The "Great Game" Will Never End: Britain Plans To Stay In Afghanistan
June 20, 2007 (LPAC) -- London's Ambassador to Afghanistan, speaking to BBC radio, said Britain would emphasize a "long-term development" presence in Afghanistan. Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles stated: "I wouldn't say my picture is gloomy, I would say it's realistic. It's a marathon rather than a sprint, we should be thinking in terms of decades."
"We're standing up a country that is near the bottom of the world development index, a country that has suffered from 30 years of war, with an insurgency spreading across the Pashtun belt," he said. He also claimed that Britain, with its 5,200 troops, was waging a winnable counter-insurgency war that resembled those it had fought before in Malaya and Northern Ireland. He also said most Afghans oppose the Taliban -- though regretting the loss of civilian lives, he said, "The Taliban kill five times as many as NATO do.... The great thing about the Taliban is that they haven't been reading their chairman Mao. They don't have popular support. They're try to swim in a sea that doesn't exist."
This view contrasts dramatically with reports issued recently by European military and press sources, as well as Paksitani military sources, who say the situation is totally out of control of the ocucpying forces, and that, as civilians continue to be killed, more Afghans are going over to the side of the Taliban.