Small Wars Journal

Reconciliation with the Taliban: Fracturing the Insurgency

Reconciliation with the Taliban: Fracturing the Insurgency by Jeffrey Dressler, Institute for the Study of War.

The Obama administration has pursued peace talks with the Taliban’s leadership in Pakistan with the hopes of engineering a grand peace bargain with the Taliban. Making a deal with the Taliban senior leadership will compromise America’s national security interests in the region by fueling ethnic tensions in Afghanistan and possibly providing a continued platform for international extremists to operate within the region and beyond. Thus far, there has been little to no progress and the effort has halted since the Taliban walked away from preliminary discussions in March. However, high-level outreach between the U.S. and Afghan governments and the senior Taliban leaders hiding in Pakistan has caused the various factions in the movement to turn against each other—some believing that peace talks are a step in the right direction and others vowing to fight to the death. Capitalizing on this infighting, rather than quixotically pursuing a negotiated settlement, may be the best way for the international community and the Afghan government to accelerate the demise of the movement.