Clinton shows some sanity on Afghanistan

Secretary of State Clinton acknowledges that the Taliban is not al Qaeda. Maybe someday the Obama administration will find a way to suggest that we can’t win a war in an enormous broken country riddled with corruption.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has held out an olive branch to Taliban militants willing to lay down their arms, adding her support to an offer of talks from Afghan leader Hamid Karzai.

“Today we and our Afghan allies stand ready to welcome anyone supporting the Taliban, who renounces Al Qaeda, lays down their arms, and is willing to participate in the free and open society that is enshrined in the Afghan constitution,” she said.

“We and our allies fight in Afghanistan because the Taliban protects Al Qaeda and depends on it for support, sometimes coordinating activities,” she said.

“In other words, to eliminate Al Qaeda, we must also fight the Taliban.”

But in a major foreign policy speech to the Council of Foreign Relations, she added: “We understand that not all those who fight with the Taliban support Al Qaeda, or believe in the extremist policies the Taliban pursued when in power.”

Ms Clinton is not the first US official to extend a hand to Taliban militants who renounce violence.

In March in an interview with The New York Times, President Barack Obama suggested Washington could be interested in talks with some Taliban militants.

Highlighting the success of the US strategy of bringing some Sunni Iraqi insurgents to the negotiating table and away from Al Qaeda, Mr Obama said “there may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and the Pakistani region.”

The strategy in Iraq had been developed by General David Petraeus, then commander of US forces in the country.


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