Ultimately, there has to be a negotiated end to the war. The issue is how to go about it. Do you talk to the enemy from a position of weakness, as Pakistan did during the Musharraf era and learned to its sorrow that this approach only served to strengthen the rebels? Or do you talk from a position of strength? To think that Hamid Karzai could help in this regard is to be naive.My emphasis on the final two paragraphs. I hoe this is not the route we're headed towards.
Going by what Richard Holbrooke said on Monday, Washington has been in touch with Islamabad on the new AfPak policy yet to be unveiled. Pakistan has vital stakes in the outcome of the war.
All one hopes is that a phoney peace will not be achieved for the sake of a hurried withdrawal to placate an increasingly sceptical public in the West.
The Obama administration and those involved in back-channel probes must realise how dangerous it would be to quit Afghanistan in a manner that leaves the Taliban in a dominant position.
Also Bill Roggio on the Pak Army's hedging it's bets Pakistan hedges on Taliban as West seeks talks: Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2009/11/pakistan_hedges_on_taliban_as.php#ixzz0XyKfM08U
A perception of this wavering has also influenced the Pakistani military. An armed forces spokesperson claimed recently that the army had reached the headquarters of the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan after a month-long campaign, and taken control of all key positions. The next step, under pressure from the US, was to have been to move into neighboring North Waziristan, the purported headquarters of al-Qaeda and the largest Taliban-led group, the Haqqani network.
However, the military, given the signals coming out of Britain, Italy, France and Canada, and the dithering of US President Barack Obama over sending more troops to Afghanistan, is not prepared at this point to extend its operations.