Date: 28/01/2022
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Holbrooke on Afghanistan

Our diplomats keep tripping over their own tongues. Nobody will discuss Islam, so nobody has a clue what we're working toward in Afghanistan. See this interview with U. S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke on Afghanistan in Der Spiegel (h/t: Jeffrey Imm):

SPIEGEL: Are there any right ways to move forward in this war? Many experts are already putting it into the category of "unwinnable" wars.

Holbrooke: We have to define what our goals are. We're not seeking to destroy every person who supports the Taliban, that's not a credible goal. Our goal is to destroy al-Qaida, a terrorist organization with global reach which attacked the United States, which conducted attacks in London, Madrid and Bali, and Mumbai and Islamabad, which supports attacks in Afghanistan through other groups.

An NBC report tonight put the support for the Taliban at a low 5%, which seems to be wishful thinking.

SPIEGEL: So you want to distinguish between extremist Taliban and those who are merely hangers-on?

Right. Now there's a "good" Taliban and a "bad" Taliban. Must be the "bad" Taliban that has almost no support among the population.

Holbrooke: Secretary of State Clinton laid out in July very clearly that the majority of the Taliban do not support Mullah Omar's extreme views and that there is room for them to rejoin the social and political fabric of Afghanistan if they renounce al-Qaida and reintegrate peacefully into Afghanistan. And that is a major part of our policies.

If that's the case, why not just withdraw now and let the good Taliban take over the entire country, instead of the mere 80% they hold now?

SPIEGEL: But there is still the question of the additional troops. National Security Adviser General James L. Jones has told SPIEGEL that even 200,000 troops would get "swallowed up" in that country. He drew the conclusion that there cannot be an exclusively military solution to the problem.

Holbrooke: I agree with General Jones. I just said the same thing. The whole goal here is to create enough time and space for the Afghans to take over their own security responsibility. That is the core of the strategy.

That's the strategy? Ambassador Holbrooke needs to explain why it is in our vital national interest to do so. Is there any difference between what the Taliban believe (both the good and bad varieties) and what al Qaeda believes, or what Hamas believes or any other ever-metamorphosing Islamic terror group, including those like Hizb ut Tahrir holding conferences in the US, believe, or what Islam4UK in Britain believes, or indeed what is being taught in 70% of the mosques in America?  If the idea is to stop future terror attacks on American soil, priority should be placed on the powder keg we're sitting on, not some hypothetical possibility in far off Afghanistan.

SPIEGEL: The West was so proud about all those girls' schools that sprang up with international help. Can you guarantee that those girls' schools will still be there in 10 years?

Holbrooke: Can I guarantee it? I can't, but I hope they will be.

Not waving, but drowning.