Australia has offered 25 million dollars to a Taliban peace fund – the fund is part of a global initiative set up by 70 countries and plans to raise $US500 million for Taliban fighters to be reintegrated into society and encourage them to lay down their arms.
So are we simply buying them off with a nice big bribe? Not according to Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith.
“It’s not about buying them off,” he said. “It’s about showing to the people of Afghanistan that there is a qualitative difference between a hard-core international terrorist associated with al-Qaeda and a person who wants to partake in Afghanistan society fully … who eschews violence and who wants to get on with making a better country and a better life for his family.
“We know there are very many people who fight with and support the Taliban who are not international global terrorists, who are not involved in a global jihad but they see no other role for themselves.
“That’s why they need to be provided with employment opportunities, they need to be provided with a long-term secure future, they need to be provided with the health and education services that a nation state can provide.”