US ready to talk to Taliban chief Mullah Omar
Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that Washington is ready to negotiate with Taliban leader Mullah Omar, as his involvement is crucial for the prospects of peace in Afghanistan.
According to the Age, Clinton’s comments are seen as a significant shift in US policy, from moves to divide the Taliban-led insurgency and isolate Omar, to an acknowledgement of his leadership.
Earlier, the Haqqani network’s commander, Sirajuddin Haqqani, warned Washington that only the Quetta Shura, the Taliban-led militant organisation, could negotiate a peace deal and that his fighters would not be divided.
In an appearance before the House foreign affairs committee, Clinton said the US would continue to “fight, talk and build” in Afghanistan and Pakistan to test any willingness to negotiate.
Clinton said there was “evidence going both ways” on its intentions.
She said last month`s Haqqani meeting was not a “negotiation” and that no meetings had followed it, but she stressed that any negotiations with the Taliban in the future would require the Quetta Shura’s blessing.
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