US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called for negotiations with the Taliban during an unannounced visit to the country, Associated Press reported. Tillerson reportedly met with top Afghan officials at Bagram Air Base.
“Clearly we have to continue to fight against the Taliban, against others, in order for them to understand they will never win a military victory,” Tillerson said. “And there are we believe moderate voices among the Taliban, voices that do not want to continue to fight forever. They don’t want their children to fight forever. So we are looking to engage with those voices and have them engage in a reconciliation process leading to a peace process and their full involvement and participation in the government.”
“There’s a place for them in the government if they are ready to come, renouncing terrorism, renouncing violence and being committed to a stable prosperous Afghanistan.”
Tillerson started his tour of the region in Saudi Arabia, then travelled to Qatar. On Sunday, he visited the Saudi Arabia-Iraq Coordination Council in Riyadh, urging the two countries to work more closely together.
His tour is part of the Trump administration’s new South Asia policy.
“Pakistan needs to, I think, take a clear-eyed view of the situation that they are confronted with in terms of the number of terrorist organizations that find safe haven inside of Pakistan,” Tillerson said, alluding to upcoming talks with high level Pakistani officials. “So we want to work closely with Pakistan to create a more stable and secure Pakistan, as well.”
He visited Afghanistan in Monday morning, before moving on to Iraq. Tillerson will visit Pakistan on Tuesday and India on Wednesday.
In a September poll, 58% of Clarion readers who responded thought the U.S. should not send any more troops to Afghanistan. Do you think the US should negotiate with elements of the Taliban?