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  1. #1
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    Jul 2010

    Default US must be a party in Afghan talks: Kerry

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    WASHINGTON: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry stressed on Sunday that America must be a party in any talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, adding that he would oppose requests for additional troops in Afghanistan even if military commanders on the ground requested the help.

    Speaking on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," the Massachusetts Democrat complimented the US president for his strategy and commitment to the Afghan war. He would not speak with specificity about how he envisioned a military withdrawal from that country, only saying he didn't expect the United States to "pull the rug out" once the military began transitioning out of that theater in July 2011.

    But he did fully rule out the possibility of supporting enhanced engagement:

    I personally would say, no, I don't think troops are the answer. The answer is a political resolution. And that political resolution has to come about by engaging to a greater degree with India, with Pakistan itself, Kerry said.

    'I think we should also engage China, Russia. And I would say to you that the possibility could exist even of Iran playing a role in helping to change the equation on the ground.'

    Asked to assess the Wikileaks fiasco, Kerry explained the difference between the two secret reports that roiled Americans perceptions about war.

    "We knew almost everything that's there. It gives a little color to the battlefield struggles and to, you know, some of the difficulties within the villages and so forth," he said. "But basically they are an incomplete presentation of the challenge and not particularly game changing."

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