Tuesday, July 20, 2010

White House shifts Afghanistan strategy towards talks with Taliban

(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)

Senior Washington officials tell the Guardian of a 'change of mindset' over Obama administration's Afghanistan policy

Ewen MacAskill in Washington and Simon Tisdall
guardian.co.uk, Monday 19 July 2010

"The White House is revising its Afghanistan strategy to embrace the idea of negotiating with senior members of the Taliban through third parties – a policy to which it had previously been lukewarm.

Negotiating with the Taliban has long been advocated by Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and the British and Pakistani governments, but resisted by Washington.

The Guardian has learned that while the American government is still officially resistant to the idea of talks with Taliban leaders, behind the scenes a shift is under way and Washington is encouraging Karzai to take a lead in such negotiations.

"There is a change of mindset in DC," a senior official in Washington said. "There is no military solution. That means you have to find something else. There was something missing."

That missing element was talks with the Taliban leadership, the official added......"

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