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Cablegate: Spanta On Taliban Talks

VZCZCXRO8981
PP RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #3491 2870635
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 140635Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0888
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC 0543
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4248

UNCLAS KABUL 003491

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/RA, AND SCA/A
DEPT PASS AID/ANE
DEPT PASS USTR FOR GERBER AND KLEIN
DEPT PASS OPIC FOR ZAHNISER
DEPT PASS TDA FOR STEIN AND GREENIP
CENTCOM FOR CSTC-A
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN
TREASURY FOR LMCDONALD, ABAUKOL, BDAHL, AND MNUGENT
OSD FOR SHIVERS
COMMERCE FOR DEES, CHOPPIN, AND FONOVICH

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958 N/A
TAGS: ECON OTRA PREL AF
SUBJECT: SPANTA ON TALIBAN TALKS

1. On October 9, FM Spanta convened the diplomatic corps, ostensibly
to discuss the upcoming ECO conference to be held in Herat, but in
reality to announce the government's position on talks with the
Taliban.

Spanta said that the government intended to invite contacts with
elements of the Taliban who were willing to recognize the authority
of the government and return to peaceful life. He made clear that
there were some members of the Taliban with whom the government
would not engage, nor would it engage with Al-Qaeda. Spanta
repeated President Karzai's distinction between "hard core" Taliban
and others. He stressed that the government would not negotiate or
compromise with terrorism. He said that the engagement "was not to
be seen as a sign of weakness, on the part of the government or its
international partners.

2. Comment. This formal announcement to the diplomatic corps was
the next step in a larger effort by the government to respond to
selected Taliban overtures and take acceptable Taliban elements off
the battlefield.

WOOD

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