US should put down arms, negotiate with Taliban: Ex-UK envoy

London, June 19: A former British envoy has said that the US and its NATO allies should consider putting their arms down and concentrate on achieving a political deal with the Taliban.

Sherard Cowper-Coles, who served as Britain's ambassador and special representative to Afghanistan, believes that the US should put their arms down, sit across from the Taliban at the bargaining table, no matter how distasteful that may seem.

"What has been missing until now is unambiguous American commitment to negotiating. America often finds it difficult to talk to its enemies, but that's how insurgencies end," the Los Angeles Times quoted Cowper-Coles, as saying.

He said during an interview, that Taliban's major problem with the US and its allies is the presence of foreign troops on their soil.

"What I'm advocating is not so much getting troops back to Britain or America as getting them out of combat. You can pull them back into bases across Afghanistan," said Cowper-Coles.

"It's a question of showing the Taliban you're serious about wanting an honorable peace for all the internal parties to the Afghan conflict [and] also all the regional parties," he added.

Cowper-Coles also said that US President Barack Obama recognized the idea of talking to the Taliban from the beginning, but because of the pressures from the American military and others, it took him two years to get round to actually turning those words into real action.owper-Coles, 56, has recently published "Cables from Kabul," a memoir of his years in Afghanistan.

Since retiring last year, the veteran diplomat has become an outspoken critic of British and US policy toward Afghanistan.

Copyright Asian News International/