Britain hails Afghan-Taliban council

The group, set up by the Afghan President Hamid Karzai, aims to pursue peace talks.

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LONDON // Britain welcomed Saturday Afghan President Hamid Karzai's announcement that he had set up a council to pursue peace talks with the Taliban, saying peace would not be achieved by military means alone. The High Peace Council has been described as a "significant step towards peace talks" by Karzai's office and will act as a negotiating body made up of representatives from across Afghan society. A spokesman for the Foreign Office in London said: "We warmly welcome today's announcement. "We will not bring about a more secure Afghanistan by military means alone." The spokesman added that the move was "rooted in the Afghan people's desire for peace through negotiation. "We have always said that a political process is needed to bring the conflict in Afghanistan to an end." Britain has around 10,000 troops in Afghanistan and is the second-largest contributor to the 150,000-strong international force battling Taliban militants. * Agence France-Presse