U.S. may engage with Taliban dissidents

Oct. 28, 2009 at 7:30 AM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday her government is looking to engage with Taliban militants who want to break away from al-Qaida.

Clinton, who arrived in Pakistan Wednesday, said: "What we want to do is separate those out, and we're going to engage in that and will look to the government of Pakistan -- particularly the military and intelligence services -- to help guide us in that," CNN reported.

Earlier, a BBC report said a new U.S. defense bill has a provision for the U.S. military to pay Taliban fighters who are willing to give up their fight against the Afghan government.

The report said a similar arrangement exists in Iraq but it would be first time it is tried in Afghanistan where U.S. casualties continue to mount. On Tuesday, eight US soldiers died in fighting in southern Afghanistan.

U.S. President Barack Obama has been reviewing the Afghan strategy with his security advisers to decide on deploying more troops in Afghanistan. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has asked for up to 40,000 additional troops over and above the 68,000 troops which will be on ground by year-end.

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