Taliban talks 'were needed a decade ago' says senior British commander
Saturday 29 June 2013
The West should have attempted talks with the Taliban a decade ago, a senior British commander in Afghanistan has said, after efforts to negotiate with the insurgents have faltered.
General Nick Carter, deputy commander of the Nato-led coalition told The Guardian that it would have been more successful to approach the Taliban in 2002 after they were knocked from power.
The United States and Afghanistan are still waiting to hear from the Taliban about opening peace talks, but remain willing to go ahead with negotiations despite a stir the militant group caused in opening a new office in Qatar.
Gen Carter told the Guardian: "Back in 2002, the Taliban were on the run. I think that at that stage, if we had been very prescient, we might have spotted that a final political solution to what started in 2001, from our perspective, would have involved getting all Afghans to sit at the table and talk about their future."
Acknowledging the benefit of hindsight, he added: "The problems that we have been encountering over the period since then are essentially political problems, and political problems are only ever solved by people talking to each other."
As the US and UK prepare to pull their troops from Afghanistan next year, Gen Carter said the Kabul government may have to accept they may only have shaky control over some remote areas of the country for some years.
However, he insisted Afghan forces were strong enough to be taking over control from Nato, a move he believed would eventually bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.
"What the opponents of the Afghan government now realise is they are likely to be up against capable Afghan security forces who are going to be here in perpetuity and therefore that old adage that 'We have the clocks but the Taliban have the time', has now been reversed," he told the newspaper.
"They are now up against security forces who have the time, and they are also Afghan forces ... for those reasons I think that there is every chance people will realise that talking is the answer to this problem," added Gen Carter, who previously served as the top Nato officer in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban's birthplace."
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
- 5 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...