I believe it’s widely known, though also widely forgotten, that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton orchestrated “peace talks” with the Taliban. Clinton discussed her role in some detail in her book, Hard Choices.
Robert Potts at the American Thinker provided a good summary of Clinton’s involvement, as described by her, in this article. Clinton’s goals were to “shatter the alliance between the Taliban and al Qaeda, end the insurgency, and help produce a more stable Afghanistan and a more stable region.”
The talks were a total failure. They served only to undermine Afghan confidence in the U.S. Clinton seems to believed that the Taliban might end its insurgency and help produce a more stable Afghanistan, but the Afghans never did.
The Taliban’s goal was, of course, to obtain concessions while carrying out its insurgency. It gained some. According to Clinton, “as a first step, we agreed to begin working with the United Nations to remove a few key Taliban members from the terrorist sanctions list, which imposed a travel ban.” The Taliban also wanted to be allowed to open a political office in Qatar. The U.S. permitted this shortly after Clinton left office.
Throughout the period during which the “peace talks” occurred — November 2010 through at least mid-2013 — the Taliban engaged in the worst sorts of terrorism. Potts describes some of it in his American Thinker article.
In 2012 alone, 341 American military members were killed, along with 92 coalition forces members. American wounded numbered 2,877. More than 2,700 Afghan civilians were killed, with 80 percent of these deaths attributed to the Taliban and other anti- government elements.
According to Clinton, “At the end of 2012 the door to reconciliation remained open, but only part way.” Why only “part way”? Was it because the Taliban’s murderous conduct had soured Clinton on the prospects for reconciliation? No. It was because Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai, having had enough, “effectively pulled the plug” on peace talks in late 2011. Clinton says she “wanted him to reconsider.”
As for Clinton’s goal of “shattering the alliance between the Taliban and al Qaeda,” we know this didn’t happen either. The Guardian, among other sources, has reported that documents found in the house where Osama bin Laden was killed “show a close working relationship between top al-Qaida leaders and Mullah Omar, the commander of the Taliban.” The two groups “frequently discussed joint operations against coalition forces in Afghanistan, the Afghan government, and targets in Pakistan.”
Indeed, Steve Hayes said tonight on Fox News’ Special Report that, according to the documents, the Taliban man with whom Clinton was discussing “reconciliation” and the shattering of the Taliban-al Qaeda alliance was one of the leaders with whom bin Laden’s team was working.
Do Muslim terrorist leaders have a sense of humor? If they do, bin Laden’s folks and Hillary’s Taliban negotiating partners must have shared some good laughs.
Hillary Clinton’s record at the State Department is a target rich environment for Donald Trump. Libya seems like the prime target. The Russian reset also comes to mind. And there is the “Clinton Cash” scandal, which fits Trump’s “crooked Hillary” narrative perfectly.
But there may also be room for the Afghan “peace talks.” To me, it’s scandalous that Clinton viewed the Taliban as a potential peace partner in Afghanistan. And if Clinton’s personal negotiating partner was working with bin Laden while negotiations were underway, the scandal may be one the public, aided by Trump, can dig its teeth into.