By Frances Allan
British troops will not be withdrawn from Afghanistan, the Prime Minister announced this morning.
Gordon Brown spoke out after seven soldiers have been killed in seven days, five by an Afghan Police Officer who was being trained by them.
He said: “Britain cannot – and will not – walk away from the military mission in Afghanistan.”
Mr Brown said that he was not willing to put the lives of British men and women in “harm’s way.”
Mr Brown also said that anyone who did not believe that troops should be in Afghanistan should “reflect on the terrorist atrocities since 2001”.
He also addressed the public’s fear that the mission has not been a success, saying: “Our mission must not fail. It is not easy, the choices are not simple, there is no strategy that is without danger and risk, but that is the responsibility of leadership.”
Public opinion is believed to be waning on whether or not British troops should stay in the war-torn country.
An Ipsos Mori poll in July showed that 31% of people believed that we should withdraw immediately, and the same number of people believed we should stay until the end.
However, 52% of people asked opposed the war in Afghanistan.
The PM also described the Afghanistan Government as a “by-word for corruption”.
Harmid Karzai, the re-elected Afghanistan President, is supporting the measures to improve security inside the country.
Mr Brown spoke to the controversial President warning that changes would have to be made, and the first priority is to “take decisive action against corruption”.
A total of 230 soldiers have been killed in the conflict since October 2001, and the UK has spent £740 million in the last eight years in the country, paying the wages of healthcare assistants and teachers in the country, as well as on British civilian staff and the British embassy.