Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Monday, 17 September 2012 16:29 UK

Afghan war 'unwinnable', says Labour MP Denis MacShane

British service personnel in Afghanistan have "died in an unwinnable conflict for an unattainable end", Labour MP Denis MacShane has said.

On 17 September 2012, Commons Speaker John Bercow granted permission for an urgent question on the subject from Mr MacShane following the death of two British soldiers in Afghanistan on Saturday.

"Why, why, why are we still allowing our soldiers to be sacrificed to no evident purpose?" the Labour MP for Rotherham asked.

He said that, since the coalition government took office, an average of more than one British soldier per week had been killed in Afghanistan.

The war was of "no strategic benefit for our country", he added.

"We have done all the good we can do and frankly it is time to say it's over," he concluded.

The two troops, from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, were lured into an ambush by a man wearing a local police uniform at a checkpoint in the south of Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand province.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond told MPs the pain caused by such attacks was "more raw", as it undermined efforts to work with Afghan forces.

He added that Nato would not allow its strategy to be "derailed".

He told MPs: "Our service men and women are doing vital work protecting the UK from the threat of international terrorism.

"Our strategy is clear: we are mentoring and training the Afghan army and police to deliver security to their own people.

"This will allow our forces first to withdraw into a support role and then to come home. The Taliban hate this strategy and seek to wreck it through insider attacks.

"They aim to disrupt the collaboration with Afghan forces which is at the heart of our strategy.

"We cannot and will not allow the process to be derailed."


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