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Afghan 'Peace Agreement' Breaks Down in Less Than a Day

6:20 PM, Jul 28, 2009 • By BILL ROGGIO
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Well, that didn't take very long. Less than one day after officials touted the peace agreement with the Taliban in Badghis province, the Taliban denounced it. Some of us never saw this one coming. The Christian Science Monitor reports:

Within hours, however, clashes broke out in the region, and a Taliban spokesman told media that no deal ever happened. Suspected insurgents ambushed police, and fighting left two militants dead and two police wounded, Reuters reported, citing the Interior Ministry.

Here is what Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi told the AP about the Badghis deal:

''This is all propaganda by the Afghan government,'' he said. ''We will continue our jihad and will not accept the request of the government for negotiations and cease-fire.''

One of two things happened here. Either the Afghan government and those pressuring them to negotiate cut a deal with the wrong people in Badghis, which indicates they don't even know who the real Taliban players are (unlikely in this case), or the Taliban never intended to keep the peace agreement (very likely).

As the Christian Science Monitor reported, Badghis province is an ideal testing ground for negotiations with the Taliban as the Pashtuns there are isolated in a small pocket far from the Pashtun heartlands in the south and east. If a deal can't be made there, it is unlikely deals can be made in the south and east, where the Taliban control vast tracts of ground and have ready access to safe havens across the border.