US Can Turn 70% of Afghan Taliban: Biden

Largest group of insurgents just hired mercenaries, VP says
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2009 1:35 PM CDT
Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday March 10, 2009.   (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
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(Newser) – A majority of the Taliban fighters in Afghanistan are just hired guns whose loyalties could be bought by the US, Joe Biden said today. “Five percent of the Taliban is incorrigible, not susceptible to anything other than being defeated,” the vice president said. “Another 25% or so are not quite sure of the intensity of their commitment to the insurgency. Roughly 70% are involved because of the money.”

Biden said US successes with paying Sunni insurgents in Iraq’s Anbar province could possibly be replicated in Afghanistan. The vice president visited NATO headquarters today to listen to allied advice on the conflict, a move some Europeans saw as a break from Bush-era unilateralism. The Obama administration is conducting a comprehensive review of Afghanistan policy ahead of a NATO summit next month.