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Westerwelle backs plan to buy off Taliban

DPA/The Local · 24 Jan 2010, 11:39

Published: 24 Jan 2010 11:39 GMT+01:00

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"There are many followers of the Taliban terrorists who have gone down the wrong path due to economic reasons, not fanatical beliefs," he said in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

He said the idea was to offer these people and their families the opportunity to reject violence and reintegrate them into the larger Afghan society.

"And for that, we will get our wallets out," he said.

Westerwelle, who is also Germany's vice-chancellor, will represent the country at the international Afghanistan conference to be held in London on January 28.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai unveiled the western-funded programme on Friday as US Defence Secretary Robert Gates described the Taliban as part of Afghanistan's "political fabric."

Washington has made similar proposals to bring mid and low-level Taliban fighters back into mainstream society, but leaders of the radical group have been hostile to negotiations.

The Taliban pays its foot soldiers more than the Afghan government does its own security forces. Karzai has said the plan depends on financial backing from the international community.

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German Development Minister Dirk Niebel also expressed support for such a plan, saying he could well imagine Berlin contributing to the fund.

It was important, Niebel told the newsmagazine Focus, to "give a chance to those who are ready to swear off violence and get behind the country's constitution."

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:57 January 24, 2010 by Frenemy
"terrorists who have gone down the wrong path"?? ....."bring mid and low-level Taliban fighters back into mainstream society"??!!

Are you f#cking kidding me?? Am I alone here in believing that there is no such thing as the "right path" for a terrorist?

Furthermore, it needs to be mentioned that the idea of "mainstream society" for a European, and that notion for an Afghani are two very different things....
12:59 January 24, 2010 by West_Indian
And when the money runs out? Whats the "low-level Taliban Fighter" to do? Run to Westerwelle or back to big daddy Taliban for support? JOKE!!!! You could give a man fish to eat but its best to teach him how to fish.
13:00 January 24, 2010 by Fredfeldman
If Westerwelle wants to throw money away he should use his own.
13:49 January 24, 2010 by Frenemy
@west_indian: although I agree with you in principle, the last time we "taught them how to fish" we ended up having to deal with very skilled tactical/strategic al-qaeda operational planners...
14:26 January 24, 2010 by The-ex-pat
So this Muppet is asking devoutly religious men who are following the word of "their" god to betray their beliefs for a cash pay out. Typical Politician, a bribe can fix anything. The only thing that the Taliban understand is the receiving end of a 7.62, but even then they are the masters. If they fire and then lay down their weapons, engagement rules prevent from carrying on shooting at them.
15:02 January 24, 2010 by abemarch
Force hasn't worked and won't. The economic proposal supported by Westerwele has merit. Killing is not confined to terrorists but also to those who would kill an idea before it is given a chance to work.
15:09 January 24, 2010 by Frenemy
@the-ex-pat: ROE? yeah right ;-) ....and IMHO, I would prefer "the receiving end" of a Barrett .50 or a drone-launched AGM-65 :-)

@abermarch: I can't speak for anyone else here, but personally, I prefer the safety of tried/tested methods (read lead and rdx) rather than optimistic philosophy/liberal ideology....
15:34 January 24, 2010 by mixxim
Germany already criticises the army for not letting them take petrol tankers, whose side are the politicians supporting?
15:38 January 24, 2010 by Frenemy
@mixxim: their own "side" of course!! (politics 101)....
17:59 January 24, 2010 by HIGNFY
Guido Westerwelle has only been in the job five minutes and he's lost the plot already. Does he really think that just because he, and his FDP party can be bought (see FDP/Mövenpick Millionenspende) that loyal members and supporters of the Taliban will do the same. I think not.

It's like giving a drug-addict Heroin to stay clean.

This isn't about money it's about idealism, and their ideals are different from his. What Westerwelle and the others involved in this dilemma need to do look back in history and understand the root of the problem.

Only then they can they start on a worthwhile solution.
19:57 January 24, 2010 by Obi-Wan
This is pure naivety. If you cut a deal with the Devil, then you are bound to get your hands burnt. I can imagine these Talibans taking the money & investing it into more weapons in the end. You can never trust people with the blood of women & children on their hands.
20:44 January 24, 2010 by Major B
Geez!! Can you believe it? Trust the Taliban? Has the proud German military heritage stooped to this sell-out strategy? And then for many on this forum to criticize the Americans for standing with honor and taking on evil? Just remember what Chamberlain earned for his Munich Czech sellout in 1938!!!!
21:05 January 24, 2010 by Frenemy
lol, nice! I actually wrote my bachelors thesis about that whole debacle!

Very astute corollary, bud!!!

That said, I'm gonna have to disagree with you on one particular point: "Americans standing with honor". The stuff US troops do is indeed honorable and noble, but they don't do it for that reason. US G.I. combat efficacy is directly attributable to their infantile "brainwashability" (for lack of a better term).

Socially, it makes for a bunch of stupid idiots that I wouldn't trust to wash my car (let alone cook my burger), but militarily it makes for highly useful (but expendable, yet strategically economical) grunts....the very definition of tactical efficacy....
21:31 January 24, 2010 by Celeon
Ehmmmm ... people...

I wonder about your astonishment. What Westerwelle suggests is nothing less than what psy-ops units always did.

This is not a new way, actually this is done since the beginning of warfare.

@ MajorB

Naming the USA was not a good choice. Simply because thats excactly what the USA does and did in large scale during for instance during the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Another example is the American Revolutionary War in which the american side offered the citizenship, money and land to german mercenaries that were hired by Britain for switching sides and joining the continental army.

50 acres of land if i remember correctly.

Additionaly it is nothing new that the CIA even offered sums that reach into millions to everyone, inlcuding Al Qaeda members or people closely related to it for informations on the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden or Aiman al Sawahiri.
01:54 January 25, 2010 by lordwilliams629
frenemy their you go again, look I served 12 years in the US army, and I was not in an army that was brainwashed. I can't argue this point with people like you, theres no convincing people like you, I mean you come from the same mold of conspiracy theroist who think martians landed in roswell new mexico, your hopeless.
02:21 January 25, 2010 by wenddiver
Government =clueless in any language. Germany is apparently no exception.
08:03 January 25, 2010 by ColoSlim
Why not? They are already being paid by security contractors to let trucks full of supplies go by unharmed. The more incentive, the easier their life gets, the less interested in fighting they are. It is kind of sickening for those who are not morally flexible.
12:19 January 25, 2010 by Wabit
Politicians are money grabbing creeps and as such know well the price of everything and the value of nothing!!!!!

The Taliban must be beaten no indeed thrashed and smashed into the ground. Only then can one work on the sick ideology being presented to the ordinary Afghan people by the war lords who seek to gain from exploiting them.

I am all in favour of injecting funds into the country to help with projects to make more people self supportive and would even encourage this.
14:43 January 25, 2010 by Frenemy

I'm no conspiracy theorist. Conspiracies are boring compared to real life events.

I'm sorry that "theres no convincing people like me". But congrats on your 12 years of "service". I suppose that makes you my "superior" (I've got only half that under my belt).

But I spend most of my time babysitting SFOD, ST6, SAS, and KSK in "urban environments" (these guys may be hardcore badasses in the field, but they need to be chaperoned when in "civil society"), and it just so happens that urban-warfare operations are becoming more and more routine these days... (understand what I'm saying?)
15:49 January 25, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
I have an idea. When they come to collect their bribe money; shoot them.
16:30 January 25, 2010 by Henckel
@ Frenemy: These liberal-leftist idealogues are insufferable!
16:37 January 25, 2010 by lordwilliams629
Frenemy is it that wife of yours thats made you so delusional, or is it the quarts of $1.25 king Cobra you drink every day.
16:57 January 25, 2010 by Frenemy
loooool, hmmm I dunno lordwilliams. Firstly, you'd have to tell me what a "king Cobra" is... Assuming its a type of beer or something, you should know that living here in Germany (most of the time), I actually prefer Frueh Koelsch! (you buying?)
19:23 January 25, 2010 by lordwilliams629
Ok maybe you don't know what king cobra is cause you know something I don't know if they sell that in every state. So I can only guess that if you don't drink that, then it has to be a $1.25 44 once bottle of old english, and don't even tell me you don't know what that is. My question is, I know you don't work so during the summer do you sit down at tracks with the local riffraff getting drunk, or does your wife keep you home on the porch while the local riff raff come over and hang out on that same porch.
20:08 January 25, 2010 by Frenemy
hehe (this is actually kinda fun).

Who knows, maybe its YOUR wife keeping me at home (not on the porch but on your bed)?! ;-) lol

You "know I don't work"??? How exactly did you reach that conclusion? My "work" keeps you in one bodily piece instead of ~100 circular equidistant, explosively scattered chunks...
22:05 January 25, 2010 by Major B
Whoa guys, slow done.

@ Freenemy - take it easy on the American grunts. "brainwashability". Come on now!! You should know the soldier fights for his buddies. And the elite US military forces, not the regular guys, stand next to none.

@ Celeon: I mentioned the US purposely. Am an internationalist myself, but facts are facts. Go above the stuff that's printed. The CIA does what the Brits, Russians and everyone else does. Recently the French took over an Italian sector in Afghanistan and didn't even know the Italians had been paying the Taliban, who restarted attacks after they went in. It just isn't something to publicise and I say again, has the proud German heritage come down to this?
10:16 January 26, 2010 by Deutschguy
The poor villagers that the Taliban leaders recruit, backed up by ignorant and paid off imams, do it for the money. They are no different than Blackwater mercenaries, who will fight for the highest bidder.

It all comes down to economics, except for the top religious nuts, who do it for some twisted version of Islam. Pay a villager more than the Taliban and he'll follow you anywhere. Actually, it's not much different in the US. Many who join the US military have no other economic options, except to collect unemployment, welfare, or work at Wal-Mart.

Westerwelle is not suggesting anything different than what US military leaders and the CIA already do. The attempt to portray every Muslim as a fanatical Islamic terrorist may sell ads on Fox News, but it is divorced from the social and economic reality of the Afghani (and Iraqi) people.
13:23 January 26, 2010 by Frenemy
@Major B: I DID say "for lack of a better term". In truth, the conceptual vocab I'm looking for lies somewhere between "patriotic" and "gullible".

I've actually heard a boot drill sergeant say: "the reason you're here is so that I can mind-f#ck you into compliance with higher orders!!"...so "brainwashing" is actually a comparatively polite way of saying the same thing!
02:21 January 27, 2010 by mike short
If you pay these thugs off, you will be givng them money kill other people. Maybe you or your family. The long arm of money can reach anywhere. Micky
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