Taliban fighters who abandon extremism must be given an honourable form of reconciliation, according to Hillary Clinton.
The US Secretary of State made her plea at a conference on Afghanistan’s future. 90 countries and several international organisations are taking part in the meeting in the Netherlands. The aim is to find ways of stablising the country but splits have already surfaced over how best to deal with al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Mohammad Mehdi Akhoundzadeh, has rejected the presence of foreign troops in favour of a regional solution. In a reversal of the former Bush administration’s policy, the US views Iran as vital to any lasting solution in its neighbour Despite the continuing stand-off over Tehran’s nuclear programme, Barack Obama’s new strategy, unveiled last week, involves extra troops with a renewed focus on targeting al Qaeda militants on the Afghan/Pakistan border. The US Secretary of State has no plans for direct talks, however, with Iranian officials at the conference – although Iranian help is widely viewed as being crucial to shore up border security and the fight against drugs in Afghanistan.