UK envoy says most fighting with Taliban in Afghanistan 'could change sides'

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London, Aug.6 (ANI): Britain's Ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Mark Sedwill, has said that as many as two-thirds of those fighting with the Taliban in that country could be persuaded to change sides.

Ambassador Sedwill also said that he expected the voter turnout in the August 22 presidential elections to be lower than in the last presidential election, in 2004.

Sedwill was speaking by video link from Kabul to a Foreign Office press conference at which he was asked about recent comments by the foreign secretary, David Miliband, that reconciliation could involve speaking to the "moderate" Taliban.

According to The Guardian, he preferred to describe them as people "going with the Taliban" rather than "members of the Taliban".

"We have to recognise that these elections are going to be pretty rough and ready in places. They will not be up to the standards of a western democracy. The test of success is whether they are credible, secure and inclusive enough that they are seen as credible by the people," he said.

Apart from 450 EU monitors there will be 7,000 independent Afghan monitors. Votes will be counted in the provinces in an attempt to prevent ballot rigging. The full result may not be known until September 17, nearly a month after the polling day on August 22. (ANI)

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