U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Monday that Washington wants to engage with moderate members of the Taliban to end the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.
“There are, we believe, moderate voices among the Taliban, voices that do not want to continue to fight forever. They don’t want their children to fight forever,” Mr. Tillerson told reporters.
“So we are looking to engage with those voices and have them engage in a reconciliation process leading to a peace process and their full involvement and participation in the government,” he added.
Mr. Tillerson said the Taliban could be represented in the Afghan government if its members renounce terrorism and commit to a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. He noted that the U.S. would stay in the country “until we can secure a process of reconciliation and peace.”
The secretary made his remarks during an unannounced visit to Kabul, where he met with President Ashraf Ghani to discuss the U.S. strategy for Afghanistan and the efforts to fight terrorism.
“President Ghani reiterated his support for the new U.S. strategy and emphasized his government’s commitment to reforms aimed at ensuring the safety, security, and well-being of all Afghans,” the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan said in a statement about the meeting.
Mr. Tillerson’s remarks came one day after a report by The New York Times suggested the CIA was working to expand its operations in Afghanistan intending to hunt and kill Taliban militants across the country.