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Friday, March 20, 2009

Miliband admits 'stalemate' in Afghanistan

Fri, 20 Mar 2009 18:37:32 GMT | PressTV

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the allied forces face a "strategic stalemate" in some parts of Afghanistan.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband says the UK, the US and their allies face a "strategic stalemate" in some parts of Afghanistan.

"In parts of the country there is a strategic stalemate. It is not true that the Taliban are overrunning our forces because in any conventional encounter they lose," Miliband told BBC.

The British diplomat added, "They are a terrorist, counter-insurgency force which is able to do grave and grievous damage to our own troops and others."

Acknowledging the close link between the issue of Afghanistan and Pakistan, Miliband said an understanding has been reached that there can be no solution for the region by military means alone.

Although he welcomed the troops sent by some European nations, Miliband called on countries to carry a "better share of the burden".

"Some countries are doing significant amounts but other countries have got either significant caveats on the deployment of their troops or they've got their troops in parts of the country where there isn't the same level of insurgency. We do want a better sharing of the burden; however, it's not the case that we're the only people there," he said.

His remarks come as British and European leaders await an Afghan policy review by President Barack Obama due next week.

The British foreign secretary highlighted that by 2012 the Afghan national army will have doubled in size, giving America and Britain the opportunity to look again at their commitments in terms of troop strength.

One hundred and fifty-two British troops have died in Afghanistan since 2001.

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