British Prime Minister David Cameron has made a surprise visit to Afghanistan hoping to revive stalled Taliban peace talks and reassure Afghan troops that foreign forces won’t leave them high and dry in 2014.
The Taliban recently opened an office in the Qatari capital in order to start peace negotiations with the US. However, the talks ended abruptly last week amid objections from the Afghan government.
Cameron’s visit to Camp Bastion comes just four days after the Taliban attacked buildings in Kabul and the Afghan headquarters of the US CIA.
“I believe that the Taliban watching all this progress are beginning realise that they are not going to secure a role in Afghanistan’s future through terror and violence but by giving up their arms and engaging in a political process. But let me make absolutely clear: this peace process is for Afghanistan to determine,” said the prime minister.
A senior military source said that foreign troops would remain in the country to back-up Afghan forces into 2020, though most of Britain’s 7,900 troops will be heading home by the end of next year. Its a race against time to ensure the 35,000 Afghan security forces are ready to take on the insurgency by then.
Cameron’s next stop is Pakistan to hold talks with President Asif Ali Zardari to strengthen the relationship between Islamabad and Kabul.