Will Collier forwarded this story, asking “Is the Afghan War over?” Maybe:
One of the Taliban’s most senior and charismatic commanders has become a key negotiator as more and more members of the Islamic militia in Afghanistan give up the fight against the Americans.
The commander, Abdul Salam, earned the nickname Mullah Rockety because he was so accurate with rocket propelled grenades against Russian troops.
He later joined the Taliban as a corps commander in Jalalabad before being captured by the Americans after September 11.
Now he is a supporter of President Hamid Karzai and is tempting diehard Taliban fighters to accept an amnesty offer and reconcile themselves to Afghanistan’s first directly elected leader.
“The Taliban has lost its morale,” he said, speaking by satellite phone from the heartlands of Zabul province, a Taliban redoubt.
“But you have to go and find the Taliban and call to them and ask them directly. If they believe they will be secure and safe they will come down from the mountains.”
After the Taliban’s three-year struggle against a superior US force, there is growing optimism among the Americans and Afghan government that the end is close.
Afghanistan isn’t going to become Vermont (or even New Jersey) any time soon, but there’s no way to paint this story as anything but good news.
Not that some won’t try.