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Postby Storyteller » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:14 am

Bombadillo wrote:
Storyteller: The causation was identical. The motivation behind it was different, but these are two distinct things.

LAPD officers getting acquitted and Terry Jones burning Korans are identical? I don't think that "causation" means what you think it means.

They're not identical in ethical terms. They're identical for the purpose of assigning responsibility for starting a chain of events.

I am talking about the prevailing social attitudes, about the majority of people in the majority of Muslim societies. It is an entirely fair generalization that allows ample room for exceptions. You can try to prove it false, but you can't call it ridiculous until you do.

I can absolutely call it ridiculous because you have done nothing to prove that your generalization has any merit. What are you basing this massive statement on? Your opinion? Well in that case I simply disagree.

Uh, no, it's not just my opinion. I've cited a pretty large number of facts that I've not seen you dispute. I can cite any number of opinion polls taken over the last decade or more which will consistently support my proposition. I can cite any number of violent Muslim riots, rallies where the main slogans began with "Death to...", mass celebrations of murders and atrocities- by the people, not by the governments- et cetera. Basically, name a criteria you consider valid and fair as a basis for generalization- there has to be one, otherwise you're going to have to declare all social sciences null and void- and I promise you I can make my case on the basis of that criteria.

A number of Muslim societies currently exempt- by law - a husband from murdering his wife for adultery. Do you believe that the majority of the public in these societies supports such an exemption, or opposes it?

Do you know of any mass protests by the Muslim public in Muslim-majority societies against the killing of non-Muslims by Muslims for real or perceived insults to Islam? Protests on a scale even remotely comparable to the rallies against "Islamophobia" et cetera in the West? Is there a Muslim equivalent of the Western anti-racism movements which would protest the mistreatment of, and prejudice against, the non-Muslims by Muslims? How large were, if there were- Muslim protests against the killing of UN workers in Afghanistan with which our discussion began?

What, other than blind faith and the desire for an appearance of "balance" at all costs, is the factual foundation of YOUR opinion?

Again, you're basing this huge generalization on what exactly? There is violence all over the world. Are you saying that the large muslim population in Michigan is inherently more violent than their neighbors?

Uh, no. I'm not saying anything that involves the word "inherently", and I am increasingly puzzled as for why you insist on using it. I am, so far, talking in purely factual terms. Moreover, like I said, I do not insist that the claim has to be true for every single Muslim individual or group. It may be false for Dearborn, Michigan and true for Malmo, Sweden et cetera, but. I'm talking about the large numbers, about the average, the majority.

It seems that you insist on lowering the discussion's intellectual level so much that I actually need to explain the concept of valid generalization in kindergarten terms. So here's how it works. 70% of our planet's surface is covered with water. Therefore it is fair to say that much more of the Earth' surface is covered with water. It doesn't mean that there is no such thing as dry land it simply means that there is more water than there is dry land.

I complitely understand why you're uncomfortable with generalizations that carry moral and ethical weight; however, if it is possible to make valid generalizations in every other field, it MUST be possible to make valid generalizations about the attitudes towards violence among this or that group of people.

As Min and I have been talking about, a lot of this violence in their cultures is easily traced back to roots outside of the muslim religion.

But in order to use this argument you have to first acknowledge that there is in fact a higher level of violence- or rather, willingness to accept and/or endorse violence- among Muslims! You can't trace roots of a phenomenon without acknowledging that there is, in fact, a ppenomenon to be discussed! If you acknowledge that the problem exists, we can begin discussing its roots- but you can't simultaneously claim that there is no problem AND that its roots are elsewhere! Isn't at least THAT obvious?
"...Their aim in war with Germany is nothing more, nothing less than extermination of Hitlerism... There is absolutely no justification for this kind of war. The ideology of Hitlerism, just like any other ideological system, can be accepted or rejected, this is a matter of political views. But everyone grasps, that an ideology can not be exterminated by force, must not be finished off with a war.” - Vyacheslav Molotov, ""On the Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union", 31 October 1939
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Postby Minardil » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:43 am

None of that comes close to addressing the issue of how awesomely delicious Mennonite made egg-cheese-and-bacon-filled pretzel logs are. . .
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Postby Bombadillo » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:53 pm

Okay Storyteller, here's another way to approach what you and I are talking about.

1. Most Jews are greedy.
2. Most blacks have lower IQ's than other races.
3. Most Muslims have primitive views of violence.
4. Most Mexicans are lazy.

I could go on...

I can also find scientific studies, opinion polls, and other research to back up each one of those ridiculous generalizations if I wanted. And people DO try to pimp those dehumanizing statements every day to the detriment of everyone involved.

Do you get it now?
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Postby basil » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:15 am

Minardil wrote:Mennonites are Anabaptist Christians, which is to say the believe, or rather insist upon, Adult Baptism in order to be a member of the church.


Just to compare some notes here, from 2 separate locales.

One of the problems among the Mennonite population here is the prevalance of genetic disorders, from their closed society and inbreeding.

So, if young Mr. Yoder wants to start his family line up again, he can't mate up with a girl from his area. Around here, they hook up with someone up north like Minnesota to find the Loves of their Lives.

Also, they're very much into adoptions. So we're beginning to see many more different "colors" of the Plain Folk.

Is that happening to those societies in your area as well?

b
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Postby basil » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:40 am

Bombadillo wrote:Do you get it now?


I don't think so, unless there's gonna be a "Hallelujah, Amen Brother!" Revelation Happening real soon.

There is a wide chasm betwixt Pauline Christianity, which is what I understand you are arguing, and Judaism WRT secular accountability.

St. Paul says we're all equally guilty and pointing fingers is, well, pointless. Amazing, but it's just recently been officially announced by the RC Pope that the Jews alone did not murder the Christian Messiah.

Of course, if our friends the Jews hadn't been persecuted for that bit of guilt beforehand, and here's the Lutheran Saint telling us how to handle them in 13 long parts no less, we wouldn't have Gandalf's Wizardly Hat.



b
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Postby Storyteller » Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:31 am

Bombadillo wrote:Okay Storyteller, here's another way to approach what you and I are talking about.

1. Most Jews are greedy.
2. Most blacks have lower IQ's than other races.
3. Most Muslims have primitive views of violence.
4. Most Mexicans are lazy.

I could go on...

I can also find scientific studies, opinion polls, and other research to back up each one of those ridiculous generalizations if I wanted. And people DO try to pimp those dehumanizing statements every day to the detriment of everyone involved.

Do you get it now?

I get it. You don't.

This is an absolutely childish non-response, Bomba. You're trying your hardest to avoid having to deal with the truth value of the statement, instead fielding a pure appeal to emotion and prior prejudice- "You can't say that because it's offensive and sounds a lot like what the racists say".

Just to show you how it's done, I'll demonstrate how I would deal with your counter-examples without the need to resort to such silliness.

1) "Most Jews are greedy" is the really easy one. First you'll have to present a valid way to measure greed; good luck with that.

Second, you'd have to provide valid data based on that definition- and not, say, on popular prejudice or on anecdotal tales of individuals whose definition of greed varies depending on whether it is theirs or someone else's. If you ever find a scientific study on greed levels among different ethnicities, do give me the link, and we can examine its validity.

If you cannot provide sufficient evidence that your statement is true, THAT's when I declare it baseless, dehumanizing and prejudiced.

Same goes for "all Mexicans are lazy"- laziness is, again, a subjective, non-measurable sin of excess, and good luck finding a scientific study that would support it.




2) "Most blacks have lower IQs than other races" is a bit more tricky. IQ is a measurable, quantifiable thing. That Black people score lower on IQ tests is not in and of itself impossible, and there are some studies out there which could support this. Suppose there's even a definitive proof.

Is the fact that Black people have lower IQ dehumanizing? Only if one makes a number of additional assumptions which themselves require proof:

a) That lower IQ necessarily means that one is more stupid.
That is not a given. "Intelligence" is still a poorly defined concept, and IQ scores reflect a person's ability to pass a test which measures a certain set of qualities. The tests may be unintentionally biased against some groups due to cultural differences or other factors.

b) That if most Black people have lower IQ scores, it is necessarily a function of their race.
That, again is not a given. Even if IQ is heritable, so is height, and yet height is also dependent on nutrition, childhood injuries and other environmental factors. There may be an overlap between race and various environmental and social conditions which are capable of affecting IQ scores. If most Black people are poorer than most white people, and poverty and its consequences can affect IQ scores. A person's self-esteem, and even the fear of validating the very stereotype of being more stupid than the white people can impact the results. Etc.



Now let's get to "Most Muslims have primitive views of violence." That is a complete distortion of what I said, an attempt to inject emotionally biased language that would appeal to common stereotypes. I didn't use the word "primitive" as it is a form of begging the question; describing something as "primitive" primes the audience for expectation of a specific reason before the speaker's reasons are actually prevented. Second, I was not talking about "most Muslims"; I was talking about the majority of public in the Muslim societies. This is a very substantial distinction as it excludes the Muslim minorities living in non-Muslim societies.

I am talking about the higher acceptance of violence not as a hardwired and heritable trait of majority-Muslim ethnicities and not as an immutable trait of Islam as a faith. I am talking about it as a social disease which plagues Muslim societies.
"...Their aim in war with Germany is nothing more, nothing less than extermination of Hitlerism... There is absolutely no justification for this kind of war. The ideology of Hitlerism, just like any other ideological system, can be accepted or rejected, this is a matter of political views. But everyone grasps, that an ideology can not be exterminated by force, must not be finished off with a war.” - Vyacheslav Molotov, ""On the Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union", 31 October 1939
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Postby Minardil » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:11 am

basil wrote:
Minardil wrote:Mennonites are Anabaptist Christians, which is to say the believe, or rather insist upon, Adult Baptism in order to be a member of the church.


Just to compare some notes here, from 2 separate locales.

One of the problems among the Mennonite population here is the prevalance of genetic disorders, from their closed society and inbreeding.

So, if young Mr. Yoder wants to start his family line up again, he can't mate up with a girl from his area. Around here, they hook up with someone up north like Minnesota to find the Loves of their Lives.

Also, they're very much into adoptions. So we're beginning to see many more different "colors" of the Plain Folk.

Is that happening to those societies in your area as well?

b



Not that I've seen, but then this is the Pennsylvania Dutch heartland, there's quite an extensive breeding population in these parts.
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Postby hamlet » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:41 am

Minardil wrote:Not that I've seen, but then this is the Pennsylvania Dutch heartland, there's quite an extensive breeding population in these parts.


It almost sounds as if you're referring to raising cattle . . .
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Postby Bombadillo » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:33 am

You're still not quite getting it Storyteller.

I am talking about it as a social disease which plagues Muslim societies.

Turns very nicely into: "I am talking about it as a social disease which plagues [Jewish/black/Mexican] societies."

What you are saying is still no different than the other broad, stupid generalizations about groups of people you find in other low areas of the internet. You want to make the claim that you are just speaking objectively and trying to have an honest conversation, but that's exactly the same thing as the people making those other ridiculous statements believe as well.

And no, I don't take your arguments to support your overly broad generalizations any more seriously.

2) "Most blacks have lower IQs than other races" is a bit more tricky. IQ is a measurable, quantifiable thing. That Black people score lower on IQ tests is not in and of itself impossible, and there are some studies out there which could support this. Suppose there's even a definitive proof.

Is the fact that Black people have lower IQ dehumanizing? Only if one makes a number of additional assumptions which themselves require proof:

a) That lower IQ necessarily means that one is more stupid.
That is not a given. "Intelligence" is still a poorly defined concept, and IQ scores reflect a person's ability to pass a test which measures a certain set of qualities. The tests may be unintentionally biased against some groups due to cultural differences or other factors.

b) That if most Black people have lower IQ scores, it is necessarily a function of their race.
That, again is not a given. Even if IQ is heritable, so is height, and yet height is also dependent on nutrition, childhood injuries and other environmental factors. There may be an overlap between race and various environmental and social conditions which are capable of affecting IQ scores. If most Black people are poorer than most white people, and poverty and its consequences can affect IQ scores. A person's self-esteem, and even the fear of validating the very stereotype of being more stupid than the white people can impact the results. Etc.

Watch out, you just set up a very good template for refuting your overly broad generalization... :lol:

There is a wide chasm betwixt Pauline Christianity, which is what I understand you are arguing, and Judaism WRT secular accountability.

Well said Brother b. I guess that there are a couple more cultures at play here than have been completely acknowledged.
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Postby Storyteller » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:00 am

Bombadillo wrote:You're still not quite getting it Storyteller.

I am talking about it as a social disease which plagues Muslim societies.

Turns very nicely into: "I am talking about it as a social disease which plagues [Jewish/black/Mexican] societies."

What you are saying is still no different than the other broad, stupid generalizations about groups of people you find in other low areas of the internet. You want to make the claim that you are just speaking objectively and trying to have an honest conversation, but that's exactly the same thing as the people making those other ridiculous statements believe as well.

But I can refute those arguments. I can demonstrate that they have no truth value, and it is because their refutation is so easy that I declare them ridiculous. You, on the other hand, aren't even attempting to engage the truth value of my statement. All you've done so was is putting up a smokescreen of false parallels and emotional appeals. If you're so sure that the Muslim societies are no more tolerant and accepting of violence than the Western societies, surely you could demonstrate that?

Watch out, you just set up a very good template for refuting your overly broad generalization... :lol:

Not for refuting, Bomba. For analyzing. If the public of the Muslim societies is not, in fact, accepting and tolerant of honor killings, murder of non-Muslims over insults to Islam and similar violence, then you should have no problem demonstrating it. If they are, in fact, accepting and tolerant of such violence, then let's sit down and examine which features of these Muslim societies are responsible for it, and where they originate.

And you know what? I went back to the "Congresswoman shot" thread, to see if you are always so reluctant to generalize against large groups of people. You've spent half that thread arguing that Republicans are by far more eager to tolerate and embrace violence than Democrats and rejecting any attempts to establish a balance between left-wing and right-wing radicalism. Here's a reminder:

Bombadillo, in the thread "Congresswoman Shot, page 4 wrote:One thing that must be dragged out of the cellar and into the light is the blatant and idiotic false equivalencies that tinge this debate with untruth. The lefties do NOT post campaign ads with gunsights over political rivals. The lefties do NOT have a quasi-religion about gun ownership that works itself out in fear and paranoia about "teh gubment coming for ma guns" in which case "you can pry it from my cold, dead hands" (much applause and cheering!).

No, those are exclusively right wing memes, just like standing up for the poor is exclusively a left wing meme. The two sides in this debate are NOT "separate but equal", and just like that phrase was shown to be false in the civil rights debate, it's also false in this one.

If I were to adopt the attitude you're showing in this thread, I could easily construct a mirror image of that paragraph by replacing "lefties" with "Westerners", "right wing" with "Muslim", etc. It seems that you're fine with characterizing large groups of people as being inherently more violent- so long as they are your own countrymen.
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Postby Minardil » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:13 pm

hamlet wrote:
Minardil wrote:Not that I've seen, but then this is the Pennsylvania Dutch heartland, there's quite an extensive breeding population in these parts.


It almost sounds as if you're referring to raising cattle . . .


Well, some of those Amish chicks are a bit . . . "plain". . . if you get my meaning. I bet they have to tie egg-and-sausage-filled pretzel logs around their necks to get the dog to play with them. . .




KIDDING!!!!!!
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Postby hamlet » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:17 pm

You owe me a new keyboard, Minardil.

Plus, I don't know which Amish you've been looking at, but some of them are far from "plain" if you know my meaning. :oops:
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Postby Bombadillo » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:52 pm

Good points Storyteller. I think we might be finding some common ground here.

But I can refute those arguments. I can demonstrate that they have no truth value, and it is because their refutation is so easy that I declare them ridiculous.

Same here. I am claiming that your statement is a ridiculously overbroad generalization about the largest religion on earth. To your credit you've since backpedaled and added some qualifiers which gives then gives us something a little more concrete to discuss.

If you're so sure that the Muslim societies are no more tolerant and accepting of violence than the Western societies, surely you could demonstrate that?

I'm not at all sure of anything in regards to that. Don't assume that because I'm challenging the legitimacy of your overly broad generalization that I'm disagreeing with it. What I am saying is that by being overly broad you are simplifying things to such a degree that your argument can't help but be misinterpreted by racists and the like.

For instance, several books have been written with scholarly intent about the differences between IQ scores and race. The people who wrote these books were not necessarily racist or even prejudice, but the conclusions they came to were immediately taken up by the scum of the earth to promote their race baiting theories.

This begs the question: How to do research and ask legitimate questions without adding fuel to the things that destroy society (racism, cultural hatred, etc.). In this sense the way in which you ask the question is extremely important and I think you just glossed over that with your overly broad assertions.

Not for refuting, Bomba. For analyzing. If the public of the Muslim societies is not, in fact, accepting and tolerant of honor killings, murder of non-Muslims over insults to Islam and similar violence, then you should have no problem demonstrating it. If they are, in fact, accepting and tolerant of such violence, then let's sit down and examine which features of these Muslim societies are responsible for it, and where they originate.

I am guessing that out of a billion plus muslims that the majority would NOT support honor killings, but that's just a guess. The extremist element of any religion or culture is always the loudest and most well known while us moderates just go about daily life quietly and unbeknownst to others. Therefore my hypothesis is that the majority of muslims are not interested in killing their own family members.

Min started teasing out some excellent points a page or so ago about some of the history of these kinds of attitudes and I would be interested in discussing those kinds of historical root causes as well as socio-economic, geographical, and other kinds of variables that relate to violence in the muslim culture. As I said, I think this is a very complex topic.

And you know what? I went back to the "Congresswoman shot" thread, to see if you are always so reluctant to generalize against large groups of people. You've spent half that thread arguing that Republicans are by far more eager to tolerate and embrace violence than Democrats and rejecting any attempts to establish a balance between left-wing and right-wing radicalism.

I feel like I backed up my claims very well in that thread as well as other threads where we talk about the false dichotomy that exists in American politics.

I don't see how that relates at all to what we are talking about here EXCEPT when you insist that I am some caricature of a liberal who has to balance everything all the time. That's simply not the case. I am actually capable of analyzing separate events and coming to separate conclusions since separate factors are at work in each situation.

Again, I am not some caricature or cardboard cutout.
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Postby Storyteller » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:47 pm

Bombadillo wrote:Good points Storyteller. I think we might be finding some common ground here.

But I can refute those arguments. I can demonstrate that they have no truth value, and it is because their refutation is so easy that I declare them ridiculous.

Same here. I am claiming that your statement is a ridiculously overbroad generalization about the largest religion on earth. To your credit you've since backpedaled and added some qualifiers which gives then gives us something a little more concrete to discuss.

I have not backpedaled on anything, that's the thing. I've been trying hard to get you to understand my point and you've done your best to resist understanding. Just re-read everything I said.

If you're so sure that the Muslim societies are no more tolerant and accepting of violence than the Western societies, surely you could demonstrate that?

I'm not at all sure of anything in regards to that. Don't assume that because I'm challenging the legitimacy of your overly broad generalization that I'm disagreeing with it.

Say what? How does one challenge the legitimacy of something without disagreeing with it?

What I am saying is that by being overly broad you are simplifying things to such a degree that your argument can't help but be misinterpreted by racists and the like.

For instance, several books have been written with scholarly intent about the differences between IQ scores and race. The people who wrote these books were not necessarily racist or even prejudice, but the conclusions they came to were immediately taken up by the scum of the earth to promote their race baiting theories.

This begs the question: How to do research and ask legitimate questions without adding fuel to the things that destroy society (racism, cultural hatred, etc.). In this sense the way in which you ask the question is extremely important and I think you just glossed over that with your overly broad assertions.

I didn't gloss over anything. I've phrased my question somewhat sharper than I normally would because I felt it was the only way to surmount the mountains of cliches that have accumulated around the subject of Muslim violence. I didn't expect you to be quite so in love with these cliches, is all.

I'm well aware that there are people out there who will leap onto anything that they believe may help lend support to their prejudices. I have to deal with that kind of people all the bloody time whenever Israel is being discussed. The fear of accidentally adding fuel to the fire is a legitimate concern- but we can't allow bigots to define the limits of what we dare say or think, can we?

I am guessing that out of a billion plus muslims that the majority would NOT support honor killings, but that's just a guess. The extremist element of any religion or culture is always the loudest and most well known while us moderates just go about daily life quietly and unbeknownst to others. Therefore my hypothesis is that the majority of muslims are not interested in killing their own family members.

That's not quite what I'm saying though. They may not be interested in killing their own family members, while at the same time approving of or sympathizing with the practice in principle.

Your guess is based on assumptions, not observations. You believe that the majority of Muslims would not support honor killings because you assume that in every society, extremists have to be a minority. But that is not necessarily true just because you want it to be.

The fact is that laws against honor killings that have been passed in Muslim states, have been passed by the government not due to popular pressure, but due to foreign pressure and against the popular sentiment. This largely accounts both for the great difficulty in passing such laws (Jordanian government, for example, has twice failed to get the parliament to repeal the article of the penal code which exempts men from penalties for honor killings) and for the ineffective enforcement of such laws; the people in charge of enforcing them are either fearful of going against the wrath of the people or they are themselves not terribly opposed to the practice of honor killings. A politician running for office in, say, Pakistan on the platform of cracking down on honor killings would have had very high chance of getting murdered, but wouldn't have had much of a chance getting elected for President.

Min started teasing out some excellent points a page or so ago about some of the history of these kinds of attitudes and I would be interested in discussing those kinds of historical root causes as well as socio-economic, geographical, and other kinds of variables that relate to violence in the muslim culture. As I said, I think this is a very complex topic.

But like I said, Minardil's excellent points require recognizing the existence and scale of said attitudes. You cannot trace causes without first acknowledging the effects.

I think he over-generalizes, however. Calling honor killings a "tribal practice of pre-Muslim Arab societies" doesn't explain why it proved so much more resilient than other such tribal practices, and "primative, feudal societies" doesn't explain why the Muslim societies remained so while the European feudal societies have moved on. There have to be reasons why the European governments have been able to establish a monopoly on violence- a necessary prerequisite for effectively enforcing the rule of law- while the Islamic societies, even at the peak of their martial glory, struggled to maintain basic control of their territory.

I feel like I backed up my claims very well in that thread as well as other threads where we talk about the false dichotomy that exists in American politics.

But you fail to acknowledge the very same false dichotomy and artificial "balance" that you're advancing in discussing Muslim vs. Western attitudes! The chopping off of heads, the honor killings, the "Death to..." rallies characterize only one side of the divide, yet you're trying to cast the net as wide as possible here while trying to keep it as narrow as possible on the Republican-Democrat divide.
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Postby Storyteller » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:26 am

Robert Gates confirms US-Taliban talks in Afghanistan

Outgoing US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has confirmed that the US is holding "outreach" talks with members of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Mr Gates said talks were "preliminary" but that a political solution was the way "most of these wars end".

It is the first time the US has acknowledged such contact and comes a day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai said peace talks had started.

The US is due to start withdrawing its 97,000 troops from Afghanistan in July.

It aims to gradually hand over all security operations to Afghan security forces by 2014.

"There's been outreach on the part of a number of countries, including the United States," Mr Gates told CNN., without naming other countries involved.

"I would say that these contacts are very preliminary.

"My own view is that real reconciliation talks are not likely to be able to make any substantive headway until at least this winter."

'Time to engage'

Mr Gates, who will leave office at the end of the month, said the first step had been to ensure the contacts were genuine and influential Taliban members.

"We don't want to end up having a conversation at some point with somebody who is basically a freelancer."

Mr Karzai said on Saturday that peace talks involving Afghan officials, the US and other "foreign militaries" were taking place and were "going well".

He gave no details as to whether the discussions involved Taliban officials with US authorities, or a go-between.

Shortly after, the Taliban said it carried out a number of suicide attacks in Kabul, killing nine people and injuring 12. Police said insurgents also attacked two convoys supplying Nato troops in the eastern province of Ghazni, killing four security guards.

The Taliban's official position regarding peace talks is that they will only negotiate once international forces leave Afghanistan, and that they will only talk to the Afghan government. But analysts say that stance appears to be changing.

Diplomats have previously spoken of preliminary talks being held by both sides in the continuing conflict.

The UK said that with the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, it was time for the Taliban to "positively engage" in the political process, and that it supported Afghan efforts to reintegrate insurgents who were "prepared to renounce violence, cut links with terrorist groups, and accept the constitution".

In a separate interview published on Sunday, Mr Gates said the human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan made him more wary of backing US military intervention.

"If we were about to be attacked or had been attacked or something happened that threatened a vital US national interest, I would be the first in line to say, 'Let's go'," Mr Gates told the New York Times.

"I will always be an advocate in terms of wars of necessity. I am just much more cautious on wars of choice."

Sanctions move

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan before being driven from power by US-backed forces in 2001. It had sheltered al-Qaeda members, including Bin Laden.

On Friday, the UN split a sanctions blacklist for the Taliban and al-Qaeda, to encourage Taliban members to turn their back on the Islamist organisation and join reconciliation efforts.

Before now, both organisations have been handled by the same UN sanctions committee.

The UN Security Council said it was sending a signal to the Taliban that now is the time to join the political process.


It's a mystery to me why they haven't tried to "engage" with Al-Qaeda yet.
"...Their aim in war with Germany is nothing more, nothing less than extermination of Hitlerism... There is absolutely no justification for this kind of war. The ideology of Hitlerism, just like any other ideological system, can be accepted or rejected, this is a matter of political views. But everyone grasps, that an ideology can not be exterminated by force, must not be finished off with a war.” - Vyacheslav Molotov, ""On the Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union", 31 October 1939
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Postby Bombadillo » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:52 am

It's a mystery to me why they haven't tried to "engage" with Al-Qaeda yet.

Because we're beating AQ and not beating the Taliban.
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Postby Cenedril_Gildinaur » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:40 pm

The Ten-Year War

Ten years ago this Friday, the United States invaded Afghanistan. Why? To destroy the Taliban and bring democracy, we were told. The Taliban is still there. Democracy in a meaningful sense is not. And although al Qaeda is virtually absent, the fighting there rages on.
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