WASHINGTON (Agencies) - US President Barack Obama declared on Saturday that the United States was not winning the war in Afghanistan and opened the door to a reconciliation process in which the American military would reach out to moderate elements of the Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq. Obama pointed to the success in peeling Iraqi insurgents away from more hard-core elements of Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a strategy that many credit as much as the increase of American forces with turning the war around in the last two years. "There may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and in the Pakistani region," he said, while cautioning that solutions in Afghanistan will be complicated. In a 35-minute conversation with The New York Times aboard Air Force One on Friday, which was released on Saturday, Obama reviewed the challenges to his young administration. The President said he could not assure Americans the economy would begin growing again this year. But he pledged that he would "get all the pillars in place for recovery this year" and urged Americans not to "stuff money in their mattresses." The President spoke at length about the struggle with terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere, staking out positions that at times seemed more comparable to those of his predecessor than many of Obama's more liberal supporters would like. He did not rule out the option of snatching terrorism suspects out of hostile countries. Asked if the US was winning in Afghanistan, Obama replied flatly, "No." Now, Obama has started a review of policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan intended to find a new strategy, and he signalled that reconciliation could emerge as an important initiative, mirroring the strategy used by Gen. David H. Petraeus in Iraq. "If you talk to General Petraeus, I think he would argue that part of the success in Iraq involved reaching out to people that we would consider to be fundamentalists, but who were willing to work with us because they had been completely alienated by the tactics of Al-Qaeda in Iraq," Obama said. At the same time, he acknowledged that outreach may not yield the same success. "The situation in Afghanistan is, if anything, more complex," he said. "You have a less governed region, a history of fierce independence among tribes. Those tribes are multiple and sometimes operate at cross purposes, and so figuring all that out is going to be much more of a challenge." During the interview, Obama also left open the option for American operatives to capture terrorism suspects abroad even without the cooperation of a country where they were found. "There could be situations - and I emphasize 'could be' because we haven't made a determination yet - where, let's say that we have a well-known Al-Qaeda operative that doesn't surface very often, appears in a third country with whom we don't have an extradition relationship or would not be willing to prosecute, but we think is a very dangerous person," he said. "I think we still have to think about how do we deal with that kind of scenario," he added. The president went on to say that "we don't torture" and that "we ultimately provide anybody that we're detaining an opportunity through habeas corpus to answer to charges."