British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has called on the Afghan government to work harder in order to achieve a peace agreement with the Taliban.
Miliband’s comments, in a speech to be delivered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) later on Wednesday, reflect increasing recognition in the West that the Taliban militants who break ties to al Qaeda could play a role in the country’s future.
“Now is the time for the Afghans to pursue a political settlement with as much vigor and energy as we are pursuing the military and civilian effort,” Miliband said in excerpts published prior to his speech.
In a separate appearance in Boston on Tuesday night, Miliband said there was no longer a military solution for Afghanistan.
“The truth about an insurgency and a counterinsurgency is that it’s never ended militarily, it’s only ended politically,” he said at a public forum at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
Nearly nine years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, it is not enough to explain to people why the war started, Miliband is to say in Wednesday’s speech.
“We need to set out how it will be ended,” he is expected say. “Afghanistan will never achieve a sustainable peace unless many more Afghans are inside the political system, and the neighbors are onside with the political settlement.”
The Labour government in the UK, which faces a struggle to win an election due in the next few months, needs to show it has an exit strategy for its 9,500 troops in Afghanistan.