Obama May Reach Out to Elements of Taliban

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2009 12:57 PM CST
President Barack Obama makes remarks at the Columbus Police Graduation Exercises in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, March 6, 2009.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – President Obama stated flatly today that the US is not winning the war in Afghanistan and said he is considering reaching out to less extreme elements of the Taliban, the New York Times reports. He likened the strategy to the successful American efforts in Iraq of convincing Sunni insurgents to cut ties with more radical groups.

“There may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and in the Pakistani region,” said Obama, whose administration is in the midst of a strategy review. He acknowledged, however, that Afghanistan is its own special case. The situation there "is, if anything, more complex,” he said. “You have a less governed region, a history of fierce independence among tribes ... and so figuring all that out is going to be much more of a challenge.”