Two rules for successful negotiations are to enter from a position of strength and to be the side that sets the terms and timeline. Taliban terrorists have proven that understand these rules better than the government.
On Sunday, Taliban militants carried out a vicious attacks against Pakistan security forces, killing 20 and vowing that such attacks would continue. Worst, the explosives were planted in one of the vehicles used in a convoy made up of both military and civilian vehicles. This means that Taliban were able to kill Pakistan forces, but to carry out an attack under the very noses of Pakistan intelligence. Immediate after the attack, Taliban added insult to the injury by declaring that they are now willing to talk, if the government and military will meet their demands.
The Taliban are approaching from a position of strength. They are constantly attacking Pakistan forces while our own military looks confused about how to respond. For months government officials have been begging for talks, only to be ignored or refused by Taliban. Therefore, timing of Taliban’s announcement that they are now willing to consider negotiations not only puts them in a position of strength compared to the Pakistan military, but gives them the upper hand in any talks should the government accept their offer.
Taliban has presently positioned itself as a victor ready to accept a surrender. If Pakistan is to survive, government and military must work together to reverse their current position of weakness. If not, surrender to Taliban is the likely outcome and Pakistan as we know it will probably cease to exist.