Questioning the Prime Minister today (Monday) after a G8 statement in the House of Commons SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson, Angus Robertson MP, repeated calls for a serious review of UK strategy in Afghanistan – after next months Afghan elections – reflecting the widening conflict and concerns in relation to Pakistan.
Mr Robertson, who visited troops in Afghanistan in March, also expressed fears the window of opportunity in Afghanistan had been undermined because of the invasion of Iraq .
Mr Robertson said:
“We must have a candid review of strategy in Afghanistan , and take stock of the situation faced by our forces and of course the likelihood for success.
“From military commanders to the families of frontline troops people are not convinced that the best strategy has been pursued. The awful toll of military personnel killed in Afghanistan has understandably led to questions about just what our forces are fighting for, and there is a fear that the Iraq war has been a distraction from the early window of opportunity in Afghanistan .
“After almost eight years our military personnel deserve a realistic and focussed approach from the UK government – and Ministers must take the initiative after the Afghan elections next month to rethink our strategy and objectives reflecting the wider regional concerns.
“Earlier this year I saw at first hand the reality of the situation facing our brave forces, now is the time for total candour on the human and material cost of the ongoing operations, its timescale and its chances for success.
“A military solution is clearly not enough – the idea that you are only going to secure your objective militarily is wrong. Perhaps most crucially we need development, as the UK’s former ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, says the army has been "holding a wall up" in Helmand, but "no one has come along to build a buttress" of development.