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Columns and Articles by Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman

July 07, 2011

How Do We (and Afghanistan) Negotiate with the Taliban?

It is a matter of doctrine that if the conflicts in Afghanistan (and Pakistan?) are to be resolved, military force alone cannot do it. Our planners are trying to separate the Taliban from Al Qaeda, as though they are really different. I do not believe they have ever been different in philosophy or tactics.

On June 29, the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, was on fire, after being attacked by nine Taliban (or Haqqani Gang) suicide bombers. Only one was an actual suicide bomber, who detonated himself at the hotel door so that his colleagues could burst through. They headed for the roof and fired all sorts of incendiaries and grenades, hoping to kill as many hotel guests as possible. They all died, some (perhaps) at the hands of Afghan soldiers, but more probably when a NATO helicopter fired on them on the hotel roof.

It seems that the Jihadis was responding in their vicious way to both Afghan President Karzai, who claims he want the US forces gone, and President Obama, who had just announced a withdrawal plan, along with suggestions that a political settlement be made with the Taliban. The Taliban is having none of it.

But let us see what the Taliban and their colleagues have been up to lately. I would like to know how their Public Relations Director can turn these actions into selling points for them.

On June 24, the Taliban on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border have used females to carry out suicide operations. The first was at a police station in northwestern Pakistan. A husband and wife (both wearing Burkas!) killed several policemen and a boy delivering tea.

On June 26, in southern Afghanistan, an eight-year-old girl was handed a bag of explosives and told to approach a police outpost. When she was close by, the bomb was detonated, killing only her. This is not the first time that a child was so duped. Are they running out of fanatical males ready to be suicide murderers?

Three more Taliban suicide attacks used women in June. They killed three interpreters and claimed 12 American and Afghan troops. Under a burka, you never know what you have. One female murderer in Pakistan's tribal area killed 42 Pakistani civilians standing in line to get food at a World Food Program distribution point.

The recent rise in the use of females may reflect the declining number of male volunteers. In addition, the women being covered by burkas is very convenient if one wants explosives hidden and profiling foiled. That there is an increase in men using burkas in bank robberies confirms the utility of this cultural artifact.

On June 18, three suicide bombers attack a Kabul police compound in the old city, killing two policemen and an adult male civilian, and wounding four more. One bomber detonated his explosives by the gate while the other two attackers were killed by police. The police themselves are constantly under attack.

On May 21, a suicide bomber killed six people and wounded 23 when he struck the cafeteria of a military hospital in a supposedly heavily guarded area of Kabul.

Of course, the UN tells the Taliban that they are “violating international law.” What law is that, and how is it enforced?

When these fanatics set off bombs in markets, or assassinate government officials they do not like, and then set off more bombs at the funeral for such dignitaries the next day, how can anyone “negotiate?” When a decent Pakistani governor criticized the Islamic “blasphemy law,” he was assassinated and the assassin cheered on by the public.

The Taliban is really no worse than Hamas or Hezbollah, all of whom share the same basic Islamist values:

o No non-Muslims are to be permitted to live in Muslim lands except as oppressed subjects.

o Truces and negotiations are only temporary measures to give the jihadis time to regroup. Lying in negotiations is not only permitted, it is expected.

o The war against the world must continue until all the world recognizes the rule of Islam.

How do you negotiate with that?

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Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of How Do You Know That? You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.