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Report: Time is now for talks to end Afghan war
The task force said the United States will be a — if not the — most essential party in any peace negotiations with the Taliban.
“The process cannot prosper without full American support and leadership,” the report said.
Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States was launching a “diplomatic surge to move this conflict toward a political outcome that shatters the alliance between the Taliban and al Qaeda, ends the insurgency, and helps to produce not only a more stable Afghanistan, but a more stable region.”
The alternative to a political resolution is a protracted conflict that neither the war-weary Afghans, Americans or Europeans want or can afford, the task force said. The report said any final peace accord would have to include the Taliban’s promise to sever ties with al Qaeda, measures to curb narcotics production and trafficking, and a withdrawal of foreign forces.
NATO officials say as many as 900 Taliban foot soldiers have been lured off the battlefield to join the government, but the report said reintegrating Taliban fighters into Afghan society will not be enough to yield peace without an overarching political agreement embraced by all parties.
David Rising in London and Solomon Moore and Amir Shah in Kabul contributed to this report.
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