logo
  New Login   
image

Negotiating Reconciliation in a Shrinking Political Space


Shanthie Mariet DSouza

DECODING THE NEW TALIBAN: INSIGHTS FROM THE AFGHAN FIELD
By Antonio Giustozzi
C Hurst & Co., London, 2009, pp. 318, Rs. 795.00

EMPIRES OF MUD: WARS AND WARLORDS IN AFGHANISTAN
Edited by Antonio Giustozzi
C Hurst & Co., London, 2009, pp. 332, Rs. 795.00

VOLUME XXXIV NUMBER 8 August 2010

As the war in Afghanistan gets murkier with talk of exit by the international forces gaining momentum, the search for a political solution to the Afghan conflict is gaining credence. President Karzai initiated the Kabul Jirga in the first week of June where his proposal to open channels of communication with the Taliban was largely endorsed by the Afghans. However, amidst talks of peace dawning upon Afghanistan, the prospects of talks with the hardliners could turn out to be equally if not more frustrating as the war efforts in Afghanistan, as the Taliban view the attempts at reconciliation as not being from a ‘position of strength’. The Taliban see the tide to be in their favour, and are waiting out their time. The announcement of the date of withdrawal by President Obama in his December 1, 2009 speech at West Point has reinforced such thinking not only among the Taliban but also their regional proxies. Likewise, the Afghan Government is moving towards reconciliation at a time when it doubts the international community’s ‘staying power’ in Afghanistan. History is rife with such examples. In the ongoing debate on talking to the Taliban, London based researcher Antonio Giustozzi’s earlier book, Koran, Kalashnikov, and Laptop: The Neo-Taliban in Afghanistan throws light on the rather unknown character and strategy of the Neo-Taliban as they tried to regroup after being dislodged from the positions of authority in 2001. The Taliban insurgency has transformed from its pre-2001 monolithic character and gained strength from its loose affiliations and networks comprising anti-government forces; Neo-Taliban guerrillas; followers of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s radical group, Hizb-i-Islami; the Haqqani network;Al Qaeda and its affiliates; religious clerics, narcotic traffickers, tribal fighters; and self-interested spoilers in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border areas. In many areas, the Neo-Taliban courted disgruntled, disenfranchized, and alienated individuals and communities. Most of these groups did not share the political goals of the Taliban, but they shared a common agenda in preventing or limiting the writ of state authority. This has accounted for the geographic spread of the Taliban insurgency beyond South and East Afghanistan, their traditional happy hunting grounds, to other areas including the relatively stable North. Guistozzi’s recent work, Decoding the New Taliban, which he has edited, and Empires of Mud, which he has authored, are value additions to the existing void in understanding the nature of Taliban insurgency. Of this Decoding the New Taliban is a collection of 15 ...


Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article
«BACK

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.