by David Miliband
Oct 19, 20008
Christina Lamb is an excellent journalist. When she comes to fear that our work in Afghanistan is Mission Impossible (News Review, last week), it is important to take note. Like her, I have flown with our troops across barren Afghan terrain, seen the difficulty of coordinating the international effort, heard from Afghans their frustrations with government corruption. But it is also important that we do not leap to the wrong conclusion. Her article describes setbacks and successes. I recognise many of the points she makes. So what should we learn? My answer is that we should learn from mistakes, build upon successes and use the coming winter lull in fighting to plan the next phase of the campaign.
Military “victory” in Afghanistan never involved killing all the Taliban or building British suburbia – democratic and genteel– in the Panjshir Valley. If either of these were our aims, we would indeed be on an impossible mission. But our true mission, consistently advocated by the UK government and our allies, has been to use military power to create the space within which Afghan institutions can become strong enough to resist the Taliban. That mission is certainly not impossible.
h/t: Cem Ertür
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