Taliban political party being considered

March 22, 2009 at 10:38 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan, March 22 (UPI) -- The United States is prepared to discuss the establishment of a political party for the Taliban in Afghanistan, a U.S. diplomat says.

William Wood, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, says the sanctioning of such a party is part of a political strategy to go along with beefed-up military efforts to end the seemingly intractable conflict, Britain's The Observer reported Sunday.

Wood told the newspaper "insurgencies, like all wars … end when there is an agreement," and while cautioning there was no way the United States could sanction "power-sharing or an enclave" for the Taliban, "there is room for discussion on the formation of political parties (or) running … for elections."

The ambassador said a political party would have to come along with a requirement that the Taliban would respect the Afghanistan constitution

"They have said, 'No start of negotiations without prior departure of foreign forces.'" Wood said. "That's not serious. Let's get serious."

The Observer said other ideas, such as changing the Afghan constitution and taking senior Taliban figures off U.N. blacklists, are also being discussed.

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