Britain’s Prime Minister and the Afghan President have met at Kandahar airbase, in part at least, to patch up relations that have become increasingly bitter.
Gordon Brown has been one of the most vocal Western leaders in criticising Hamid Karzai’s government – and last week Karzai responded calling comments ‘extremely insulting.’ In Kandahar Brown spoke of the need for the Afghan government to play a bigger part in counter-insurgent strategy. But said British spirits are still high. “I know that this has been a difficult year and I know that we have taken a lot of casualties,” he said. “I find that the morale of the troops is exceptionally high and one of the reasons that we are more confident about the way ahead is that first of all more troops are coming in, more American troops, more British troops, and secondly the equipment is of a higher standard than ever before.” One hundred British troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year and repeated scenes of bodies arriving back home are making it increasingly difficult for Gordon Brown to persuade the UK public that his strategy is right.