Afghan President Discusses Taliban With UK’s PM

President Hamid Karzai is in London in order to review with Prime Minister Gordon Brown the progress being made in secret talks with members of the Taliban. Saudi Arabia King Abdullah has sponsored the discussions in an effort to end chaos which now reigns in Afghanistan. There are also reports Pakistan Prime Minister Zardari has played a role in trying to bring together the Taliban and more secular groups in Afghanistan. Karzai has held talks with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former mujahedin leader who once was supported by American intelligence when he was fighting against the Russians. After his fall out with Americans, Hekmatyar went to Iran where he has been directing attacks on US and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Another effort to achieve peace is being made by Pakistani tribal elders who recently held a two day assembly in order to organize a group to meet with Taliban leaders. There is almost something comic about these meetings and changes. Seven years ago, Donald Rumsfeld announced to the world, the US had defeated the Taliban and they never would return. Today, the same people who were defeated are back in the saddle.

The unanswered question remains– will a compromise with the Taliban restore their fundamentalist anti-Western ideas to Afghanistan?