Britain risks defeat in Afghanistan: former military chief

October 22nd, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Britain risks defeat in Afghanistan: former military chief

Media: AFP
Byline: n/a
Date: 22 October 2006


LONDON, Oct 22, 2006 (AFP) - The former chief of the British military said
the country's armed forces risked defeat in operations in Afghanistan due
to a lack of clear strategy, The Observer newspaper reported Sunday.

Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge, the former chief of the defence staff,
attacked Britain's military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and come on
the back of the present army head saying British troops should leave Iraq
"sometime soon" because their presence was exacerbating security problems

"I don't believe we have a clear strategy, either in Afghanistan or Iraq,"
Inge said at a meeting sponsored by the Open Europe think tank last week,
the newspaper said.

"I sense we've lost the ability to think strategically.

"Deep down inside me, I worry that the British army could risk operational
failure if we're not careful in Afghanistan. We need to recognise the test
that I think we could face there."

He said that despite the pressures on the armed forces, defence received
neither the research nor funding it required, The Observer reported.

Government departments have "lost the knack of putting together
inter-departmental thinking about strategy," Inge said.

Governmental administration "talks about how we're going to do to in
Afghanistan, it doesn't really talk about strategy."

Inge served as chief of the defence staff, the professional head of the
British armed forces, between 1994 and 1997.

Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted that British troops
would stay in Iraq as long as necessary, as he battled to face down new
criticism over his strategy in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

But he reiterated that Britain's policy was to progressively cut its troops
in Iraq -- while warning that premature withdrawal would be "disastrous".

Britain has around 7,000 troops stationed in Iraq and around 5,000 in

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