Defence Secretary defends UK move in Afghanistan

The UK has helped 're-stabilise' Afghanistan, said the Defence Secretary in response to comments that the west could have struck a deal with the Taliban a decade ago.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Philip Hammond added: "I think in order to have a sensible discussion, you have to have established some kind of status quo on the battlefield. And I think if we go back ten years, the Taliban were very much in the ascendency and I think we have re-stabilised Afghanistan.

"We have built an Afghan security force which is capable and competent and that has put the government of Afghanistan in a strong position where is able to reach out from a position of strength to those in the Taliban who are willing to make peace and renounce violence.

"That's the right way forward".

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West 'missed deal with Taliban'

The top British commander in Afghanistan has told the Guardian that the west could have struck a deal with the Taliban a decade ago, shortly after they had been removed from power.