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In an exclusive interview with CNN's Michael Ware, Pakistan's military says it's able to broker talks between the U.S. and Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar no less (the man with the ten million-dollar bounty on his head). And tonight Senior U.S. officials say the Obama administration is willing to talk. Now, it's no secret that Pakistan's military intelligence service is in contact with the fugitive Taliban leader – indeed the ISI played (and still plays?) a crucial role in their genesis. The question is: why offer to bring Mullah Omar to the negotiating table now? And what does Pakistan mean when it says in return; it wants U.S. concessions over Islamabad's dealings with India.
There is much talk that behind the scenes in Washington there is a growing desire both in Congress and even at the Pentagon to limit or end the Afghan War. One of Connect the World's Big Thinkers, Eric Margolis, says he was in Washington two weeks ago to address a group of prominent legislators about Pakistan. But US, British, French and German politicians have so demonized Taliban, that they are afraid to openly call for talks let alone suggest an `exit strategy' lest they be accused of `not supporting our boys'.
Back at the beginning of May I wrote: "Well I hate to say it but on hindsight Mr. Obama, I think you know you got your strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan wrong. The high profile strategy of driving the Taliban out of Afghanistan by littering the country in the months to come with U-S troops is backfiring in exactly the way many said it would. Pushing the Taliban into Pakistan was always asking for trouble."
I want your thoughts on strategy and what you think is at stake here? How does this story resonate with you? Your thoughts as ever are more than welcome. Your comments help the team here at CTW make the connections.
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Friday reminder! We're still taking submissions for this week's Six Degrees challenge. We're asking you to come up with 6 degrees of separation between Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe and new Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. Right now Sally is the one to beat... check our her submission:
DANIEL RADCLIFFE——played the part of Alan Strang in Equus, as did PETER FIRTH —–who plays a senior member of M15 (in Spooks), as does JUDI DENCH (in the James Bond films) —–who was in the film Notes on a Scandal with CATE BLANCHETT——–who was in the film Elizabeth, along side ERIC CANTONA ——–who was signed to Manchester Utd by ALEX FERGUSON ——–as was CHRISTIANO RONALDO.
So we're looking for 5 people in between Radcliffe and Ronaldo, for a total of six links, no more, no less.
Get your thinking caps on... and submit your ideas in the comments section below. We'll announce the winner on tonight's show, and send the lucky viewer a special Connect the World prize. Happy Connecting!