ANKARA, Turkey, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Diplomatic measures regarding the 8-year-old fight against militants in Afghanistan may soon include elements of the Taliban.
There are two meetings this week regarding the Afghan war. The first convened Monday by Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Istanbul where Afghan and Pakistani leaders gathered with Turkish negotiators about how to deal with the Taliban. British, U.S., Iranian and Chinese officials are also expected to participate.
Those sessions are a prelude to Thursday's larger meeting in London, which has a central agenda item of transferring duties from international troops to Afghan security forces.
Both of those meetings could end up suggesting moderate elements of the Taliban be involved in diplomatic steps to wind down the war.
U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the International Security Assistance Force commander in Afghanistan, told the Financial Times the Taliban could be included in the Afghan governing system "if they focus on the future and not the past."
Afghanistan was invaded after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks after it was determined the Taliban had given safe haven to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. The Taliban was quickly ousted from power but has carried out an insurgency campaign since.
"As a soldier, my personal feeling is that there's been enough fighting," McChrystal 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."
Regarding this week's meeting in London, he said, "I'd like everybody to walk out of London with a renewed commitment and that commitment is to the right outcome for the Afghan people."