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Page last updated at 07:45 GMT, Thursday, 30 August 2012 08:45 UK

Afghanistan 'allotment in a jungle' says Cowper-Coles


As the 2014 deadline for the withdrawal of Coalition and ISAF forces in Afghanistan approaches, and Taliban attacks increase, what options are left for the West and what has been achieved since operations began in 2002?

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, former British ambassador to Afghanistan, said that "what we're doing essentially is cultivating an allotment in a jungle... and the question is what happens when the gardeners leave."

He told the Today programme that there has been a "failure to accompany a perfectly sensible military tactical campaign with a serious political strategy".

"We're in danger of betraying [our troops'] legacy," he said.

Col Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in the country, said the major strategic weaknesses have been an "inability to prevent... the Aghan government from descending into the depths of corruption" as well as preventing Pakistan from providing "such amazingly high levels of support to Taliban insurgents".

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