HILLARY CLINTON holds out olive branch to 'NON-VIOLENT' TALIBAN

‘NON-VIOLENT TALIBAN’ is an oxymoron. Nevertheless, U.S. goes crawling on its knees to appease them.

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – The United States offered Taliban fighters who renounce violence in Afghanistan an “honorable form of reconciliation” on Tuesday as part of a revamped strategy to tackle a deepening insurgency.

Traditional U.S. foe Iran, attending an international conference on Afghanistan, pledged help in tackling the huge opium trade in its neighbor but stressed it remained opposed to U.S. and other foreign troops there.

The conference in the Netherlands is a chance for NATO and other U.S. allies to consult on the Afghan strategy unveiled by PresidentBarack Obama last week stressing the need to cooperate with regional players such as Iran, Pakistan, Russia and India.

“We must … support efforts by the government of Afghanistan to separate the extremists of al Qaeda and the Taliban from those who have joined their ranks not out of conviction, but out of desperation,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the conference in The Hague.

“They should be offered an honorable form of reconciliation and reintegration into a peaceful society, if they are willing to abandon violence, break with al Qaeda, and support the constitution,” Clinton said.

REUTERS

TALIBAN INSURGENTS REJECT U.S. OFFER of ‘honorable reconciliation,’  calling it a ‘lunatic idea’ and saying the only way to end the war was to withdraw foreign troops.

KABUL (Reuters) – Taliban insurgents reject a U.S. offer of “honorable reconciliation,” a top spokesman said on Wednesday, calling it a “lunatic idea” and saying the only way to end the war was to withdraw foreign troops.

With the Afghan conflict now in its eighth year, NATO-led forces and the Taliban are locked in a bloody stalemate with violence set to rise further this year as more U.S. troops arrive and seek to contain the insurgency ahead of August elections.

President Barack Obama is redoubling U.S. efforts with more troops, more diplomatic effort and more economic assistance, but he has also already spoken of the need for an “exit strategy.” If the U.S. plan fails to show results, analysts say, time is on the Taliban side.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an international conference on Afghanistan on Tuesday that those members of the Taliban who abandoned extremism must be granted an “honorable form of reconciliation.” “This matter was also raised in the past,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, referring to comments last month by Obama, who spoke of reaching out to moderate Taliban.

“They have to go and find the moderate Taliban, their leader and speak to them. This is a lunatic idea,” Mujahid said by telephone from an unknown location. Mujahid is one of two spokesman authorized to speak for the Taliban leadership council, headed by Mullah Mohammad Omar.

The 21,000 extra U.S. troops ordered by Obama to join the 70,000 foreign soldiers now fighting insurgents in Afghanistan showed the United States wanted the war to continue, Mujahid said, and the Taliban would keep fighting till they left.

REUTERS