Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Taliban offer talks if US sets pullout date -- So they're setting the terms now?

The Taliban leadership is ready to negotiate peace with the United States right now if Washington indicates its willingness to provide a timetable for complete withdrawal, according to a former Afghan prime minister who set up a secret meeting between a senior Taliban official and a US general two years ago.

They also have no problem with meeting the oft-repeated US demand that the Taliban cut ties completely with al-Qaeda.

Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, who was acting prime minister of Afghanistan in 1995-96, told IPS in an interview that a group of Taliban officials conveyed the organization's position on starting peace negotiations to him in a meeting in Kabul a few days ago.

"They said once the Americans say 'we are ready to withdraw', they will sit with them," said Ahmadzai.

The former prime minister said Taliban officials made it clear that they were not insisting on any specific date for final withdrawal. "The timetable is up to the Americans," he said. (more)