Monday 25 September 2017

Obama's bid for truce dead in water before it begins

Con Coughlan

US President Barack Obama's attempts to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban look dead in the water before they have even started.

No sooner had Mr Obama announced the first direct talks with the Taliban since the conflict erupted over a decade ago, than their prospects were immediately threatened, thanks to the hissy fit thrown by Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

However, Mr Karzai's temper tantrum, and suspension of talks with the US, appears to be justified. As Afghanistan's democratically elected president, Mr Karzai might at the very least expect to be involved in any discussions relating to his country's future.

He is also right to object to the Taliban naming their office in Qatar, where the talks are due to take place, as the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan". The country is no such thing, and Mr Karzai's government has committed itself to a pluralist society.

What's more, the reluctance of Mullah Omar, the Taliban's spiritual leader, to denounce his support for al-Qa'ida is an illustration of the weakness of Mr Obama's negotiating position. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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