The British magazine, The New Statesman, reports in its latest issue that a senior Taliban leader expressed a desire for peace in Afghanistan. The unnamed Taliban leader told Michael Semple, of Taliban disgust with al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. “Our people consider al-Qaeda to be a plague. Some even concluded that al-Qaeda are actually spies of America. I was relieved at the death of Osama(bin Laden).”
He made clear that senior Taliban leaders recognize the futility of capturing Afghanistan and understand they can not reconquer Kabul. He also admitted many are aware past policies of hostility toward women, enforcing petty rules about music or beards or how men pray was not very popular.
Does this man represent Taliban leadership? Is he speaking, not merely his ideas, but those of other leaders? No one knows. But, it makes clear the number one diplomatic goal should be opening lines of communication with Taliban leaders.
So, what’s to lose?