NATO withdrawal

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steps toward the kind of political reconciliation that will be essential once US forces have been (at least mostly) withdrawn from the area.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.

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @Bethrich52 Yes. I've written about it. My hope is along w/everything else that Horowitz is pushing for he sneaks in override of OPR.
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emptywheel Note, it's not JUST DHS that has privacy problems w/cyber sharing. DOJ's IG found people aren't sharing w/FBI bc of privacy concerns too.
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emptywheel RT @ddayen: Ironically, TPP is stumbling over which pieces of protectionism to maintain: prescription drugs, sugar, rice, dairy http://t.co
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emptywheel @tonygoldd3 OK OK OK. But remember this involves space heroes AND @ChuckGrassley in a crummy mood abt DOJ's latest power grab.
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emptywheel The Inspectors General have gotten space hero John Glenn to weigh in against DOJ's efforts to limit IG access. https://t.co/QQHS7n3l52
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emptywheel @p2wy Sort of slow for a primary qua general. Just now?
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emptywheel @mar7k Lindsey, who has a driver and no wife, doesn't have either of those problems. @TyMcCormick
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emptywheel Apparently beating up McCain will change people's opinion about someone. http://t.co/7bfsbG5Ptu
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emptywheel @jbendery Let's work helmet laws in there too. That'll get 'em.
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emptywheel @jbendery Cause preemies can survive. But not "naturally."
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emptywheel @jbendery Does keeping an ill person --or a preemie--on a respirator count as "natural life"?
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emptywheel @jbendery I raise it bc I think hammering GOPers on what they mean by that term would highlight problems w/their stance against choice.
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August 2015
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