US, allies plan $500m fund to woo Taliban
By Anwar Iqbal, Dawn, 27 Jan, 2010
WASHINGTON: The United States and its allies are expected to set up a $500 million integration fund at a conference in London this week to lure Taliban fighters to join the political mainstream.
“We are going to go to London to affirm our international support for it,” said US special envoy Richard Holbrooke. “Money will be forthcoming for it. I can’t say how much. The Japanese are going to take the lead.”
In an interview to MSNBC television on Monday evening, Mr Holbrooke said that the initiative would fill a gap in dealing with the Taliban because “there’s no good programme to invite them back into the fold”.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is hosting the London conference, said the summit would “cover both our military and our political strategies, but concentrate on the political strategy for Afghanistan”.
About 60 countries are expected to attend the conference. The United States is offering $100 million to set up the fund.
In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told journalists that her government would contribute $14 million a year for five years to the proposed fund.
“This is an international accord to set up a fund to allow reintegration in cooperation with the Afghan government,” she said.
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The Taliban Would Applaud - Editorial, NYT
UN: Time for Direct Talks with Afghan Taliban Leaders - Huffington Post
U.S. Wrestling With Prospect of Olive Branch for Taliban - New York Times
Bin Laden's son: No "love" among Qaeda-Taliban - Reuters
Karzai Urges West to Buy Off Taliban to Secure Afghanistan - Fox News