17 August 2009

Ainsworth: 'Afghanistan can be sorted out in a year'

imageColonel Tim Collins, who commanded the 1st Battalion of Royal Irish Regiment during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, said:

I'd be very careful about what Bob Ainsworth says when it's the Government's spectacular lack of planning and strategy that has been at the root of the problem.

General Lord Guthrie, former Chief of the Defence Staff, attacked the Government's failure to put the country on a war footing and give troops the necessary equipment.

Those in Afghanistan believe, quite rightly, they are at war but there is no feeling in Whitehall that this is the case.

Colonel Richard Kemp, who commanded British forces in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2004, said the 200th death was a significant milestone that could sow seeds of doubt in the minds of the public.

There will be questions asked about whether what we're achieving, and what we're hoping to do, is worth this number of soldiers' lives.

A YouGov poll for Sky found that three-quarters of the public believe that not enough is being done for the troops serving in Afghanistan.

A country can’t fight a war with an incompetent Defence Secretary, with senior figures in the armed forces openly asking questions about the strategy and the public becoming more sceptical by the day.

For Gordon Brown the acid test has arrived.  As Prime Minister it is now his sole responsibility to unite the country behind him.  This week could well determine whether he is up to the task.

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