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Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 10 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of civilians killed by the recent bombing at Nabo Aka in Afghanistan. (177041)

The Government are not aware of any civilian casualties resulting from a bombing at Nabo Aka.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) the British Government, (b) the British army and (c) coalition forces in Afghanistan have had with the Taliban. (177509)

The UK supports President Karzai’s efforts to bring disaffected Afghans into society’s mainstream, providing they renounce violence and accept Afghanistan’s constitution. In this context we have provided funds for the Afghan reconciliation programme, Programme Takhim-e-Solh. We support Afghan-led efforts to reach out to Taliban elements who no longer want to continue their armed opposition, in order to weaken the insurgency and isolate its leadership. We will continue to support President Karzai and his government in their efforts to reconcile all parties to Afghanistan’s democratic constitution.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what definition the Government uses of the Taliban. (177510)

“Taliban” is an umbrella term used for an increasingly splintered group of anti-government elements in Afghanistan. This includes warlords, those in the narcotics trade and jihadi fighters. The anti-government insurgency also includes Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin and the Haqqani network. It is associated with, but separate from, members of Al Qa'eda and the extremist tribesmen in Pakistan (the so-called “Pakistan Taliban”).