Grossman may meet Taliban representative
WASHINGTON (PAN): The Obama administration on Thursday did not rule out the possibility of a meeting between its Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman and a representative of the Taliban.
“I do not know the answer to that question, and I do not know if in fact there is direct diplomacy,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference. He was asked if Grossman would be meeting representatives of the Taliban during his forthcoming trip to Afghanistan.
Grossman will travel to Ankara, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Kabul, and Doha from January 15 to January 27. He is traveling to Afghanistan and the region in support the Afghan-led reconciliation effort, as part of America’s larger strategy to support a prosperous and democratic Afghanistan.
“We wouldn't be going forward with this if we hadn't had positive signals from President Karzai, from the Afghan government, from the Loya Jirga,” she said when asked if there was a positive signal from the Taliban.
At the White House, Press Secretary Jay Carney said the US did not send military forces to Afghanistan because the Taliban were in power. “The Taliban had been in power. The US invaded Afghanistan because attacks were launched against it by Al Qaeda, located in Afghanistan…and that's why we went in,” he said.
Carney, however, said the US would continue with its military campaign along with the Afghan-led peace talks with Taliban leaders. “You have to have a political solution at some point, and a political settlement is essential here. But it coexists with our military campaign.”
The press secretary explained no decision had been made on transferring Taliban officials from the Guantanamo bay detention centre. Also US officials were also not in a position to discuss ongoing deliberations or individual detainees.
“In general, any decision to transfer a detainee from Guantanamo would be undertaken in accordance with US law and in consultation with Congress,” the ambassador concluded.
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