London Conference Studies Ways To End Afghan War

01.28.10 | FL News Team

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has joined foreign ministers from 60 countries in London for a conference to decide on how to end the nine-year war in Afghanistan. The attendees are expected to review a proposal by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that would offer low-level Taliban soldiers jobs and money to change sides, but they would have to lay down their arms. The plan would be to divide the Taliban to weaken the group. A number of high-level officials believe if enough militant foot soldiers are repatriated, and with the influx of 30-thousand U.S. troops, the war's stalemate could be broken. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the only way Karzai's plan would work would be if the country's own police and military were strong and could take charge of security.

 There have been hints by Karzai and others that the Taliban could be included in future Afghan governments. But U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke says there will be no talks with the Taliban, adding that it's a "critical point" for the group to cut all ties with al-Qaeda. On Wednesday the Taliban posted comments on a website demanding all foreign troops leave Afghanistan and called plans to payoff fighters and offer jobs a trick. But in what could be a sign of willingness to break from al-Qaeda, the Taliban repeated a statement that they are not a threat to the West.

 At the conference today, Karzai called on neighboring Pakistan to support all peace efforts and asked Saudi Arabia to play a large role in bringing peace to Afghanistan. He also announced that he plans to hold what is called a jirga, which is a tribal assembly of elders, to consensus on a possible peace plan for the war-torn nation.