Reconciliation with Taliban necessary: US
WASHINGTON (PAN): Defeating Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was a clear objective of the United States, the White House said on Wednesday, reiterating reconciliation with the Taliban was necessary to bring long-term peace to the country.
“Defeat of al Qaeda is a very clear objective. But the long-term prospects for Afghanistan and for peaceful resolution of this conflict has to include reconciliation,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
Carney said defeat of the Taliban was not the objective of the Obama administration. “It is not -- and that was made clear in the president’s policy review and the statement of his policy -- the objective to defeat the Taliban,” he said.
The Taliban fighting US troops and Afghan forces were part of the conflict and the Americans were engaged with them, he said. But in the long term, the objective was to defeat al Qaeda and provide training and assistance to Afghan forces so that they can take control of security across their country, the official said.
Responding to questions, Carney said the objective for going into Afghanistan, which had been essentially lost by the time Obama took office, was to go after those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.
“The president made clear through his policy review that we needed to refocus attention on that conflict and refocus on the goals that we had set for ourselves and needed to be clear: to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat al Qaeda,” Carney continued.
Earlier in the day, a top American general based in Afghanistan told reporters the Taliban were unlikely to be defeated. “If we think the Taliban will be completely destroyed, that's not feasible.
“They'll continue to show up. The key is that we get the Afghan national security forces to the levels where they can maintain security for the populace of Afghanistan,” said Maj. Gen. Lee Miller, commanding general of Regional Command Southwest.
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