British High Commissioner, Mr Adam Thomson’s statement made to a private TV channel, on Tuesday, that his government was in favour of holding talks with the Taliban, is an indication of the nature of the end-game in Afghanistan. It has been some time since the  coalition in Afghanistan came to the conclusion that the war could not be won militarily and has been striving to find a way to negotiate peace with all groups, including the Taliban, before the withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014. Envoy Thomson’ too acknowledged in the interview, that armed action was not the solution of the Afghan tangle. A negotiated settlement, it has been rightly decided by the Nato/Isaf, needs to be arrived at. However, while a negotiated settlement will allow a graceful withdrawal route, it will be no guarantee of avoiding a civil war, which is looking increasingly likely in the face of the Nato withdrawal.

The High Commissioner also touched on the issue of Baloch separatists who have found abode in Britain. Some reports quoted him as saying that should Pakistan present evidence and ask for their extradition, they would be arrested and handed over to Pakistan. Others suggest that he said that there did not exist any extradition treaty between London and Islamabad and, therefore, the UK could not respond to any such request. However, the British government was going to take action against such elements including Harbiyar Marri and several others who have been active in this regard. “We have a legislation.....we may look to that legislation to take Baloch leaders to courts,” he said. Mr Thomson also remarked that the UK would like to stop anything destabilising Pakistan and that it was not indifferent to the situation in Balochistan. The Pakistan government must pursue the matter with Britain to make sure that action is taken against such separatist forces.