I am sure I a lot of people are going to like me by the title of this post (joking). In addition, by no means am I suggesting amnesty for those who committed crimes, or for us to place trust in the Taliban. I am just here to pitch an idea.
So there has been some talk on negotiating with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Now I am usually an optimistic person, but we're never going to win the war in Afghanistan, by the common definition "to win". As long as people oppose the U.S. and a secular state, which there will always be, Afghanistan will be in turmoil. Instead of marginalizing those in the Taliban, I feel as if we should start engaging with them. Some say this is validating their action; its what you make of it. They are real people with real motives, and the only way to solve a conflict for the long term is to acknowledge the other side exists.
Without help and the end of violence from the Taliban or other extremists, Afghanistan will be in constant war. No matter how much we, as a society, disagree with the Taliban, they are unfortunately necessary to restore some sort of stability in Afghanistan. When a group is continuously marginalized, whether for good reason or not, it becomes harder and harder to solve conflicts. Only by engaging the opposition can conflict be solved. It is practical. By bringing some Taliban into a "democratic" system, or by just simply having more moderate elements part take in governance, they may feel more connected to the system.
The War on Terror is a war on idea. Now there are ways to reduce the appeal of the Taliban, and more so extremism, but that is not the topic of this post. However, until we find a strategy that addresses why citizens become radicalized, it is imperative we bring in some elements of the Taliban to be represented in the Afghanistan government. Though it may be against our morals as a society; we are not Afghanistan. If the Taliban has a vested interest in keeping their own country afloat (with "democratic governance") it is in our best interests to pursue this strategy. I am not saying direct negotiations, but using our resources and allies in the region to get communication more open than ever before.
Being pro-active and engaging is more useful than sitting on our hands and getting deeper in this quagmire. Principals are important, but to combine principles and practically is a way to success.