Political solutions top Afghan agenda

Jan. 26, 2010 at 12:39 PM
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LONDON, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The London conference Thursday on Afghanistan will focus on finding a political solution to security challenges, the British foreign secretary said.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the BBC that the influx of foreign military troops into Afghanistan is intended to complement a corresponding military surge to prop up the Afghan government.

"The civilian effect of development projects is an important part of that but the civilian side and the military sides have to come together in a political project because it will be a political settlement that ultimately brings stability to that country," he said.

Afghan and Western officials have suggested courting moderate members of the Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan may be a path toward political reconciliation.

Miliband said creating divisions within the insurgent community is an important part of the broader counterinsurgency strategy meant to create political stability in Afghanistan.

"It is important that the political system is open enough to bring those insurgents who are willing to live within the Afghan Constitution inside that constitution and political system," he said.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown joins U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in co-hosting representatives from the international community for a conference on Afghanistan scheduled for Thursday.

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