New York: US has opened direct secret
talks with senior Taliban leaders, a media report said here,
as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that only a
political solution could end the crisis in Afghanistan.
"The administration of President Barack Obama has
entered into direct secret talks with Taliban officials," New
Yorker magazine reported.
In a column, Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Steve
Coll said the talks were an attempt by the Obama
administration "to assess which leader in Taliban might be
willing to engage in former Afghan peace negotiations and
under what conditions".
Clinton speaking at the Asia Society said that the
surge in US troops in Afghanistan was part of a strategy to
weaken Taliban and split it away from al Qaeda.
She said the turned leaders of the Taliban who will be
asked to renounce violence and negotiations opened with them
for a political solution in Afghanistan.
The Secretary of State said the Taliban faced a choice
in 2001 when the US toppled their hardline Islamic regime for
hosting al Qaeda, responsible for horrific September 11
attacks on New York and Washington.
"Today, the escalating pressure of our military is
sharpening a similar decision for the Taliban: break ties with
al Qaeda, renounce violence, abide by the Afghan constitution
and you can rejoin society," she said.
She warned that if Taliban refused the choice they
will continue to face the consequences of being tied to al
Qaeda and remain enemy of the international community.
"They cannot wait us out. They cannot defeat us and
they cannot escape this choice," she said.
Clinton acknowledged that a mere mention of political
solution would raise hackles on the Capitol Hill who question
whether we need anything more than guns.
"As our commanders in the field will be the first to
say, that is shortsighted. We will never kill enough
insurgence to end this war outright," she said.
The Secretary of State was delivering inaugural
lecture in memory of Former US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who
served as Washington`s special envoy to Afghanistan and