Tarrying in a viper’s pit


Just polished off Ahmed Rashid’s Descent Into Chaos and James Fergusson’s Taliban in short order. The former is indeed, as Fergusson opines, a “masterly” survey of all the things that went wrong that did, and lays the blame squarely at the feet of all parties, devoting quite a bit to Pakistani machinations in her South Asia policy. While Fergusson’s neo-apologist stance towards Mullah Omar and the rest of the hardline Tier One Taliban may be off-putting to some, his central premise – of the necessity of an eventual political accommodation with the Taliban – is both practical and inevitable. The least the West could do to honour their brothers who have already fallen is to seek an honourable solution instead of tarrying on in the same old tired way in what will be for them a pit of vipers.

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