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David Miliband(Archived), London
The Prime Minister's comprehensive explanation of the situation and the strategy yesterday is important. Our view is that while the aim is a transition to full Afghan control, this cannot be done from thousands of miles distance. Afghans need to lead; the Afghan constitution needs to provide the framework; Afghan politics needs to take over; but all of that needs our military and civilian support.
The Government strongly welcomes more debate about the situation in Afghanistan - why we are there, what we and others are doing, how we achieve the transition to greater Afghan self sufficiency especially on the security side. There are no easy answers, but balances of light and shade in a diverse country.
The debate in Europe and the US does not respect traditional political dividing lines. There is a good example of this in the following articles in the US. You can judge for yourself where you stand. George Will comes from the right: he wants to rely on drone attacks and an "offshore" strategy to defend America. The Wall Street Journal editorial of 3 September is a strong rebuttal and explains why an offshore strategy won't work. Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations on 2 September gave further ammunition on this in the same paper. Finally David Ignatius of the Washington Post thought there was a middle way on 2 September.
Petraeus on reconciliation
Michael Gerson's article in yesterday's (4 September) Washington Post has an important insight into US modern military thinking in his quotation from General Petraeus on reconciliation as a political counterpart to military attacks on the insurgency. Worth reading to see how counter insurgency is not the same as counter terrorist strategy.
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