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US commander seeks peace with Taliban

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Jan 25, IRNA -- General Stanley McChrystal, the Nato commander in Afghanistan, has raised the prospect that the US troop surge would lead to a negotiated peace with the Taliban, a turnaround in the aims of the 2001 invasion.

Speaking ahead of this week’s London conference on Afghanistan, the US general said that there had been "enough fighting" and he wanted a power-sharing agreement to end the eight-year old war.

"I'd like everybody to walk out of London with a renewed commitment, and that commitment is to the right outcome for the Afghan people," he said.

"I believe that a political solution to all conflicts is the inevitable outcome. And it's the right outcome," McChrystal said.

Thursday’s conference, being attended by some 70 countries and international organizations, came after US President Barack Obama approved the deployment of 30,000 US extra troops to carry out a surge against insurgents’ growing control in Afghanistan.

In an interview with the Financial Times, published Monday, the US commander acknowledged growing scepticism about the war, but said he was poised to make “very demonstrably positive” progress this year as a result of the extra troops.

He suggested a negotiated peace with the way forward and did not rule out Taliban’s involvement in helping to run the country in future even though the original aim of the US-led invasion in 2001 was to overthrow its regime.

"I think any Afghans can play a role if they focus on the future, and not the past," McChrystal said when asked if he would be content to see Taliban leaders in a future government in Kabul.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that he planned to introduce a scheme to attract Taliban fighters back to normal life by offering money and jobs.

Karzai said he would offer to pay and resettle Taliban fighters to come over to his side and that he hoped to win backing for his plan from the US and UK at the London conference.

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End News / IRNA / News Code 918006



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