NATO general says aim must be to divide Taliban
The NATO general who oversees anti-Taliban operations in Afghanistan recommended Wednesday that the West seek to divide the Taliban and enter negotiations with its moderates, reported dpa.
Egon Ramms, who is a four-star German general, told the German weekly magazine Stern it was increasingly easy to differentiate between militant non-Afghan infiltrators and local Afghan rebels.
"Not every rebel belongs to the radical Islamist Taliban," said Ramms. "You have to divide them, coax the local rebels over to the government side and reach a long-term peace with them."
Ramms, whose Dutch-based Allied Joint Force Command oversees NATO foreign deployments, including the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
The objectives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the conflict are ultimately set by the governments in the organization rather than by its military command.
Stern released his remarks as it went to press.
Ramms also said it was his view that the NATO forces should confine their efforts to bringing security to the most populous regions, not the rugged, thinly populated parts.
"We don't have to take over the whole country. We only need to establish security where the majority of the population live," he said.