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Mullah Omar not interested in peace talks: Hillary

Last Updated: Friday, January 29, 2010 - 09:38

Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday said Taliban leader Mullah Omar is not
interested in peace talks or the reconciliation efforts of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

"I do not expect Mullah Omar and those people to be at all interested in this. In fact, they`ve made it very clear that they`re not," Hillary told CNN.
"I think there are many members of the Taliban who will see this chance to re-enter society under these very stringent conditions to be attractive enough to test," she said.

"In general, you don`t make peace with your friends; you make peace with your enemies. And I think what President
Karzai is trying to do is to send some very clear messages," she said.

"Number one, if you are one of the many, many Taliban members who is there because it`s a living, you actually are making money by being in this fight, or you were, in effect,
drafted through intimidation of some sort, come off the battlefield and reintegrate into society," she said.

"If you are a mid-level leader of the Taliban, not ideologically committed to their world view, then you too can
rejoin society. However, there are very clear conditions: You must renounce violence, you must lay down your arms, you must renounce al Qaeda, and you must be willing to live by the laws and the Constitution of Afghanistan," Hillary said.
"I think that this is the way peace usually gets made. You send out feelers. You see who`s willing to lay down their arms and abide by the conditions. You see how far up that will go," she said in response to a question.

Hillary said: "I also think it`s clear that our commanders on the field, General McChrystal and his team, who
are in the fight and reversing the momentum of the Taliban,
they know, as we learned in Iraq, there is an opportunity to
try to convince the insurgents to quit the fight and come
back. And that`s part of this peace effort."

Observing that the Taliban is extremely unpopular in Afghanistan, Hillary referred to a recent poll in this regard,
which pointed out that most people in Afghanistan now believe
that they can have a better future, they do not want the
Taliban back.

But they`re scared and they are looking for some support.
And one of the ways, as we saw in an article in `The New York
Times`, I think it was today, is that the military is going in
and not just talking to individuals, but talking to tribes,
talking to villages," she said.

"This is classic counterinsurgency, and everyone knows
that, as General McChrystal has said, you`re never going to
kill or capture everybody calling themselves a Taliban.

"But you can change the political environment so that
those who continue to call themselves Taliban become more and
more isolated, and that`s what we`re seeking," Hillary said.


First Published: Friday, January 29, 2010 - 09:38
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