» Monday, September 4, 2006


Asked if the Prime Minister had any remarks on the latest serviceman death in Afghanistan, the PMOS confirmed that very sadly a suspected suicide bomber at about 10.30am local time this morning had attacked a UK military convoy in Kabul. Sadly one UK soldier had been killed and another was very seriously injured. That soldier had been evacuated to a military hospital for treatment. No further details would be available until next of kin had been notified. The Prime Minister’s view was one of sadness, but it also underlined again our debt of gratitude to the army and security services. Asked whether Kim Howells’ visit had been arranged before the Nimrod crash, the PMOS said he thought it had been. Put that Kim Howells had said this morning that there was definitely a need for a larger force in Afghanistan, that NATO countries should supply them and therefore why were we not appealing for troops, the PMOS said that Kim Howell’s style was to answer a direct question with a direct answer which was fine. Equally, however such discussions were best carried out behind the scenes.

Countries, as we had seen in the Middle East, could take some time to reach such decisions. What was happening in Afghanistan was underlining the reasons why we needed to support the democratic government of Afghanistan. Asked to acknowledge that the UK had a disproportionate number of troops in Afghanistan compared to other NATO allies, the PMOS said that we had fulfilled the role that had been envisaged when we had agreed to take over the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) at the NATO conference in Istanbul. We now fulfilled that very useful role. Asked in that case what pressure was being built up behind the scenes and at what level, the PMOS said that there were the usual discussions going on with NATO and the Prime Minister kept abreast of such discussions.

Briefing took place at 16:00 | Search for related news

1 Comment »

  1. Dear Mr Howell,

    The Head of NATO has just made a statement that the Taliban have to rooted out of Afghanistan. But the Taliban formerly controlled 95% of the country and had virtually put a halt to opium production. Furthermore, they are Pushtun people whose ancestors have cultivated that land for centuries. Pakistan does not want to receive them as refugees. So where are they expected to go? Would the UK grant them asylum?!!!

    I have read reports that 500 or even 1600 Taliban fighters have been killed in Afghanistan in recent months. This policy could be described as ethnic cleansing because the majority of the present Afghan establishment are not Pashtun and do not speak Pashto and NATO has weapons far superior to those of the Taliban. The foreign troops should be withdrawn at once from Afghanistan because their presence will not bring peace. In fact the majority of Muslims around the world would say that their presence gives the local people the right to resist by means of force or jihad. Peace can only be reached by diplomacy and economic development and by incorporating the Taliban into the Afghan administration. This was suggested by General Musharraf several years ago and he has now sensibly signed a truce with the elders in Waziristan, even though there have been several attempts on his life. Hamid Karzai should do the same in Helmand Province and elsewhere. And farmers will have to be persuaded through financial incentives to grow crops other than opium.

    yours sincerely,

    Dr Roger Boase

    Comment by Dr Roger Boase — 13 Sep 2006 on 11:07 pm | Link

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