Frist: Taliban Should Be Incorporated into Afghan Government

US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) made comments yesterday about the Taliban’s extensive presence in Afghanistan, the unlikelihood that the war against the Taliban could be won militarily, and the need to incorporate “people who call themselves the Taliban” into the Afghan government. Frist said to the Associated Press during a visit with Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) to a military base in Afghanistan that there appeared to be an “unlimited flow” of individuals “willing to pick up arms and integrate themselves with the Taliban… It sounds to me… that the Taliban is everywhere.”

According to All Headline News, Frist told reporters that the only way to resolve the conflicts in Afghanistan is to “assimilate people who call themselves Taliban into a larger, more representative government.” Martinez then told the Associated Press that negotiating with the Taliban is not “out of the question,” but that Taliban militants who continue to be violent must be attacked.

The Taliban regime protected Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda leaders after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The Taliban regime, which brutally took away the rights of women and girls, has reemerged in Afghanistan. Recent Taliban attacks and violence are once again depriving Afghan women and girls of many rights and the ability to obtain an education. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the recent assassination of Safia Amajan, the provincial director of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs, who was gunned down outside of her home in Kandahar.

The Feminist Majority Foundation and other organizations have been working to pass the Afghan Women’s Empowerment Act, which provides funding for the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, and women-led non-governmental organizations in Afghanistan. It is anticipated that Congress will take up the Act when it returns after the November 7 election.

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AP 10/3/06; All Headline News 10/2/06; The Hotline 10/3/06

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