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West boosts efforts to engage Taliban in peace talks

Press TV

Senior Western officials are seeking to engage in talks with Taliban militants after nearly twelve years of the costly US-led war in Afghanistan, Press TV reports.

British Prime Minister David Cameron backed controversial peace talks with the militant group during his recent visit to Kabul on Saturday. However, he emphasized on the need to move forward with both military and political approaches.

“And yes, of course we now believe alongside our security approach, which is about training up the Afghan army and police force, we believe yes, there should be a political process as well, but a political process that will only succeed if those involved in terms of the Taliban put down their arms and stop fighting,” Cameron said during a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the Afghan capital.

The British premier remarks come after his top general said the West had missed a chance to strike a peace deal nearly ten years ago. The top British military commander in Afghanistan has said the West should have tried talking to the Taliban a decade ago.

“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,” General Nick Carter said in an interview with the British daily the Guardian on Friday.

The developments come after President Barack Obama administration supported peace talks with the Taliban after US-led forces lost ground against the militants in recent months across Afghanistan.

Senior Pakistani officials have also welcomed the dialogue between Taliban and the United States in Doha, but the Afghan government has expressed serious concerns about the ongoing US-led peace process with Taliban in Qatar.

Senior Afghan officials say the move contradicts the US security guarantees, noting that the Taliban militants will be able to use their Doha office to raise funds for their campaign in Afghanistan.

The Kabul government has also suspended strategic talks with Washington to discuss the nature of the US presence after foreign troops withdraw in 2014.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but after more than 11 years, insecurity remains across the country.

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