U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said the United States is open to talk and negotiate with the Taliban and Haqqani Network as well during the television toundtable with Dawn, ARY, AAJ, Dunya, Geo, Express, and Pakistan TV in Islamabad.
“We have reached out to the Taliban, we have reached out to the Haqqani Network, to test their willingness and their sincerity.” -Ms. Clinton
She highlighted that the Pakistani Government officials helped to facilitate such a meeting. She said the United States wants more coordination between the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan for what must be, with respect to the conflict in Afghanistan, an Afghan-led effort.
“But Afghanistan cannot do it without both Pakistan and the United States. We believe that there is now an opportunity for us to begin talking, but there is no guarantee that the talking will result in anything that will move us toward a peaceful resolution.” -Ms. Clinton
She stated that they were going to continue fighting where necessary to protect their interests and so are the Pakistani military. She added they cannot allow terrorists to gain ground and to be, unfortunately, inflicting attacks on people.
“We are now working among us – Afghanistan and Pakistan and the United States – to try to put together a process that would sequence us toward an actual negotiation. I hasten to say that in my discussions with Pakistani officials, they hold the same view that we do.” -Ms. Clinton
She stressed that they don’t know whether it will work, but they believe strongly they must try it.
“And as General Petraeus has explained, his experience in Iraq – and this is not Iraq, but just from a certain perspective – he both fought and talked at the same time to create an atmosphere that diminished and eventually ended what had become a civil war. And so we see no contradiction. We want to see more talking than fighting, but in order to get to the talking, we have to keep fighting.” – Ms. Clinton