U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has recently confirmed that “preliminary contacts” with Afghan Taliban guerrillas have been established, in the hope of working towards a peace deal with the various Islamist insurgent groups operating in Afghanistan, perhaps mediated by Pakistan. This should come as no surprise. After all, many U.S. officials appear to be in a panic, trying to find Mullah Mohammed Omar who heads the Taliban Shura in Quetta, which is protected by the Pakistani military and intelligence as a buffer force against Baloch nationalist insurgents.
The aim is to have him bless a political deal on behalf of the Islamist guerrillas in Afghanistan. Indeed, U.S. and Afghan intelligence have revealed their desperation to locate and establish dialogue with Mullah Omar by fabricating rumors about his death, thinking that he will be provoked into exposing his position by issuing angry denials via statements or audio recordings. Add to this American officials’ circulation of tales of U.S. “exploratory” talks with a senior aide to Mullah Omar, and it becomes apparent that the notion of a need for a “political settlement” with the Taliban is garnering more currency in Western policy circles. Such a...More >>