Sunday, July 12, 2009

Afghan war will end if Taliban lay down arms: US

Updated on : Sunday, July 12, 2009

WASHINGTON: Ruling out talks with Taliban till they renounce violence and repudiate al-Qaeda publicly, a top Obama Administration official today said that the war against terrorism in Afghanistan would end only after the militant group lays down its arms.

"This war is not going to end on the decks of the USS Missouri, like World War II did. This war is going to end when the Taliban lay down their arms and reintegrate into society.

And that's always been an option," Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke said.

"The United States and (Afghan) President (Hamid) Karzai have long said that Taliban reconciliation is part of our programme, people who work with the Taliban, who support them, who want to lay down their arms and participate, the door is always open," he told media in an interview.

Holbrooke refrained from answering directly when he was shown a video clip of an interview with the spokesperson of Pakistan Army saying that some elements have maintained contacts with the Taliban leader Mullah Omar and they can bring him on the table of talks for the US.

"Now, he (Pak Army spokesperson Major General Athar Abbas) is saying on the record he wants to work out some relationship, if you will, between the US and the Taliban," asked television anchor Wolf Blitzer.

"No, I don't know what he's talking about. The Taliban and al-Qaeda are linked like this. And, unless the Taliban repudiates al-Qaeda publicly, this is a nonstarter...," Holbrooke said.

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