Monday, December 7, 2009

Offer Taliban a chance to end fight: McChrystal

KABUL: The Afghan government and its international partners should use the coming 18 months to convince the Taliban they cannot win and offer the group a way to quit the insurgency “with dignity”, the top US commander in Afghanistan – Gen Stanley McChrystal – said on Wednesday.

Within hours of Obama’s speech, McChrystal also addressed his commanders by videophone and set off on a battlefield tour to rally his forces.

Timetable: McChrystal told reporters the 18-month timetable for withdrawal was enough time to build up Afghan forces and convince the people of the war-ravaged country that they could eventually take care of their own security.

He said the Afghan government and the coalition should also use that period “to convince the Taliban and the people from whom they recruit that they cannot win ... there is not a way for the insurgency to win militarily”.

McChrystal said the 30,000 extra troops for the Afghan war would make a huge difference. He said the extra forces would provide the help needed for the main effort: speed up the training of Afghan security forces and protect towns and villages.

At the same time, McChrystal said the US should support the Afghan government in a reintegration programme to allow insurgents a way to return to society. agencies

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