Hearing both sides
Des Browne MP has said that broadcasting the Taleban's claims about the nature of the British deployment could cause confusion and might put British troops at risk. BBC News obviously takes the defence secretary's views seriously and we have had extensive debate within the newsroom about the use of video giving the Taleban's views. However we have come to the conclusion that it is an important part of our role to reflect the claims of the Taleban as well as, of course, reporting the views of British ministers, soldiers and officers.
There is a lively debate within the UK about how clear the British mission is. The fact that the Taleban hold the view that the British are there to fight war rather than to reconstruct the country is hardly surprising. For the BBC to report what the Taleban is saying is not the same as the BBC concurring with the Taleban view.
In any significant conflict involving British forces there are often members of the public and the British government who express concerns about the BBC reporting the views of the "enemy". However the BBC's duty of impartiality is especially strong in such conflicts, particularly when there is domestic controversy.
We need to be careful in explaining how interviews or statements with the Taleban are obtained and provide clear explanation to our audiences for why we are reporting those views, but it is entirely legitimate to broadcast such material and we will continue to do so. The BBC believes its impartial reporting of the facts and the views on both sides does not put British troops at risk.