British government calls Taliban to peace

June 5, 2013 at 1:54 PM

LONDON, June 5 (UPI) -- British Foreign Secretary William Hague Wednesday urged the Taliban in Afghanistan to sit down at the negotiating table for the sake of peace.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said during February talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai he supports an initiative that would bring the Taliban to the peace process.

Hague emphasized the point during an update on the Afghan situation delivered Wednesday to Members of Parliament.

"Our message to the Taliban remains that entering a peace process is a chance for Afghans to sit down together and help shape their country's future," he said in a statement.

Hague said there was a general increase in violence in Afghanistan since the start of the year. Insurgents typically kick of a spring offensive after the winter snow melts though Hague said the campaign was "largely ineffective."

International forces are handing over security to their Afghan counterparts in preparation for a 2014 withdrawal.

U.S. Defense Department spokesman George Little said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met in Brussels with Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi on the sidelines of a NATO meeting.

"The ministers discussed planning for upcoming transfer to full Afghan security lead," Little said in a statement.

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