Afghanistan Mullahs In London to Bridge Cultural Divide

April 3, 2010

Author: Emily Buchanan

Source: BBC News

Their faces etched from years of conflict in the war-torn deserts of Helmand Province, four senior Islamic scholars step into a pod on the London Eye.

As the giant wheel turns they stare in silence at the city spread beneath them; the River Thames, the Houses of Parliament and miles beyond.

It is their first time ever in Britain. As they soak up the sights, they know this visit is about much more than tourism.

It marks a new initiative in British government strategy; the recognition that military progress in southern Afghanistan will not hold unless international forces also win the battle for hearts and minds.

In the intense propaganda war on the ground, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office now hopes to improve communication with ordinary Afghans by targeting their religious leaders.