Afghanistan: Enough. Time to pack up and leave (Matthew Parris in TimesOnline)

..Forgive me for writing like this yet again, of Afghanistan. None of us can know whether the situation is beyond retrieval but we surely sense that we British – never mind about America, or Italy, or Canada, Germany or France – are at the limit of what we can achieve by force. It is no good sending any more troops: we haven’t any to spare, and the force we already send to Helmand province is overstretched. In Paddy Ashdown we have offered the best imaginable possibility for a figure capable of knocking heads together, and the Government of Hamid Karzai has rejected him.

Three recent reports – most worryingly one from Oxfam – have painted a picture of a failing state. Inch by inch we are being edged into keeping thousands of troops permanently parked in a barbarous place, in the open-ended support of a puppet government led by a man who wears elegantly tailored clothes and speaks nice English but whose writ hardly runs.

And now the Americans are demanding more troops from Nato. Well, good luck to them. Perhaps they will persuade the French to do a little more; maybe they can stop Canada from carrying out its threat to pull back. But the starting point for a British Foreign Secretary is that in terms of boots on the ground, we British are at our limit and losing confidence in our usefulness…

Enough. Time to pack up and leave (Matthew Parris in TimesOnline)

NAVO aan verliezende hand in Afghanistan, waarschuwen Amerikaanse rapporten

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