America

Key Republican: Success In Afghanistan May Mean Including Taliban

Corporal Daniel Wheeler, Bravo Co. 1/5 Marines, walks through a waist high wheat field on a patrol in Sangin District near the Helmand River in southern Afghanistan earlier this month. i i

hide captionCorporal Daniel Wheeler, Bravo Co. 1/5 Marines, walks through a waist high wheat field on a patrol in Sangin District near the Helmand River in southern Afghanistan earlier this month.

David Gilkey /NPR
Corporal Daniel Wheeler, Bravo Co. 1/5 Marines, walks through a waist high wheat field on a patrol in Sangin District near the Helmand River in southern Afghanistan earlier this month.

Corporal Daniel Wheeler, Bravo Co. 1/5 Marines, walks through a waist high wheat field on a patrol in Sangin District near the Helmand River in southern Afghanistan earlier this month.

David Gilkey /NPR

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) is a leading Republican voice on foreign policy and someone who Democratic President Barack Obama listens to.

On Morning Edition today, Lugar told host Steve Inskeep that with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden now dead and with Obama's planned summer 2011 start of troop withdrawals looming, it's more important than ever that the president lay out his "definition of success [in Afghanistan] and ... the plan to get to that point."

"He's not done that" yet, Lugar said of the president.

So what would the senator say is the definition of success?

"Stability in the various provinces," even if that means giving the Taliban influence or some control in the southern part of Afghanistan — its traditional stronghold.

"Our preference would very clearly be people other than the Taliban," Lugar said. But if giving it some role in governing would lead to a more stable Afghanistan, the potential benefits could outweigh the problems.

Lugar is the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Steve Inskeep speaks with Sen. Richard Lugar

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: