James Forsyth James Forsyth

Obama administration: Only 5 percent of the Taliban is incorrigible

Chuck Todd at First Read flags up some fascinating comments from Vice-President Biden on his visit to Nato:

“5 percent of the Taliban is incorrigible, not susceptible to anything other than being defeated.  Another 25 percent or so are not quite sure, in my view, the intensity of their commitment to the insurgency.  And roughly 70 percent are involved because of the money, because of them being — getting paid.”

Biden goes onto say that the “idea of what concessions would be made is well beyond the scope of my being able to answer, except to say that whatever is initiated will have to be ultimately initiated by the Afghan government, and will have to be such that it would not undermine a legitimate Afghan government.”

Any successful strategy in Afghanistan is going to have to aim to peel off those members of the Taliban who are persuadable. But it is interesting, and important, that Biden makes clear that the Afghan government–not the Americans or Nato–will be in the lead on this. 

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