US seeking to split Taliban with cash and job offers: Report

Last Updated: Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 19:28

Washington: The United States and its
allies are offering cash and jobs to Taliban fighters as part
of a stepped up negotiation with representatives of Mullah
Omar and other insurgents to persuade them to lay down their
arms, a news report said today.

The renewed efforts to negotiate a deal with the
Taliban comes amid the surge in troops for Afghanistan
announced by President Barack Obama in a bid to weaken the
insurgency and promote a negotiated end to the region`s
violence.

"The strategy is to peel away so many fighters" from
the insurgent chiefs that they will be left like "floating
icebergs and have no one left to command," said Kenneth
Katzman, an Afghanistan specialist at the Congressional
Research Service.

Several Pakistani, Middle Eastern and US officials
said in interviews that Saudi and Pakistani officials, acting
with tacit American encouragement, are talking with "second
tier" Taliban leaders connected with Mullah Omar, the
Washington Times reported.

Beyond talks with militant commanders, a second
component of the American strategy is to lure rank-and-file
fighters with jobs and cash, the report said.

Defense Department spokesman Army Lt. Col. Mark Wright
said the Pentagon is supporting commanders to win over the
"USD 5- and USD 10-a-day Taliban-for-hire fighter."

"This is a multi-pronged process," he said. "We need
talks with Taliban, enhanced security and continuous efforts
to lure back the low-level Taliban fighter," he was quoted as
saying by the US daily.

The Times reported recently that one-eyed ruthless
Mullah Omar has been hiding in the Pakistani port city of
Karachi and was brought there with the knowledge of Pakistani
intelligence.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 19:28

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