Brits looking to retreat from Afghanistan

Independent on Sunday:

British troops will begin handing over control of Helmand province to Afghan forces by the end of next year, Gordon Brown claimed yesterday as he set out plans for a withdrawal from Afghanistan after years of bloody fighting and the deaths of 235 British soldiers.

On the eve of President Barack Obama's expected announcement of a deployment of up to 35,000 extra US troops, the Prime Minister laid out a series of milestones for the Kabul government to meet before Britain's commitment can end.

It follows intense public pressure on Mr Brown to scale back Britain's commitment to what many see as an unwinnable and ill-judged war. A poll for The Independent on Sunday earlier this month showed seven out of ten people wanted British troops out of Afghanistan within a year or so.

The announcement enables the Labour leader to go into a spring general election claiming that "Afghanisation" is under way in the country, and that within the year the number of British troops can fall. Yet, with corruption rife and troops engaged in bloody battles with Taliban fighters, such a timetable must be in doubt.

...

If the situation was ripe for a withdrawal, the US would not be committing additional forces. I think the problem is that the UK is wasting too much money on socialism and not spending enough on its military putting their troops at greater risk. On top of that has been a lack of leadership by Prime Minister Brown in explaining the importance of the mission.

It maybe that Obama's snubs of Brown were not "smart" diplomacy.

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