“What’s up with Hamid Karzai?” said Fred Kaplan in Slate. The Afghan president said he would welcome peace talks with Mullah Mohammed Omar, the brutal Taliban leader with a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head who harbored al Qaida and Osama bin Laden. U.S. commanders are open to "reaching out to ‘reconcilable’ Taliban fighters,” but “holding peace talks with Mullah Omar, or any other hard-core Taliban, is senseless” and dangerous.
Karzai’s offer is probably “a mere PR gimmick” designed to shore up domestic support before next year’s elections, said the Pakistan Observer in an editorial. But he’s right that there can be no peace in Afghanistan until the Taliban fighters—who “are part and parcel of the Afghan nation”—are brought “back to the national mainstream.”
Any talks with the Taliban would be a “terrible idea,” said Ann Marlowe in The Wall Street Journal, sending the wrong message to both the fundamentalist “criminals” in the Taliban and the newly hopeful Afghans in the parts of the country where we’re winning. Karzai must be desperate to cover up the inadequacies of his “often incompetent government.”
Dealing with Karzai will be one of the big challenges facing President Obama, said Daniel Markey in the International Herald Tribune. He will have to decide, quickly, if Karzai is “minimally capable” or “an insuperable obstacle” to progress. Obama will either have to back Karzai for reelection or use America's "unmatched" influence in Kabul to “ease him out of the presidential race.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- Why your employer should clean your house and do your laundry
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- What you need to know before you support the police in Ferguson
- Why China thinks it could defeat the U.S. in battle
- The big policy question libertarians can't answer
- Welcome to the age of ambivalent feminism
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How the West produces jihadi tourists
Subscribe to the Week