The Dalai Lama believes the war in Afghanistan has so far been a failure, saying military intervention creates additional complications for the country.
The exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, making his first visit to the Western Canadian city of Calgary in 30 years, said foreign military intervention against Taliban insurgents has only served to make the fundamentalist group more determined.
The war has been "so far, I think, a failure," he told reporters, adding that he could not yet judge its outcome. "Using military forces, the other hard-liners become even more hard ... and due to civilian casualties the other side also sometimes is getting more sympathy from local people."
U.S. President Barack Obama is weighing calls to boost troop levels and alter strategy to reverse what officials have said is a deteriorating military situation. But the Dalai Lama said it would all have been unnecessary had the United States and the European Union spent more on aid to the region.
"Instead of spending billions and billions of dollars for killing they should have spent billions .... on education and health in rural areas and underdeveloped areas. (If they had) I think the picture would be different."
-- Written by Scott Haggett
(Photo: The Dalai Lama speaks at a conference in Calgary, Alberta, on October 1, 2009. REUTERS/Todd Korol)