UK Conference: Taliban To Be Part Of The Political Process

Today, a one day event is taking place in London. The Afghanistan conference is organized by UK’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown. About 70 foreign ministers and regional leaders are attending to discuss the future of the country. It is expected that the Western powers militarily¬† involved in Afghanistan for the past eight years will back up President Karzai’s “peace at any cost” plan to win over Taliban fighters.

In preparation of the conference, President Karzai has been working relentlessly behind the scene to convince the international community that his plan of reconciliation with the Taliban is the only way to achieve stability in Afghanistan. A few days ago he was in Turkey meeting with his Pakistani counterpart to discuss his proposal.

However, the national reconciliation plan has a prize tag. It is expected that the US & NATO will pledge funding for Karzai’s promises of “jobs, income and security to Taliban defectors”. Karzai is likely to ask the international community for $1 billion to “buy” peace with the Taliban.

In return, the US and NATO will keep putting pressure on President Karzai to fight the rampant corruption that has plagued his administration. In order to achieve this goal, President Karzai is expected to compromise, and let the international community designate a non Afghan to “audit” Karzai’s dubious way of managing money and resources allocated to Afghanistan.

However, thinking that the Taliban will defect in large numbers is a bit too optimistic on the part of Karzai & Brown. It is unlikely that the low ranking Taliban fighters will defect, and support the Karzai government unless their leaders agree to do so. On Wednesday, the Taliban made a statement to reject the plan. The Taliban stated that the London conference was “a waste of time”. A Taliban spokesman also added the money incentive will not make a difference saying that “Taliban fighters couldn’t be bought out”. The Taliban insist on a complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan before any talks with the Karzai administration. Any negotiation with the Taliban will be difficult, but it is the only way out of Afghanistan for the US and NATO.

To find out more about the Afghanistan London conference click here.

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