As troop losses continue to rise and public confusion over why the British troop presence in Afghanistan increases, the nation’s officials defend their war strategy, reported the Times Online.
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Pressure on Prime Minister Gordon Brown continued to increase after Britain’s death toll rose to 184 soldiers – more than the losses in Iraq, reported the Associated Press.
The Associated Press also reported that Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband defended the strategy as well, denying Conservative Party leader David Cameron’s claim that soldiers lacked proper equipment.
Miliband said, “This is a mission that’s been developed with a very clear strategy: above all, to make us safer here, because we know these areas of Afghanistan and its neighbor Pakistan are used to launch terrorism around the world.”
Cameron said, “It is a scandal that they still lack enough helicopters to move around in southern Afghanistan. The government must deal with this issue as a matter of extreme emergency.”
Although there is growing public concern about the number of fallen soldiers and the reasons behind Britain’s involvement, a new poll suggests that citizens are not becoming more outwardly against the war, reported The Guardian. The results suggested that while 42% are in favor of an immediate withdrawal, 1,000 people are hesitant to turn against the war while soldiers continue to fight and die on the frontline.
The Times Online attempted to answer the citizens’ question about why Britain was at war and what progress was being made. The paper put forth the following goals: ensuring that al-Qaeda is prevented from using Afghanistan as a safe haven for terrorist attack planning, using troops to restore and reconstruct the region, containing and/or eradicating the heroin trade, ensuring that Afghanistan could hold safe presidential elections, and allowing children to attend schools.
Unfortunately, as the Times Online reported, all of the causes they listed have seen little to no improvement. The paper acknowledges that some progress has been made, but not to the extent expected, nor has the progress always been stable – forcing troops to “replay” missions.