Sunday, April 25, 2004

Touchy Feely, Or Tactical Feint? 

And I thought de-de-Baathification was crazy: Karzai Invites Taliban to Join in Afghan Poll

Nonetheless, this one might be a different creature than what's happening in Iraq. Notice what Karzai actually says:
"They are Afghanistan's people," Karzai said, referring to the Taliban. "They can go for registering their votes and take part in the elections and do what they want to do," he told a news conference while on a visit to Kandahar.
Karzai doesn't refer to the Taliban as the political organization: instead he talks about them in the sense of individual Afghans, nor does he suggest that they may be contributing anything useful to the Afghan political process. As a Pashtun leader, Karzai may be trying to provoke a negative response from the Taliban (which they gladly provided), thereby strengthening the position of moderate Pashtuns in Taliban-leaning regions. But if this is the game Karzai is playing, it might backfire on other ethnic groups in Afghanistan, who may see this as Pashtun helping Pashtun in the worst way.

These are just my thoughts on this story. I'm no expert on Afghan politics, but my attention was caught by the headline: when I actually read the article, however, the story seemed not quite what it was hyped up to be. Or maybe Karzai is serious, which would not be a good thing, but right now I really don't know.
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