Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama 'sees role for Taliban in Afghanistan's political future'

President Barack Obama is ready to accept a role for the Taliban in Afghanistan's political future in a major shift of policy towards the Islamic radicals who are attacking US and British troops, it has been reported.
As he assess a request from his top commander in Afghanistan to dispatch one more 40,000 troops to fight the Taliban, he is also "inclined" to send only as a lot of as needed to keep al-Qaeda at bay.

The assessment was given to the Associated Press by a senior official involved in Mr Obama's discussions with his top national safety and military advisors about Afghanistan strategy.

There is believed to be a rising favor in his war council for differentiating between native Afghan Taliban factions and the foreign extremists of al-Qaeda. Several of the president's advisors are arguing that the Taliban are predominantly fighting against what is perceived as Nato "occupation" while it is al Qaeda that poses a threat to US defence.

Aides have made clear that Mr Obama is improbable to reach a final decision on strategy and troop numbers before the end of October.
But it seems more and more unlikely that he will grant the request from Gen Stanley McChrystal, the commander he appointed only this summer, for an extra 40,000 US troops to join the 68,000 who will already be in Afghanistan by the end of the year.


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