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MORE British soldiers could be sent to Afghanistan to prevent the Taliban filling any “vacuum”, the Foreign Secretary said yesterday.

David Miliband told delegates at the Nato Parliamentary Assembly that Britain would be “ready” to send more troops as part of an agreed strategy. But he warned that Britain is not engaged in a fight to the death with the Taliban.

Instead, he stressed that insurgents should be urged to lay down their weapons with offers of financial support and of political influence.

He said: “I, as much as anyone else, want to bring our troops back home to safety. But we cannot leave a vacuum which the Taliban will quickly fill, and under their umbrella Al Qaeda quickly follow.

“Counter-terrorism may deal with symptoms, it brings short-term success. But only a comprehensive strategy can deal with the causes and ensure that when we leave, we do so knowing that we will not have to return.” He told delegates the UK has suffered the “bloodiest war” since the Falklands, with more than 100 deaths since Armistice Day last year.

Mr Miliband added that it was crucial to tackle corruption in president Hamid Karzai’s government, encourage non-hardline Taliban to reintegrate into peaceful society and work with Afghanistan’s neighbours, particularly Pakistan, to crush Al Qaeda.

Anders Rasmussen, Nato Secretary-General, urged its members to respond to President Barack Obama’s call for more troops. continues here

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