So another member of the Afghan High Peace Council, charged with striking a deal with the Taliban, has been assassinated. Mullah Arsala Rahmani’s demise, at the hands of an unknown gunman, comes less than a year after the assassination, by a suicide bomber, of the head of the peace council, former president Burhanuddin Rabbani.
You would think this would signal, as clearly as anything could, the contempt in which the Taliban hold peace talks. Yet, rest assured, this will not deter policymakers in Washington from making peace talks a central pillar of their Afghanistan policy. This relentless commitment to something so impractical is only the latest manifestation of that all too common Washington phenomenon: making policy based on hope, not reality, and substituting wishful thinking for actual evidence.