Peace with the Taliban? Don’t count on it

Recently, both The Washington Post and the German magazine Der Spiegel have reported on meetings between U.S. officials and representatives of the Taliban that have taken place in Germany to discuss some form of peace negotiations. Talking to the Taliban makes sense, but there are major impediments standing in the way of a deal. First, ...

PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images
PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images
PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images

Recently, both The Washington Post and the German magazine Der Spiegel have reported on meetings between U.S. officials and representatives of the Taliban that have taken place in Germany to discuss some form of peace negotiations.

Talking to the Taliban makes sense, but there are major impediments standing in the way of a deal.

Recently, both The Washington Post and the German magazine Der Spiegel have reported on meetings between U.S. officials and representatives of the Taliban that have taken place in Germany to discuss some form of peace negotiations.

Talking to the Taliban makes sense, but there are major impediments standing in the way of a deal.

First, who exactly is there to negotiate with in the Taliban? It’s been a decade since their fall from power, and the "moderate" Taliban who wanted to reconcile with the Afghan government have already done so. They are the same group of Taliban who are constantly trotted out in any discussion of a putative Taliban deal: Mullah Zaeef, their former ambassador to Pakistan; Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, their foreign minister; and Abdul Hakim Mujahid, who was the Taliban representative in the United States before 9/11. This group was generally opposed to Osama bin Laden well before he attacked the United States.

Bin Laden told intimates that his biggest enemies in the world were the United States and the Taliban Foreign Ministry, which was trying to put the kibosh on his anti-Western antics in Afghanistan. And today the "moderate" already-reconciled Taliban don’t represent the Taliban on the battlefield, because they haven’t been part of the movement for the past decade.

To read the rest of this article, visit CNN.com, where it was originally published.

Peter Bergen is the director of the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation and the editor of the AfPak Channel.

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