Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ministers 'united' on Afghanistan

UK ministers have put on a united front after Defence Secretary Liam Fox suggested the focus in Afghanistan should move away from reconstruction.

William Hague and Hamid Karzai took part in discussions

He had said troops were there for UK security not for "the education policy in a broken 13th-century country".

But after talks with Afghan leaders in Kabul he and International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell both stressed their commitment to redevelopment.

Foreign Secretary William Hague refused to set a date for UK troop withdrawal.

Before the talks, which took place on an unprecedented trip to Afghanistan by the three Cabinet ministers, Dr Fox argued in the Times newspaper that British troops were not in the country to fix Afghan society.

'Strong words'

"We have to reset expectations and timelines," he said. "National security is the focus now. We are not a global policeman. We are not in Afghanistan for the sake of the education policy in a broken 13th-century country. We are there so the people of Britain and our global interests are not threatened."

The BBC's Mark Dummett in Kabul said these were "strong words" from Dr Fox that signalled the new administration was considering a different approach to the war from its Labour predecessors.

But in a separate interview, Mr Mitchell said creating a stable society in Afghanistan was "absolutely crucial".

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1 comment:

  1. Dr Fox had it right - our troops are not builders - that country is what it is.....

    I have read so many articles which now state that the Taleban are 'planting' insurgents in the ANA/ANP and so more of them will be 'turning' on our troops (and I don't just mean the UK)...why bother...our troops are too good to be there....PROUD OF YOU ALL