US held secret talks with Taliban in Afghanistan

ByJPOST.COM STAFF
February 19, 2011 09:38

Clinton says US must try to split Taliban, al-Qaida and use diplomacy in addition to military campaign in order to end conflict in Afghanistan.

US soldier patrol Kandahar, Afghanistan

US soldier in Kandahar 311. (photo credit:ASSOCIATED PRESS)

  US President Barack Obama held secret talks with leading members of Taliban in Afghanistan in order to "asses which figures in Taliban's leadership, if any, might be willing to engage informal Afghan peace negotiations, and under what conditions," The New Yorker magazine writer Steve Coll reported Saturday.

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton expressed hope that US forces in Afghanistan would succeed in severing ties between high ranking Taliban officials and al-Qaida extremists. The relationship between al-Qaida and the Taliban has long been contentious within US policy-making circles, with the Bush administration having described the groups as nearly indistinguishable. Under current military efforts by US forces in Afghanistan commander David Patreaus, Taliban has taken on the focus and, according to Clinton, diplomatic efforts remain key in co-opting peaceful factors from within the Islamic group.



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Speaking at think tank Asia Society in New York on Friday, Clinton explained that that the "diplomatic surge" American forces are pursuing in Afghanistan is part of a three-fold strategy, which includes a civilian program, and strengthened diplomacy in addition to the military campaign. Clinton, referring to attempts to work directly with Taliban diplomatically, that "In pursuing this goal, we are following a strategy with three mutual reinforcing tracks, three surges if you will."


US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said yesterday that only a political solution would finish the war in Afghanistan. "We will never kill enough insurgents to end this war out right," Clinton said in her speech at the think tank Asia Society in New York. She reiterated that Taliban officials should break from working with al-Qaida or "face the consequences of being...an enemy of the international community."

The US secretary of state pointed out that the US has tripled the number American civilians in Afghanistan to as 11,000 experts. These efforts, Clinton emphasized, are crucial for US security.

Clinton added that these three combined efforts, along with continued co-operation between the US and other nations in the region, will hopefully allow for a US troop withdrawal in 2014. She commented that "Pressure from the Pakistani side will help push the Taliban towards the negotiating table and away from al-Qaida."
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