Taliban could be split from Al-Qaeda: study

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, February 7, 2011 13:10 EDT
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NEW YORK — The United States risks making an Afghan peace settlement ever harder by wrongly lumping together the Taliban and Al-Qaeda as a single force, US academics said in a study published Monday.

The study, by two scholars from New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, challenges US policy that treats the Taliban guerrilla force and Al-Qaeda’s international jihadist movement, arguing that instead they are fundamentally different — and can be split.

“The Taliban and Al-Qaeda remain distinct groups with different goals, ideologies, and sources of recruits; there was considerable friction between them before September 11, 2001, and today that friction persists,” the report by Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn says.

According to the paper, “Separating the Taliban from Al-Qaeda: The Core of Success in Afghanistan,” Washington and the US military should work to widen that divide so that the key US goal — preventing Afghanistan from being an Al-Qaeda haven — can be achieved.

“There is room to engage the Taliban on the issues of renouncing Al-Qaeda and providing guarantees against the use of Afghanistan by international terrorists in a way that will achieve core US goals, the study said.

But the report’s authors argue that intensified attacks against the Taliban could backfire by harder to include them in a political settlement.

“Elements of current US policy in Afghanistan, especially night raids and attempts to fragment the Taliban, are changing the insurgency, inadvertently creating opportunities for Al-Qaeda to achieve its objectives and preventing the achievement of core goals of the United States and the international community,” the study says.

“Fighting and negotiating are not mutually exclusive; these can and will happen in parallel. But the way the conflict is conducted is important. If a political settlement is indeed being sought, there is little sense in trying to destroy the organizations one wants to talk to.”

NATO says it plans this year to begin handing Afghan forces the security lead in the battle against Taliban rebels, province by province, with the aim of giving them full responsibility across the nation by 2014.

The alliance hopes to build up Afghan security forces to 306,000 soldiers and police by the end of the year to begin taking over from around 140,000 foreign troops fighting across the nation.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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  • Anonymous

    Al CIAda is a farce. Keep pushing the lies.

  • http://twitter.com/huibree huib riethof

    A very first intelligent view on Afghan Taliban vs Al-Qaeda. A Reader!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCRNBMCPGAOEFGLTXYZVLQ2QPA Razi Masoud

    Al-Qaeda was the name of a software used in the 80′s when the U.S. was helping the Afghan Northern Alliance in fighting the Soviets. Al-Qaeda doesn’t even exist, let alone linked to Taliban.
    The taliban are misguided sheep, that’s all. Re-education is needed here.

  • cannotvote

    The base tenant that alqaeda blew the twin towers is false – alqaeda is an invention of the cia we know that – let alone the blowing of blding 7. Therefore all talk about alqaeda is crap!

  • Steve

    Now this could be described as forward thinking, but is as controversial as, for a British example, the Westminster Government talking to the IRA – before the good Friday agreement was finally revealed. But that was a more local issue and didn’t affect security worldwide quite like the Afghanistan/Taliban/Al Quada* problem is.

    IF this strategy succeeds, and I sincerely hope it does, then it’ll take some wind out of the sail of the fighters and separate the real source of terrorism form the rebellious and fickle who are brainwashed into believing in jihad… we need to separate the islamofascists (very dangerous) from the rest of the flock.

    *there are of course as many ways to spell this name as there are splinter groups, and if the majority can be brought onside with the explanation that inclusiveness is better than being out in the cold, it will also have an affect on the rest of the world in a positive way.

  • Taleisin

    I remember when every Muslim who hated America was Al Quaeda. It made them easier to shoot. Now I’m confused. ;)