Afghanistan must hold talks with Taliban: Miliband
March 11, 2010 by Post Team
Afghanistan must hold talks with Taliban: Miliband:LONDON: David Miliband will urge the Afghan president to renew efforts to talk to the Taliban today amid fears that lack of political will in Afghanistan is likely to prolong the conflict, a report said.
The foreign secretary will use a speech delivered in America to encourage Hamid Karzai to find a political solution to the Afghan conflict.
The president has proposed a “loya jirga” or grand peace council at the end of the month but there are fears that it will amount to little more than a PR stunt.
According to The Guardian Miliband will call for the Afghans to equal the energy of the British soldiers and civilians.
“My argument today is that now is the time for the Afghans to pursue a political settlement with as much vigour and energy as we are pursuing the military and civilian effort,” Miliband will say at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to a text of the address seen beforehand.
British officials believe that significant Taliban leaders are ready to start talking about a political settlement in which they would sever ties with al-Qaeda and put down weapons in return for a role in politics. But there is concern that Kabul’s inefficiency and corruption is slowing the process down.
“The Afghans must own, lead and drive such political engagement,” Miliband will say in his speech. “It will be a slow, gradual process. But the insurgents will want to see international support.
“International engagement, for example under the auspices of the UN, may ultimately be required.”
In January Karzai’s paper on with proposals for peace talks and reconciliation was described as “empty” and a C-team effort”.
Gerard Russell, at the Carr Centre for Human Rights at Harvard University, said: “We had a look at the Afghan government’s thinking on reconciliation, but we haven’t seen a concrete proposal or a workable methodology.”
Miliband will conclude: “The lesson I draw from history is that Afghanistan will never achieve a sustainable peace unless many more Afghans are inside the political system, and the neighbours are onside with the political settlement.”
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