Britain's Envoy to Af-Pak quits

In a statement today, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sherard has made an invaluable contribution to UK policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan."He said Karen Pierce, the Foreign Office's South Asia and Afghanistan director, would take over as special representative.

"Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to be this government's top priority in foreign affairs," Hague said.

Sherard was appointed to the role in February 2009 by the previous Labour government after serving as ambassador to Kabul for two years.British media had recently reported that there were serious disagreements in recent months between Sherard and officials from NATO, which is leading international troops in the country, and the United States.

He was convinced that the military-focused counter-insurgency effort was headed for failure and wanted talks with Taliban insurgents to be a priority.

Britain has about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, making it the second largest contributor after the United States to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

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