British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a long time advocate of the Afghan War, today issued what is being called a “stark warning” to the Afghan President Hamid Karzai, saying that he must pass reforms and that he wouldn’t continue to put British forces in harms way without some effort to that end.
Brown’s comments were seized upon by the opposition Conservative Party, themselves enthusiastically in favor of escalating the war, as inconsistent since he also insisted that Britain would not “walk away” from Afghanistan under any circumstances.
In the mean time, two of Britain’s top defense officials cautioned against withdrawing from Afghanistan as well, saying that the military’s reputation and credibility were at risk if the war was ended.
Brown is widely expected to lose his 2010 reelection bid, in no small measure because public opposition to the war has grown. At the same time his probable successor, David Cameron, has called for even further escalation. After over eight years of war, however, Britain’s death toll is rising precipitously and the military has little to show for it.