Obama considering reaching out to moderate Taliban: Report

March 8th, 2009 - 10:11 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 8 (DPA) US President Barack Obama would consider a reconciliation effort to reach out to moderate members of the Taliban in order to turn around the conflict in Afghanistan, according to an interview published by the New York Times Sunday.
Obama, who is working to increase the US military presence in Afghanistan with an additional 17,000 troops, said the idea of a deal could mirror efforts in Iraq that have been partially credited with improving the security situation there.

“If you talk to General (David) Petraeus, I think he would argue that part of the success in Iraq involved reaching out to people that we would consider to be Islamic fundamentalists, but who were willing to work with us because they had been completely alienated by the tactics of Al Qaeda in Iraq,” Obama told the newspaper in an interview aboard the presidential airplane.

The president said he did not believe the US was winning the war in Afghanistan and admitted that any outreach effort would be “complex” due to tribal rivalries and other issues.

He also signalled that the new administration would not completely reverse former president George W. Bush’s policies toward terrorism. Obama indicated there might be situations in which terrorist suspects could be captured in other countries without the cooperation of the nation where they were found.

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