US offering terms of capitulation to the Taliban? 1

While we all thought Obama was just waiting around for fate to lift any requirement for a decision on the war in Afganistan from his shoulders, it seems that his administration has been secretly crawling to the Taliban, trying to negotiate peace terms that would leave the Taliban in power in parts of Afghanistan – and being turned down.

From Islam In Action:

“US negotiators had offered the Taliban leadership through Mullah Wakil Ahmed Mutawakkil (former Taliban foreign minister) that if they accept the presence of NATO troops in Afghanistan, they would be given the governorship of six provinces in the south and northeast,” a senior Afghan Foreign Ministry official told IslamOnline.net requesting anonymity for not being authorized to talk about the sensitive issue with the media.

He said the talks, brokered by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, continued for weeks at different locations including the Afghan capital Kabul. …

A Taliban spokesman admitted indirect talks with the US. …

Afghan and Taliban sources said Mutawakkil and Mullah Mohammad Zaeef, a former envoy to Pakistan who had taken part in previous talks, represented the Taliban side in the recent talks.

The US Embassy in Kabul denied any such talks.

“No, we are not holding any talks with Taliban,” embassy spokeswoman Cathaline Haydan told IOL from Kabul.

Asked whether the US has offered any power-sharing formula to Taliban, she said she was not aware of any such offer.

“I don’t know about any specific talks and the case you are reporting is not true.”

Sources say that for the first time the American negotiators did not insist on the “minus-Mullah Omer” formula, which had been the main hurdle in previous talks between the two sides.

The Americans reportedly offered Taliban a form of power-sharing in return for accepting the presence of foreign troops.

“America wants 8 army and air force bases in different parts of Afghanistan in order to tackle the possible regrouping of Al-Qaeda network,” the senior [Afghan] official said.

He named the possible hosts of the bases as Mazar-e-Sharif and Badakshan in north, Kandahar in south [? – see below], Kabul, Herat in west, Jalalabad in northeast and Ghazni and Faryab in central Afghanistan.

In exchange, the US offered Taliban the governorship of the southern provinces of Kandahar [? -see above] , Zabul, Hilmand and Orazgan as well as the northeastern provinces of Nooristan and Kunar.

These provinces are the epicenter of resistance against the US-led foreign forces and are considered the strongholds of Taliban.

Orazgan and Hilmand are the home provinces of Taliban Supreme Commander Mullah Omer and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

“But Taliban did not agree on that,” said the senior official.

“Their demand was that America must give a deadline for its pull out if it wants negotiations to go on.”