Hillary Clinton warns Taliban to cut ties with Al-Qaeda

Published: Saturday, February 19, 2011, 15:20 [IST]
 

Washington, Feb.19 (ANI): US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned the Taliban to cut ties with al-Qaeda or face increased military pressure from the United States and its allies.

In a speech given in New York, Clinton said, "They cannot defeat us. And they cannot escape this choice."

Currently the US has 78,000 troops in Afghanistan and plans to start withdrawing them from there this summer, with full withdrawal expected by 2014, the BBC reports.

Addressing the Asia Society in New York, Clinton said that the US administration is conducting a three track strategy in Afghanistan, a military offensive against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, a civilian campaign to bolster the Afghan and Pakistani governments, and an intensified diplomatic push to end the war and chart a secure future for the region.

"In 2001, after 9/11, the Taliban chose to defy the international community and protect Al-Qaeda. That was the wrong choice, and they have paid a heavy price. Today, the escalating pressure of our military campaign is sharpening a similar decision for the Taliban, break ties with al-Qaeda, give up your arms, and abide by the Afghan constitution and you can rejoin Afghan society; refuse and you will continue to face the consequences of being tied to Al-Qaeda as an enemy of the international community," she added.

Clinton also said the US aimed to bolster an Afghan-led effort to split the Taliban from its al-Qaeda allies and reconcile those willing to renounce violence with the Afghan government. (ANI)

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