Might this explain the dithering? (UPDATED)

Is Obama really looking to surrender provinces to the Taliban in exchange for a cessation of attacks on our troops?

Steve Schippert has details:

It comes to our attention that the MEMRI Blog highlights an article from the Saudi _al-Watan_ in Arabic that – according to an Afghan source – the United States is talking to the Taliban seeking to trade control of 5 provinces in exchange for the cessation of attacks on US bases. MEMRI summarizes:

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.

Kunar province borders the Khyber Pass region where the majority of US and NATO supplies pass enroute from Pakistan. And the4 remaining four provinces constitute fully the southern 25% of Afghanistan’s territory.

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?

One would hope not.

Indeed… but it wouldn’t be out of character for this Administration. If true, we’re watching yet another deep bow to a foreign power… this time, a bow to enemies sworn to kill us all.

Your hope and change.


UPDATE: Steve has an addendum to his original post:

Early Tuesday morning, US Embassy spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden denied the veracity of the Sunday Saudi report.

“There is no truth to reports that the U.S. Embassy is engaging in secret talks with elements of the Taliban. Our position on the inclusion of Taliban and other fighters into Afghan society remains unchanged: we support the efforts of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghan to reintegrate fighters and other disaffected individuals into society, under the Afghan constitution. This process must be Afghan-led.”

We take the US embassy in Kabul at its word. The Tuesday morning denial is the first we have seen in response to the anonymously Afghan-sourced al-Watan report.

Do read the whole thing.

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