Meet The Press
MR. GREGORY: If the Taliban comes back into government in Afghanistan in any form, do you automatically believe that al-Qaeda comes back?
GEN. PETRAEUS: Well, you know, this is—these are the kinds of questions that people talk about when they talk about reconciliation, and that is, of course, with the more senior leaders of the Taliban and, and other elements. And I think there is a prospect for reconciliation with some of the groups. I didn’t mention the HIG, another element that’s out there that has made a number of overtures and, and reportedly is entertaining thoughts of agreeing to the red lines that President Karzai has put down—accepting the constitution, laying down weapons, renouncing al-Qaeda, being a productive element in society. The way these kinds of endeavors typically end, as with the case in Iraq—you know, ultimately we had to face the question in Iraq of will we sit down across the table from people who have our blood on their hands? And the answer was yes. That was a decision that I had to make early on in the surge. It doesn’t mean that Mullah Omar is about to stroll down Main Street in Kabul anytime soon and, and raise his hand and swear an oath on the constitution of Afghanistan. But every possibility, I think, that there can be low and midlevel reintegration and, indeed, some fracturing of the senior leadership that could be really defined as reconciliation.