James Forsyth

Achieving our strategic goals in Afghanistan will takes decades but is necessary for our security

Achieving our strategic goals in Afghanistan will takes decades but is necessary for our security
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Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the British ambassador to Washington, has said that Britain will be involved in Afghanistan “for decades.” Sheinwald is right and right to say this, the public need to be prepared for the fact that it will take a generation to accomplish our strategic goals in Afghainstan.

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.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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