The endgame: ‘Taliban can be part of Afghanistan’s future’

Published: January 31, 2013

A file photo of US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson. PHOTO: AFP


The United States is ready to open the door for talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, said US Ambassador to Islamabad Richard Olson in a policy speech delivered at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad on Wednesday.

The Afghan Taliban could be part of Afghanistan’s future if they met conditions to ensure long-term peace and stability in the war-torn country, he went on to say.

The remarks by Ambassador Olson reiterated recent American emphasis on pursuing reconciliation in Afghanistan instead of its usual method of using military might.

In this context, Olson said their new office in Qatar could be used for negotiations between the Afghan High Peace Council and representatives of the Taliban.

“The end result of any process must be that the Taliban end violence, break ties with al Qaeda and accept Afghanistan’s Constitution. If this happens, we believe the Taliban can be a part of Afghanistan’s future,” he remarked.

Ambassador Olson also called for the US and Pakistan to work together to facilitate a negotiated peace in Afghanistan, noting, “For the sake of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the region, Pakistan’s full support to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process is needed now.”

Olson acknowledged mistakes were committed by the US in 1989 when it abandoned the region and he insisted that his country would not repeat them when foreign forces pull out of Afghanistan at the end of 2014.

“The United States is committed to a cooperative and long-term partnership with Pakistan, broader than any one issue and centered on areas of mutual interests. The US relationship with Pakistan is not shaped solely by our commitments and responsibilities in Afghanistan,” he continued.

“[The year] 2014 is not 1989,” he asserted, “The United States recognizes the mistakes of the past, and will not disengage from the region.”

In a question-and-answer session, Ambassador Olson refrained from making comments on US drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal belt. He also avoided speaking on Pakistan’s nuclear programme. “I think such issues must not be discussed through public diplomacy,” he replied, when asked to comment on apprehensions that the US wanted to de-nuclearise Pakistan.

Ambassador Olson also used the occasion to point out US assistance to Pakistan in the fields of energy, economic development, education and health as a tangible sign of his country’s long-term investment in Pakistan’s future.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2013.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Jan 31, 2013 - 11:44AM

    We appreciate this move. but, actions-not words. We demand effective transformation of words to Actions.


  • Clear Black Bag
    Jan 31, 2013 - 1:22PM

    Now after reading such these types of US’ officials statements can any one say surely and assuredly that US’ and NATO’s troops are winning or defeating/failing in Afghanistan??????


  • ibne quresh
    Jan 31, 2013 - 1:51PM

    The americans think that being resourcefull they can delude everyone on this sphere. Why they overlook that not only in Afghanistan but everywhere the freedom-fighting is perpetual. Though the end-game in Afghanistan is nervy to all the bellingerents, i dont think the Talibans will accept the american stipulations. Let’s see the climax of the ball.


  • Rana
    Jan 31, 2013 - 3:33PM

    Should we believe monster exhausted finally or refueling?? Nevertheless, it’s too bitter digesting humiliation!!


  • Imtiaz
    Jan 31, 2013 - 4:10PM

    At-last, US accepted defeat officially..


  • Rex Minor
    Jan 31, 2013 - 8:45PM

    Will this make any difference when the Taibans are going to give farewell to the yanks convoys on khyber highway? PR is not their strong card, the Talibans do not and have never negotiated. Their terms are well pubicised.

    Rex Minor


  • cautious
    Jan 31, 2013 - 9:01PM

    “The end result of any process must be that the Taliban end violence, break ties with al Qaeda and accept Afghanistan’s Constitution. If this happens, we believe the Taliban can be a part of Afghanistan’s future,”
    Sounds reasonable to me — not words of capitulation or other anti American blather one reads on Pakistani forums.


  • Dr.A. K.Tewari
    Jan 31, 2013 - 9:14PM

    As india accepted her defeat at Kargil . Any way grow again to get prunned if the growth folliwed the past path .


  • Maria
    Feb 2, 2013 - 10:54AM

    So… Hang on a sec. After more than twenty years of fighting the Afghan Taliban the Americans are now willing to agree to a government with the same Taliban?!
    N how blooming convenient to declare everything a damned mistake and expect everyone to forgive, forget n start anew..!!!


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