When we heard that the US has established contact with Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar, we thought it was via a séance. Because last heard, we thought America had claimed that it had knocked him off after totalling Osama bin Laden. But now it transpires that another Taliban leader has helped the US reach out to Mullah Omar to negotiate an end to the Afghan war.
We can quite imagine the conversation. “Hello, is that Mullah Omar, how’s the family?” The disembodied voice, possibly from a cave, would reply, “Death to all infidels, especially George Bush.” The clever boys at the Pentagon will say, “No, no, he is gone, we now have Barack Hussein Obama in the saddle. How about a hand with ending all this kerfuffle?” Mullah Omar, “Oh okay then, I will drop in to the Pentagon next week, with 5,000 of my followers. Don’t put yourself out for us, we are very low maintenance. We will bring our own tents and goats. And, of course, a few arms and ammunition just in case our talks don’t go so well.”
So now that we know that old Omar has not copped it, we wonder whether Osama himself is sleeping with the fishes. Could it be that one of these days, Robert Gates will get a call from 20,000 leagues under the sea with Osama on the other side offering to give up the treacherous Ayman al-Zawahiri? But we are full of admiration for the US. What a clever strategy to declare that you have capped someone in order to create such fear in them that they undergo a Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus-like change of heart and engage in a dialogue with you. Our foes must be feeling left out. We could innovate on this approach. We could put it out that Hafiz Sayeed is actually in Delhi and is a wedding planner. This will teach him to fool around with us. In a trice, he will be on his knees begging to negotiate with us. Oh, we think we heard the phone ring, do excuse us.