UK bishop says Taliban can be admired for their faith and loyalty

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London, Dec.14 (ANI): The new Church of England bishop for the British armed forces has said the Taliban can be admired for their faith and sense of loyalty to one another.

The Right Reverend Stephen Venner called for a more sympathetic approach to the Islamic fundamentalists and warned that it would be harder to reach a peaceful solution to the war if the Afghan insurgents are portrayed too negatively.

Bishop Venner's comments came as Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited Afghanistan over the weekend and warned that the Taliban was fighting a "guerrilla war" aimed at causing "maximum damage".

Brown stayed overnight at an allied base in Kandahar, the first British Prime Minister to spend the night in a war zone since Winston Churchill.

His visit came days after the death of Lance Corporal Adam Drane, the 100th member of the British forces to die in Afghanistan this year.

His death brought the total number of British service personnel who have died since the start of operations in 2001 to 237.

Bishop Venner stressed his admiration for the sacrifices made by the British forces fighting in Afghanistan but also urged the need for a reassessment of how the Taliban are viewed.

"We've been too simplistic in our attitude towards the Taliban. There's a large number of things that the Taliban say and stand for which none of us in the west could approve, but simply to say therefore that everything they do is bad is not helping the situation because it's not honest really," The Telegraph quoted Bishop Venner, who was recently commissioned in his new role by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as saying. The Taliban can perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other," he added.

The bishop further said that some of their methods of combat are not honourable or acceptable, but argued that it was unhelpful to demonise them. He said that everyone in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, would have to be included in discussions to find a solution to the conflict. (ANI)

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