'Even a partly successful US-Taliban negotiation will favour Afghan strategy'

Published: Saturday, February 19, 2011, 19:35 [IST]
 

New York, Feb 19(ANI): Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist Steve Coll believes that it is past time for the US to shift some of its capacity for risk-taking in the war off the battlefield and into diplomacy aimed at reinforcing Afghan political unity, neutrality, civil rights, and social cohesion.

Coll said that the talks between the Obama administration and Taliban officials are a constructive step.

"For too long, American political strategy in Afghanistan has been subordinate to military and intelligence operations," Coll wrote in an article for the New Yorker magazine.

"If giving peace talks a chance can decrease the violence and shrink the Afghan battlefield by twenty or even ten per cent, President Obama will have calculated correctly: even a partly successful negotiation might help create political conditions that favour the reduction of American forces to a more sustainable level."

"A Taliban-endorsed ceasefire, to build confidence around long-term talks supported by many international governments, might also be conceivable," he added.

He further said that negotiations with the Taliban must be transparent.

"American efforts to calm the violence will succeed only if they are part of a broader strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia, one that gives priority to economic development, energy links, water, and regional peacemaking, including in the conflict between India and Pakistan," Coll wrote. (ANI)


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