Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Are The Taliban Throwing In The Towel?
One of the Taliban's most senior and charismatic commanders has become a key negotiator as more and more members of the Islamic militia in Afghanistan give up the fight against the Americans.
The commander, Abdul Salam, earned the nickname Mullah Rockety because he was so accurate with rocket propelled grenades against Russian troops.
He later joined the Taliban as a corps commander in Jalalabad before being captured by the Americans after September 11.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Afghanistan, said yesterday that a group of Taliban militia including senior officials will soon join the Afghan government's peace initiative.
"They are in Kabul seeking peace and to boost the reconciliation process," he said, adding that he was hopeful that the Taliban surrender would take place before the parliamentary elections, expected in the summer.
Afghan officials claimed in recent days that four unnamed senior figures from the former Taliban government have accepted the US-backed offer of amnesty extended to them by Mr Karzai's government and will form a new party for the elections.
Anyone want to offer odds on the SAEN reporting on this in any significant way? The road in Iraq has been harder, but the result will be the same. Will this finally get liberals to admit, albeit hesitantly, that President Bush is right about the power of freedom and democracy to change a country? If the Taliban can figure it out then I am optimistic that liberals can too.