Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to British soldiers at Camp Bastion, outside Lashkar Gah, in the Helmand province of Afghanistan on Monday.
LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron faced criticism yesterday for saying that foreign troops had accomplished their mission of providing security in Afghanistan, in an echo of former US president George W Bush’s much-derided comments on Iraq in 2003.
During an annual Christmas visit to British troops in Afghanistan on Monday, Cameron was asked about the ongoing unrest ahead of the scheduled end of international combat operations in a year’s time. Asked if British soldiers will be coming home with “mission accomplished”, Cameron told British media: “Yes, I think they do. I think they can come home with their heads held high.”
“To me, the absolute driving part of the mission is a basic level of security so it doesn’t become a haven for terror,” he added. “That is the mission, that was the mission and I think we will have accomplished that mission and so our troops can be very proud of what they have done.”
Cameron said the situation was “totally transformed” from when troops in the US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 after Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC.
Opposition politicians and British newspapers criticised Conservative leader Cameron’s comments. Vernon Coaker, defence spokesman for the opposition Labour party, said Cameron “should have chosen his words more carefully.”