Terrorism

David Cameron: Taliban could be waiting for British troops to leave before trying to take Afghanistan

Rowena Mason
Monday, 23-July-2012

 

David Cameron has admitted the Taliban may simply be "waiting it out" for British troops to leave before trying to regain control of Afghanistan.


Camp Bastion, Afghanistan - The Prime Minister warned the rebels they should not expect an easy victory when foreign forces leave in 2014, after a decade of fighting and the deaths of 422 British soldiers.

Mr. Cameron was speaking in Kabul ahead of a historic three-way meeting with the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan to encourage them to fight "Talibanisation" in both nations.

He said the war on terror had already made progress as the proportion of threats to Britain from Pakistan and Afghanistan has fallen from 75pc to 50pc since 2006.

However, the Prime Minister said there were still huge challenges to stop the region being a "haven for international terror".

"The clear message is to the Taliban that you can't just wait this out until foreign forces leave in 2014," Mr. Cameron said. "We will be firm friends and supporters to Afghanistan long beyond that."

He appeared with Hamid Karzai, the Afghan leader, to announce a Sandhurst-style officer training academy in Kabul, after a flying visit to see troops on the ground at Camp Bastion.

The Prime Minister also encouraged Mr. Karzai to hold "credible, inclusive and nationwide" elections to help Afghanistan become a stable nation state.

Afterwards, they were joined by Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, the new prime minister of Pakistan.

The three leaders are discussing peace talks with the Taliban and trying to stop cross-border terror attacks.

Mr. Karzai said holding peace talks with the Taliban are "the most important of our priorities".

The Afghan leader hosted Mr. Cameron in the rose garden of the opulent presidential palace in Kabul.

The Prime Minister is on his ninth visit to Afghanistan but this is his first visit to Helmand Province since British forces began handing more control to the Afghan army.

After meeting Grn John Allen, commander of the ISAF

international military forces in Afghanistan, Mr. Cameron said British troops are already in a "mentoring and training role" rather than frontline fighting.

Yesterday, he promised that withdrawing from the region by 2014 is "doable and deliverable".

He said he was confident about handing over control to Afghan troops after seeing the situation in Helmand Province for himself.

However, senior military sources warned that withdrawing too quickly to save money could put British security under threat.

The source said British troops need to "maintain a strong presence" for as long as possible if Afghanistan is to be a "viable state

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



    

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