THE Brown government admitted on Monday that it could not win “hearts and minds” in Afghanistan through military means and must start negotiating with the Taliban.
Ministers have consistently refused calls to negotiate with the Taliban, which has always signalled its willingness to talk, as a matter of “principle” – claiming repeatedly that “we do not negotiate with terrorists.”
Last year, then chancellor Gordon Brown declared that Britain was engaged in a struggle “between justice and evil” on which there could be no compromise.
But, in an apparent U-turn, Britain has now decided to back a strategy which will focus on winning so-called “moderate” Taliban leaders over to join the puppet Afghan government of Hamid Karzai.
Stop the War Coalition convener Lindsey German said: “This confirms exactly what we have always said – that Britain cannot win in Afghanistan and must negotiate with the people who represent large sections of Afghans.
“That is what they want to do through this new strategy and they are doing the same in Iraq.
“If Britain and the US are now willing to talk to the Talibanis in Afghanistan and the Ba’athists in Iraq to win the ‘moderates’ over to their side, one must wonder why they didn’t take this approach before going to war with those countries,” Ms German said.
“The occupiers must now come clean and admit that they can play no role in the future of Iraq or Afghanistan and should leave.”
Communist Party of Britain general secretary Rob Griffiths said that the measure was just the latest in a series of “fairy tales” about Britain’s involvement in Afghanistan which had been exposed as “lies and deceptions.”
He added: “The only progressive role Britain and the US can play is to get out and let the Afghan people determine their own future.”
Respect MP George Galloway added: “This is an indication of the bankruptcy of Gordon Brown’s policy of sending more young servicemen to the war-torn country.
“It also shows that the occupation in Afghanistan is losing in the face of growing popular resistance – there is no doubt about that.”