Kabul, 6 Oct. (AKI) - International forces in Afghanistan cannot win the war against the Taliban by military means, the United Nations' top official in the country said on Monday.
"I have always said to those that talk about the military surge... what we need most of all is a political surge, more political energy," the UN special envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, told journalists in Kabul.
"We all know that we cannot win it military. It has to be won through political means. That means political engagement," Eide continued.
Eide's comments came after Britain's departing military commander in Afghanistan, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said a military victory over the Taliban (photo) was "neither feasible nor supportable."
Troop levels need to be sufficient to contain the insurgency to a level where it does not threaten the survival of the country's democratically elected government, Carleton-Smith argued.
And the only way forward was to find a political solution that would include the Taliban, he said.
Former Italian general and ex-commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, Mauro Del Vecchio, said he essentially agreed with Carleton-Smith.
"We need to help Karzai engage in dialogue with those elements of the Taliban who are most open to this," Del Vecchio said in an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Monday.
Del Vecchio commanded ISAF from August 2005 to May 2006 and is now a Senator for Italy's opposition centre-left Democratic Party.
ISAF currently has around 53,000 troops from 40 countries in Afghanistan, NATO’s largest ground operation outside Europe.
But the US general commanding NATO forces in the country said last month he was likely to need around 15,000 more troops on top of an extra 4,000 soldiers due to arrive in January.
More foreign troops have been killed in Afghanistan already this year than in any entire year since US-led and Afghan forces toppled the Taliban after the 11 September 2001 attacks on US cities.
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