LONDON (Reuters) - Afghan Taliban leaders would be willing to break with Al-Qaeda to end the war in Afghanistan, but US policy is creating younger, more radicalised fighters less open to a peace deal, a report released Monday said. The report, by Kandahar-based researchers Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn, said the Taliban could be willing to ensure Afghanistan was not used as a base for terrorism. US policy, however, including attempts to fragment the Taliban, are changing the insurgency, inadvertently creating opportunities for Qaeda to achieve its objectives, the report released by New York University (NYU) said. It argued the relationship between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda was strained both before and after the September 11 2001 attacks, partly because of their very different ideological roots. Taliban leaders grew up in rural southern Afghanistan, isolated from world events. Many were too young to play a big role in the Afghan jihad, and had no close ties to Al-Qaeda until after they took power in 1996. The relationship between Qaeda and the Taliban during the second half of the 1990s was complicated and often tense, the report said. The two groups knew little about each other. The two authors, who edited the memoirs of former Taliban ambassador to Islamabad Abdul Salam Zaeef, said that the Taliban leadership had no foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks. They argued that the Taliban leadership were manipulated beforehand by Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who took advantage of their lack of international experience, and then struggled afterwards to work out how to respond. Miscalculating the likely American reaction, the Taliban asked for evidence of bin Ladens involvement in the attacks on New York and Washington so they could decide whether to hand him over for trial in another Islamic country. There can be little doubt that the leaders then and since have gained more insight into the complex world of international political Islam and the costs of their policy of hospitality. The authors, who are publishing a book on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in April, said breaking ties between the two - a key condition set by Washington for a negotiated settlement to the Afghan war - was not as big an obstacle as often assumed.