Posted by: Lister | December 27, 2007

Talking with the Taliban

To convince them to be democratic, maybe? Does democracy need an armed militia?

An intelligence source said: “The SIS officers were understood to have sought peace directly with the Taliban with them coming across as some sort of armed militia. The British would also provide ‘mentoring’ for the Taliban.”

[…] The Government was apparently prepared to admit that the talks had taken place but Gordon Brown was thought to have “bottled out” just before Prime Minister’s Questions on Dec 12, when he made his denial instead.

The Tories have asked Brown to explain. However:

the father of a soldier killed in Afghanistan last August said Britain should be talking to “reasonable” elements of the Taliban.

Alun Hicks, whose son David, a 26-year-old captain with 1st Bn The Royal Anglian Regiment, died in a Taliban attack, said yesterday: “The Taliban is made up of an organisation, just like the IRA is and was, ranging from people with a particular view and opinion to out-and-out maniacs.”

[…] Col Bob Stewart, the former British UN commander in Bosnia, said last night: “It doesn’t surprise me, we talked to the Provisional IRA throughout the troubles. It’s a fact of life.”

Brig Alan Mallinson, a former cavalry officer and military historian, said: “The job of MI6 is to gather intelligence and the best way to do this is to talk directly to the enemy.”

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