Briton Mervyn Patterson and Irishman Michael Semple are the best hope of gaining peace in Afghanistan. Much of the military offensive is counterproductive in losing hearts and minds.
The corrupt Karsai Government expelled the pair on the grounds that they are 'talking to the Taliban'. That Government is riddled with 'former' Taliban, drug-dealers and crooks. One of Karzai's relatives and two provincial governors are the top heroin dealers.
The 'Taliban' is not a unified coherent group. Support shifts among the tribes who have been warring for two centuries. The best hope of peace is to woo over the uncommitted and those who are weakly committed to the Taliban cause. Many who were delighted to see the Taliban kicked out in 2001, now are ready to welcome them back to avoid 30 years of civil war. It's up to diplomats to persuade them that life is better without the Taliban.
It's not a simple choice. We have been losing ground in this battle for the past year. Patterson and Semple speak the local languages and understand the strong tribal loyalties. Their work has been successful in brokering deals that work.
Our press and politicians pretend that we are too pure to talk to enemies. The same game was played with the IRA. Prime Minister Major said the idea of talking to the IRA make him 'sick to his stomach'. When he said that he was doing a deal with them. Tony Blair consolidated that deal and peace was the prize.
The cost of today's monumentally stupid expulsions will be paid with the lives of Nato soldiers and local civilians.