Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty quoted ASP’s David Young in an article examining the Afghan government led push to release detained Taliban members in an attempt to build good will between Taliban leadership and Kabul.
David Young, a Washington-based conflict-resolution expert and adjunct fellow at the American Security Project, says the Afghan government’s latest effort to get the Taliban leadership to the negotiating table is “doomed from the start.”
He says that even before the detainees were released, it was unknown what role the freed militants might play in bringing Taliban leaders to the negotiating table, what connections they still have to the group’s leadership, or even their stance on negotiations.
Under a “safe passage” agreement between Kabul and Islamabad, according to Young, prisoners have been released with no conditions and many have simply disappeared. A better approach, he suggests, would have been to home in on key individuals.
”In order to work, a strategy like this would require the release of officials who still hold significant weight in the Taliban’s political apparatus, but are reconcilable. Secondly, it would be far more effective if Afghan officials had taken the time to build relationships with the prisoners before they were released,” Young says.
“Their sincerity and access to the Taliban could have been tested while they were still in prison. And then perhaps arrange their release once it became clear that they would be more effective on the outside.”
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