Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Obama's "Ambitious Vision" for Afghanistan

This is from Steve Coll's profile of the ever-elusive Mullah Omar, the Taliban hotshot/figurehead/fearless leader. (Only the abstact is available online, so I quote from my hard copy of The New Yorker):
Obama's advisors hold differing opinions about the prospects for negotiations. Some believe that the Taliban remain committed to taking full power and will use the negotiations only to win prisoner releases and buy time. Others hope that negotiations might produce ceasefires or divide Taliban leaders. The most ambitious vision is of a settlement eventually embraced by Karzai's government, Pakistan, and NATO in which a large section of the Taliban would convert into a peaceful political party, to stand in elections, take seats in parliament, and perhaps share in a regional administration of Taliban strongholds in the south and east.
Meanwhile, still others hope that unicorns and rainbows will suddenly appear in Waziristan, and that Mullah Omar will turn into the Dalai Lama and broker a peace deal between Israel and Hamas. Which, all things considered, is about as likely a scenario as the bolded one.

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