London: The nearly nine year- long ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan is a “mission impossible” and the allied forces should reduce the presence of troops in that country, failing which they could face similar humiliation like that in Vietnam, a newly-elected British Member of Parliament has said.
Conservative MP Rory Stewart questioned the strategy of sending 40,000 extra NATO troops to Afghanistan, as the emergence of a ‘credible and effective’ Afghan government was highly unlikely.
“I do not believe we can win a counterinsurgency campaign. We are never going to have the time or the troop numbers. Even if you put 600,000 troops on the ground, I can’t see a credible, effective, legitimate Afghan Government emerging,” The Daily Times quoted Stewart, as saying.
“If you keep going like this the backlash that will build up, the spectres of Vietnam that will emerge in the minds of the British public will mean that we will end up leaving entirely and the country will be much worse off,” he added.
Stewart called both US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameroon to work a ‘plan B’, which was to reduce troops presence in the war-torn country.
“OK, you have sent your 40,000 extra troops. You are going to be in there until July of next year. But enough already, no more, let this be the last. Let’s start now talking about a plan B, not exit but reduction,” he said.
Stewart, a newly-elected Member of Parliament’s influential Foreign Affairs Select Committee, underlined that he believes that only a few thousand troops should remain in Afghanistan after next summer.
“You would have a few planes around but you would no longer do counter-insurgency. You would no longer be in the game of trying to hold huge swathes of rural Afghanistan,” he said.