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David Cameron: Afghanistan strategy right

Another year of heavy Taliban losses in Afghanistan will make a political settlement more likely, the Prime Minister predicted today.

David Cameron rejected a claim from one of his own backbenchers, John Baron, for "fresh thinking" on the conflict following a US Department of Defence report which said the Taliban's strength was based on many Afghanis' perceptions they would win.

Mr Baron (Basildon and Billericay) said the US now had to start talks with the Taliban. "As we proved in Northern Ireland, you can talk and fight at the same time," he said.

Mr Cameron insisted the British and American forces were pursuing the right strategy.

He said: "I think this year that the Taliban will see there is no meaningful removal of forces from Afghanistan.

"This is going to be another year where the Taliban are going to be heavily defeated on the battlefield and it will therefore make a political solution more, rather than less, likely."