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BLITZER'S BLOG: President Obama’s olive branch to the Taliban
May 3rd, 2012
01:54 PM ET

BLITZER'S BLOG: President Obama’s olive branch to the Taliban

By CNN's Wolf Blitzer

– For a long time, U.S. intelligence officials have testified before congressional committees that there are probably fewer than 100 al Qaeda terrorists remaining in Afghanistan. They have suggested that there are many more al Qaeda members in other countries, including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

If true, and I believe it is, that raises this question: Why does the United States still have 90,000 troops in Afghanistan and virtually none in those other countries?

The reason, of course, is that U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan are actually fighting the Taliban, which still remain the greatest threat to what we used to call “nation building” in Afghanistan.

In his address to the American people from Afghanistan this week, President Obama clearly wanted to reach out to the Taliban with an olive branch. He said the United States is pursuing a negotiated peace with the organization.

“In coordination with the Afghan government,” the president said, “my administration has been in direct discussions with the Taliban. We have made it clear that they can be a part of this future if they break with al Qaeda, renounce violence and abide by Afghan laws. Many members of the Taliban – from foot soldiers to leaders – have indicated an interest in reconciliation. A path to peace is now set before them. Those who refuse to walk it will face strong Afghan security forces, backed by the United States and our allies.”

Two hours after Air Force One took off from the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan to bring the president back to Washington, the Taliban launched a major terror attack right in the heart of Kabul, the Afghan capital, killing and injuring dozens of civilians. So much for renouncing violence.

When I heard the president outline his three conditions for negotiating a deal with the Taliban, I focused on the third condition – “abide by Afghan laws.” That would mean, for example, respecting the rights of Afghan girls and women, including the right to get an education without having acid thrown in their faces.

Many Afghan experts I know tell me they don’t believe the Taliban’s extreme fundamentalist leadership will ever genuinely accept this condition.

I hope they are wrong and that the Taliban eventually come around and see the errors of their way. That would be excellent for them, the people of Afghanistan and the United States. But I’m not holding my breath.

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RELATED STORY: Obama's strategic retreat in Afghanistan

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Filed under: Afghanistan • al Qaeda • Barack Obama • Situation Room • Taliban • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. Maweeya

    "Possible peace talks with the insurgency." If it was so seiuros it would be funny. And the long term relationship with the US is as it always was and will be: you are the filthy Kuffar, but, keep those foreign aid cheques coming, dhimmi.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:28 am |
  2. gg

    sounds like the republicans need a new bigger better war –what no overtime time at the[ industrial military complex]

    May 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  3. Mike

    Two hours after he left they bombed Kabul?

    I'd say you can pretty much be assured that any negotiated peace with the Taliban is nothing but a smokescreen.

    You CANNOT negotiate with terrorists. And the Taliban are terrorists.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  4. paul

    where we went wrong was we thought we could play god and go into another country and ask the terrorist to please go back to IRAN, and the locals could all make love and live in peace, we did not understand we were going into a country that the locals breed islamic terrorist, what we should have done was drive the taliban and al quaida out and establish a western style goverment wholely administered from washington for ten years while locals would have the opportunity to support a local goverment on western values, as soon as the USA are gone the taliban and alquaida is going to slaughter those local forces and politicians, now if you were in thier place would you not support them so they didn,t slaughter you, this KAZARI is a taliban himself and the rest of them won,t have nothing to do with him,

    May 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  5. Smako

    Why doesn't he just apologize? Beg forgiveness, declare his utmost love and desire for Islam and give in to them? Here's a better idea, pull our troops out in areas where they have strength. Let them gain a foot hold and get comfortable talking loud and drawing a crowd. Then bomb them.
    Only 100? Really? Did they take a census or just count the people who answer to the name Osama?

    May 3, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  6. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    Obama extending an olive branch to the Taliban is simply saying...."You win....we lose....lets be friends"!

    May 3, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  7. splasher6

    ahhhh a Muslin offering peace to another muslin...its got to work!

    May 3, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  8. Chris

    We should keep a decent sized base there and offer all Afghan women political asylum to the US because of the horrors they face under the Taliban. With few or no women left, the Taliban will die out.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  9. Bob

    So stupid to make a deal with the Taliban. Ask Pakistan how those deals work out - NOT !!

    May 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  10. Jeff

    This article illustrates Obama's failed policy on Afghanistan along with his and his administration's naivety on global issues. Yes Mr. Pres, in our attempt to get out of that deplorable country, let's negotiate with people whose depravity knows no bounds. Please please do not vote for Obama or we'll see images reminicent of Saigon's fall only worse.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  11. Daniel Horgan

    I agree with you Wolf, the only faith/hope I have is that the women of Afghanistan stand together and fight the antiquities of the Taliban. The USA is the last country that area of the world will listen to in regards to forming their society. The poor people of Afghanistan will always be hindered by a book written by men fantasizing about the afterlife because its people are oppressed by violence and fear. Their only future is more misery unless the people themselves stand together and demand civil rights and fight the Taliban from within. Obama '12

    May 3, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  12. trex

    .You must know Palin. She doesnt READ either.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  13. REG in AZ

    What has been obvious for years is that there is a strong need to educate and support for the eradication of religious extremes, regardless of what religion. The trouble that needs to be addressed is that there is too much egotism experienced by those pushing the extremes as is seen in several countries and that is just really hard to overcome. You can't just say "educate the women" you have to convince that the males prestige isn't lost by doing so. Rationally something may be appropriate but without emotional acceptance, it will always be fought.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  14. Bob, NY

    They point to their gospels and find reason to reject us....hmm, kinda like some of our religious extremists, huh?

    May 3, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  15. Manning El Paso, TX

    Gorge Bush believe he could get rid of them Talaban and convert the Afghans to a democratic, but after 10 year and billion of dollars and thousand of American life we won what? It their country, maybe if they join it won cost so much the next10 years.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  16. Infidel

    Tell us something we did not know Wolfie. Must be a slow day at cnn, as Wolfie is really milking it.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  17. loathstheright

    He'll probably have more success with them then the know, the American version of th eTaliban.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  18. Bill D,

    An absolute and utter waste of time. It shows only weakness on Obama's part (and the U.S. by proxy). The only thing these vermin understand and respect is brute force. Period.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  19. Al

    The Taliban knew that Obama was in the area especially while Obama was cheering his actions to order the killing of UBL. The Taliban could have taken him down from the air, but they like Obama and would not hurt him. Think about it the chance was there and the best the Taliban could do was bomb civilians when a prize was there.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  20. Chicken Hawk

    Why do we need to negotiate with the Taliban? After all, they are not our enemy (according to Biden).

    May 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  21. JohnRJohnson

    The title of this article makes it sound like Obama wants to make peace with the Taliban or, as Sarah Palin once put it, "pal around with terrorists". Obama doesn't want to be friends with the Taliban. He wants to stabilize Afghanistan so that the US can get its kids out of that God forsaken cesspool of a country. That cannot possibly happen unless there is some kind of agreement with the Taliban. Wolf Blitzer, you are a terrible, sensationalizing teleprompter reader.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  22. JPJ3016

    Son, all I've ever asked of my marines is that they obey my orders as they would the word of God. We are here to help the Afghanis, because inside every Afghani there is an American trying to get out. It's a hardball world, son. We've gotta keep our heads until this peace craze blows over.

    May 3, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  23. tildejac

    Why should the Taliban be reasonable and live in peace? Obama can not even talk the Republican-ban to be reasonable and live in peace within the USA.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  24. Griff

    "You must know Wolfe, that the most dangerouse part of this planet is the old East Idies, and that is where Obama lived most of his childhood with his dad, before he even knew Hawaii even existed. It is swarming with Muslim Islam Terrorists."

    May 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Alexandra

      To Frank Lindh:I just read the Guardian piece that was reprinted in The Week. My heart goes out to you. You're liivng every parent's nightmare and with the utmost dignity.

      July 31, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  25. Manuel J.

    Just think... if FDR had negotiated with Tojo and Hitler using Obama's tact, half of the U.S. would be saying Sieg Heil and the other half would be bowing to the Emperor.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  26. Mr. Potato(e) Head

    Why hasn't the details of what Obama signed been chided aroun – I'll tell you why – it doesn't amount to a hill of beans; again this is nothing more than Obama "celelebrating" the one year anniversary of the death of OBL. He is now in a furry to try and accomplish milestones that he can flog next November. He has failed in the aspects that require the most application to fix; namely the economy, and now it looks like health care will also undermine him. Quite doing the little tricks, and focus on the big issues – Sorry, your time has run out, and you have squandered your Presidency.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  27. Griff

    "Maybe it's because Afghanistan is in the Northern Emisphere. There seems to be no security at all in the South!"

    May 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Kamal

      Tahir has, generally, made very sound onoarvetisbs. History and the prevailing objective conditions underline the fact that the Afghans, generally, do not support any kind of occupation.' US may be the only superpower but the Afghans do not run away from a fight. Moreover they have infinite patience to wait for an effective hit-back. Hence what the BBC was told, The Americans have the watches and we have the time' is a landmark observation.Hopefully President Obama, despite domestic constraints, has the wisdom and experience/worldview to reach a settlement which could vindicate his strategy for the US etc. Even here Pakistan would be indispensable while Saudi Arabis can help.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  28. WR Jones

    When will people understand you can't bargain with God or with the books those who worship revere, it's not Communism, they are not able to bargain since that would mean changing the book they worship to accommodate your needs.
    When you "bargain"with Taliban they start at their book, you can argue within their books rules, but not outside, so you are already lost before you open your mouth if your argument is outside of what their book allows.

    This is why you can Never bargain with those who are Islam and practice it's teachings in regard to way of life and it's rules. This is why all talk of meeting and agreeing is a fools errand, they know it, now it's time we woke up and understand the rules.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Rob

      Absolutely true! You can not negotiate with fundamentalists. That's why they are fundamentalists. Duh!

      May 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Wingsfan84

      I was with you until you singled out a single religion. Christianity has the same hardcore stance on a "book" limiting peoples freedoms in history killing over it. It is funny that you think one religion has the ability to evolve and change but another does not.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  29. jon

    Thanks Wolf... for pointing out the Obama is clueless when it comes to Islamic Extremism

    May 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Mlr

      You have that absolutely right....... Obama loves the taliban more than his own men.... Just went over for his election year photo op... And he is too blind and arrogant to w
      Even realize how much the troops resent this.... As much as they did during the last campaign

      May 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • wanalawn

      Even if you doubt they will except, you have to make the offer. Otherwise they will always claim you never tried to reach out. This is the same move any smart president would have done. They will look compassionate to the world, they will look good to the local afghans. And every once in a while people surprise you, and maybe they will change. IN stead of looking like an ignorant fool , why don't you think? or has your irrational hate short circuited your thinking process? Please, please start actually thinking. Even if you don't agree, we could at least have a conversation.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • starman

      Isnt it people like you who still claim hes a Muslem???

      May 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

      Jon.........Obama's actions don't indicate he is clueless because he DOES know what is going on. It is just that he does NOT know what to do with it.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:29 pm |

    With the UN's help, Obama should be able to restore the Taliban to their rightful position as Muslim hereos.....

    May 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  31. Chris

    You've got to be kidding here! We clearly see President Obama's conditions for detente with the Taliban. What we don't see is any response from any member of the Taliban negotiating team. This would seem to signify that our president has clearly mastered the art of negotiating with one's self. In fact, negotiating with one's self has been the sum total of President Obama's presidency.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • George

      Yes, thanks to congress. Sad but true.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • dscon

      i heard "sociopath" as a diagnosis for mr O today.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  32. Max

    Obviously we don't know all the facts but if this is true, any logical thinking democrat would never support Obama again.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Jeeper

      "Obviously we don't know all the facts but if this is true, any logical thinking democrat would never support Obama again"

      The really key words here to pay attention to are "any logical thinking PERSON would never support obama again"..

      May 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • George

      But all logical democrats have only two choices in this race and Romney is not a viable candidate (not for the GOP either). So Obama it will be and as we are "anything but Romney" we will get out the vote. I'd rather have an America left under Obama then the corporate nightmare that Romney will create (for a vision of such check out "rollerball" the movie- very cool, or read "super sad love story" – recent novel= these are pictures of Romney's vision for America and unless you are really really wealthy it is not pretty for you).

      May 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • ya no

      I'm inclined to think that any registered human would want to negotiate a potential common peace with anyone willing to discuss it. I don't pretend to understand the goals of the Taliban – few of use outside of Afghanistan do. Is it not worth a try ?

      May 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  33. K Lawrence

    Why would the Taliban accept anything from Obama? They've already won....they can attack at will anywhere they want...and besides, Obama will be leaving in 2014. Obama can only beg when it comes to the Taliban.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Guest

      That is non-sense. We can attack at will, anywhere we want, too. In fact, we do so almost every day.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
      • Chicken Hawk

        Nonsense! Certain targets have been deemed "off limits". Can't fight a war with that policy and expect to win.

        May 3, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Nichole

      The film specifically addessers this issue . When the U.S and its allies chose to put the Karzai regime in place, they conveniently overlooked the fact that it is overrun with the same patriarchal attitudes toward women as the Taliban. During my recent trip to Afghanistan, I saw the crushing poverty that Afghans must endure. A few brave women from RAWA and the Afghan Women’s Mission pointed out in a recent article that the military establishment claims that it must win the military victory first and then the U.S. will take care of humanitarian needs. But they have it backward. Improve living conditions and security will improve. Focus on security at the expense of humanitarian goals, and coalition forces will accomplish neither. The first step toward improving people’s lives is a negotiated settlement to end the war.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  34. davey

    Why don't we just say it. We surrender. Within a few months of our departure the Taliban will again be running this region, and no Afghanistan is not a country. We just like the Soviets will have been there for years and accomplished nothing.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • s

      We won. Osama is dead. We just don't know when to stop. Just keep taking out terrorists with drones, and get our troops out of harms way. The Afgans will still be killing each other 100 years from now.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  35. Tom from Virginia

    "...Taliban launched a major terror attack right in the heart of Kabul,.."

    Are we in Afghanistan fighting terrorists or just Al Queda? If the Taliban are launching terrorist attacks, what makes them any better than Al Queda? Or are we just tired of being mad at whoever for a bombing in New York that took place 11 years ago?

    Eleven years is starting to place the New York bombing in the category of ancient history to many young people.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Manuel J.

      Tom, Tom, Tom,
      It is people like you that terrrorists are targeting. You don't have the intestinal fortitude to stand for anything. Yet, people like you constrain the military which limits their chance of success.

      Just think... if FDR had negotiated with Tojo and Hitler using Obama's tact, half of the U.S. would be saying Sieg Heil and the other half would be bowing to the Emperor.

      U.S. Army Vet

      May 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  36. jkk

    How can anyone negotiate with a nation, or a culture, or even a group of individuals who possess a rabid, ideological belief that death is preferable to living under any Western-influenced law? It will never happen. The Communists were a piece of cake, with their atheism keeping them more focused on what happens in this world than what might happen in the next.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  37. NODEMS

    Remember that the US has labelled Taliban as a terrist organization. The Taliban and Karzai's regime issues are there own problems and that it is not the US interest. Bush decision to invade Afghanistan was clearly defined: The US want to catch Bin Laden and destroy Al queda safe house because they lauched 9/11 attach from there, in which Bill Clinton completely failed early when he bombed the pharcomatical industry but he asked State Department called Muslim countries first and inform them the US will bomb thus giving Bin Laden whole week to runaway.

    There is no reason for the US present (up to 90,000 troops and trillion dollars has been used ),. Frankly, Afghanistan does not have oil nor economic value that would worth the trillion investment! GET OUT ASAP because Bin Laden corpe was in fish stomach already. The US business in Afghanistan is over. American hate to hear that Karzai and his drug cartels deamnding US apology.... Apologize for what? I hope that Obama and your liberal folks can go to the restroom, clear your face with cold water and wake up sooner.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  38. Bob

    The Taliban isn't going to 'come around' for a long time. We're not really that invested in them doing so in the immediate future. We're just trying to establish a 350,000 strong Afghan force that can fight them for a couple of decades. If they can manage that, the Taliban will fade because nobody will see the point in wasting their lives fighting their countrymen. It's the invasions and occupations that fail and cause Afghanistan to be such a messed up place. If they can achieve stability the violence will subside.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Me

      Way too much Obama-bashing around here, as if everything everywhere is his fault. I love how people blame Obama for still being there, but also complain that he is going to pull our troops out. Yours is about the only comment here that makes sense. Obama is a smart man, and I suspect that his "olive branch" is a political gesture intended for Afghans to understand that we are not trying to exclude any Afghan group from negotiations. Continued violence makes it easier to jjustify our actions to Afghans who question our motivation for being there. And when we leave, Afghan troops will continue to fight and have our support.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  39. Gerald

    Please don't hold your breath. Negotiating with them now shows we have legitimized their group. They see this as an outright victory.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  40. JomoDaMusicMan

    Whoppee Doo, renounce violence in Afghanistan, it's almost like asking the Racist White Americans, KKK and the TeaBaggers to accept Blacks in Leadership Positions and give Justice & Equality to All Black People in America. It AINT GONNA HAPPEN

    May 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • frankieworkz

      Racist comments like this are why it will never go away.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  41. paul

    One car bomb was all they could put together in a short period of time. It was probably gassed-up in a local garage.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  42. db

    If this story is true then Obama just spit in the face of every American Family that lost a soldier in Iraq and Afganistan to the Taliban. It only shows his contempt for this country and the people that live here.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • ya no

      The same response you have to every story on the internet. Creative? No. Boring? Yes.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • J R Brown

      Obama doesn't really respect Americans nor ever did. He's a man with a social engineering agenda...he's not interested in representing "the People", h'e interested in structuring "the People".

      Oh...and doling out tax dollars to liberal/Democrat supporters. I'm fairly sure he thinks the Treasury is there for his personal spending discretion. Never before in our history has Congress abdicated their constitutional role and duties like the Democrats did with Obama in his first President was EVER given a blank check to spend as he saw fit by Congress, until then.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  43. Angie

    My heart aches for the women of Afghanistan. All the progress made on their behalf will be erased instantly once the Taliban takes over. The olive branch given to them by our president is the match that will light hell for these women.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  44. mannycl

    Good luck for the President. This will never happen. At the end we'll just pack up, leave and everything will be back to 'normal'. Better sooner than later.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  45. j011254

    Some olive branch. The Taliban burnt the offering within hours of Obama's departure from Bagram. I would guess the Taliban answer is, "No way we reach an agreement. We'll just talk until your time runs out and we take down the corrupt Karzai ourselves."

    May 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  46. mike tost

    So much for not negotiating with the enemy .Way to go barry

    May 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Xiiao

      Dale,Your comment is a tleimy reminder that presidents do take their campaign rhetoric seriously, even when they might be better off ignoring it. We tend to forget that during the 2008 campaign Obama, in order to burnish his military credentials but also position himself as the change candidate, came out strongly for a military drawdown in Iraq (as already negotiated by Bush), and a renewed focus on bringing the fight to Afghanistan. His supporters tended to focus on the Iraq side of the equation, but Obama has been true to his word, so those who voted for him shouldn't be surprised by his decision to out-Bush Bush in Afghanistan. My big concern with this decision, however, has always been that the surge and hold strategy seems easier to pull off in Iraq, with its functioning civil class, than in the more tribalized Afghanistan. It has been a rough slog of late for the President. We shouldn't forget, however, that everyone president hits these spots. Let's see how Obama reacts.

      October 12, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  47. Logic

    I guess he got his answer (Taliban launches attack). How can you trust any deal made with these criminals? How did that treaty with Hitler turn out?

    May 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Dustie

      Any "agreement" with the Taliban would just be so many words. They are extremists and they are not going to change their ideology because of a piece of paper. Their attack after Obama's speech and visit is a clear message.

      May 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  48. Ajju

    talk about making an offer they can't refuse

    May 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  49. elohiym

    You can't kill the dinosaurs until you kill all the dinosaur eggs. The Taliban ideology is too deeply entrenched.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  50. Big George in Big D

    Obama is such a joke – I'm embarassed that he is POTUS!

    May 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  51. Marilyn

    Go ahead and hold your breath, Blitzer! With the power of God behind those of US which truly want peace & unity in our world, the Righteous Will Prevail! (Un)fortunately, along with the "Islamic Terrorists", the major corporations and people that rule the world and make slaves out of the rest of us will face exactly what those that don't accept the Olive Branch will. It's ALL about choices for each individual and this, right Now, is our Final Test! Wake-up, everyone! Peace & God Bless.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  52. Mike Cornett

    Cool. Let's spend a billion dollars a week to go after 100 men. Just send "Rambo". He could clean it up in just a couple of days. Well at least the millitary contractors are having fun with all the orders for goods and sevvices.
    Does anyone have a rough idea what we could have done with all the money spent on this war at home.
    How many new schools could we have built ? How many under insured Americans could we have helped ?
    How many new bridges and roads could we have built ? Can you think of any constructive ways we could have spent the money. Darn It !!!! Lets make the Afgans and Iraqes pay for the wars. I heard they have oil. Lets play, "Lets Make A Deal". I'm sick of it. Mike, Mount Vernon, Illinois.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  53. Dustie

    No one can negotiate with terrorists, because terrorists are obsessed extremists. It is a form of mental illness, in my opinion. I think that the terrorist attack after Obama's speech/trip was the answer and a message too clear, too explicit to be ignored or mistaken by anyone. I think that the media should stop using the term "Arab Spring"-the reality is that the result of these protests and revolutions is placing terrorists/extremists/Islamists in power, to the detriment of the people of those countries and the rest of us. The Taliban is in that category: dangerous extremists.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  54. skarphace

    Your final statement says it all, Wolf. I seriously doubt that the higher ranking officials in the Taliban, like those in the Tea Party here is the US and the Pharisees during the time of Jesus, even know the meaning of the word 'compromise'.

    They are set in their ways, and will not stop until everybody else accepts them as the true and final authority.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Johnny

      So you compare the tea party group to the taliban.... that is the dumbest thing i have read on cnn and that is saying somthing. The POTUS is the one who is negotiating with terrorist. ooh and btw wasn't it your occupy wallstreet guys the one's who were just arrested for planning to blow up a bridge in cleveland, but yea the tea partiers are the extreme ones....

      May 3, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  55. Goose66

    What the President failed to mention, but which any region expert would surely confirm, is that any overtures made to the Taliban will surely include ceding de-facto control of the Northern and Eastern portions of Afghanistan to the Taliban so that they can build there radical Islamic society. This will just create another Hezbollah as in Lebanon or another Hamas as in Palestine. Why? So that we can continue to list the Taliban as a terrorist organization on our CIA lists, as we do with Hezbollah and Hamas? Peace will never come to Afghanistan with this fragmented society and control. Is this Obama's view of victory or success in Afghanistan?

    May 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  56. Jeromy

    Negotiates with terrorists and the chinese but not with the jerks on the other side of the aisle – americans. Said would close GB and end torture but did not. Promised not to raise taxes, then hired 10,000 additional IRS gov't employess who do nothing. Raised taxes. Riuned GM's reputation. Went to war in Lybia to defend BP's contract. Refused to allow oil skimmers to clean the gulf because BP would not have gotten the oil, instead allowed the gulf to be filled with oil until BP could capture it and sell it. Gave billions to green businesses that never produced ANYTHING except campaign contributions. I am SO SORRY I voted for this, the worst president ever. Am voting against him no matter who runs. Liar.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Me

      Man, the only liar is you. As Barney Frank said to a crazy woman in a town meeting, On which planet do you live?

      May 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  57. tularockstar

    Obama will go down as the only fool who ever negotiate with terrorists, like the Taliban! Of course we saw what happened an hour after he left Afghanistan, did we? How ridiculous Obonehead has to be to even establish a dialogue with this group? I guess he had to reach out to his ancesters and say hello!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  58. Roger Predactor


    thanks for stating what everyone was already thinking.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  59. gg

    peace has to start some where–

    May 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Santosh

      I gave money to Obama, I campaigned for Obama, I blieeved in Obama, and now I feel like a fool. I can not even look at him any more. He makes me SICK!! He is doing worse things than W and Cheney and Obamabots pretend it's all the republicans' fault. At least I woke up! Bye bye, America. Stick a fork in us we are done.

      May 23, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  60. lean6

    So how many Taliban are there left to kill anyway? The world is getting to the point of not caring about nation building in Afghanistan. Nothing resembling democracy will ever take hold in Afghanistan. Bin Laden was the face-saving prize for America, not just a feather in the President's cap as the GOP is charging. We got him. Time to end the "War on Terror" and call things "normal". People are just gonna accept that "normal" means that our troops are home and bad guys are still breathing somewhere. We can't kill all of the bad guys. It's impossible.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  61. lean6

    So how many Taliban are there left to kill anyway? The world is getting to the point of not caring about nation building in Afghanistan. Nothing resembling democracy will ever take hold in Afghanistan. Bin Laden was the face-saving prize for America, not just a feather in the President's cap as the GOP is charging. We got him. Time to end the "War on Terror" and call things "normal". People are just gonna accept that "normal" means that our troops are home and bad guys are still breathing somewhere. We can't kill all of the bad guys. It's impossible...there's one born every minute.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  62. Big Bob

    Jeez, I said "Good luck"

    May 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  63. Big Bob

    Just one problem. I would say the Taliban already thinks that THEY are the practitioners of "Afgan Law".
    Not a great option, but, good luck, Mr. President!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  64. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Let's face it, if nation building was our goal for Afghanistan, attacking and overthrowing a sovereign government in the Taliban to achieve that goal was the wrong way to go! In a country as big as Texas with mountains as remote as any seen in any part of the world, there was no way a third world government and military could have patrolled those regions and successfully kept these terror cell out of those isolated regions! In other words, al Qaeda would have been able to import arms into these remote regions of Afghanistan without the Taliban government being able prevent it if they wanted to! Furthermore, there's no intelligence hard facts that the Taliban government funded or supported al Qaeda simply because there was absolutely nothing to be achieved by supporting al Qaeda!

    Furthermore, if the GWB administration had negotiated with the Taliban government to dismantle al Qaeda in wake of the 9/11 attacks, I doubt the Taliban government would have said we can't help you because we're on the side of the terrorists! Then what good would that position have brought the Taliban government? And if it was our goal to root out any terror cells in Afghanistan and begin nation building, wouldn't our chances of achieving that goal be more attainable had we negotiated with the Taliban government? But what we did is to overthrow a sovereign government and destabilized an entire nation as we did in Iraq! Let's face it, if our goal is really nation building, the best way to begin that process is through dimplmacy with force and war being the last resort!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  65. Joe Gerrity

    I'm sure that many people will use this to unfairly attack Obama as being weak on terrorism, but over the past decade it's become more and more clear that changes minds works better than killing people.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  66. Tennyson

    First (I think)! And interesting. How to extend an olive branch when the hand that receives it may be cloaking a grenade?

    May 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  67. stonesrule

    Good bye and good riddance Mr.'re toast.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  68. Doc

    Afghanistan has opium, which we can control and turn to profit by distributing it around the world and the US. Then once opium hits the open market the DEA moves in and busts these "criminals" who choose to do what they want with their life (individual Freedom). But since America doesn't really offer individual freedom (unless it's in gods name then you cant be touched unless your a little boy) they can fuck you and take your money. Basically its genius you make money on both ends and control everything. Drugs and Guns are what america does well you try step on their turf and they will fuck your world up! I know Im proud of this country!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  69. bob hope

    ...Are you kidding me? does anyone actually think the Taliban or al Qaeda gives a krap what ANYONE in the west says?? The West is the primary reason for them being so extreme. Those groups and most of the arab countries, including the Middle East, have been fighting, killing and commiting genocide since man kind was spawned. they will NEVER change because they keep breeding it generation, after generation and with no desire to stop.....

    May 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  70. gmansback

    Negotiating with the Taliban will be akin to when we 'negotiated' with North VietNam to end that war. It dosen't matter what kind of agreement is reached, as soon as our troops leave, the Taliban will do whatever it wants to do. an by the way, when did we start negotiating with terrorists?

    May 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  71. Peter E

    How far the Taliban has fallen... Reagan sent money to Pakistan to train and arm the Taliban 'freedom fighters,' and when meeting them he referred to them as the 'moral equivalent of America's Founding Fathers.'

    May 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  72. 1ST SGT

    Did you notice that these soldiers surrounding him are mostly of the same ethnic group as Obama. The others are just misinformed and do not know that Obama is pulling the bubble out from under their feet as to lowering their pay, their numbers, benefits and not furnishing them the equipment needed to be successful in war. He is a traitor and anyone who follows him does so at this nation's peril.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  73. derykhouston

    The war in Afghanistan is not being fought over whether women are allowed to get an education or not. It never is.
    The "only" reason that the US is in Afghanistan is to secure the pipeline route through the country. This...unfortunately..... is completely ignored by people like Wolf Blitzer.
    The west would gain enormous benefits from such a pipeline. That is why the US was negotiating with the Taliban years ago to allow the pipeline to be built. The Taliban decided not to allow the pipeline. Only then did the US decide to invade the country.
    I also don;t believe that Blitzer is unaware of the importance of the pipeline.
    The west always frames these issue in a way that it would appear that they are simply looking after womens rights etc......... that way they get the taxpayers to support an expensive war that eats up their tax dollars. But the real reason is because they want to secure pipeline routes, or for some other reason such as oil and gas resources.
    If people understood this they would stop sending their young soldiers to these places.
    I think Wolf Blitzer knows this and that is why he chooses not to tell you.
    This to me is wicked. He will have to answer to his grandchildren because I don;t believe that he is a stupid man.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  74. Mel B

    "I hope they are wrong and that the Taliban eventually come[s] around and see the errors of their way. That would be excellent for them, the people of Afghanistan and the United States."
    That statement right there is the fundamental reason of why we but heads with other nations and groups in the world. We, as a country, must stop thinking with our interests as a key piece for others to abide by peaceful means. It would be excellent if the Taliban reconciled in the interest of their people and their country, period. The US, the world, would benefit automatically regardless. It's like asking an abusive alcoholic parent(s) to sober up because it benefits their neighbors, but oh also their family. The sole influence should be for what's at stake from within. We as a country should think about that as well. Stop focusing so much on what everyone is doing in their yards and address what is happening in our own. We as a people demand free will but we sure don't extend it!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  75. Randy

    I realize that Obama is channeling Neville Chamberlain when dealing with our enemies, but you can't negotiate with these terrorists. They don't think rationally.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  76. G D

    The Taliban deserve an olive branch ONLY when they renounce violence, put down their guns, and stop killing other Afghans. It is a mistake to negotiate with them in any real way until there is an IRA-type accord.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  77. Brandon

    Negotiating with terrorists. How far we have fallen.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • trex

      Ya mean like Henry Kiss did with the North Vietnam.................

      May 3, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  78. Mort

    Wolf advocating sending troops to more countries?? How many wars do we need to fight, and how many countries do we need to invade? More wars won't ensure 9/11 won't happen again. Simply too many people to kill everyone of them. Let's mind our own business, and then people will leave us alone.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  79. rla

    OK let's watch as the Talaban disrespect and smack down Obama- Do you really think they care???? Sorry but this administration needs the negotiator!!

    May 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Peter

      Orion,I agree, at least in part, with your emphasis on rinnegiag message control as the impetus for Obama's decision to both can McChrystal but also strongly reaffirm the basis Afghan COIN strategy. I think, however, that some of that messaging was directed at Kharzai, and the Taliban, and our allies. Obama clearly was trying to signal to all of them that firing McChrystal did not signify a weakening of U.S. resolve in Afghanistan, at a time when Kharzai is considering opening up negotiations with the Taliban, and there are indications we are losing the hearts and minds battle as Afghan villagers, fearing a U.S. withdrawal, stay neutral.Here's my concern: maintaining message discipline does nothing to convince the military men and women on the ground that current U.S. tactics will work. That, to me, was the real revelation in the Rolling Stones article the troops don't believe in the tactics. Reaffirming support for a strategy that the troops don't support is not very reassuring, is it?As for McChrystal's motives in letting the Rolling Stone have access who can say? A desire for press clippings? Battle fatigue? I'm not sure even he knows . .

      October 10, 2012 at 11:55 am |

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