Despite earlier White House reservations about Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s desire to reconcile with top Taliban leaders, Obama conditionally accepted that Karzai move forward with the talks.
U.S. officials have previously refused to discuss reconciliation with Taliban leaders, but Obama said Wednesday that “so long as there’s a respect for the Afghan Constitution, rule of law, human rights; so long as they are willing to renounce violence and ties to Al Qaeda and other extremist networks; that President Karzai should be able to work to reintegrate those individuals into Afghan society.”
The president stressed that effectiveness in military successes would provide more leverage in negotiations with the Taliban.
READ THIS STORY AT LATIMES.COM
Continue reading LA Times: Obama may embrace plan to reconcile with Afghan Taliban
The White House emphasized a strong bilateral relationship with Karzai Tuesday, but Wednesday’s meeting was fraught with tension over the Afghan endgame strategy.
While Washington remains focused on completly removing the Taliban from Kandahar, Afghanistan and neighboring countries are on a path that ends the country’s eight-year conflict with negotiations for a settlement with the Taliban.
The local population is also ready to negotiate a Taliban settlement, a U.S. Military survey of public opinion in the Kandahar region showed. With a margin of 19 to 1, locals favored talks with the Taliban over continued fighting.
READ THIS STORY AT TIME.COM
Continue reading TIME: Karzai and Obama: Whose Strategy for Afghan Endgame?
In a particularly severe drone attack in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region, American drone aircraft fired 18 missiles on militants.
Located on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Taliban and Al Qaeda use the region to train militants for operations against NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The severity of the drone attacks, a continuation of the Central Intelligence Agency’s attempt to break down the capabilities of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, has forced militants to keep on the move and use temporary shelters.
A resident of Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan, said the militants killed in the attack belonged to Sadiq Noor, a commander loyal to the Haqqani network.
READ THIS STORY AT NYTIMES.COM
Continue reading NY Times: Drone Strikes Pound West Pakistan