Is it Cheaper and More Effective to Buy Off the Taliban than to Fight Them?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

If you can’t beat them, pay them off. That’s essentially the reasoning behind a plan the United States and some of its allies are considering that would pay Taliban fighters to put down their weapons and rejoin Afghan society. The cost of such a scheme would be between $500 million and $1 billion, not only to pay individuals, but also to finance new jobs and create infrastructure that would stabilize the country.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai insists there are “thousands and thousands and thousands” of moderate Taliban who would be open to ceasing hostilities. The payoff proposal is being pushed by the U.S., Japan and the United Kingdom.
Some skeptics dismissed the plan, pointing to the fact that the Taliban has long been known as a force driven by Islamic ideology, not economic opportunity. And yet policymakers seem determined that these fighters can be paid off. As New York Post columnist Ralph Peters put it, government officials are “convinced it’s about the lack of jobs. Well, sorry—the Taliban aren’t the Teamsters.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Taliban for Sale? (by Ralph Peters, New York Post)
Taliban 'Buy Out' Fund to Cost Hundreds of Millions (Hamida Ghafour and David Sapsted, The National)


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