November 09, 2009

UK MoD: Afghan war no matter of public view

Press TV - November 8, 2009 17:33:43 GMT

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II prepares to lay a wreath during
the Remembrance Sunday service in Whitehall, London.

British Defense Minister Bob Ainsworth has downplayed mounting public skepticism of the Afghan war, saying the mission was not a matter of public opinion.

The comments came as the Queen paid her respect to Britain's war dead on Remembrance Sunday, when the Ministry of Defense confirmed the death of another trooper in Afghanistan.

Ainsworth was referring to a BBC poll which found 64 percent of Britons regarded the war as 'unwinnable' — a rise of six percent since July — seemingly corresponding to the country's death toll in Afghanistan that has passed the 230 milestone.

“This campaign is directly connected to our safety back here in the United Kingdom and people need to recognize that. Failure will be a disaster for us," he told Sky News.

While MoD only acknowledged a 'dent' in the support for the campaign, the head of the country's armed forces, Sir Jock Stirrup, told BBC One's Andrew Marr show that it was 'incredibly important' to improve ways for 'explaining the successes we are having'.
He said despite the progress being 'painful, slow and halting', the troops based in the war-torn country believed that they were gaining ground.

Stirrup went on to question the current 'optimistic' US estimate of a possible pull out from Afghanistan by 2013, saying the Afghan army could not be entrusted with the full task of maintaining security until a year later.

Meanwhile, a report by the Sunday Times daily said army chiefs were considering a retreat in the face of growing Taliban insurgency and planned to withdraw British troops from outlying bases in Afghanistan.

The strategy, dubbed 'retrenchment', would see several bases, including deadly Musa Qala, abandoned for larger towns in volatile Helmand province — a move expected to spark reaction from the families of soldiers who died there.

This would not be the first time British troops have quitted the Musa Qala, which quickly fell into the Taliban's hands in 2007, only to be reclaimed by NATO forces in a costly operation later that year, the paper noted.

No comments:

Post a Comment