While Washington Sniffs the Generals’ Panties, Afghan Peace Talks Begin to Show Progress

With General John Allen now floating in some sort of purgatory where he has been tainted by figures in the Petraeus scandal, the “orderly” transition planned for Allen to step up to commanding NATO and General John Dunford to move up to replace Allen in Afghanistan is stalled at least in part. And while Washington has come to such a complete halt over this scandal that Howard Kurtz may well have taken an interest in a penis or two that may have voted Republican, leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan have taken advantage of the distraction in Washington to take concrete steps toward the kind of political reconciliation that will be essential once US forces have been (at least mostly) withdrawn from the area.

From the AP story carried by the Washington Post:

Pakistan freed several Taliban prisoners at the request of the Afghan government Wednesday, a move meant to facilitate the process of striking a peace deal with the militant group in neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistani officials said.

The release of the prisoners — described as mid- and low-level fighters — is the most encouraging sign yet that Pakistan may be willing to help jumpstart peace talks that have mostly gone nowhere, hobbled by distrust among the major players involved, including the United States.

/snip/

Wednesday’s release of the Taliban militants came in response to a personal request by Salahuddin Rabbani, the head of an Afghan government council for peace talks with the Taliban, said a Pakistani government official and an intelligence official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media about the release.

We get more from Reuters:

Afghan officials have suspected that Pakistan has been holding Afghan Taliban members in jail to retain some control over peace efforts and have a say in any settlement.

Those in detention include former Justice Minister Mullah Nooruddin Toorabi and Mullah Jahangirwal, former secretary of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and Allahdat Tayab, an ex-deputy minister, Afghan High Peace Council officials say.

“We have asked Pakistan to release them because they were the policy makers of the Taliban and close aides to Mullah Omar,” Habibullah Fawzi, a senior member of the Afghan peace team, told Reuters.

Their release could encourage a number of Taliban commanders and fighters to join peace efforts, he said. Afghan embassy officials in Islamabad said the names of about 10 Afghan Taliban militants had been floated.

We learn from Dawn that the talks will continue today:

Talks between the peace delegation led by Mr Rabbani and Pakistani officials would continue on Wednesday when the two sides are expected to come up with a joint statement on the progress made by them.

A Pakistani official, who had been briefed on the talks, told Dawn that “significant progress has already been made”.

The release of Taliban detainees in Pakistan has been a longstanding Afghan demand for catalysing the slow moving process.

A keen follower of the negotiations, who didn’t want to be named, said the release of prisoners was a positive step, which would provide the right environment for reconciliation.

Who could have guessed that getting all of Washington distracted by a tawdry sex scandal could have set just the right conditions for significant peace talks to break out? There are even hints from Khaama that this breakout of peace talks might even expand to include the Haqqani network.

The old adage that “fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity” seems to have been turned on its side here. Even though it may have been under his desk, David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell appear to have been fucking for peace, since their affair has disengaged the US war machine long enough that those who must make peace once we are gone have decided to start the process ahead of schedule.

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.
9 replies
  1. GulfCoastPirate says:

    So after 12 years, billions of dollars and thousands of lives nothing will have really changed over there. Am I missing something?

  2. Jim White says:

    @GulfCoastPirate: Lots of those billions went to enrich gummint contractors. And those guys REALLY don’t want to get off this gravy train, so look for Washington to wake up and push back against “negotiating with terrists”.

  3. What constitution says:

    I thought the single most interesting thing Romney said in the last seventeen years was his unsolicited observation in the third debate that, and I quote, “we can’t kill our way out of this.”. “This” being the war on Terra. Maybe we can dust that one off when the Usual Suspects show up to criticize efforts to reduce US military expenditures, er, I mean, consider peace. Btw, do we know yet whether Petraeus has any distinguishing marks on his genitalia? I know it’s early, but….

  4. eCAHNomics says:

    ” leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan”

    ????

    You mean sovereign nations have govts that can (or can’t but that’s another matter) solve their problems without the “honest broker.”

    This is intolerable (to quote Susan-the-mouth-Rice).

  5. klynn says:

    Not about panties…About this:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/14/hamas-military-chief-killed-gaza-jaabairi
    “Israeli military sources said the strike had been the result of “precise intelligence” gathered over a period of months. The Israeli air force carried out multiple air strikes on Wednesday in an operation it named Cloud Pillar, suggesting it had launched a continuing offensive.

    Calls for revenge were broadcast in Gaza after the air strikes, according to Reuters. “Israel has declared war on Gaza and they will bear the responsibility for the consequences,” Islamic Jihad said.

    Earlier the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, indicated that the government had decided against a major offensive in Gaza after a three-day period during which militants fired more than 100 rockets.

    On Tuesday, he told a meeting of mayors in towns close to the Gaza border that he would choose “the right time to exact the heaviest price … Whoever thinks that they can damage the daily lives of residents of the south, and that they won’t pay a heavy price for this, they are mistaken.”

    There had been intense speculation about the possibility of a ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli forces. But Egyptian mediators persuaded Hamas and other militant groups to sign up to a ceasefire.

    Jaabari is the most senior Hamas operative to be killed by Israel for almost four years, since Operation Cast Lead, its three-week assault on Gaza, left around 1,400 Palestinians dead.”

  6. Eric Hodgdon says:

    Non-Violent Struggle
    Non-Violent Actions
    Non-Violence is the answer if human life is worth anything.
    WTF good is the Military when it fights in offensive warfare by choice?

    67 years of choosing to engage offensively around the World has been a failure in each case. Even those in the Americas were failures precisely because they were allowed to ferment.

    And, WTF type of lesion is this displaying?

    The President is Commander-in-Chief when called into ACTUAL service. Congress and the Supreme Court create and allow this crap; my fellow Americans cheer death and murder, while OTHERS debate trivial points as though a game is being played.

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