Afghan govt will lead reconciliation process: Gen Petraeus

US commander says Afghan govt will lead reconciliation process in country.

Washington: Top US commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, has said the Afghan government will lead the reconciliation process in the country.

President Barack Obama has increased the number of American troops to 93,000 in order to defeat the Taliban, but many foreign policy experts believe the only way to end the war is by negotiating with the very insurgency Afghan and coalition forces are trying to crush. It’s called reconciliation.

Replying to a question of CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric whether the US would be willing to play a role in that process, General Petraeus, said: “We’re not the ones calling the shots.”

“At the end of the day those who will determine whether reconciliation goes forward or not are those who lead the Afghan government, and that is why it is appropriate that they lead these efforts, perhaps facilitated in some cases, supported in some cases, by the United States,” he said.

“But those are going to remain behind the scenes, and that’s where they should remain. President (Hamid) Karzai has established the Afghan government’s redlines if you will. They must respect the Constitution, lay down weapons, cut off ties with al Qaeda and essentially be willing to be productive members of society,” General Petraeus said.

Asked if he had any moral qualms about bringing the Taliban into the process, he said: “It’s not about my moral qualms. It’s about the Afghanistan leadership, which has established the redlines, and I think that you have to have at least an open mind about this because this is historically the way counterinsurgency efforts ultimately have been concluded.”


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