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The Hezbollah Precedent in Afghanistan?

In my World Politics Review column today, I speculate whether the talks between the government of Hamid Karzai and the Taliban might follow the Hezbollah precedent; that is, the Taliban would be able to join in the Afghan government as a corporate entity, and retain its separate structures, including an armed wing.

I've also been reminded that a similar precedent that would be of great concern to the United States would be for the Taliban to gain a "safe area" in Afghanistan similar to the despeje (demilitarized zone) that was granted to the FARC in Colombia by the government of Andres Pastrana. The despeje was designed to give the FARC "breathing room" from attack by the central government, as a prelude to peace negotiations; instead, this zone became a place for the FARC to re-equip, train cadres and cement its control over lucrative drug-producing areas.

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