SM: "...a positive development..."
July 11, 2009
LARGE (20.0 MB) ----- SMALL (2.1 MB)
A pre-recorded clip updating the reaction to the Pakistan piece, including the response from Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke.
BETTY NGUYEN: Well, listen to this little bit of news -- an offer from Pakistan to help the U.S. negotiate with the Taliban.
HOLMES: Yes. A top military officer says Pakistan can set up direct talks with the top Taliban leader in Afghanistan. Our Michael Ware has more on this story from Baghdad, including reaction from U.S. officials.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: T.J., Betty, the Obama administration has expressed its first response to the Pakistan military's offer to help broker talks between Washington and the Taliban fighters of Afghanistan. President Obama's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan described the admission from the Pakistani military that it has ongoing communication with the Afghan Taliban as not surprising.
However, Ambassador Holbrooke did say that he sees that admission publicly as a positive development.
RICHARD HOLBROOKE, SPECIAL ENVOY TO PAKISTAN/AFGHANISTAN: There have been long allegations that there are continued contacts, and I think it's a step forward for the Pakistanis to say publicly what everyone has always assumed.
WARE: But under what some Pakistani military officers described as intense pressure following the revelations of the military's ongoing communication with the Taliban, Pakistan military headquarters in Rawalpindi issued a denial of the remarks of its official spokesman, describing them as fabricated, baseless and taken out of context -- even those remarks were made on camera.
Nonetheless, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke says he will privately take up this issue with the Pakistani government when he visits Islamabad in coming weeks. T.J., Betty?