WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) -- Though many problems remain, there is no military solution to the situation in Afghanistan, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department said.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said he would like to see his forces take over security responsibility in the country by 2014. War planners and government officials are examining ways to include moderate Taliban into the political system as part of a reconciliation and reintegration program.
Mark Toner, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said during his regular meeting with reporters that the situation in Afghanistan remains a challenge for coalition forces.
He said Washington believes there is significant progress on the ground in terms of military capacity but said that wasn't part of a grand solution to the Afghan problem.
"There's no military solution, obviously, to the situation in Afghanistan," he said. "What needs to happen there is for the government to extend to more parts of the country, pacify more areas and then really bring that civilian component to bear on improving lives on the ground."
Abdullah Abdullah, a former minister turned opposition leader, told National Public Radio last week he was frustrated with the political direction of his country.
"The Parliament's decisions are being ignored. The constitution is being violated," he said. "I think there is a growing gap between the people of Afghanistan and the government of Afghanistan."
He noted that the people of Afghanistan have been tested repeatedly over the course of the country's long history and shouldn't have to endure more frustration.