Obama considering talks with some Taliban?

The New York Times reports that during an interview Friday, President Barack Obama indicated he is considering negotiations with some elements of the Taliban. Outwardly, the concept of America negotiating with barbarians seems absurd. Remember the brutal atrocities committed by the Taliban in Afghanistan under Mullah Mohammad Omar?

Kabul: Public executions under the Taliban rule on September 23, 2000 (taken by a RAWA hidden camera)

Perhaps the insurgents collectively known as ‘Taliban’ in Afghanistan and Pakistan need closer examination. Perhaps these are not the same Taliban as the ones Mohammad Omar once ruled (he reportedly resides just across the border in Quetta, Pakistan).

The Times reported Sunday, “Asked if the United States was winning in Afghanistan, a war he effectively adopted as his own last month by ordering an additional 17,000 troops sent there, Mr. Obama replied flatly, “No.”” (Some of the photos and links interjected within the text below are to reports not found in the Times).

Tariq Mahmood/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images: Taliban sympathizers in the Pakistani border village of Rahim Kor at the execution on Sunday of a man accused of kidnapping. Pakistan’s government has little influence or formal presence in the tribal regions near Afghanistan, to the United States’ dismay. (Photo appeared in a New York Times article ‘ here writing an essay for graduate school follow url essay writing service review http://laclawrann.org/programs/how-to-avoid-nausea-with-viagra/17/ sunrise tadalafil review http://snowdropfoundation.org/papers/buying-a-research-paper-for-college/12/ vauygra b follow link https://rainierfruit.com/viagra-pfizer-discount/ blog writing service online essay revision viagra 100mg 4 film tablet trusted viagra online phd thesis writing introduction chapter http://www.nationalnewstoday.com/medical/side-effects-of-drugs/2/ research paper on the catcher in the rye the six stages of critical thinking how to stop sending viagra emails my hero essay https://geneseelandlordassoc.org/category/do-my-maths-homework/44/ thesis abstract math esl letter ghostwriting sites http://wnpv1440.com/teacher/dissertation-project-difference/33/ help writing thesis easy steps to writing an essay help me with my essay essay yourself http://mcorchestra.org/10663-elementary-school-teaching-cover-letter/ click viagra belgien top mba letter ideas Pakistan’s Planned Accord With Militants Alarms U.S.‘ on April 30, 2008)

The Times continued: “Mr. Obama said on the campaign trail last year that the possibility of breaking away some elements of the Taliban “should be explored,” an idea also considered by some military leaders. But now he has started a review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan intended to find a new strategy, and he signaled that reconciliation could emerge as an important initiative, mirroring the strategy used by Gen. David H. Petraeus in Iraq.””

July 12 2008: Two unidentified Afghan Women chat with each other a few minutes before they were executed by Taliban in Ghazni province, Afghanistan.

The Times continued: “”If you talk to General Petraeus, I think he would argue that part of the success in Iraq involved reaching out to people that we would consider to be Islamic fundamentalists, but who were willing to work with us because they had been completely alienated by the tactics of Al Qaeda in Iraq,” Mr. Obama said. At the same time, he acknowledged that outreach may not yield the same success. “The situation in Afghanistan is, if anything, more complex,” he said. “You have a less governed region, a history of fierce independence among tribes. Those tribes are multiple and sometimes operate at cross purposes, and so figuring all that out is going to be much more of a challenge.””

July 13 2008: Local people watch two Afghan women shot and killed by Taliban in Ghazni province, Afghanistan. Taliban fighters told Associated Press Television News that the two were executed for allegedly running a prostitution ring catering to U.S. soldiers and other foreign contractors at a U.S. base in Ghazni city.

The Times continued: “For American military planners, reaching out to some members of the Taliban is fraught with complexities. For one thing, officials would have to figure out which Taliban members might be within the reach of a reconciliation campaign, no easy task in a lawless country with feuding groups of insurgents.”

04/12/2007, AP / RAI TG1: The footage of the driver Agha’s execution was shown on Italian TV on Tuesday. … TG1 (Italy) broadcast the footage of the execution of Agha three and half weeks ago. The three men were captured in Helmand province on March 5. … Mastrogiacomo can be seen raising his head, as if he wants to look through his blindfold to see what is happening right next to him. A Taliban fighter raises a big knife and drags Agha to the ground. At that point TG1 stops the footage. The newsreader then says that after the execution the Taliban shook each others’ hands and clapped each other on the back. — Speigel Online (Germany)

The Times continued: “And [Obama] administration officials have criticized the Pakistani government for its own reconciliation deal with local Taliban leaders in the Swat Valley, where Islamic law [sharia law] has been imposed and radical figures hold sway. Pakistani officials have sought to reassure administration officials that their deal was not a surrender to the Taliban, but rather an attempt to drive a wedge between hard-core Taliban leaders and local Islamists.”

In a shocking display of hardline violence, Taliban militants in northwest Pakistan publicly slit the throats of two Afghans today after they were accused of spying for US forces suspected of launching a missile strike in May. — UK’s Daily Mail, June 27, 2008

In a separate New York Times report Sunday, this one exclusively written by Helen Cooper, reading all the way to the end you find some with a grasp on reality:

Last week, an editorial in the moderate daily newspaper Dawn strongly criticized the deal [Pakistan negotiating a truce with the Taliban in Swat], linking an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore to the need for the nation’s two quarreling political parties to unite in a crackdown on militants, rather than negotiate with them. In effect, it said, the divided Pakistani government was being conquered, not the Taliban. “If the state resorts to negotiating with militants from a position of weakness, what we will get is disaster, across the board,” the editorial said. “The politicians need to wake up, bury the hatchet in the national good and rout the real enemy.”

Daniel Markey, a former South Asia expert at the State Department under President Bush, said that lessons learned in Iraq — where the Bush administration enlisted Sunni militias as allies by negotiating with tribal leaders — don’t necessarily apply in Afghanistan. “The tribal structure in Afghanistan is different than in Iraq,” he said. “There’s no clear hierarchy. If you make a deal with one guy, you have a deal with one guy, and not his whole clan.”

Mr. Markey, now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the approach had to be carefully calibrated. “You fight, you talk, you fight, you talk,” he said. “If by talking, you can divide your enemies, talk. But if by talking, you’re just giving your enemies breathing space, then don’t talk.”

Worth repeating is Dawn’s editorial that ended this way:

“The politicians need to wake up, bury the hatchet in the national good and rout the real enemy.”

The real enemy in both Afghanistan and Pakistan is the Taliban; without them, al Qaeda and all the other terrorist organizations there would have one less place to hide.

And if Afghanistan was the right war last year as Presidential candidate Barack Obama repeatedly asserted, then it is the right war this year for President Obama and America to fight for however long it takes to achieve victory.

Note to President Obama: 17 Uighurs at Gitmo legally inadmissible into U.S.

President Barack Obama has often said that America should comply with the “rule of law.” While it would be a violation of federal law to allow the 17 Uighurs at Guantanamo released into the United States, that is what lawyers and advocates are asking him to do in the wake of yesterday’s court decision, according to the Los Angeles Times:

The U.S. government may continue holding a group of 17 Chinese Muslims instead of releasing them in the United States, even though they are no longer considered dangerous, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday in reversing an earlier decision. … The men are Uighurs, an ethnic group native to China’s vast western steppes that has occasionally sought autonomy from Beijing. They were detained near Afghanistan’s Tora Bora mountains shortly after the American invasion and later handed over to U.S. military officials.

Uighur advocates said Wednesday that because the court ruled that the White House could not be forced to release the 17 men, the Obama administration should now move on its own to release them [emphasis added mine]. The ruling “in no way limits the ability of the executive branch to release the Uighurs on its own,” said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior policy counsel for the Constitution Project, a legal advocacy group. “We therefore call on President Obama to choose the right course.”

Section 103 of the Real ID Act of 2005 states that “any alien” who “has engaged in a terrorist activity” or “is a member of a terrorist organization” may not be admitted into the United States.

Two weeks ago, the Long War Journal reported:

During the reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan prior to the US invasion in 2001, the 055 Brigade served as “the shock troops of the Taliban and functioned as an integral part of the latter’s military apparatus,” al Qaeda expert Rohan Gunaratna wrote in Inside al Qaeda. At its peak in 2001, the 055 Brigade had an estimated 2,000 soldiers and officers in the ranks. The brigade was comprised of Arabs, Central Asians, and South Asians, as well as Chechens, Bosnians, and Uighurs from Western China.

Last August the LWJ also reported the results of its review of the 22 Uighurs originally held at Guantanamo:

All of the Uighurs at Gitmo have been associated with, or been members of, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (“ETIM”). … 20 of the 22 Uighurs detained at Gitmo were allegedly trained in an ETIM training camp and/or other facilities. At least 15 of the Uighurs detained at Gitmo have admitted that they received weapons training. The main training camp at which the Uighurs trained was reportedly sponsored by al Qaeda and the Taliban. … Some of the Uighur detainees are alleged to have fought in Afghanistan. … At least several of the Uighur detainees have ties to the ETIM’s senior leadership, which is, in turn, tied to the senior leadership of al Qaeda. … The ETIM, and Abdul Haq, remain a threat.

In 2002, our State Department designated the East Turkestan Islamic Movement a terrorist organization. More recently, both the United Nations and Pakistan have assigned that same designation to the group.

In addition, the Los Angeles Times also reported that, “In military tribunals at Guantanamo, many of the men said they saw themselves as allies of the U.S. against China. Several said they had traveled to Afghanistan for training to fight the Chinese.”

Regardless of whether President Obama agrees with the Uighurs and their lawyers, our federal law says those 17 detainees cannot be legally admitted into the United States.