Coffee Housers often ask what the British national interest is in Afghanistan. To my mind it is clear: preventing the re-emergence of an al-Qaeda sanctuary in Afghanistan and preventing things that could further destabilize Pakistan. I think—and say in the Washington Post today—that Afghanistan is turning into a test of whether Britain is still prepared to pay the price of being a frontline nation.
One of the many things the Tory government will have to do better than this government is explain why we are in Afghanistan. Too often, Labour has made it sound like a giant development mission when our principal reasons for being there are to do with our security. That message needs to be got across to the public.