Saturday, April 12, 2008

Taliban the next al-Sahwa?

An unorthodox analysis, but interesting:

News analysis: U.S. Needs Taliban to Regain Afghanistan
Jalal Ghazi: Eye on the Arab Media

April 10 - The Taliban are back and stronger and more popular than ever. NATO and the United States will soon have no choice but to negotiate with them six years after driving them out of Kabul. That’s the impression one gets from reading Arab media on the war in Afghanistan. ...

The Afghan people have lost confidence in NATO and the United States. Journalist and political writer Ahmad Asfahani told ANB, “There is a large segment of the Afghan people who will not accept the presence of occupation forces in Afghanistan and will not accept a government that is linked to the occupation.” Many Afghans do not see much difference between today’s occupation and that of the British in the 19th century or the Soviets from 1979 to 1989.

The Taliban has capitalized on this anti-occupation sentiment by establishing itself as the main resistance force against the occupation. Many Afghans are now willing to overlook the Taliban’s rigid interpretation of Islam. “The Taliban movement is no longer just a former regime. It rather represents a large segment of the Afghan population regardless of whether we agree [with its ideology] or not,” said Asfahani. ...

According to [India Today commentator Muhna] al Habil, Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, the commander for southern Afghanistan, was relieved of his command by Mullah Omar because of his willingness to take money from Arab fighters. This is an indication that the Taliban is trying to operate independently from Al Qaeda. ...

Hani al-Sibai, director of the London-based al-Maqreze Center of Historical Studies, told ANB that he believes the British who have been doing much of the fighting have been simply making deals with the Taliban and handing some areas back to them. “An agreement was made between the British and the Taliban,” Al-Sibai said, “in which Musa Qala was handed over to the Taliban forces.”

The United States did the same thing in Iraq when they handed Fallujah over to a Ba’ath general after intensive fighting did not establish control of the city. Today former Ba’ath leaders are leading Awakening Councils, or Sahwa, against Al Qaeda. Could the Taliban do the same in Afghanistan for the Americans? (link)
On the nature of al-Sahwa in Iraq, see the indispensable Patrick Cockburn here and also this great piece by Dahr Jamail.

No comments: