London, Aug.21 (ANI): A former British special forces commander has been appointed to mastermind a program of reconciliation with members of the Taliban, General David Petraeus, the US military chief, said overnight.
Lieutenant-General Sir Graeme Lamb, who retired recently from the British Army, was personally requested by General Stanley McChrystal, the US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, to take on the role, which is considered crucial to reduce the impact of the insurgency.
General Lamb would work at “local level reconciliation and reintegration”, General Petraeus said at a briefing at the US Embassy in London.
General Petraeus, the commander of US Central Command, which embraces Iraq and Afghanistan, was full of praise for General Lamb, a former Director Special Forces, when he worked with him in Baghdad. He played a similar role there, persuading Sunni insurgent leaders to give up fighting.
General Petraeus said NATO forces had faced a tough time before the election overnight, especially in Helmand, where British troops had lost many soldiers in the last two months. “Our soldiers have shed blood side by side,” he said.
According to The Australian, he refused to predict how long he expected British and other NATO troops to be engaged in fighting the Taliban, but said that the alliance needed to maintain a “sustained and substantial commitment”.
There are about 62,000 US troops in Afghanistan, with another 6,000 to be deployed by the autumn. (ANI)