gather momentum largely because of a crying lack of funds, unfocused actions by the Karzai government and lack of international support.

According to sources, a lot of this has been fixed this time round, with a much bigger fund available for reintegration programmes and much more official interest in this. Karzai is expected to hold a peace jirga in April which is expected to be attended by a large cross-section of Afghans where he is expected to announce a detailed plan of jobs, vocational training, economic incentives etc for fighters to drop their guns and embrace the Afghan constitution. This is something that India is perfectly comfortable with, because it ties in with India's own initiatives in Afghanistan which is all about increasing economic choices, training and infrastructure for Afghans.

Reconciliation is a concept that India believes is completely in conflict with reintegration. While the latter is all about weaning away fighters from the insurgency, reconciliation is about accommodating the Taliban and its extremist ideology. Which puts the two at odds with each other.

Reconciliation can be attempted, said sources, when the insurgency itself feels that it is under enough pressure to want to negotiate an end. Then it would be possible to bring the leadership into some kind of arrangement. Reconciliation as currently envisaged gives Taliban a legitimacy by attempting to accommodate their movement. In other words, it would move Afghanistan back to a pre-9/11 situation.

US remains unconvinced about the value of reconciliation at this point. In a December 2009 testimony, US defence secretary Bob Gates told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: "...we consider reconciliation to be what opportunities are there with Taliban leaders to bring them over, and along with the people who are fighting for them. I think the general view is that, until the momentum shifts against the Taliban, the likelihood of significant reconciliation in those terms is not very bright."

US analyst Lisa Curtis of Brookings Institution warned last week, "While reintegration of insurgents into the mainstream democratic process is indeed part of any wise counterinsurgency strategy, it is necessary to distinguish this process from one that would legitimize the Taliban's ruthless ideology. ...Seeking to negotiate with the Taliban leadership (primarily based in Pakistan) before US and NATO forces gain the upper hand on the battlefield in Afghanistan would be a tactical and strategic blunder with potential serious negative consequences for US national security."
 

Yusuf

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Actually quite surprised to see this coming from the Taliban. We might well get a denial of this statement by Taliban leadership but I think their thoughts have been betrayed. The end game in Astan is well and truly on and even the Taliban is trying to make its plans for it. They may be looking at pakistan turning against them in reality. They know india has never harmed the Afghan people and have done great humanitarian work. Pakistan hasn't done anything for Afghan people and only used them as pawns in the strategic game being played there.

I think sooner or later india too will come around the point that after the americans leave, the Taliban may well come back to power. So india will have to deal with Taliban to remain relevant in Astan. This new development I think will suit india just fine. On the face of it india will reject the offer, but I think behind the scenes india may well do business with them.
 

ajtr

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First of all let be sure that from which group of taliban this statement is coming from.coz there are various groups with in taliban with conflicting interests.Btw feb 26 killing of indian docs in kabul is suspected to to be the handiwork of L-E-T in coperation with haqqani group and both are hand in glove with ISI.secondly Mullah Omar group of queta shura or later karachi shura (whatever you call depending on arrest of Mullah Baradar from karachi)seems to be sidelined. Hizb-e-Islami of gulbuddin hekmetyar is at present negotiating with Karzai from the encouragement of Pak army and TTP of Mehsuds is fighting pak army.So which group is sending the signals?

secondly,if you read the fine lines then you will see the common complains of pakistani army/politicians/ and commentators who generally make about india's presence in afghanistan.I feel like this statement is dictated to taliban spokesman through GHQ pindi.Take for example......


Claiming that India was doing all this to promote its interest in Afghanistan, he said, "If India were so fond of the Afghan people, why did it not undertake development projects under Taliban rule?"
India, on the other hand, backed anti-Taliban forces of the Northern Alliance (NA) and refused to do business with our government... Our complaint is India backed the NA (Northern Alliance), and is now supporting the Karzai government," Mujahid said.
He said it was carried out by "Taliban fighters after we got intelligence information that RAW agents were holding a meeting there."
 
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Yusuf

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The game is really getting interesting indeed. The group cannot be the TTP. I don't think they have any future in Astan as such. They are pakistans headache.

is there a split in Afghan Taliban? I remember talking about an anti Taliban anti pakistan group in another thread that india could use. May be there could be such a group who is now sending reconciling signals. Things should unravel in the near future
 

ajtr

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What i can make out is that Mullah Omar batch is being sacrificed as bad taliban and ultimate good taliban will be produced from hizb-e-islami and haqqani group.Hekmatyar of hizb-e-islami is like eel ie takes helps from everyone and ultimately fight its own patron.
 

Solid Beast

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There are also factions of Northern Alliance who have been operating with a Taliban name to throw a curve in Good Taliban/ISI planning. There is no other force in the world of similar capabilities that is more anti-Taliban and anti-Pakistan (after what happened to them in mid 90s they still haven't forgotten Pakistan's role in the siege of Kabul). I don't think there are splits in the Taliban, it's not that kind of group. But the blatant weaknesses are being taken advantage of. One, it's a very loosely structured force, and it wouldn't be a hard for a friendly force to assume a "red role" to thwart plans of Taliban reemergence after everyone pulls out.
 

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I really hope that India is giving some sort of deal with Taliban in background, no point fighting them when we know they are set to return. India's chief concern should be that the Astan does not become a junkyard for Pakistan were it can assemble jihadi infrastructure to hit Kashmir or rest of India. It seems the dynamics have changed and Taliban is not looking upto Islamabad anymore now and it is good for us.
 
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http://www.indianexpress.com/news/India-shifts-Afghan-policy--ready-to-talk-to-Taliban/596851

India shifts Afghan policy, ready to talk to Taliban


In the wake of a possible American pullout from Kabul next year, New Delhi has sharply re-oriented its strategy towards Afghanistan by reaching out to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami party and keeping its door open in case of a reconciliation effort by the Taliban.


While the new Afghan policy is being crafted at the highest levels with National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon playing a lead role, New Delhi is learnt to have made contact with Hizb-e-Islami party even though it knows that Hekmatyar is firmly under Pakistani control. New Delhi is also now amenable to talking to Taliban in case the latter are to open an engagement. This change in Indian posture comes as Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also talked about reconciling with India.

Top government sources told The Indian Express that New Delhi wants to reach out to the second generation Pashtun leaders like Nangarhar Governor Gul Agha Sherzai, and is with the former Northern

Alliance leaders like Marshal Fahim, Karim Khallili and Mohammed Mohaqiq in backing President Hamid Karzai’s government.

This fine-tuning of India’s position on Afghanistan comes after exchange of views between top diplomats. After the February attack on Indians in Kabul, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Pakistan-Afghanistan envoy Satinder Lambah and former West Asia envoy Chinmay Gharekhan wanted India to adopt a neutral position in Afghanistan. This essentially meant keeping out of Aghanistan politics but carrying on the development works in the war-torn republic.


This month, this view was nuanced further by the UPA government, with New Delhi now all for an independent or neutral Afghanistan that does not require the crutches of neighbouring Pakistan. According to a paper prepared by the Ministry of External Affairs on the subject, India should back an Afghanistan that keeps out terrorism emanating from Pakistan and does not allow the state to slip back into the violence spiral of 1990s. The sub-text of the paper is that Afghanistan will come under the total influence of Pakistan if New Delhi were to let matters go out of hand.

While a section in South Block wants India to go back to supporting the former Northern Alliance faction, the fact is that all the top six alliance leaders are firmly backing Karzai, including Marshal Fahim, heir of legendary Ahmed Shah Masood, and Uzbek leader Mohammed Dostum. New Delhi is conscious of the fact that its former allies like Iran of the Northern Alliance days are still confused on whether they want the Americans out or the Taliban.


It is in this context that New Delhi wants to reach out to Pashtuns in the south and on the Durand Line while retaining ties with its Northern Alliance friends and President Karzai. So rather than the expected downscaling of Indian engagement in Afghanistan, New Delhi is all for enlarging it, lest it wants to let the republic be dominated by extremist forces of the past.
 

Known_Unknown

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The Taliban is trying to drive a wedge between India and the other allied forces. Who here thinks that if the Taliban were to seize power, they would treat India any better than they did during the Air India hijacking in Kandahar in 1999?
 

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Taliban are dogs, have been and always will be. I don't think it would be in India's long term interests to have any significant association with the Taliban. Northern Alliance is the future and India already has good working relationship with the elected government in Kabul. Taliban are usurpers of power, a democratic nation found on principles of equality and freedom will shoot itself in the foot with a marketing campaign aimed at gaining Taliban sympathy.
 

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Solution for Afghanistan

Monday, March 29, 2010
Saleem Safi

The Obama administration now slightly understands the ground realities in Afghanistan. This is evident from Obama’s speech in January this year, which shows clarity of thinking on the objectives. The objectives are denying Al-Qaeda a sanctuary to resurrect itself, and establishing a broad-based government before a US-NATO exit from the country. The new approach towards Pakistan and the new era of strategic dialogue also supplement the idea of change in the US approach towards Afghanistan. The administration’s point men for the region are busy defining the contours of the tactics to achieve these objectives.

The US also realises the fact that it cannot honourably extricate itself from the quagmire without involvement of regional and neighbouring countries. These reduced objectives are now slated for regional consensus and international backing. But there are multiple regional and neighbouring players who scramble for securing their interests in the future setup. The current regional approach to finding a durable solution to the crisis, though realistic, is fraught with dangers if the players are not involved according to their stakes, roles and influence in Afghanistan. In this context, most of the stakeholders have similar interests, but their expected roles must be on grounds of historical engagement, cultural affinities and geographical proximity to Afghanistan.

For example, Pakistan, a smaller country in size and economy as compared with China and India, has to be given a greater role in the future reconciliation process, for obvious reasons. This country is deeply involved in Afghanistan since the USSR intervention in Afghanistan. During the process, it has cultivated deep relations with many Afghan factions and as such is matchless in terms of influence on most of these important players in the current conflict.

In terms of stakes and influence in Afghanistan, Iran rightfully enjoys the second place after Pakistan. Therefore, this country needs to be given a say in the strategic level decision on the future of that country. However, with the US determined to engineer a “regime change” there, this important player is least expected to offer a helping hand to the US-NATO alliance and Kabul.

The US-Iran tensions on the nuclear issue and the recent arrest of Jundullah leader Abdul Malik Rigi have increased them. Similarly, the Western intention to involve Saudi Arabia was also not received well in Tehran. All these factors have annoyed Tehran to the extent that for the first time it boycotted the London Conference on the future of Afghanistan.

In this backdrop, the mounting tensions between Kabul and Tehran are visible. In a joint press conference with Karzai during a recent visit to Afghanistan, Ahmedinejad dubbed the US presence in the region as the root cause of all problems. All these should be reason for the Western alliance to try to bring Iran back into the fold.

The Russians, the Central Asian Republics and China claim to have stakes in the Afghan issue as well. All these countries, though US partners, vie for securing their stakes through a role in the reconciliation process. In the same vein, the Americans cannot be oblivious to the European and NATO agenda in the war battered country.

In a recent lecture in the US, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband emphasised the role of India and Turkey in the future reconciliation process. In this connection, the role of Turkey is understandable due to the fact that it is a Muslim Nato member actively involved in Afghanistan. Turkey also claims ethnic relations with the Uzbek population of Afghanistan. However, India’s role cannot be comprehended as it enjoys none of the Turkish advantages. So how could this country claim a role in the peace process in Afghanistan? It also needs to be appreciated that if India is given any role, Pakistan, with its deeper influence and higher stakes, will never let India have its way on any important issue to the peace process. In such an event, the whole process will become hostage to India-Pakistan antagonism.

Certainly, the strategic decision to initiate a new process for reconciliation and peace in the region rested with the Americans and its Western allies, but the keys to such an objective lies with regional players. All the stakeholders would like the Western alliance to clearly define various interests of stakeholders and then take genuine initiatives to address them systematically. They must be involved in strategic decision-making at the regional level. After accommodating these interests, the initiative for reconciliation process must be handed over to the Kabul government and the insurgents. This initiative needed to be a purely Afghan initiative between Afghans and the stakeholder, except that Pakistan should be kept out of the negotiation process.

All previous attempts show that when stakeholders were involved in the reconciliation process, the process failed due to the inability of the stakeholders to trust each other. On the negotiating table, everyone would lobby for his favoured proxies. This entire scramble leads to a non-durable solution.

However, there is one exception, Pakistan, to this rule. History, close relationship with Afghan Mujahideen, proximity and consequent fallouts of all Afghan wars, huge sacrifices, frontline role in fighting the terrorists and security concerns places Pakistan in a unique position. Its ability to influence any afghan event is matchless. Among all stakeholders in the region and immediate neighbourhood, Pakistan is the only country which is equally suffering from terrorism and bloodshed alongside Afghanistan. On his recent trip to Pakistan, President Karzai rightly dubbed both countries as “conjoined twins” who are destined to prosper and suffer together.

Recognising this fact, the Obama administration had hyphenated Pakistan with Afghanistan in its “Af-Pak” strategy. Why not Af-Iran or Af-India, because the world also considered Pakistan the equal sufferer.(No world considers Pakistan as root problem in/with Afghanistan thats why its was AF-AK first then changed in PAK-AF and ultimately going to be FAK-AP.)That’s why the wise people suggest that only Pakistan should be make part of the reconciliation process with Afghan factions.


** comments in blue are mine
 

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