US general signals Taliban talks
The top US commander in Afghanistan has said a negotiated peace with the Taliban is the way forward.
Gen Stanley McChrystal told the UK's Financial Times that there had been "enough fighting" and he wanted a political solution to the conflict.
President Obama's deployment of 30,000 extra US troops to Afghanistan would weaken the Taliban enough to force it to agree a peace deal, he said.
He added that the Taliban could help run the country in future.
His comments come ahead of an international conference on Afghanistan due to be held in London later this week.
"I'd like everybody to walk out of London with a renewed commitment, and that commitment is to the right outcome for the Afghan people," Gen McChrystal said.
Recently, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the BBC that he planned to introduce a scheme to attract Taliban fighters back to normal life by offering money and jobs.
He said he would offer to pay and resettle Taliban fighters to come over to his side.
Mr Karzai said he hoped to win backing for his plan from the US and UK at the London conference.
"As a soldier, my personal feeling is that there's been enough fighting," Gen McChrystal told the Financial Times.
"I believe that a political solution to all conflicts is the inevitable outcome. And it's the right outcome," he said.
Gen McChrystal said the arrival of the extra 30,000 US troops pledged by President Obama and the additional 7,000 troops promised by other Nato countries should deliver "very demonstrably positive" progress.
"It's not my job to extend olive branches, but it is my job to help set conditions where people in the right positions can have options on the way forward," he said.
Gen McChrystal also said that the Taliban could have a role in a future Afghan government.
"I think any Afghans can play a role if they focus on the future, and not the past," he said.
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Published: 2010/01/25 06:02:22 GMT
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