Denmark, which has lost more soldiers in Afghanistan per capita than any other ISAF country, has apparently decided to try a different tack. According to the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Danish soldiers have started to negotiate with the local Taleban in Helmand because “wiping out the insurgency was proving so difficult”:
‘We have already held several meetings with local chiefs where the Taliban were represented,’ Lieutenant Colonel Bjarne Hoejgaard told the paper after a six-month mission in Afghanistan.
‘We cannot get around it. We must intensify the dialogue and the negotiations with the Taliban if we want to have peace in Afghanistan, because we cannot eliminate the enemy,’ he said.
Hoejgaard insisted the meetings weren’t about negotiating a truce with the most extreme elements, but were aimed at creating more security for Danish soldiers by entering into dialogue with more moderate, local Taliban.
‘The more local Taliban we kill the more enemies we create,’ Hoejgaard said.
Coincidentally, this is exactly what Erica Gaston says about civilian casualties in the new report by Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict.
Meanwhile in Washington, President Barack Obama finally gives the go-ahead: 12,000 extra combat soldiers plus 5,000 support troops will deploy to Afghanistan in the next few months. The Marines and Strykers will apparently head for Helmand, but whether this means they will take part in poppy eradication remains to be seen. I’d be willing to wager they have their hands full with other stuff, like, you know, fighting.
[H/T: Captain’s Journal.]