Neumann dismissed these arguments saying that even according to NATO analysis, tribal leaders South of Halmand were pro-Taliban primarily because of poor local governance and criticized the naiveté to believe that “anyone who is sympathetic to the fight on the other side is forever outside the pale of negotiation.” He says that it is dangerous to cede “an area that that is under the Afghan government flag but is not under the actual authority of the Afghan government.” He advocates that there be no more compromises or truce deals “until those questions have been answered.” Neumann was also critical of several European nations willing to deploy troops only in secure and quieter areas and not to fight the Taliban in the South.
NATO’s Supreme Commander General James Jones agreed with Neumann’s assessment and singled out France , Germany , Italy , Spain , and Turkey for waffling on the NATO decision and inserting caveats on what are acceptable operations for their forces and what are not. Jones says that it is important to keep the pressure on when there is a “turning point” in the conflict where the outgunned and outflanked Taliban will desist from direct confrontation and instead resort to terrorist tactics of using car bombs and booby-traps.
The timing and causes of the British desire to disengage is interesting. Several recent reports suggest that the British use of overwhelming force against entrenched Taliban in many cities have destroyed several houses, mosques, and schools. While such collateral damage is inevitable in this sort of a fight, the big question is what is the UK or NATO doing to rebuild these buildings. Officials argue that they have spent a great deal of money to rebuild broken houses but there also allegations of corruption, nepotism, and siphoning away funds from such reconstruction work. It is unclear whether this truce deal was an effort to walk away from such criticism and damage.
There are several interesting parallels between this particular truce deal and those made by Pakistan . Firstly, Pakistan had also entered into a truce with the Taliban using the Governor of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the tribal elders. Secondly, Pakistan has also insisted that their deal was with the elders and not with the Pakistani Taliban. Thirdly, Pakistan also claims that the tribal elders were able to successfully restrain the Taliban. Fourthly, Musa Qala area is similar to the NWFP and other tribal agency where the Pakistani flag flies but without absolute control of the Pakistani Government. Fifthly, there is a direct correlation between the rise of cultivation of poppy and heroin manufacture with the increase of Taliban’s sphere of influence in both areas.