In the wake of the killing of five UK soldiers by an Afghan police trainee, PM Gordon Brown has called on Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai to step up efforts to tackle rampant corruption in the Afghan government. Though he emphasized the point that Britain’s commitment to Afghanistan remained firm, as long as al Qaeda remained a threat, the continuation of their support was dependent on Karzai’s reforms. In his statement, the prime minister highlighted five areas of reform: security, governance, reconciliation, economic development and engagement with neighbours. He also attempted to demonstrate Britain’s commitment to Afghanistan by stressing the continuation of the police training program. He explained that this was the difference between an army of occupation and an army of liberation. To read the full article click here or continue reading about the article below.
A highly controversial election, rampant corruption and a deteriorating security situation have intensified the debate within the UK government regarding Britain’s motives for going into Afghanistan and its goals. Already there are calls for a phased withdrawal of UK troops from Afghanistan. PM Brown, though, was firm in his commitment to stay the courses saying that one only had to look at terrorist atrocities since 2001. However, shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said that the government should not confuse military goals with governance and human rights issues. Though the issues were linked, he said, they were different. He also warned that a culture of corruption could be quickly remedied and would take a sustained long term commitment. The Liberal Democrats are not ruling out a call for the withdrawal of troops if they are not presented with a plan for success. Currently, Lib. Dem. leader Nick Clegg, has stated that his party is waiting on the US to unveil its plan on Afghanistan to decide on what approach they will support. With the Canadians planning for a 2011 military pull out and the British whispering ultimatums too Karzai, the will of the major contributors to the Afghanistan campaign seems to be wearing thin.