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Defeating Taliban 'not the objective'

June 21, 2011 at 5:55 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) -- President Obama's spokesman said Tuesday defeating the Taliban is not part of the end game in Afghanistan.

White House press secretary Jay Carney spoke to reporters about the war, but offered no details of what Obama would say when he addresses the nation Wednesday night on an Afghan drawdown.

The U.S. policy is to "disrupt, dismantle, ultimately defeat al-Qaida; reverse the momentum of the Taliban; stabilize Afghanistan enough to give it the space to train up its forces so that it can ultimately take over security of its country."

The Islamist Taliban ruled Afghanistan before the 2001 U.S. invasion, and gave safe haven to al-Qaida, which launched the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"Now, it is important to note that defeating the Taliban is not the objective here," Carney said. "Reversing the momentum of the Taliban is an objective, and we have had significant success in achieving that objective. The fact of the matter is that any solution, any end to the violence or hostilities in Afghanistan in whatever time period will require some sort of reconciliation between Afghans, and that includes the Afghan Taliban.

"We've talked about this -- we talked about this as recently as yesterday -- that we support the initiative led by the Karzai government to explore reconciliation possibilities."

Carney said Afghan "progress is not a done deal ... the mission is not fully achieved. And that's why the mission continues."

Topics: Jay Carney
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