Via the UK’s Tory Diary:
“The Conservatives support the need for British troops in Afghanistan but worry that their mission is very unclear. Are they there to defeat Taliban elements? For general reconstruction? To suppress the heroin trade? Some of the objectives appear to be contradictory. Can British troops really win local peoples’ support for the battle against the Taliban if they are simultaneously dismantling the poppy trade on which they depend for their livelihoods? Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox believes that the Government has been consistently vague and panglossian about the mission. He has been asking questions about the nature of the mission since 26th January and has always regarded John Reid’s statement that British troops might have left Afghanistan “without a shot being fired” as hopelessly naive. Dr Fox has said that the Operation Enduring Freedom – the mission to bring peace to Afghanistan – probably needs to be merged with the reconstruction and peacekeeping efforts of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. In addition to a lack of clarity on objectives, two other underlying problems dog British troops: (1) inadequate resourcing (powerfully documented by Richard North on the EU Referendum blog) and (2) an unwillingness of other NATO countries to shoulder a fair share of the burden. “
Food for thought.