Afghan High Peace Council, Taliban and Northern Alliance to Meet in Paris This Week

Reuters reports that after the final French combat troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan on Saturday, Paris will host a meeting this week between the Afghan high peace council and the Taliban. It appears that talks have been ongoing for some time, but it is quite encouraging that the parties are now willing for it to be announced publicly that the discussions are taking place. From the Reuters story:

France said on Sunday officials from the Afghan government, the Taliban rebel movement and other factions would meet this week near Paris to discuss the country’s future as NATO troops prepare to pull out in 2014.

Speaking on RFI radio, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, whose country withdrew the last of its combat troops from Afghanistan on Saturday, said Afghan President Hamid Karzai had given his green light to the meeting.

“Discreet talks have been taking place between different factions for three years,” Fabius said.

“If you want peace, it’s usually between people who don’t agree, and over there they don’t talk to each other. So there will be discussions, but it won’t be negotiations.”

The story goes on to point out that both the exact date and location for the meeting will not be disclosed and that the location will be “entirely closed off”.

We get more on the meetings from Afghanistan’s Khaama Press:

A senior Afghan high peace council official said three members of the council will attend the Paris conference.

Abdul Hakim Mujahid a former Taliban group member and Haji Din Mohammad advisor to president Hamid Karzai are among the three officials who attend and meet the Taliban group members.

Farhadullah a spokesman for the Afghan high peace council said Afghan peace delegates will clarify the stance of Afghan peace council regarding the peace negotiations in Paris conference.

Meanwhile Abdul Hakim Mujahid who was presenting the Taliban group in United Nations and is currently a member of the Afghan high peace council said they will hold direct talks with the Taliban group members during the summit.

Mr. Mujahid said the conference is based on Afghanistan and only Afghans should decided how to resolve the current crisis and war in the country.

Significantly, the Reuters piece points out that the Northern Alliance also will be taking part in the meetings. Recall that the US supported the Northern Alliance in the overthrow of the Taliban after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Missing from both stories is any mention of US involvement in the peace talks. Instead, the US appears to be spending its energy at the current time trying to negotiate an agreement with Afghanistan that will provide blanket immunity for US troops staying beyond the planned end of 2014 end of combat operations by coalition forces. Also, Washington is consumed with developing a plan for how many of these US troops will remain behind and what their roles will be. Apparently, these efforts are a higher priority to the Obama administration than negotiating a peace that would make our presence unnecessary.

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. Ben Franklin says:

    Sorry to be OT, Jim, but have you seen this….MK/Ultra Monarch? LIBOR? General Electric? I must be crazy with these theories.

    “The father of Newtown Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza is Peter Lanza who is a VP and Tax Director at GE Financial. The father of Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes is Robert Holmes, the lead scientist for the credit score company FICO. Both men were to testify before the US Sentate in the ongoing LIBOR scandal. The London Interbank Offered Rate, known as Libor, is the average interest rate at which banks can borrow from each other. 16 international banks have been implicated in this ongoing scandal, accused of rigging contracts worth trillions of dollars. HSBC has already been fined $1.9 billion and three of their low level traders arrested.”

    http://beforeitsnews.com/economics-and-politics/2012/12/2-mass-shootings-connected-to-libor-2447738.html

  2. TarheelDem says:

    I’m glad that the US is not involved in those Paris talks. It will make it easier to (1) get a political settlement between the major factions in Afghanistan, (2) get the the US completely out of the country by taking away the “enemy” by securing more regional support for political stability.

    The question is what role the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has in the talks. That is, has France invited them as observers? All of the frontline states to Afghanistan are either members or observers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which sponsored a conference in Istanbul a little over a year ago to get peace negotiations going.

  3. Garrett says:

    The Taliban position on talks, at least earlier this year, has been that they are two-track, with talks with the U.S. going first.

    From Qari Din Muhammad:

    The Islamic Emirate has repeatedly said that the Afghan issue is two dimensional [sic] with internal and external dimensions. The external dimension, which should be dealt with initially, concerns America and the Islamic Emirate, while the internal dimension of the issue is Afghan-related.

    Back to Qatar? Talks about talks, again, AAN

    From Agha Jan Motassem:

    Peace Negotiations can’t be a one phase process, it should have many phases. We prefer to negotiate with the US at the first phase, then with the Afghan government and other foreigners.

    We Prefer to Hold Talks with US: Taliban Leader, Tolo

    I don’t what these Paris talks mean, or how to interpret them.

  4. Jim White says:

    @Garrett: Thanks. I should have mentioned the previous sets of talks that have been reported or speculated. Recall in addition that there have been rumors several times of US-Taliban talks that were to be affected by GITMO releases.

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