Candidates weigh talking with Taliban
Among the toughest, yet least-discussed decisions that will confront the winner of the Nov. 4 presidential election is whether or not to negotiate with the resurgent Taliban, the Boston Globe reported Friday.
The radical regime was ousted when the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001, but it has come back to life in recent months with a series of attacks.
Democrat nominee Barack Obama and Republican nominee John McCain have both recommended sending thousands more American troops to Afghanistan. However, neither has fully discussed recent suggestions from top U.S. military officials about holding reconciliation talks with some Taliban followers, the Globe noted.
McCain’s campaign has often criticized Obama for wanting to hold talks with America’s enemies without preconditions. However, the man McCain has lauded as Iraq’s savior — Gen. David Petraeus — said this month that he thought leaders had to talk with enemies, the Globe wrote. The paper also noted that Petraeus approves of talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The views of McCain and Petraeus may seem at odds, but McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb said in an interview they are in agreement, according to the Globe. McCain wants to "peel off moderate elements of the insurgency and co-opt them," Goldfarb said, adding that McCain’s statement against talks with enemies was directed toward Iran.
Obama has told Time magazine that the communications with Taliban members "should be explored," although the Democratic presidential nominee has not elaborated along those lines in campaign stops, the newspaper noted.