Britain cannot waver due to Afghan war`s unpopularity: Army
Last Updated: Monday, October 19, 2009, 14:56
London: The British government must not let negative opinion polls about the war in Afghanistan dictate its security policy, the head of the British army warned today.

The war is winnable, even though the point of victory may seem some way off yet, General David Richards wrote in a letter to The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has faced growing pressure over the purpose and scope of the British mission in Afghanistan in recent months, as the death toll rose swiftly.

A Populus opinion poll for The Times newspaper out on Wednesday showed public opinion on the Afghanistan conflict has soured, with 36 per cent of voters now in favour of withdrawing all British forces.

Anyone who suggests "the sooner we get out the better... is wrong", Richards wrote.

"It has been a struggle to persuade the British public about this and we need to do better. But we should not allow our security policy to be driven by opinion polls.

"Certainly there are other parts of the world that present potential threats; these are tackled in different ways.

"It is wrong to suggest that, because we do not have forces in all of them, we should withdraw from Afghanistan."

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, October 19, 2009, 14:56

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