Taliban can be admired for loyalty, says British army bishop

LONDON - The Taliban can be admired for conviction to their faith and sense of loyalty to one another, according to the new bishop of Britain's armed forces, in comments published late Sunday.
The Church of England's Right Reverend Stephen Venner said it would be harder to reach a peaceful solution to the war in Afghanistan if the Taliban insurgents were all portrayed as "pure evil."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown (AFP/Pool/Matt Cardy).
Prime Minister Gordon Brown (AFP/Pool/Matt Cardy).
"There’s a large number of things that the Taliban say and stand for which none of us in the west could approve, but simply to say therefore that everything they do is bad is not helping the situation because it’s not honest really," he told the Daily Telegraph in comments published on its website.
"The Taliban can perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other."
The bishop said that some of their methods of combat were not honourable or acceptable, but argued that it was unhelpful to demonise them.
"We must remember that there are a lot of people who are under their influence for a whole range of reasons, and we simply can’t lump all of those together," he said.
"To blanket them all as evil and paint them as black is not helpful in a very complex situation."
Venner, recently commissioned in his role by the head of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, stressed his admiration for the sacrifices that British troops have made.
The conflict has claimed the lives of 100 British soldiers this year alone, and 237 since the hardline Taliban regime was ousted in 2001.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown vowed Sunday a renewed effort to defeat the Taliban as he made an unannounced visit to troops in the field.

Monday, December 14th 2009

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