Gates: US Might Accept Eventual Truce in Afghanistan

Pentagon Later Insists Gates Was Just Being Polite

Asked by a Pakistani reporter whether the Swat Valley truce between the Pakistani government and militants could serve as a model for a similar deal in Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates replied that “if there is a reconciliation, if insurgents are willing to put down their arms, if the reconciliation is essentially on the terms being offered by the government then I think we would be very open to that.”

However Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell revised Gates’ comments later, saying he was simply “too polite to take issue with the premise of the question,” and that he wasn’t making any suggestions about the prospects for reconciliation with his comments.

The Afghan government has been trying, unsuccessfully, to coax the Taliban into some sort of reconciliation talks for several months. The United States has expressed concerns about the Pakistani government’s truce deal with its own militant groups, saying the fear it amounts to a surrender.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.