Kabul, Afghanistan U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday that the Afghan war against Taliban guerrillas can never be won militarily and urged support for efforts to bring "people who call themselves Taliban" and their allies into the government.
The Tennessee Republican said he learned from briefings that Taliban fighters were too numerous and had too much popular support to be defeated on the battlefield.
"You need to bring them into a more transparent type of government," Frist said during a brief visit to a U.S. and Romanian military base in the southern Taliban stronghold of Qalat. "And if that's accomplished, we'll be successful."
Afghanistan is suffering its heaviest insurgent attacks since a U.S.-led military force toppled the Taliban in late 2001 for harboring al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Frist said asking the Taliban to join the government was a decision to be made by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai's spokesmen were not immediately able to be reached for comment.