David Cameron has declared mission accomplished in Afghanistan after 12 years of British involvement in the conflict, despite fears of a surge of violence from the Taliban around next year’s elections.
The prime minister made the bold claim as he visited Camp Bastion, the British base in Helmand province, almost exactly a year before all UK fighting troops are due to be withdrawn from the country.
Almost 6,000 men and women are still serving in Afghanistan in a war that has cost 646 British lives so far.
Asked whether they were coming home with mission accomplished, Cameron said: “Yes I think they do. I think they can come home with their heads held high. You know, we will not leave behind a perfect country or a perfect democracy. theguardian.com
Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has accused the United States of “threatening” to abandon the country to continuing civil war if he does not allow American and Nato bases to remain in the country for another ten years.
Speaking in New Delhi, Mr Karzai said the threat had been made by a senior American official but he had warned him Afghanistan is prepared for a so-called ‘zero-option’ in which all Western troops and financial aid is withdrawn.
The United States has urged Afghanistan to sign a ‘Bilateral Security Agreement’ soon to avoid a military vacuum after the bulk of Nato forces are withdrawn by the end of next year. It wants to keep 15,000 Western troops at nine military bases. telegraph.co.uk