We have failed in Afghanistan and should pull out immediatel

It is "crystal clear" that the war in Afghanistan has been lost and continuing to fight is not worth the life of one more British soldier, according to Lord Ashdown.

The former Liberal Democrat leader urged British troops to "get out" of Afghanistan as soon as possible, to avoid "wasting" any more lives.

He said: "The only outcome of staying longer is more deaths for no purpose; most of them now caused not by the enemy in front of our troops, but by the enemy among them."

Writing in The Times he cited the statistic that so far this year 61 coalition soldiers have been killed by members of the Afghan National Army or Police- 14 of them have been British.

Last month a British Army commander warned that the threat to British troops posed by their Afghan allies has increased and more attacks can be expected.

Brigadier Doug Chalmers said that the rise in insider attacks is partly “statistical,” suggesting that a certain percentage of the Afghan forces will always be unreliable.

The latest victim, Captain Walter Barrie, 41, was shot dead on Remembrance Sunday by an Afghan soldier during a football match between British and Afghan forces.

Captain Barrie from, The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland was flown back to the UK yesterday.

The 11 year Afghanistan conflict has cost 438 British lives.

Britain will end the combat mission at the end of 2014, and could withdraw as many as 4,000 of its 9,000 troops next year.

But Lord Ashdown questioned whether that was soon enough. He said: "It is not worth wasting one more life in Afghanistan.

"All that we can achieve has now been achieved.

"All that we might have achieved if we had done things differently, has been lost.

"The only rational policy now is to leave quickly, in good order and in the company of our allies."

Lord Ashdown conceded that British forces have succeeded in driving out al-Qaeda, the main reason behind the conflict, but he said:

"In almost all the other tasks we set ourselves, especially the establishment of a sustainable state, we have failed."
 

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