In a change of strategy, the US forces in Afganistan will now try to co-opt “non-criminal” elements of the Taliban.
“Those who are criminals must be held accountable, but for the rank and file, the noncriminals, there will be opportunities for reconciliation and reintegration,” Barno said. His remarks suggested that U.S. officials now agree with Afghan President Hamid Karzai that the revived Taliban movement needs to be courted politically.
This is obviously the wrong thing to do, because the Taliban were not criminals, but ideology-driven extremists. Bringing them back in from the cold will not help moderate forces in Afghanistan.
This is in sharp contrast to Iraq – where the Iraqi national army was disbanded in a hurry. Some of the “non criminal” rank and file was driven into the ranks of the resistance fighters, also leaving US led coalition forces with the tremendous responsibility of keeping Iraq in order. The Iraqi army was hardly motivated by ideology, bread and butter were what they signed up for.