Lord Ashdown: Afghan War ‘Failure,’ Britain Should Withdraw Now

'The Only Rational Policy Now Is to Leave Quickly'

by Jason Ditz, November 16, 2012

Baron Paddy Ashdown, who was once a top candidate to take over the UN effort in Afghanistan, has issued a statement today declaring the 11-year-war a “failure” and insisting that it was time for Britain to withdraw immediately.

Lord Ashdown said most of the war’s goals were not only not achieved, but not achievable, and that “we cannot pretend there is any more to do in Afghanistan. The urgent priority is to get out.”

A long-time leader of the coalition Liberal Democrats, Lord Ashdown remains quite influential in British politics, especially in foreign policy. Though Britain is nominally planning to withdraw troops by the end of 2014, officials have hinted they are open to staying in some fashion beyond that date.

Lord Ashdown’s comments come just a month after Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne made similar statements during a cabinet meeting, saying there was no good reason to keep troops through 2014 and that they need an immediate withdrawal.

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