Cameron uses IRA peace talks as example to Taliban
Published 06/07/2011 | 05:00
The Taliban could share power in Afghanistan just as former IRA terrorists do in Northern Ireland, David Cameron said yesterday.
The British prime minister urged the Taliban to give up violence for politics, using Sinn Fein's role in Stormont as an example of the reward.
Britain has confirmed that officials are in contact with some Taliban members seeking a peace deal.
However, Mr Cameron's explicit offer of power-sharing to a group that has killed hundreds of British service personnel may raise eyebrows.
Speaking in Kabul after talks with President Hamid Karzai, Mr Cameron said that Afghanistan's long-term future lies in a negotiated settlement.
Mr Cameron called for greater efforts to "reconcile and reintegrate" Taliban members into Afghan politics.
The result could be an Ulster-style peace process, with government posts for former Taliban members, he suggested.
Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Fein deputy first minister, is a former IRA commander.
Mr Cameron said: "The message to the Taliban is stop fighting, stop bombing, stop killing. Join a political process and you can be part of the future of this country.
"I have seen it in my own country, in Northern Ireland, where people who were involved in trying to kill, maim and bomb civilians, police officers, army officers and even politicians, are now politicians themselves."
Praising the growing Afghan security forces, Mr Cameron told Taliban members: "You cannot win this fight. Join a political process." (© Daily Telegraph, London)