Obama’s only way out of Afghanistan is to talk

Tariq Ali writes: This week Afghan guerrillas carried out yet another raid on the Kandahar airbase. General John Allen, the American commander of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), issued an odd statement: “Mullah Omar has lost all control over Taliban insurgents, otherwise he would immediately denounce these attacks and order his ‘forces’ to stop attacking innocent Afghan civilians.”

The same Mullah Omar who has been on the most wanted list since 9/11? Remarkable only if one wasn’t aware that the Omar faction of the Taliban has been conducting on-and-off negotiations with the US for several years. None have so far resulted in an agreement.

The Kandahar attack may have been carried out by another faction, one that is hostile to the very idea of talking to the occupier, but it could just as easily be another shot across the bows of a tired empire, just to hurry things along. All the media-hyped advances in Afghanistan were illusory. Hence the need to negotiate with the insurgents and further isolate the Karzai regime.

Different factions of the neo-Taliban have been preparing to take power for the last two years. Their assaults on security installations, intelligence outposts and helicopters carrying Nato intelligence top brass indicate the extent to which they have infiltrated Isaf’s “loyal Afghan” networks. The form of guerrilla warfare, if not the ideology of its proponents, is not dissimilar to resistance movements in the Second World War and the Vietnamese, Chinese and Cuban experiences, codified by Giap, Mao and Che Guevara.

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