BRITAIN is officially withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in 2014, at the same time as the United States. The Defense Secretary, Philip Hammond, has however hinted that the process is to be speeded up.
Our troops have shown remarkable courage and endurance, and still the killing goes on.
What will they leave behind? A fully functioning democracy is unlikely; so is an uncorrupt state. But there are hopes that Afghanistan may not return to the chaos of the 1990s. Hammond says that we shall have to get used to "reaching out, Northern Ireland-style to at least the moderate part of the insurgency." If we keep al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan, we can then concentrate our scrutiny on the greater security threat from Pakistan. If negotiations with the Taliban lead to a settlement that will make British troops unnecessary in Afghanistan, that would be a good outcome.
London Evening Standard