CANBERRA - Preliminary talks between the Taliban and the United States aimed at ending Afghanistan's worsening insurgency would not dent morale or confuse international troops fighting against militants, Australia's government said on Monday.
Asked whether negotiations could conflict with the combat mission of foreign troops, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith said only Taliban who renounced violence and agreed to abide by the Afghan constitution would be included in talks.
"There has never been a counter-insurgency effort which in the end has not been settled in some manner or form by a political outcome," Smith told Australian television.
"Those hard-core ideologues, who run with al-Qaida or who run with other terrorist networks, who don't believe in democracy, who believe that points of view should be affected by the barrel of a gun, they will not have a role," he said.
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