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Today in the House of Commons, during a Statement on the US killing of 16 Afghan civilians, John Baron MP pressed the Defence Minister, Nick Harvey MP, as to the need to open non-conditional talks with the Taliban. John opposed our initial intervention, has been critical of our policy ever since, and was the only Tory MP to vote against continued Government policy when Afghanistan was first voted on in 2010. Below is a link to John’s City AM article.
“Given the fundamental differences between the Taliban and Al Qaeda and increasing intelligence evidence suggesting there are very few Al Qaeda left in Afghanistan, if we remain true to our original mission does this latest incident not once again emphasise the need for the Americans to hold non-conditional talks with the Taliban in order to explore possible common ground following Taliban signals that they are willing to talk.”
The Minister responded that there are many parties in Afghanistan other than the Taliban which will also need to be considered as part of any settlement.
John said afterwards:
“The Government still has its head stuck in the sand over Afghanistan. This latest civilian killing reinforces the local impression that ISAF is a foreign occupying force. We need to negotiate with the Taliban otherwise another disorderly retreat is on the cards, similar to Vietnam.”
John has spelled out his views in more detail in his CityAM article.