While the combat troop withdrawal from Iraq dominated much of the War news this week, Katie Couric has been in Afghanistan reporting on the progress there. Today, Couric spoke with Gen. David Petraeus about whether negotiating with the Taliban is a real option.
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS:
“We’re not the ones calling the shots. And at the end of the day– those who will determine whether reconciliation goes forward or not are those who lead the Afghan Government. And that is why it is appropriate that they lead these efforts. Again, perhaps facilitated in some cases, supported in some cases– by the United States. But those are going to remain behind the scenes and that’s where they should remain.
President Karzai has established the Afghan Government’s– redlines if you will. They must respect the Constitution, lay down weapons…swear off– cut off ties with Al Qaeda and essentially be willing to be productive members of society.”
“So, you have no moral qualms about bringing the Taliban, even high-ranking members of the Taliban into the process?â€
“Again, it’s not about my moral qualms, it’s about the Afghanistan leadership, which has established the redlines. And I think that you have to have– at least an open mind about this. Because this is historically the way– counterinsurgency efforts ultimately have been concluded.”
The interview airs tonight on The CBS Evening News.