ThreatsWatch has a scary bit of intel that needs to be confirmed or blown out of the water.
It comes to our attention that the MEMRI Blog highlights an article from the Saudi _al-Watan_ in Arabic that - according to an Afghan source - the United States is talking to the Taliban seeking to trade control of 5 provinces in exchange for the cessation of attacks on US bases. MEMRI summarizes:
An Afghan source in Kabul reports that U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry is holding secret talks with Taliban elements headed by the movement's foreign minister, Ahmad Mutawakil, at a secret location in Kabul. According to the source, the U.S. has offered the Taliban control of the Kandahar, Helmand, Oruzgan, Kunar and Nuristan provinces in return for a halt to the Taliban missile attacks on U.S. bases.
Kunar province borders the Khyber Pass region where the majority of US and NATO supplies pass enroute from Pakistan. And the4 remaining four provinces constitute fully the southern 25% of Afghanistan's territory.
Like I said this is a sole source so far, but sadly it fits in with Eikenberry's strategically leaked messages stabbing Gen. McChrystal in the back by calling for no reinforcements. It also offers President Obama the opportunity to start the exfil from the country and avoid having to attempt to win.
Just a question that pops into my meager little brain, what do we think the Taliban will do if we surrender the 5 provinces to them? Renounce their avowed goal of an Islamic State leading to a larger Caliphate? Settle down and become kindly goat herders studying the Koran in pursuit of peace?
Take this as another sign of the weak horse status of the declining United States? A sign to Pakistan that there is no point to their continuing operations against their own Taliban? A good time for the Talibs to declare Greater Pashtunistan on both sides of the border?
This surrender would undoubtedly work out just as well as the dozen or so that the Pakistanis have signed with the same folks. Oh wait the Talibs violated every single one of these agreements and simply used them as an opportunity to recruit and rebuild leading to their resurgence on both sides of the border they don't recognize.
This would be a mistake so blatant and obvious that I cannot conceive of it.