But Warnings Sound Of Rise Of A Cross Pakistan-Afghanistan Taliban State
In a remarkable interview on Australian TV, Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai said it is likely that peace talks already begun with the Taliban will be successful, as tried to dispel some of the NeoCon-led media mythology that position the Taliban as yet more 'New Nazis' and a key enemy of 'The West'.
Karzai carefully explained that the Taliban are not primarily Al Qaeda, and that the terrorists within the ranks of the Taliban are actually in the minority. He noted that many of the Taliban terrorists are mostly funded and controlled by foreign Al Qaeda agents, and denied that the opium and poppy trade was a chief source of their financing.
Karzai said some Taliban are students, some are radicals, some extremists, and a few were terrorists, but he stated his desire for the war's focus to remain solely on the terrorists, and for the NATO forces to work towards reconciliation with the less extreme ranks of the Taliban.
Karzai also confirmed that President Bush's decision to shift the 'War on Terror' away from Afghanistan to Iraq, beginning in the early 20002, meant that his people had "suffered' from the law of "unintended consequences." This comment is very typical of the extremely polite and diplomatic Hamid Karzai. He means that after US and Australian special forces smashed the Taliban leadership, the country was all but abandoned in the race for the War On Iraq.
He said that international forces, led by the US, had the chance to destroy "terrorist nests" after the Taliban lost control of key Afghani cities, but when President Bush shifted his nation's military focus to Iraq, Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists were given breathing space to re-supply, recruit and retrain.
President Karzai also said that Afghanistan and Pakistan are close allies, despite the claims of friction between the countries in the Western media, and said that the war in the borderlands of Waziristan, was slowly being won.
President Karzai urged peaceful reconciliation with the Taliban, and noted that peace talks have been underway for many months, and that progress was being made.
You can view the interview with President Karzai here.
Al Qaeda authority, Jason Burke, writing in the UK Observer, portrays a far more dangerous and deadly rise of the 'New Taliban', stretching across Afghanistan, through the border 'badlands' of Waziristan and into the heart of Pakistan.
Not a 'new Taliban' group as such, but a state :
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For some, the ongoing violence in south-west Asia is simple to explain: the Taliban, reconstituted after the defeat of 2001, and with the help of al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden and his key lieutenants such as Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Yahya al-Libi, are battling their way back to power in Afghanistan and, perhaps worse, fast making progress towards seizing power in nuclear-capable Pakistan.
But the reality is far more complicated. It is hard to make sense of one of the most confusing conflicts of modern times, a war with no defined fronts, waged with tactics that range from those of the dynamite-throwing anarchists of the late 19th century to those of the Western Front trench stalemate in 1916, and sometimes to state-of-the-art 'fourth generation' 21st-century warfare.
Across an area that stretches through Pakistani cities such as Peshawar, Islamabad and Karachi, through Kabul and Kandahar, to remote villages and Nato bases in southern Afghanistan, it is possible to unpick the intricate detail of the battle for the strategic centre of the War on Terror. What emerges is a picture not of a single movement or insurgency called 'the Taliban', but of a new state without formal borders or even a name, a state that is currently nothing more than a chaotic confederation of warlords' fiefdoms spanning one of the most critical parts of the world and with the potential to escalate into a very real presence - with devastating consequences for global security.
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