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Danish FM says Afghan war cannot win militarily

(Xinhua)

22:44, November 28, 2011

COPENHAGEN, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal said for the first time late Sunday that it is impossible to win the ongoing war in Afghanistan by military means.

He made the comments in a public debate aired late Sunday on DR News, Denmark's public broadcaster, following his return Sunday after visiting Danish armed forces serving in Afghanistan.

"This war will not let itself be won militarily, and that is why I am very happy with the new strategy of transferring responsibility for military tasks and policing tasks to the Afghans themselves," he said.

It's the first time a Danish foreign minister made such comment on the conflict in Afghanistan since Denmark joined a NATO-led coalition to stabilize the security situation in the south Asian nation in 2002.

But Soevndal told DR News that he remains confident that the Afghans will competently fulfill their security responsibilities once Danish combat troops pull out of Afghanistan in end-2014, provided Western security forces stay to assist them.

"The whole point is you cannot have peace in Afghanistan unless you create an internal reconciliation process in the country, where the different stakeholders contribute and stop fighting," said Soevndal, a member of the current center-left Danish coalition government.

Although Soevndal previously criticized the erstwhile center-right Danish government saying it could not label its Afghanistan mission "a huge success," he said Sunday that he now believes the effort in Afghanistan is moving in the right direction.

Soevndal maintains that Danish combat troops will definitely pull out of Afghanistan end-2014 in line with other coalition partners there, and that all international efforts must be made to ensure suitable local conditions exist for an exit at that time.

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