Thursday, 20 August 2009


As the people of Afghanistan go to the polls in today’s (Thursday) elections, the SNP has reiterated calls for a strategic rethink of operations in Afghanistan .

SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP, who visited forces on the frontline in Afghanistan earlier this year, said that a candid review of strategy is essential to convince people that the UK government has an achievable strategy.

The run up to the Afghan presidential election has seen very heavy losses with the number of British service personnel lost in the conflict exceeding 200 with serious questions being asked of the UK ’s approach. In recent days, head of the Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, has called for more resources warning that key shortages are undermining operations to protect troops from roadside bombs while 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.

Mr Robertson said:

“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.

“In recent months, senior military sources have raised real concerns about the resources being made available while the UK ’s former ambassador to the UN has questioned the lack of development policy in the region.

“History shows that conflicts in Afghanistan are incredibly complex. We need to avoid mission creep by focusing on what it is we want to achieve in Afghanistan .

“It is imperative we undertake a major review of our strategy – a review of both deployment of resources and political objectives.”

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