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BLITZER’S BLOG: Negotiating with the Taliban
June 23rd, 2011
02:13 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Negotiating with the Taliban

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama says he wants to negotiate a peace settlement with the Taliban, the group in Afghanistan that harbored al Qaeda in the years leading up to 9/11. “So as we strengthen the Afghan government and security forces, America will join initiatives that reconcile the Afghan people, including the Taliban,” he said in his Wednesday evening White House address.

He then spelled out these conditions for such negotiations: “They must be led by the Afghan government, and those who want to be part of a peaceful Afghanistan must break from al Qaeda, abandon violence, and abide by the Afghan constitution.”

President Obama said he thought progress on this front can be made.

For my part, I am not so sure.

Even if the Taliban leadership were to break from al Qaeda and abandon violence - they certainly have not done that yet - I suspect they will never accept Article 22 of the Afghan constitution which says: “Any kind of discrimination and distinction between citizens of Afghanistan shall be forbidden. The citizens of Afghanistan, man and woman, have equal rights and duties before the law.”

All of us remember what life for women in Afghanistan was like before U.S. forces removed the Taliban from power after 9/11. Afghan women and girls now have rights they did not have before.

Based on what Afghan women must still endure in those areas under Taliban control, I have no reason to believe the Taliban have changed their views. I suspect the hard-core true believers in the Taliban probably never will.

I hope I’m wrong and the President is right.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • President Obama • Taliban • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. anarchteacher

    Obama, in his speech on Afghanistan, never mentioned the most important factor in our continued presence in that "graveyard of empires" - The Narcosaurus.

    It is something never openly discussed in Wall Street bank board rooms or the network news rooms of the mainstream media.

    Certainly never before the American people.

    But it is one of the central driving factors of our imperial foreign policy with the Third World, and has been for decades.

    Last week we observed the 40th anniversary of the beginning of Richard Nixon's War on Drugs upon the American people.

    When will we observe the commencement of the covert War for Drugs, which has lasted over sixty years, and whose massive institutional corruption, money-laundering, and military interventions have fueled the military-industrial complex and the National Security State?

    June 24, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  2. Ernie

    Obama is forgetting one thing that the United States does not " negotiate with terrorists", he fogets that the Taliban is the enrmy and terrorists. I think Obama has been "Jet Setting" to much and forgetting his duties as the "President and Commander and Cheif". This guy couldn't manage a "Lemon Aid Stand"

    June 24, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  3. Grant

    Does anybody truly give a shred of credence to Obama's assertions of potential peace with the Taliban?First of all the U.S. does not negotiate with Terrorists,do they?Second of all,The Taliban outlasted the Russians and have all but done the same with the U.S. and NATO forces.Does any Democrat or Republican seriously believe that mullah mmo is ready to kiss and make nicey nice because Obama floats this piece of dung out into the netosphere?I didn't think so.

    June 24, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  4. Bob Ramos

    Wolf has to know better. The Taliban has consistently vowed no negotiations as long as foreign boots are on the ground in Afghan. That has not changed.

    June 24, 2011 at 4:18 am |

    WHo's doing the talking for us. No one understands Nigerian.

    June 24, 2011 at 12:03 am |
  6. Peter s

    What you hear from this pathetic media is all about Taliban that, Taliban this and we just miss the big picture, Afghanistan is a multiethnic society. The population of the country is divided into a wide variety of ethnolinguistic groups unless we bring these groups together everything else will fail.

    June 23, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  7. MikeBell

    Everything this administration does is based upon some disconnect with reality.
    Definitely, an exhibition of youthful naivete. Or a play upon such.

    June 23, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  8. MaryConseca

    In politics, 'reality' is largely irrelevant. Bush, Cheney and their ilk are still peddling the fairy tale spin that Iraq is now "A Success Story" – a living testament proving how 'right' they were to invade Iraq. Of course, everyone who has any connection whatsoever to 'reality' knows that what is left of Iraq is an unmitigated, horrific disaster – a utterly dismal failure – something infinitely worse and more dysfunctional than what was there when the Hussein regime ruled. If we abandon Afghanistan as we did Iraq, that would mean two enormously costly wars were fought and LOST by the US in the past 10 years - two wars which the US will have abandoned leaving those countries in utter chaos - two wars which the US fought and abandoned leaving those countries utterly decimated and in much, much worse condition than they were in before the wars. The Iraq War deserved to be abandoned, as it was based on fraudulent pretenses to begin with. But the Afghanistan War is the "legitimate" war – the war that absolutely must be waged and won – the war that was utterly neglected by the US because of its preoccupation with the "Iraq Mistake" – the war that is taking place in what the whole World knows and acknowledges is the spawning grounds for Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists. But we'll abandon it; lie about how much we accomplished, and then Pakistan will no longer be such a problem for us, because the Taliban and Al Qaeda will simply return to Afghanistan. Politics in the US looks and smells like a dead corpse, no matter what side of the isle you view it from. And that scenery is much the same in the countries we abandon after our 'war machines' have left.

    June 23, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • GLENDA

      It's always remarable when people who don't know what the hell they're talking about have plently to say on subjects they definitely know nothing of. Way to go Democrat lay everything at the door of the Republicans. I know you Democrats have never done wnthing wrong. Except destroy Social Security, and now close to have medicare and medicaid gone. Within a year there will be no money for welfare, food stamps, healthcare for illegals, so I guess you watermelon eaters better start looking up patches to survive. You better hope the owner hasn't crotyened oiled most of them.

      June 23, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  9. Reflecting_Pools

    Believing the Taliban can be trusted and rehabilitated is like believing that Hitler could have been reformed by requiring him to attend Sunday School every week. What I think Blitzer is missing is the fact that Obama doesn't, for a minute, believe there is any realistic possibility that the Taliban are negotiable or capable of reform. But he knows there's one hell of a lot of brain-dead idiots out there who are ready to believe anything that is presently politically 'convenient' to believe. And if believing in the Tooth Fairy is politically expedient right now, "Let's go with it."

    June 23, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  10. JS

    WOLF, as proven by his NEGATIVE $4600 on JEOPARDY a few years ago... is WRONG about EVERYTHING. Thus, he has nothing to worry about.

    June 23, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  11. OpinionPoll

    The Afghanistan War is the "legitimate" war – the war that absolutely must be waged and won – the war that was utterly neglected by the US because of its preoccupation with the "Iraq Mistake" – the war that is taking place in what the whole World knows and acknowledges is the spawning grounds for Taliban and Al Queda terrorists. If we abandon Afghanistan, here is what the US resume looks like: 2 lost wars in 10 years – two enormously costly failures in 10 years – and a trail of lies left behind, falsifying how much better off everyone is because of the wars – and a trail of lies globally circulated, touting what a huge "success story" the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are. Politics in the US is as ugly as a Mob Family .

    June 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  12. musings

    Okay. I cannot get past the "Afghan women and girls now have rights they didn't have before." Blitzer is saying if I draw up a set of laws, that means it becomes reality. Is he seeing something I am not seeing? Is there some magnificent thing going on in Afghanistan which we have missed? The only way such countries have ever enacted something like that and made it stick was with the most repressive of dictatorships to the get the point across. And even then... So what he's saying is, it's somehow worth it to turn the US upside down with insane deployments, just to create this illusion that something has changed in Afghanistan. Doesn't matter if it has or hasn't, but like the commies of old, you can proclaim that some soviet republic tacked on by conquest is actually full of free and equal people, who are just as "advanced" as the Muscovites. Those who believed such a thing were not themselves free either.

    June 23, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  13. pennsylvanian

    What if Wolf doesnt trust Taliban? The only people that need to trsut or boot them should be afghans. Lets not spend the MONEY WE DONT HAVE in the name of security. How about financual security? I bet wolf has a lot of money he doesn't care. I do! I hope to depend on my social security when I get old.

    June 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
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