An Afghan source in Kabul reports that U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry is holding secret talks with Taliban elements headed by the movement’s foreign minister, Ahmad Mutawakil, at a secret location in Kabul. According to the source, the U.S. has offered the Taliban control of the Kandahar, Helmand, Oruzgan, Kunar and Nuristan provinces in return for a halt to the Taliban missile attacks on U.S. bases.
This, if true, is a disturbing development. I have tried to come up with scenarios of why someone would lie about it in a leak. What would be to gain? Who would gain, and what would they gain? Without sleeping on it, the options for such appear narrow at best. What does seem logical is that an Afghan privy to the negotiations could have become (rightly) spooked that they might just pull it off, and leaked word in hopes that it might so anger American public opinion that the entire endeavor might be scrapped. That’s the most logical explanation for motivation I see at the moment. It would also fit in consistently with Ambassador Eikenberry’s leaked cables recently railing against a ‘surge’ in forces in Afghanistan. He wouldn’t voice such without thinking he has his hands on something else. Could this be it? The surrender of 25% of Afghan territory in exchange for some form of ceasefire?
My two cents. Having been in Afghanistan while Eikenberry was there (Lieutenant General Eikenberry-WPOS) this wouldn’t surprise me at all. This is however taken from MEMRI which is often hit and miss.