Saturday, 8 August 2009

Search for Osama bin Laden will take another 40 years


UK: We could remain in Afghanistan for decades
Sat, 08 Aug 2009 08:26:17 GMT

Gen Richards will take over from Gen Sir Richard Dannatt as the UK's chief of the general staff.

While several polls show the majority of Britons want their troops out of Afghanistan, the incoming head of the Army says UK's mission in the country could last for up to 40 years.

General Sir David Richards, who becomes Chief of the General Staff on August 28, said Saturday that UK troops would stay in Afghanistan beyond the military phase and that the Army's role would gradually evolve into "nation-building" which could last decades.

"I believe that the UK will be committed to Afghanistan in some manner - development, governance, security sector reform - for the next 30 to 40 years", Gen Richards told Times Online.

He made it clear for the opponents of the war that there would be “absolutely no chance" of withdrawal form Afghanistan before the country's own security forces are prepared and that Britain could play some role in Afghanistan until 2050.

"Just as in Iraq, it is our route out militarily, but the Afghan people and our opponents need to know that this does not mean our abandoning the region. We made this mistake once. Our opponents are banking on us doing it again, and we must prove them wrong", the new head of the Army added.

His remarks came a day after three UK soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb explosion in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, bringing the total number of UK servicemen and women killed in the war-torn country since the 2001 US-led invasion to 195.

According to several recent polls, more than half of Britons have lost their confidence in UK's involvement in the Afghan war, urging the troops' immediate withdrawal. They say they cannot understand why the UK has invaded and occupied a sovereign country.

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