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McChrystal Hopes To Force Peace Deal With Taliban


General Stanley McChrystal

General Stanley McChrystal

LONDON (Reuters) -- The commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan hopes increased troop levels will weaken the Taliban enough that its leaders will accept a peace deal and bring the war to an end, he told a newspaper published today.

"As a soldier, my personal feeling is that there's been enough fighting," Stanley McChrystal said in an interview in the "Financial Times."

"I believe that a political solution to all conflicts is the inevitable outcome. And it's the right outcome," he said, adding that the arrival of an extra 30,000 U.S. troops should deliver "very demonstrably positive" progress.

"It's not my job to extend olive branches, but it is my job to help set conditions where people in the right positions can have options on the way forward," he said.

McChrystal also raised the prospect that the Taliban could help run the country in future.

"I think any Afghans can play a role if they focus on the future, and not the past," he said when asked whether he would be content to see Taliban leaders in a future Afghan government.

His comments come ahead of an international conference on Afghanistan to be held in London on January 28.
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