Allow Afghanistan to get on with things sans constant interference: UK envoy
The international community has been hand-holding Afghanistan long enough, and should allow the country to get on with its running without the West's constant interference, the British ambassador to Kabul has said.
Sir Richard Stagg said it was also clear that the Taliban had grown tired of camping across the border in Pakistan and had accepted the need to be involved in peace and reconciliation talks over the next two years if they were to have any hope of sharing power.
"We need to allow [the Afghans] to get on with things more. The international community has been a bit omnipresent in the last decade and we need to move to a different business model in which we are there to provide help and guidance but not there to try to take decisions for them," Stagg told The Guardian.
"The more the people of Afghanistan see their own government stand on its own two feet, the better for everybody. This is not a matter of us cutting and running and disappearing, it is a matter of shifting the nature of our engagement from hand-holding to one which is offering support as needed and required," added Stagg.
Acknowledging that the debate about withdrawal was ongoing, Stagg hinted that he believed a faster drawdown was not only possible, but preferable. "The question is: how fast do you hand over? It's not a gulf of difference. It is a spectrum and it depends on your judgment on the progress we are making. And on the security side we are making good progress," he said
The ambassador's remarks chime with those of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who said on Monday that the retreat of western forces from Afghanistan could come sooner than expected. "If the security situation allows, I would not exclude the possibility that in certain areas you could accelerate the process," Rasmussen had said
Much will depend on a report from NATO's overall commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, which will be finished within weeks, and the result of the forthcoming US presidential election, the paper said.
Tags: Terrorism, Afghanistan, Taliban USA, War Pakistan terrorist Punjabi ISI CIA Musad Loser UK troops
Location: Afghanistan (load item map)
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