Remembrance Sunday in Lashkar Gah. A chance to unite in tribute to the fallen.For many Britons, last week’s murder of five UK soldiers by a rogue Afghan policeman is evidence of all that is wrong with Britain’s involvement in Afghanistan. Public confidence is something army chiefs have been struggling to address and they know without it, the continuing campaign will be doubly difficult. Gordon Brown has apologised to a grieving mother who criticised him over a letter of condolence in which he is said to have mis-spelt her son’s name. She told him she believed her son would not have bled to death if more helicopters had been available to troops. The Prime Minister says he feels he still has a duty to explain why British soldiers remain in Afghanistan. Last week he issued an ultimatum to Afghan President Hamid Karzai – deal with corruption or Britain will stop fighting on his behalf. “Sadly the government of Afghanistan had become a by-word for corruption. And I’m not prepared to put the lives of British men and women in harm’s way for a government that doesn’t stand up against corruption,” said Brown. Armed forces commanders admit that failure in Afghanistan would be a disaster. Faced with making painful, slow progress, NATO leaders are hoping to reverse their fortunes by changing strategy – moving soldiers from outlying exposed forward bases to main town centres – a tactic aimed at providing better protection to urban populations. But, it is a tactic which could result in still more processions of soldiers’ coffins through the streets of Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire as Britain waits to see how many more troops the United States will send to boost its forces in Afghanistan.
Brown ponders Afghan war options