Timing not right for deal with Afghan Taliban: US defence secretary

May 23rd, 2009 - 1:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Washington, May 23 (IANS) The chances of a deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban are remote as long as the insurgents enjoy momentum on the battlefield, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said.
“The time was not yet ripe for the kind of reconciliation that occurred in Iraq with armed opponents of the Baghdad government,” Geo TV reported Saturday, citing Gates.

“I think the view of most of us is that until the momentum of the battle turns against the Taliban… the likelihood of any kind of reconciliation is very small,” he said.

When asked about a New York Times report that Taliban factions were in talks with the Kabul government and pushing for a deadline for the withdrawal of NATO-led forces, Gates said Washington would “absolutely not” accept any such idea.

“The end of all such wars involves some measure of reconciliation. We’ve seen it in Iraq,” the defence secretary said in a US television show Friday.

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