US opens direct secret talks with Taliban
Press Trust of India, PTI
New York, February 19, 2011
US has opened direct secret talks with senior Taliban leaders, a media report said here, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that only a political solution could end the crisis in Afghanistan. “The administration of President Barack Obama has entered into direct secret talks with Taliban officials,” New Yorker magazine reported.
In a column, Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Steve Coll said the talks were an attempt by the Obama administration “to assess which leader in Taliban might be willing to engage in former Afghan peace negotiations and under what conditions”.
Clinton speaking at the Asia Society said that the surge in US troops in Afghanistan was part of a strategy to weaken Taliban and split it away from al Qaeda.
She said the turned leaders of the Taliban who will be asked to renounce violence and negotiations opened with them for a political solution in Afghanistan.
“They cannot wait us out. They cannot defeat us and they cannot escape this choice,” Clinton said.