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    Taliban unlikely to join Karzai govt: Brennan

    WASHINGTON (PAN): The Taliban may not join the sitting government in Kabul that they have repeatedly branded as a puppet and illegitimate set-up, US President Barack Obama’s top counter-terrorism advisor told lawmakers on Friday.

    Giving a grim assessment of the ongoing reconciliation process, John Brennan said: “The Taliban are unlikely to participate in the current government because they do not accept the legitimacy of the Karzai regime.”

    In written answers to questions from members of the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of his confirmation process for the post of CIA director, he said: “We have few indicators to date that the Taliban are sincere about reconciliation.”

    One of the key outcomes for reconciliation would entail credible Taliban commitments to abide by the Afghan constitution, including protections for the rights of all Afghan men, women and children, he said, indicating that there had been no change in the red line for talks with the Taliban.

    Brennan justified the Obama administration’s decision to kill US nationals who were members of Al Qaeda and considered a threat to the national security.

    “An operation using lethal force in a foreign country outside an area of active hostilities, targeted against a US citizen who is a senior operational leader of al-Qa’ida or associated forces, and who is actively engaged in planning to kill Americans, would be lawful,” he argued.

    The official added the US had acknowledged that it used lethal force, when appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to prevent terrorist attacks and to save American lives. However, he rejected the suggestion the administration somehow preferred killing terrorists to capturing them.

    “Our unqualified preference is to capture an individual rather than use lethal force, in part because we recognise that one of the best sources of intelligence comes from the interrogation of captured terrorists. We only undertake lethal force when we determine that capture is not feasible,” he concluded.