(Thumbnail image: The Telegraph)

 

After Thursday’s international conference in London to discuss the future of Afghanistan, Western leaders are defending a controversial new strategy to fight the Taliban.

 

It’s a plan critics say amounts to embracing the enemy.

 

“The US is endorsing a plan to spend upwards of a half billion dollars to entice low-level Taliban members to put down their guns and support the government in Kabul.” (Al Jazeera English)

 

We’re looking at the plan’s prospects for success, with perspectives from CBS News, ITN News, CNN, Fox News, and the Pakistani blog PKKH.

 

The Taliban swiftly scoffed at the plan, saying its fighters are motivated by ideology, not money. 

 

But on CNN, a former homeland security adviser for the Bush administration says the strategy could work.

 

“In a classic counter-insurgency you want to peel off sort of the foot soldiers who may be in it because they’re intimidated, it may be the only way they can protect their families.  You want to pull them away from the leaders.”

 

FOX News contributor Tony Shaffer expresses concern that the program could create further social unrest in a country that is already unstable. He advocates a more cautious approach.

 

“We’ve got to be sure that by supporting the Taliban we don’t make the other tribes upset. We’ve got to be very cognizant of the fact that yeah, if you give alternatives to the Taliban, to some Taliban, they will do that, but you’ve got to create a benefit for the entirety of society so that all of society goes forward together, and you don’t create an us versus them environment.”

 

A report from a UK-based ITN News correspondent drops hints of sarcasm and skepticism.

 

The report suggests Western support of the plan is a desperate attempt at an exit strategy for a war that has failed so far.

 

REPORTER: “Yes, NATO’s plan to buy off Taliban fighters, a 300 million pound kitty. ... Something the foreign secretary tried to defend."

FOREIGN SEC’TY.: ‘That fund will help ensure the employment, the infrastructure, the organization of a serious drive for political engagement.’

REPORTER: Yet Afghanistan is not a country of stability or structure. In fact, the war is getting worse, and security negligible.”

 

But CBS News takes an optimistic approach by explaining the importance of shrinking lower-level Taliban support.

 

“But the short term, it’s this counter insurgency.  We’re increasing troops on the ground, increasing fighting. That’s when we have to peel off now in some tribal areas some of the rank and file and reduce the threat, reduce the problem.”

 

Pakistan alternative news blog PKKH is more than skeptical of the plan, suggesting Western involvement in the country is doomed to fail.

 

“Any attempt to ‘buy out’ a group of ideologues, who by any description are not much more than a ragtag army of lightly armed Mujahideen, shows the desperation of the US and its allies and their utter ignorance in understanding the mindset of their nemesis. … Billions haven’t been able to save them, another 500 [million] won’t do the trick either.”


So should Taliban fighters be given economic rewards for putting down their weapons? Will this strategy work?

 

Writer: Newsy Staff

Producer: Newsy Staff

Negotiating with the Taliban

by Christina Hartman
0
Transcript
Jan 31, 2010

Negotiating with the Taliban

(Thumbnail image: The Telegraph)

 

After Thursday’s international conference in London to discuss the future of Afghanistan, Western leaders are defending a controversial new strategy to fight the Taliban.

 

It’s a plan critics say amounts to embracing the enemy.

 

“The US is endorsing a plan to spend upwards of a half billion dollars to entice low-level Taliban members to put down their guns and support the government in Kabul.” (Al Jazeera English)

 

We’re looking at the plan’s prospects for success, with perspectives from CBS News, ITN News, CNN, Fox News, and the Pakistani blog PKKH.

 

The Taliban swiftly scoffed at the plan, saying its fighters are motivated by ideology, not money. 

 

But on CNN, a former homeland security adviser for the Bush administration says the strategy could work.

 

“In a classic counter-insurgency you want to peel off sort of the foot soldiers who may be in it because they’re intimidated, it may be the only way they can protect their families.  You want to pull them away from the leaders.”

 

FOX News contributor Tony Shaffer expresses concern that the program could create further social unrest in a country that is already unstable. He advocates a more cautious approach.

 

“We’ve got to be sure that by supporting the Taliban we don’t make the other tribes upset. We’ve got to be very cognizant of the fact that yeah, if you give alternatives to the Taliban, to some Taliban, they will do that, but you’ve got to create a benefit for the entirety of society so that all of society goes forward together, and you don’t create an us versus them environment.”

 

A report from a UK-based ITN News correspondent drops hints of sarcasm and skepticism.

 

The report suggests Western support of the plan is a desperate attempt at an exit strategy for a war that has failed so far.

 

REPORTER: “Yes, NATO’s plan to buy off Taliban fighters, a 300 million pound kitty. ... Something the foreign secretary tried to defend."

FOREIGN SEC’TY.: ‘That fund will help ensure the employment, the infrastructure, the organization of a serious drive for political engagement.’

REPORTER: Yet Afghanistan is not a country of stability or structure. In fact, the war is getting worse, and security negligible.”

 

But CBS News takes an optimistic approach by explaining the importance of shrinking lower-level Taliban support.

 

“But the short term, it’s this counter insurgency.  We’re increasing troops on the ground, increasing fighting. That’s when we have to peel off now in some tribal areas some of the rank and file and reduce the threat, reduce the problem.”

 

Pakistan alternative news blog PKKH is more than skeptical of the plan, suggesting Western involvement in the country is doomed to fail.

 

“Any attempt to ‘buy out’ a group of ideologues, who by any description are not much more than a ragtag army of lightly armed Mujahideen, shows the desperation of the US and its allies and their utter ignorance in understanding the mindset of their nemesis. … Billions haven’t been able to save them, another 500 [million] won’t do the trick either.”


So should Taliban fighters be given economic rewards for putting down their weapons? Will this strategy work?

 

Writer: Newsy Staff

Producer: Newsy Staff

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