David Cameron Visits British Troops In Afghanistan

David Cameron Visits British Troops In Afghanistan

  • Posted: Jun 30, 2013
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David Cameron Visits British Troops In Afghanistan The PM insists his strategy in Afghanistan is right as a top soldier says talks with the Taliban should have been tried long ago.

David-Cameron-is-shown-a-remote-controlled-surveillance-aircraft-in-Afghanistan

David Cameron arrives at Camp Bastion to meet troops

David Cameron travelled to Afghanistan to pay tribute to the work of British troops on Armed Forces Day.

The Prime Minister made an unannounced visit to Camp Bastion in Helmand Province where he met troops on the front line, dined with them in their living quarters and took control of a bomb disposal robot.

He also met Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai in the capital Kabul amid faltering efforts to engage the Taliban in a political process of reconciliation.

Mr Cameron’s trip to Afghanistan followed comments made by General Nick Carter, a senior British Army officer and deputy commander of the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf).

Gen Carter told The Guardian there may have been opportunities to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table more than a decade ago.

“The problems that we have been encountering over the period since then are essentially political problems, and political problems are only ever solved by people talking to each other,” he said.

Speaking in Lashkar Gah, Mr Cameron told Sky News: “I think you can argue about whether the settlement we put in place after 2001 could have been better arranged.

“Of course you can make that argument. Since I became Prime Minister in 2010 I have been pushing all the time for a political process and that political process is now under way.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzi at the Presidential Palace in Kabul

The Prime Minister holds a press conference with President Karzai

“But at the same time I know that you cannot bank on that, which is why we have built up the Afghan army, built up the Afghan police, supported the Afghan government so that after our troops have left … this country shouldn’t be a haven for terrorists.”

Mr Cameron, who later moved on to Pakistan for talks with President Asif Ali Zardari, also told soldiers about plans for a permanent memorial to those who have lost their lives in Afghanistan since 2001.

The monument for the 444 British personnel killed in the conflict will be built at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire and will be funded by fines paid by banks following the Libor scandal.

Meanwhile, a senior British military source suggested that Nato forces would need to assist the Afghans for up to five years after the combat role ends in 2014.

The British military have committed to running an academy for Afghan officers but the source suggested that Nato could also be required to help with close air support, casualty evacuation and logistics.

A senior No 10 source said it will be for the National Security Council to decide what the UK’s ongoing role would be but added: “We have done our fair share.”

“The Prime Minister has been clear that we have paid a heavy price and already given a lot,” he said.

“Our combat troops will leave at the end of next year.

“The only military commitments we have made beyond 2014 are to part-run the officer academy and to provide financial support to sustain Afghan forces. We have not been asked to do anything more.

“The Prime Minister’s view is that we have done our fair share and it will now be for other Isaf partners to carry the main burden.”

David Cameron-is shown a remote controlled surveillance-aircraft in Afghanistan

Mr Cameron was shown some of the latest surveillance equipment

A senior No 10 source said it will be for the National Security Council to decide what the UK’s ongoing role would be but added: “We have done our fair share.”

“The Prime Minister has been clear that we have paid a heavy price and already given a lot,” he said.

“Our combat troops will leave at the end of next year.

“The only military commitments we have made beyond 2014 are to part-run the officer academy and to provide financial support to sustain Afghan forces. We have not been asked to do anything more.

“The Prime Minister’s view is that we have done our fair share and it will now be for other Isaf partners to carry the main burden.”

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