U.S. supports Afghan Taliban reintegration policy
The United States on Friday voiced its support for President Hamid Karzai's policy to reintegrate Taliban fighters into the Afghan society, saying insurgency in the country could be defeated through a combination of political process and military actions, Xinhua reported.
"We actually support the concept of a reintegration," said U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley, referring to the policy on absorbing those foot soldiers who are tired of fighting for Taliban into the Afghan society, which was proposed by President Karzai at the International Conference on Afghanistan held on Thursday in London.
"This is fully consistent with our strategy of trying to build up capacity within the Afghan government and provide it (with) resources so that we can begin to peel away the foot soldiers who we think are not ideologically committed to this," said Crowley.
At the London conference, representatives from some 70 countries and organizations voiced support for reconciliation in Afghanistan to include Taliban members.
"We'll do this process. And we think over time we can put additional pressure on the leadership of the Taliban," said Crowley.
But the process, according to the spokesman, should be based on the concepts that anyone who wants to reconcile and play a more constructive role in Afghanistan's future must accept the constitution, renounce violence, and publicly break with extremist groups such as al-Qaeda.
The Taliban, which governed Afghanistan from 1996 until it was overturned in late 2001, is a Suuni Islamist political movement waging guerrilla wars against the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan and international targets in the two countries.
"We need to have a political process along works in parallel with the military action that we're taking with our allies and with the Afghan government to try to ultimately defeat this insurgency," said Crowley.
However, Fabris Pothier, senior fellow of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Xinhua that the offer of reconciliation is "weak and short-term."
"It relies on assumption that local Taliban commanders are ready to be bought off by cash and jobs. Beyond the obvious logistic issues, the real problem is that the plan fails to be a real peace process," said Pothier.
"Such plan should propose the political reintegration of the Taliban to recognize as a legitimate opposition movement even though they are a minority. Such peace process is the best political strategy to put an end to the conflict and try to build some guarantees that the Afghan regime won't become a threat and radical," Pothier added.