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Britain should withdraw from Afghanistan 'quickly': Ashdown

16 november 2012, 17:00
0
Former leader of the Liberal Democrats Paddy Ashdown. ©REUTERS
Former leader of the Liberal Democrats Paddy Ashdown. ©REUTERS
Britain should accept defeat and move all of its soldiers out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible, former Liberal Democrat party leader Paddy Ashdown wrote in Friday's The Times newspaper, AFP reports.

"All that we can achieve has now been achieved," wrote the peer.

"The only rational policy is to leave quickly, in good order and in the company of our allies. This is the only cause for which further lives should be risked," he added.

Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister David Cameron to bring forward the 2014 deadline for bringing home British troops following a series of insider attacks.

Ashdown said it was "crystal clear that we have lost in Afghanistan", adding the only achievement was in driving out Al-Qaeda.

However, the former soldier argued the failure had been political, not military.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said in September he was considering bringing some British troops back from Afghanistan earlier than expected.

"I think that the message I am getting clearly from the military is that it might be possible to draw down further troops in 2013," Hammond told The Guardian in an interview at Camp Bastion in Helmand province.

The government has said it intends to pull out all its 9,500 combat troops by the end of 2014.

Ashdown led the party between 1988 and 1999 following careers as a Royal Marine and as an intelligence officer for the UK security services.

He was the international High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2002 to 2006.

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