Mullah Omar protecting bin Laden in Helmand?

Kandahar is looking down the barrel of a combined forces counter-insurgency move. Like Fallujah.

Newspaper stories from London speculate about Taliban’s Mullah Omar and his comrades in Quetta, Pakistan being interested in talking peace, viz.

Taliban’s supreme leader signals willingness to talk peace
Stephen Grey in Kandahar
The Sunday Times, April 18, 2010

The supreme leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, has indicated that he and his followers may be willing to hold peace talks with western politicians.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, two of the movement’s senior Islamic scholars have relayed a message from the Quetta shura, the Taliban’s ruling council, that Mullah Omar no longer aims to rule Afghanistan. They said he was prepared to engage in “sincere and honest” talks…

What does it mean?

  1. The reports are true, and the Taliban are ready to become normal political participants.
  2. The reports are false, and the Taliban are using the jaw jaw method to stall for time.
  3. Maybe there is another interpretation.

Perhaps the Taliban are worried about purple fingertips. The intractable Fallujah/Anbar situation resolved into normal political participation. A 2008 review from Fox News:

Last One Turn Out the Lights: Marines Quietly Begin Leaving Bases in Iraqi Cities
Jennifer Griffin
Fox News, Friday, October 17, 2008

But perhaps the biggest sign that the situation has changed for the better for Sunnis living in Anbar: With the help of the Marines and the Iraqi police, nearly 100 percent of the eligible voting population were registered a month ago to vote in upcoming provincial elections.

“They seem to add another political party every day,” Kelly said. “We didn’t have a single security violation of any kind. They’re at least going to give the electoral process a shot … at least going to give democracy a chance.”

The Sunnis, who fueled a large part of Iraq’s insurgency, boycotted the last election for Parliament with only 3 percent of Sunnis participating. Now they feel they have a stake in the government.

In any case, the Taliban talking with powers that be has a protecting effect on Osama bin Laden if he really is in the south of Afghanistan, somewhere between Zahedan, Iran and Quetta, Pakistan, between Kandahar, Afghanistan and Zabol, Iran.

My opinion is (b), since the president has shown ineptitude with Iran’s time-buying nuclear tactics: Jaw jaw with an Oval Office fool until you can nuke Israel, then who cares? Similarly, because the US recently displayed hostility to Hamid Karzai, the Taliban can jaw jaw with the Oval Office fool until they can get a long knife into Karzai’s neck.


Map showing south Afghanistan, including Lashkar Gah and Kandahar, plus outlying cities Zabol and Zahedan, Iran and Quetta, Pakistan.

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