Appeal to Taliban before offensive
Published 07/02/2010 | 12:42
Taliban fighters in Afghanistan have been given a choice to lay down their weapons or face "overwhelming force" as the British military prepared to take part in a major international offensive.
British military spokesman Major General Gordon Messenger acknowledged that it was likely that the Taliban would put up a fight - potentially leading to further casualties.
Maj Gen Messenger said there had been a "conscious decision" to reveal details of the push ahead of it beginning despite the risk of losing the element of surprise.
He told Sky News' Sunday Live: "The express purpose of this is to essentially give the Taliban in those areas a choice: either to put down their weapons and choose not to fight and become part of legitimate society in those areas or to fight.
"And if they choose to fight, as General Nick Carter, the general commanding the operation has said, they will be subjected to overwhelming force and will be defeated."