Ocotober 29, 2011
Washington is ready to negotiate with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and now regards his involvement as crucial to the prospects for peace in Afghanistan, Hillary Clinton has said.
Her comments been taken as a significant shift in American policy from moves to divide the Taliban-led insurgency and isolate Mullah Omar, the man who sheltered Osama bin Laden as he plotted the September 11 attacks, to an acknowledgement of his leadership.
It follows the disclosure earlier this month that American officials had met leaders of the Haqqani Network, the powerful Taliban faction blamed for some of the most devastating attacks on American and Nato forces in Afghanistan, including last month’s attack on the US embassy in Kabul in which seven were killed and 19 wounded.
Earlier this week the faction’s commander Sirajuddin Haqqani warned Washington that only the Quetta Shura, led by Mullah Omar, could negotiate a peace deal and that his fighters would not be divided from its leadership.
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