UK troops could be in Afghanistan for years: Labour
KABUL (PAN): Hard-earned gains could be reversed if the British government does not detail its exit strategy and the future role of UK forces in post-2014 Afghanistan, the opposition Labour party has warned.
As British troops could remain embedded with Afghans fighting insurgents for years after a formal end to NATO’s combat mission, the party will ask Prime Minister David Cameron to detail the exit strategy.
In an article published in the Telegraph, Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy wrote the British deployment to Afghanistan, including mentors, advisors, force protection and logistical support personnel, could be significant.
“There is an impression that ‘non combat’ means ‘free of danger’, but in fact those who remain post-2014 will continue to be exposed to risk, and risk that has the potential to escalate as transition gathers pace,” he said.
With Westminster set to debate Britain’s role in supporting Afghanistan beyond the pullout of foreign combat soldiers, ministers are yet to explain the UK’s future mission and commitment to that country.
Murphy said: “Some uncertainty may be unavoidable at this stage, but we know that the UK will be making an active military contribution for a number of years. Ministers need to start being more frank about what this entails.”
He called for the ministers to give details regarding the pace of withdrawal, tackling insider attacks, building Afghan forces, facilitating political reconciliation, protection of the UK’s residual forces and their rules of engagement.
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