Holbrooke: Afghan Talks Not "Negotiation"

Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the former Asia Society Chairman who is now the Obama administration's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, spoke to NPR on Monday about the possibility of peace talks in Afghanistan.

Holbrooke, who brokered the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia and was a junior member of the US delegation to the Paris Peace talks during the Vietnam war, said current talks in Afghanistan should not be characterized as "negotiations" but rather "individual Taliban commanders and units, under immense pressure from the ferocity and effectiveness of General Petreaus' military offensive, reaching out informally through intermediaries and saying 'we want out of this thing.'"

He continued, "This does not constitute a negotiation, in any way shape or form, between the leadership of the Taliban and the Karzai government."

During the interview Holbrooke also spoke of the unique challenges of trying to end the conflict in Afghanistan, since "there's no single address of the people we're fighting, there's no Ho Chi Minh...no Slobodan Milosovich," but rather, "a wide variety of people grouped under a loosely Jihadist, loosely anti-American banner."


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Asia Society's Executive Director of Digital Media, Bill Swersey has more than 25 years of journalism, photography and digital media experience.