ISLAMABAD - President Hamid Karzai arrived in Pakistan's capital on a trip widely believed to be aimed at seeking Islamabad's help in ending a decade-old Taliban insurgency.
According to a senior Pakistani security official, Karzai has told the U.S. that "seeking a military victory in Afghanistan will remain a futile venture without a stepped-up political dialogue with the Taliban."
The Pakistani security official (who spoke Friday to CBS News on condition of anonymity) repeated a widely-held belief among the country's armed forces and the intelligence community that "there is no way out of the Afghan quagmire without a political settlement which involves the Taliban agreeing to give up their fight in return for a slice of the political pie."
The official said recent contacts between Pakistani and Afghan officials had revealed that "President Karzai has concluded that a deal with the Taliban is essential to end the conflict in Afghanistan. This is a view that Mr. Karzai has conveyed to the U.S. as well." A European defense official in Islamabad who also spoke on condition of anonymity told CBS News that Karzai's reported sentiment on the Taliban "is broadly in sync with our readout, too."The official (who hails from a NATO member country) said, "We all agree: The Taliban are a fact of life, they cannot be wished away. The question is, how best to deal with them?" (Agencies)