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