Afghanistan Forecast: Younger Recruits Changing The Taliban Movement
An alarming blurb from Newsweek:
“In a series of interviews for this story with more than a dozen young insurgent leaders over the past three months, they showed themselves to be more hotheaded and less respectful of authority than their elders. War against America has steeled these young fighters in combat with an enemy that employs more accurate and lethal firepower…the experience has only made them tougher and more uncompromising, in the judgment of veteran Taliban members.”
So lets see…
Younger and more extreme recruits are already seeping into the Taliban movement. And the old-guard is quickly being incapacitated from the leadership.
Even more reason for the U.S. to find a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan before its too late. Strike a deal before the entire Afghan Taliban insurgency becomes saturated with more ideological members, because when this happens, you can forget about withdrawing American troops next summer and leaving behind some kind of moderate government.
Obviously easier said than done, but the President, General McChrystal, and Ambassador Eikenberry need to make it happen nonetheless. Endorsing Hamid Karzai’s Taliban reconciliation proposal would be a good step forward. And today is a perfect opportunity; President Obama is devoting an entire 3-hour session to the Afghan leader.
Note to the President: sign onto the plan now. If not, don’t be surprised if your surge policy fails when July comes along. And don’t be shocked if your approval ratings go down the tube as a result.
-Daniel R. DePetris