Sunday, February 25, 2007

Will sending more troops to Afghanistan work?

Britain is sending up to 1,000 more men to Afghanistan, according to various reports this weekend. Sources have denied there is any link between the announcement last week that Britain would begin withdrawing troops from Iraq, but the move is uncannily similar to a plan leaked in September last year. In the newspapers, Robert Fisk argues that Britain has failed to learn from history, citing the destruction of the British army at the Battle of Maiwand in Afghanistan in 1880 as his evidence. But Christina Lamb takes the opposite view.

My view is that, while the British may yet fail in Afghanistan, their only chance of success lies in devoting much greater resources to trying to improve conditions in the country. The effectiveness of aid depends achieving greater security first.

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