From the AP: The U.S. said Wednesday that it will support a plan to reintegrate Taliban fighters set to be announced by Afghan President Hamid Karzai at an international conference in London.
U.S. special representative Richard Holbrooke said Mr. Karzai will outline the plan Thursday to convince low-level and midlevel Taliban fighters who don’t back al Qaeda to give up their fight against U.S. and NATO forces.
The plan will be a centerpiece of the one-day London conference designed to boost the flagging war effort in Afghanistan, where U.S. and NATO forces have been suffering increasing casualties from a resurgent Taliban. The Taliban rejected the plan, saying in a statement posted to their Web site Wednesday that their fighters wouldn’t be swayed by financial incentives because they were fighting not for ‘money, property and position’ but for Islam and an end to the foreign military presence in their country.
Mr. Holbrooke said U.S. officials believed otherwise. “The overwhelming majority of these people are not ideological supporters of Mullah Omar (the fugitive Taliban leader) and al Qaeda,” Mr. Holbrooke said. “Based on interviews with prisoners, returnees, experts, there must be at least 70% of these people who are not fighting for anything to do with those causes.” (photo: Getty)