UK general says victory in Afghanistan can be purchased

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Kabul, Oct.14 (ANI): A British general charged with coaxing fighters away from their extremist leaders, has said victory in Afghanistan can possibly be purchased by offering Afghan insurgents amnesties and removing them from the NATO coalition force's "wanted" list if they lay down their arms.

"There's no question about it: amnesty would be part of this initiative," Lieutenant-General Sir Graeme Lamb told The Times.

"The insurgents might have blood on their hands, but "who doesn't?" he asked.

He added: "We've killed people that they would say 'these were entirely innocent people'."

Drawing on lessons he learnt in Northern Ireland, General Lamb argued that neither side could win the present conflict through force alone:

"The idea that we just continue to fight to a bloody end - from my experience of 38 years of soldiering - would be nonsensical," he said.

"We can't fight our way to success," he added.

The only way to end the eight-year war was to win over the "vast majority" of insurgents fighting simply because they were being paid by the Taleban, had grievances, or had been brainwashed, he said.

Two months ago, his old friend General Stanley McChrystal, the US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, lured him out of retirement to attempt something similar in Afghanistan, though he insists his role is merely to advise the Afghan Government.

General Lamb said the Taleban's hardline Islamic leadership is beyond redemption and accounts for more than ten per cent of the insurgency.

The rest, he categorises as "upset brothers" or "guns for hire", and insists that they can be persuaded to switch sides through dialogue and economic inducements.

He, however, said that it would be a tall order to win over the fighters at a time when President Karzai's Government is widely reviled and the security situation in a huge state of deterioration, severely curtailed development work.

With the Taleban extending its reach to 80 per cent of Afghanistan, General Lamb is vague about how such a dialogue should be conducted with them.

He argues that the Afghan people are weary of war, and they know exactly how autocratic, bloody and murderous the circumstances were under the Taleban, and they would not wish to return to that. (ANI)

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