Edinburgh (Scotland), Nov. 18 (ANI): Taliban fighters should be persuaded to lay down their arms and take seats in the Afghan Parliament to build a lasting peace in that country, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has said.
In a speech to a NATO conference here, Miliband sought to soothe growing public fears that British troops could be bogged down indefinitely in Afghanistan, promising: "This in not a war without end."
The Independent quoted him as saying that Britain was ready to commit more soldiers to Afghanistan, but stressed military action had to be backed by a lasting political settlement.
He argued that most Taliban supporters were not ideologically committed to a global jihad and had to be offered an "alternative to fighting, a route back into society, not just a tougher penalty".
He said Afghan President Hamid Karzai should be given support in reaching out to high-level Taliban commanders to encourage them to renounce al-Qa'ida and adopt peaceful democratic politics.
Miliband argued that the deployment of coalition troops was essential to prevent the Taliban growing in strength.
He set out a three-part strategy for securing Afghanistan's future: building lasting government structures, dividing the insurgency and strengthening the country's relationship with neighbours, including Pakistan.
He was speaking as NATO members await US President Barack Obama's much-delayed decision on how many troops he will commit to a new military surge. (ANI)