Brit Army chief calls for talks with Taliban soon

Talks with Taliban should begin ‘sooner than later’, says British Army Chief.

Last Updated: Jun 28, 2010, 15:48 PM IST

London: Backing the proposals of negotiating with the Taliban to bring the nine-year-long ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan to its logical conclusion, British Army Chief General Sir David Richards has said that talks with the insurgents should begin ‘sooner than later’.

“In every counter-insurgency campaign, there was always a point which you start to negotiate with each other,” General Richards said.

“I think there`s no reason why we shouldn`t be looking at that sort of thing (talking to the Taliban) pretty soon,” he added.

His statement has come after Prime Minister David Cameroon said he wanted the British troops to be out of the war tattered country within five years.

General Richards underlined that history suggests that there always have been negotiations between two sides at some point of conflict.

“If you look at any counter-insurgency campaign throughout history there`s always a point at which you start to negotiate with each other, probably through proxies in the first instance, and I don`t know when that will happen,” The BBC quoted Richards, as saying.

“From my own, and this is a purely private view, I think there`s no reason why we shouldn`t be looking at that sort of thing pretty soon,” he said.

Richards, however, highlighted that while talks were necessary, both military and development work must also continue to give a clear message to the Taliban that the international forces are not ‘giving up’.

“But at the same time you`ve got to continue the work we`re doing on the military, governance and development perspectives to make sure they don`t think we`re giving up. It`s a concurrent process and they`re both equally important,” he said.

ANI