General McChrystal: Taliban could be part of solution in Afghanistan
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, told the Financial Times that high-level political negotiations with the Taliban could help bring an end to the conflict.
The commander of US forces in Afghanistan said that Afghan government negotiations with the Taliban could be part of a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, in an interview published Monday.Skip to next paragraph
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Gen. Stanley McChrystal's remarks, though hardly the first mention of talks with the Taliban by a US military official, come before an international conference on Afghanistan in London Thursday expected to address a framework for Afghanistan to become responsible for its own security.
“I think that [negotiation] is in the purview of the government of Afghanistan to do, but I believe that a political solution to all conflicts is the inevitable outcome. And it’s the right outcome. I think that the re-integration of fighters can take a lot of the energy out of the current levels of the insurgency. Then I think you open up the option, the possibility, for everybody to look at what’s the right combination of participation in the government here.
When asked if senior Taliban leaders might eventually become government leaders in Kabul, McChrystal said “I think that anybody who dedicates themselves to the future and not the past, and anybody whose future is focused on the right kinds of things for Afghanistan,” might participate in government. He also said he hoped the international community would walk out of the conference Thursday with a “renewed commitment” to the “right outcome” for the Afghan people.
McChrystal’s position on negotiations with the Taliban is not groundbreaking. Gen. David Petraeus, commander of US Central Command, which overseas US forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan, took the same position in October 2008, as Reuters reported. But McChrystal’s statement could be aimed toward influencing Thursday's conference in London.