Ahead of the conference in London, England on Thursday, the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan are in Turkey for talks on handling the militant threat within their countries, the BBC reports.
“This is the fourth such meeting initiated by Turkey, which has offered to broker talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban,” the BBC report says.
“Both Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, will attend an international conference on Afghanistan in London on Thursday.”
U.S. Gen. Stanley McChyrstal, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, in an interview with the Financial Times, said the increase of U.S. troops there could help broker peace with the Taliban.
“As a soldier, my personal feeling is that there’s been enough fighting,” McChyrstal told the Financial Times. “What I think we do is try to shape conditions which allow people to come to a truly equitable solution to how the Afghan people are governed.”
Matthew Green, the Financial Times reporter, writes: “The remarks reveal the growing faith the U.S. military is placing in the hope that a power-sharing arrangement can end the war, a possibility floated in Islamabad last week by Robert Gates, the U.S. defense secretary, when he described the Taliban as part of Afghanistan’s ‘political fabric.’”
Some other news reports and perspectives:
- Roxana Tiron (The Hill): “CBO: Troop surge in Afghanistan to cost $36 billion over the next three years”
- Ahmed Rahsid (New York Review of Books): “A deal with the Taliban?”
- Dexter Filkins (New York Times): “The Taliban doesn’t seem ready to talk”
- Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger (New York Times): “Pakistan’s rebuff over new offensives rankles U.S.”
- Jean McKenzie (Foreign Policy): “Kabuki in Kabul”