British PM backs peace talks with Taliban

Johannesburg, June 30 (ANI): British PM David Cameron made renewed attempts to improve relations with the Taliban during his unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Saturday after his top general had suggested that the West had missed an opportunity to achieve a peace deal 10 years ago.

According to news24, Cameron went ahead to talk with troops in the southern province of Helmand before an appointment with President Hamid Karzai in a bid to revive the peace efforts with the Afghan government that collapsed recently.

The British PM said that that it could be argued whether the settlement that had been put in place after 2001 could be better arranged, in response to remarks by the senior British officer in Afghanistan, General Nick Carter.

Carter said that the opportunity to make peace with Afghanistan was lost when the Taliban were on the receiving end in 2003, after they were attacked following the 9/11 trouble, adding that the Taliban were on the run and there could instead have been a political solution.

The deputy commander of the coalition, Carter also said that Afghanistan's problems could only be solved through talks and there was a new opportunity to seize the future prosperity of the country.

He further added that the Taliban could secure a role in Afghanistan's future only by giving up their arms and engaging in a political process.

After a decade of tensions, US-led NATO troops are preparing to exit next year and a peace deal has become the priority.

Earlier, a Taliban establishment in Qatar, which was started on 18 June had aimed to foster talks but it caused a goof-up when the rebels used the name "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" from their 1996-2011 reign. (ANI)

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