Author Topic: UK helping prepare strategic options in Afghanistan for Obama  (Read 1401 times)

nestopwar

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UK helping prepare strategic options in Afghanistan for Obama
« on: November 07, 2008, 07:14:47 PM »
UK helping prepare strategic options in Afghanistan for Obama
"We are already working with General Petraeus, the new commander, and we have seconded individuals to his team to prepare strategic options for the new President," Malloch-Brown said.

"Although we feel the need to prevail militarily in Helmand and Afghanistan, we have always and consistently been clear that a military victory alone will not secure the stable peace that we wish for; it is necessary to have a political track as well," he said.

Speaking during a parliamentary debate on Afghanistan on Wednesday, the minister said that he disagreed that the "dynamic is running against us" following the adoption of asymmetrical warfare by Taliban insurgents.

But he agreed that "an effective, coherent international strategy" was needed, for which Britain and the US were working with allies in the UN. He also endorsed the need for regional partners, which he said "critical for success."

During the debate, former UN High Representative for Bosnia, Lord Ashdown, warned that more troops and more resources would not be sufficient in Afghanistan without the help of neighbouring countries and an international plan with clear priorities.

Former chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Lord Howell suggested that "some co-operation even with Iran, which has the same objectives as we have over a wide area in Afghanistan."

Malloch-Brown said that there had been a lot of speculation about what Obama's strategy would be but cautioned members of the House of Lords that they would have to wait and see as he needed the opportunity to develop his thinking.

"We certainly believe that additional troops can be useful but we have always made it clear that that must be combined with an appropriate political approach. We hope that the American approach will emphasize both things," he said.

The minister said that there was much hope for an opportunity for NATO to re-engage and that "the new president, Mr Obama, will use some of his new-found multilateral authority and friendships to bring a broader NATO commitment back to this operation."

He also called on the government of Afghanistan to "reach out to tribal leaders and other groups who have aligned themselves with the Taliban and bring them back onside." --IRNA