WASHINGTON, Oct 9: The Obama administration is looking at whether it could work with some members of the Taliban as part of a review of the Afghanistan war strategy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted on Thursday.
“We’re in the midst of a very thorough analysis of our assumptions about how best to achieve our core goals of protecting our country, our interests and our friends and allies from the scourge of terrorism,” Mrs Clinton told journalists.
“I’m not going to pre-empt or prejudge where this analysis comes out,” she said in response to a question on whether she agreed with some in President Barack Obama’s administration that support Washington working with some “reconcilable” elements of the Taliban.
“We are looking at every possible question that can be raised, including the one that you just asked, in order to determine the smartest approach for the president to adopt,” the chief US diplomat said as she stood alongside New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully.
The White House said on Thursday the Taliban posed less of a threat to US security than Al Qaeda, raising speculation that Mr Obama may decide against a massive troop increase in Afghanistan. Officials involved in Mr Obama’s intense Afghanistan policy review argued the terror group posed a grave danger to US interests and the US homeland while the Taliban, though hostile to US forces in the country, did not.
The finding stood in contrast to a grim assessment by Mr Obama’s war commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal, who has asked for up to 40,000 more troops and warned the counter-insurgency mission against the Taliban could fail without reinforcements.