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US Helped Encourage Discussion With Taliban, Gen Petraeus

Aug 26th 2010 at 10:24 AM

Washington: The US commander in Afghanistan said he supported efforts to broker a settlement with the Taliban and that the United States had helped encourage discussion with aggressive in some isolated cases. In an interview with the Fox News channel, Gen David Petraeus said the Afghan government was leading the effort to open discussion with Taliban leaders while the United States closely followed the procedure. The US is very much in the information loop and in a couple of cases has helped in a sense, but is not doing the negotiation, Gen Petraeus said, according to excerpts of the interview. In fact in a couple of remote cases there’s been a degree of facilitation, if you will. The war in Afghanistan would have to end based on a negotiation, like other insurgencies elsewhere, including Iraq, he said. We sat down across the table in Iraq from individuals who had our blood on their hands. It’s what’s done in just about any rebellion as you get to the end stages of it. Top US officials have said repetitively that attempts to discuss a deal with aggressive leaders will likely only succeed once the Taliban sense they have lost the upper hand on the battleground. But the commander’s comments marked a growing willingness by Washington to support a negotiated settlement, provided the aggressive promise to break links with Al Qaeda and meet other conditions. Agencies

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