20151124_Roundtable Making Peace with the Taliban_U.docx
Lessons Roundtable: Making Peace with the Taliban
Presentation by Professor Michael Semple and Professor Theo Farrell, followed by discussion
24 November 2015 - Lessons Roundtable Discussion
In this roundtable discussion, Professor Michael Semple and Professor Theo Farrell argued that in seizing Kunduz in late September 2015, the Taliban achieved a key stated objective of their 2015 campaign, which was to capture a provincial capital. However, they also argued that victory does not alter the strategic reality of the war, which is one of stalemate. The Afghan army and police have no hope of wiping out the insurgency; equally, the Taliban cannot win back Afghanistan through force of arms alone. Semple and Farrell highlighted that this creates a simple and compelling logic for peace talks as the only way to end the conflict. At a time when many Taliban might be mistaken about the possibility of military victory, they outlined what can be done to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table and to keep them there.