Fraser Nelson

The G8 doesn’t mark a change in strategy towards Afghanistan

The G8 doesn't mark a change in strategy towards Afghanistan
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Has the G8 agreed a five-year deadline for getting out of Afghanistan? This is the Politics Home headline, and that of other publications. Either there are some Chinese whispers going on - or some British spin. None of the foreign media appear to have discerned a new strategy - but for Brits it chimes with what Cameron was saying yesterday that he wanted to be out after five years.

In fact, the full text of the G8 agreement reads as follows...

The Kabul Conference in July will be an important opportunity for the Government of Afghanistan to present its detailed plans and show tangible progress in implementing the commitments made in the January 2010 London Conference Communiqué, including measures to...expand the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces to assume increasing responsibility for security within five years.

So the G8 communiqué does not purport to have a new five-year pledge - simply to be repeating one of the London Conference Communiqué. And even that pledge simply repeated the "Government of Afghanistan’s stated goal of...taking responsibility for physical security within five years". So this is a headline borne of two rounds of recycling.

If anything, this G8 commitment has been watered down from Karzai's mob "taking responsibility" in 2015 to taking "increasing responsibility". End result? As so often with G8 summits: nothing. Check Drudge, that early warning siren of American politics, and there's not a hint of a five year exit plan. The only G8 reference is to remarks Obama made about golf. The US media refer to the G8 as "meeting the Europeans" - even thought it has Canada and Japan - but it's not portrayed as a world summit. All told, there appears to be no new deadline on Afghanistan. That's a good thing, and I look at Cameron's unfortunate suggestion to the contrary in my column for the News of the World tomorrow.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.