US ‘may work with Taliban’

The Obama administration was looking at whether it could work with some members of the Taliban as part of a review of the Afghanistan war strategy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted.


“We’re in the midst of a very thorough analysis of our assumptions about how best to achieve our core goals of protecting our country, our interests and our friends and allies from the scourge of terrorism,” Clinton told reporters.

“I’m not going to pre-empt or prejudge where this analysis comes out,” Clinton said in response to a question on whether she agreed with some in President Barack Obama’s administration who support Washington working with some “reconcilable” elements of the Taliban.

“We are looking at every possible question that can be raised, including the one that you just asked, in order to determine the smartest approach for the president to adopt,” the chief US diplomat told reporters as she stood alongside New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

Al-Qaeda ‘bigger threat’

The White House said on Thursday the Taliban posed less of a threat to US security than al-Qaeda, raising speculation that Obama may decide against a massive troop increase in Afghanistan.

Officials involved in Obama’s intense Afghanistan policy review argued the terror group posed a grave danger to US interests and the US homeland while the Taliban, though hostile to US forces in the country, did not.

The finding stood in contrast to a grim assessment by Obama’s war commander, General Stanley McChrystal, who has asked for up to 40,000 more troops and warned the counterinsurgency mission against the Taliban could fail without reinforcements.