Friday, 4 September 2009


Commenting after the Prime Minister delivered a speech on Afghanistan this afternoon (Friday) SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP repeated calls for a rethink of UK strategy warning that a re-statement of the mission was not enough to convince people that the best strategy was being pursued.

Mr Robertson, who visited forces on the frontline in Afghanistan earlier this year, has repeatedly called for a strategic review of operations and objectives.

Mr Robertson said:

“If Gordon Brown wants to convince people the best course is being pursued he must rethink strategy, not just re-state it. The fact is, the prime minister cannot convince his own MPs the best strategy is being pursued, never mind the public or our forces themselves.

“Gordon Brown does not seem to recognise that we need a major rethink to win hearts and minds here at home as well as the support of people in Afghanistan .

“That strategic review of operations must convince people that a proper strategy and proper objectives are being pursued with the likelihood of success. Right now people are not even sure that our forces are getting the equipment they need to do the job.

“The Taliban were meant to have been defeated eight years ago, but after operations exceeding the length of the Second World War, the fact that fighting has gotten worse underlines the folly of the Labour government's decision to take us into Iraq . Distracted by the Iraq quagmire, the government took its eye off the ball in Afghanistan .

“Now, the awful toll of military personnel killed in Afghanistan , along with questions over the legitimacy of the Afghan elections, has left people asking just what our forces are fighting for.

“It is time we had a major rethink that looks at all the options, and that will give people, not least our troops themselves, the confidence that the right strategy is being pursued and is achievable.”

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