President Barack Obama is holding out hope that U.S. forces in Afghanistan can peel away elements of the Taliban and possibly move them toward reconciliation. There may be such opportunities, but the situation in Afghanistan is more complicated than the challenges the American military faced in Iraq, Obama said in an interview with The New York Times posted Saturday on the newspaper's Website. U.S. troops were able to persuade Sunni Muslim insurgents in Iraq to cooperate in some instances because they had been alienated by the tactics of al-Qaida terrorists. Obama cautioned that Afghanistan is a less-governed region with a history of fierce independence among tribes, creating a tough set of circumstances for the United States to deal with. The idea of cooperation with some in the Taliban has been talked about for many months by American military commanders including Gen. David Patraeus, head of U.S. Central Command. If you talk to Gen. Petraeus, I think he would argue that part of the success in Iraq involved reaching out to people that we would consider to be Islamic fundamentalists, but who were willing to work with us,'' said Obama. There may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and the Pakistani region, but the situation in Afghanistan is, if anything, more complex,'' Obama added. Last month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that Washington could accept a political agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban if the insurgents will lay down their arms and accept the government's terms. At the same time, Obama left open the possibility that U.S. operatives might capture terror suspects abroad 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-Qaida 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. Obama added that the U.S. doesn't torture its suspects and noted in some cases those being held would have an opportunity to challenge their detention in federal courts.