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David Miliband(Archived), London
This has been a painful week for Sky’s extensive and admirable coverage of the conflict in Afghanistan. The pictures of the fighting and the coffins coming home have shown something of the reality of the conditions faced by troops (and diplomats). I hope the TV coverage and the web based information and back up debate about the British and coalition role in Afghanistan. I have visited the country twice and I was interested in Christina Lamb’s comments today about the coalition being there because the Aghans want and need them there. This is not a re-run of the Soviet occupation. I tried to use my interview this morning to get across some key points. We are there with a clear mission: to help the people of Afghanistan build the stable institutions that can help them prevent their country once again becoming a base for al qaeda. So this is in our national interest. We know there is not a military solution; there needs to be politics and development. But the Afghans tell us they need military support if they are to survive; and the pictures show it. We are making a difference but it is a long haul.
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