Sir Hugh Orde, head of the Police Service of Northen Ireland, told the Manchester Guardian he believes it is necessary to negotiate with terrorist organizations in order to resolve problems. He had been actively involved in working with the terrorist IRA and learned from that experience of the necessity of working with groups whose avowed aims was to spread terror. Based on his research, Orde does not know of any example in history in which a single terror campaign ended without some sort of negotiation. “If somebody can show me any terrorism campaign when it has been policed out, I’d be hapy to read about it, because I can’t think of one.” He noted that Great Britain spent thirty years fighting the IRA and other terrorist groups in Northern Ireland before finally resolving issues around a bargaining table.
Orde was the one who had the initial discussion with IRa leader Gerry Adams and learned from that experience the importance of talking as well as policing. He believes it is time to talk with the Taliban, and is frank to say, “I don’t think that’s unthinkable, the question will be one of timing.”
Orde argues for a policy of being tough and effective in policing but always keeping open the door for negotiation if the timing is right for such an approach. As he puts it, that’s just common sense.