Terror 'justifiable' in some cases: Miliband

Terror 'justifiable' in some cases: Miliband

Miliband was speaking on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Great Lives’ programme in which he chose to pay tributes to the South African anti-apartheid activist Joe Slovo — a friend of his father, academic Ralph Miliband.

The military wing of the African National Congress (ANC) had indulged in terror attacks during its campaign against apartheid, including the Church Street bombing in Pretoria in 1983 in which 19 people were killed. Many of the victims were civilians.
Asked whether there were any circumstances in which terrorism was justified, Miliband said: “Yes, there are circumstances in which it is justifiable, and yes, there are circumstances in which it is effective.”

“The importance for me is that the South African example proved something remarkable — the apartheid regime looked like a regime that would last forever, and it was blown down. It is hard to argue that, on its own, a political struggle would have delivered. The striking at the heart of a regime’s claim on a monopoly of power, which the ANC’s armed wing represented, was very significant,” he said.


However, Miliband’s remarks sparked a controversy with the Conservatives charging him with giving succour to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Foreign Secretary William Hague said the remarks were ill-judged.

“Ministers must be careful before advancing any argument that seems to legitimise terrorism. When so much of the efforts of our security services, and the sacrifices of our troops in Afghanistan, are devoted to defeating terrorists, this is hardly the time to argue terrorism is sometimes acceptable,” he said.

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