Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday said he supports talks between the U.S. and the Taliban in Afghanistan — a position endorsed by the Obama administration and opposed by McCain-backed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“I think it’s important to have talks wherever you can,” McCain said, speaking from Afghanistan on ABC’s “This Week.“ ”We have to have an outcome on the battlefield that would motivate a successful conclusion to those talks.”
McCain said it was particularly important to reach strategic agreement for a long-term U.S. presence in Afghanistan, and reiterated his opposition to Obama announcing a troop withdrawal.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the Wall Street Journal last week the Taliban has been holding secrets three-way talks with his government and the U.S., a claim the Taliban denied.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said “we believe that an end to the conflict in Afghanistan will come when there is a political reconciliation. We have supported an Afghan-led process of reconciliation,” USA Today reported.
But Romney, whose presidential bid has been endorsed by one-time opponent McCain, said during a recent GOP debate: “The right course for America is not to negotiate with the Taliban while the Taliban are killing our soldiers. The right course is to recognize they’re the enemy of the United States.”
McCain said on “This Week” he has not “had a conversation” with Romney about the issue, but did say Romney has a “realistic” approach to Afghanistan. He and the former Massachusetts governor are united in their opposition to announcing a U.S. troop withdrawal date.
Watch below, via ABC. Comments about Afghanistan begin at the 4:30 mark.