CIA-sjef Leon Panetta sier Haqqani-nettverket er off limits for forhandlinger. Han advarer Karzai mot kontakt, og tviler på om de vil bryte båndene til Al Qaida.

«We have seen no evidence that they are truly interested in reconciliation where they would surrender their arms, where they would denounce al-Qaeda, where they would really try to become part of that society,» Panetta said on ABC’s «This Week.» «My view is that . . . unless they’re convinced the United States is going to win and that they are going to be defeated, I think it is very difficult to proceed with a reconciliation that is going to be meaningful.»

Panetta was responding to reports that senior Pakistani military and intelligence officials are seeking to broker a deal that would usher the network led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, a major element in the insurgency in Afghanistan and an ally of al-Qaeda, into a power-sharing arrangement in Kabul. More broadly, Panetta said none of the insurgent groups in Afghanistan has shown a real interest in talks.

The Obama administration has always maintained that the war will end with a political settlement rather than a military one. It has gradually warmed to the idea of negotiations with insurgent groups, but senior administration officials have warned Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan that Washington considers Haqqani’s network off-limits. Any deal between the sides would drive a wedge between Karzai and the United States and would rehabilitate the Haqqani network, a longtime Pakistani asset.

Panetta says Afghan insurgents show no real interest in reconciliation talks