US in direct talks with Taliban: Report

New Yorker magazine reports Obama administration attempting to assess if Taliban willing to engage in formal talks.


Afp February 19, 2011

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama’s administration has entered into direct, secret talks with senior Afghan Taliban officials, The New Yorker magazine reported on Friday.

The talks were characterized in the story as an attempt by the Obama administration "to assess which figures in the Taliban's leadership, if any, might be willing to engage in formal Afghan peace negotiations, and under what conditions."

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll wrote that several sources, which were not identified in the story, briefed him about the talks.

Earlier Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that only a political solution will end the war in Afghanistan.

"We will never kill enough insurgents to end this war outright," Clinton said during a speech in New York.

Clinton voiced hope for splitting off rank-and-file Taliban from al Qaeda extremists in Afghanistan.

Clinton said the surge in US-led troops over the past year was part of a strategy to "split the weakened Taliban off from al Qaeda and reconcile those who will renounce violence and accept the Afghan constitution."

The late Richard Holbrooke, who served as Washington's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, was a leading advocate for a political settlement. Holbrooke died December 13.

COMMENTS (3)

Daniel | 10 years ago | Reply We are not trying to conquer Afghanistan. On the contrary, we the people, allowed the war to take place on the idea we were trying to liberate the people from an oppressive regime. To give Afghans the same liberty that people in many countries are taking into their own hands as we speak. We as a people don't wish to push our beliefs on others, we want people to be able to express their own beliefs without fear of prosecution. Believe me, for TRUE LIBERTY, we are prepared to sacrifice soldiers and people's lives into the MILLIONS if we had to. The politicians are all about resources, and with Afghanistan it was also about having an eastern flank on Iran. Lithium deposits were found in Afghanistan said to be worth trillions. Not to mention the already known existence of natural gas and petroleum. If Afghans would get together they could be making billions, lithium is highly sought for its use in batteries, especially for the new electric cars coming out.
Zahiruddin | 10 years ago | Reply Finally, they are coming to their senses and realizing that it is not possible to subdue the brave Afghans as they were never conquered before. Yet to cover up their embarrassment, they are just pretending to disalign the so-called weakened Taliban from Al-Qaeeda.
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