Only Political Settlement with Taliban Can Bring Real Stability: Rashid

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of US military forces in Afghanistan, asserted during a recent US Senate hearing that American troops had made sufficient progress against Islamic militants to proceed with a plan to hand over responsibility for security to the Afghan government by 2014. A leading expert on Afghan affairs warns, however, that officials in Kabul are woefully unprepared, and unless there are drastic changes made in US policy soon, stabilization efforts in Afghanistan will end badly, if the transfer of authority proceeds as planned. Genuine stability will come to Afghanistan in the post-2014 era only if the Afghan government, with the full backing of United States and its NATO allies, can reach a political settlement with Islamic militants, argued journalist and political analyst Ahmed Rashid, a leading international expert on the Taliban movement. 'The only way to transition is to end the war … and that means talking to the Taliban,' Rashid said during a presentation March 11 at the Open Society Foundations (OSF) in New York." Originally published by EurasiaNet.org.