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Page last updated at 10:15 GMT, Thursday, 8 March 2012

'No strategy' for Afghan withdrawal


Former Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has said that while British troops are "making a difference" in Afghanistan, "we are missing a strategy" for when Britain pulls out of the country in 2014.

In the wake of the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan, Mr Miliband told the Today programme's Sarah Montague that "building up Afghan forces is not enough" and that we need a political solution.

"No one trusts anyone" he went on to say and "we desperately need an independent mediator" in order to produce sustainable peace after Britain pulls out.

When asked why troops should remain until 2014, Mr Miliband said that early withdrawal would "invite civil war" with "dangerous regional consequences."

Professor Michael Clarke, director of the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) agreed that "troops are winning the battle both militarily and psychologically but the war is slipping away for reasons beyond our control."

He maintained that Britain's military presence in Afghanistan is doing a good job but "this crisis is about South Asian stability... which has switched from Afghanistan to Pakistan."

"We are in one part of political battlefield", he said "which is not the most important part."

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