Jean MacKenzie writes:
It is being called Operation Omid.
The word omid means “hope” in Afghanistan’s Dari language. But, judging by the reaction of local residents, the coming U.S.-led military offensive against the Taliban in Kandahar could not be more inappropriately named.
In Kandahar, residents like Abdul Salaam, a farmer, feel more a sense of dread than hope about a military operation that is being billed as one of the largest in the war to date.
“Operation Omid will bring more insecurity, instead of peace,” said Salaam, who lives in the Maiwand district of Kandahar Province. “We have just seen that the opposition has accelerated its attacks. There are more and more explosions in the province. You cannot bring peace through war.”
Meanwhile, a report in The Sunday Times said:
The supreme leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, has indicated that he and his followers may be willing to hold peace talks with western politicians.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, two of the movement’s senior Islamic scholars have relayed a message from the Quetta shura, the Taliban’s ruling council, that Mullah Omar no longer aims to rule Afghanistan. They said he was prepared to engage in “sincere and honest” talks.
A senior US military source said the remarks reflected a growing belief that a “breakthrough” was possible. “There is evidence from many intelligence sources [that] the Taliban are ready for some kind of peace process,” the source said.