Brit Defence Minister agrees Afghan war "invincible"

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Sydney, Oct 7 : British Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has reportedly supported comments by the commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, that the war against the Taliban was "invincible".

The Brigadier had earlier said that a military victory over the Taliban was "neither feasible nor supportable".

The Brigadier, who will this month hand over control of British forces in Afghanistan after a six-month tour of duty in which 32 of his troops have been killed and 170 injured, said there would be "no peace" unless a political accommodation was reached with the Taliban.

Agreeing with the Brigadier's comments, Fitzgibbon said he was not surprised by his comments and that he agreed with them, reported The Australian

The minister further said that NATO-led mission in Afghanistan lacked a cohesive strategic plan and continued to suffer chronic troop shortages, especially from countries unwilling to commit to combat operations in the violence-hit south.

"There has been little change since the last NATO meeting in Bucharest (in April). Troop numbers have not changed significantly, and therefore it is not surprising there are those who are expressing frustration with the lack of progress. I share their frustration," the paper quoted him as saying in reply to a questionnaire

Supporting the idea of holding "political negotiations" with the Taliban moderates, he said: "As I have always said, there is a significant difference between discussing the situation in Afghanistan with moderates and negotiating with extremists, and surely success will only come if we are all working with those who share our same vision for peace and stability in Afghanistan."

According to the paper, a political solution would depend on engaging the "tier two" and "tier three" Taliban members who were regarded as "less hardline" and more open to diplomacy.

ANI

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