US offers olive branch to moderate Taliban

March 31st, 2009 - 11:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban The Hague, March 31 (Xinhua) The US Tuesday supported efforts by the Afghan government to reconcile with the moderate Taliban as part of a revamped policy to deal with the growing insurgency in the war-torn country.
“We must support efforts by the government of Afghanistan to separate the extremists of Al Qaeda and the Taliban from those who have joined their ranks not out of conviction, but out of desperation,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at an international conference on Afghanistan here Tuesday.

“This is, in fact, the case for a majority of those fighting with the Taliban,” Clinton added.

“They should be offered an honourable form of reconciliation and reintegration into a peaceful society, if they are willing to abandon violence, break with Al Qaeda, and support the constitution,” she said.

Without openly criticising the current Afghan government, Clinton said a legitimate and respected government was needed and there was no room for corruption.

“Corruption is a cancer - as dangerous to our long-term success as the Taliban or Al Qaeda. A government that cannot deliver for its people is a terrorist’s best recruiting tool,” Clinton said.

She announced a fund of $40 million for the upcoming Afghanistan’s presidential election in August, urging for an “open, free and fair” poll.

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