NATO chief: No plan to "bribe" Taliban

February 4, 2010 13:00

NATO does not intend to bribe Taliban guerrillas to defect to the Afghan government side as a way to end the war, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday, dismissing concerns over the latest plan to end the country's growing insurgency.

Fogh Rasmussen's comments came amid a renewed push to make peace with moderate Taliban insurgents and draw them into the political process. The North Atlantic alliance has strongly backed an Afghan plan to bring the insurgents over to the government's side.

On Wednesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Saudi Arabia, hoping the kingdom would help persuade Taliban militants to take part in a negotiated settlement to the war. Saudi Arabia has a unique relationship with the Taliban since it was one of the few countries to recognize its regime in Afghanistan before it was ousted in 2001.

In a post on the alliance's Web site ahead of a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers in Istanbul, Fogh Rasmussen said a new $140 million trust fund would offer insurgents an alternative to remaining with the Taliban.

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