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Up to 70pc of Taliban reconcilable: Campbell

About 60 to 70 percent of the Taliban would end up reconciling with the Afghan government, General John Campbell told lawmakers here on Thursday.

The US and NATO top commander in Afghanistan said he did not expect the Haqqani network, members of Al Qaeda and a section of the Taliban coming forward for peace talks.

“The estimates I’ve heard both from Afghan perspective and probably from Intel community is anywhere between 60 or 70 percent with potentially reconcilable on the Taliban side,” Campbell told members of House Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing.

“You probably would not have Haqqani, who continues to be an enemy, and is dangerous to both the coalition of the Afghan civilians because they attack civilians; they’re the ones that are responsible for the high profile attacks in Kunduz,” he said.

He believed the Haqqanis would probably not reconcile and there was probably members of Al Qaeda who would not reconcile.

According to the American General, President Ashraf Ghani had spent a lot of political capital over the last six or seven months trying to work with Pakistan on the reconciliation process.

“He has not seen a lot in return, therefore he’s taken, again, a lot of challenges from within his own government, but I think he’s been very courageous in how he has reached out,” the US commander said.

Acknowledging that “reconciliation is going to take time” Campbell said it was going to take both Afghanistan and Pakistan working together, although Ghani has said many times that reconciliation will be Afghan led.

“He and the rest of the government there continue to work that very hard. Facilitated by Pakistan to bring some Taliban to the table top; working toward a second talk, but that happened the same way, that the announcement of Mullah Omar’s death has went kind of — stopped that talk,” he said.

“I think reconciliation talks will continue, but it’s going to take some time to bring the right people to the table, be that the Taliban currently or a little bit in disarray based on who’s in charge, Abdullah Mansoor is trying to take charge from his perspective, but there’s a lot of other fragments of the Taliban because they do fight really decentralized,” Campbell said. (PAN)

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