There are a number of points that don't ring true…….but before we look at these, one must identify who the “Taliban” Gates is talking about are….there is one Afghan Taliban (Mullah Omar), there is the Haqqani Network, there is the HIG (Hekmatyar), and now the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)is active in Northern Afghanistan. This is a loose confederation that will support one another when it is beneficial and bear arms against one another when necessary. The issues are: (1) abandon ties to Al Qeada……it is known that there is no strong linkage between the two at this point in time. The Taliban are not looking to exert control over any territory larger than current Afghanistan (and the Pashtun belt of Pakistan). (2) I am not aware of any pressure being put on by Coalition Forces that will induce the Taliban to the Peace Table. Statistics do not bear out any of the spin emanating from ISAF about the Taliban being ineffective. They are somewhat stagnant, however, they are demonstrating the ability to infiltrate into the heart of the Afghan military/government. They are very active in the areas Karzai has declared as secure enough to allow the nascent Afghan National Army to exercise control. The most interesting part: As wars conclude, Gates noted, it is inevitable that “peace is made between people who have been killing each other.” The Taliban, he added, is “part of the fabric” of Afghan politics. This suggests that this administration will declare victory and go home, only to aid the electoral process…..
Phi Beta Iota: This is real simple. US Government, then led by Dick Cheney, told 935 lies and committed at least 23 impeachable acts because Congress abdicated its Article 1 responsibility and is getting kick-backs from the three trillion dollar elective wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Now the US as a country is beyond broke while Goldman Sachs et al have been bailed out and fluffed up at taxpayer expense, also benefitting from the liquidity of restoring Afghanistan's opium production (and Pakistan's #4 heroin factories), so its time to close down the illegal wars and pretend to have won. This is not a government, its an on-going criminal scam that is out of control.