London debates role in Afghanistan

LONDON, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The death of five British soldiers in Afghanistan at the hands of a Taliban-linked policeman sparked a heated debate over London's involvement in the war.

British defense officials are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of five servicemen who were killed by a police officer as they shared tea with local officials. Elders said the suspect was connected to the Taliban.


Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, the British commander of NATO forces in southern Afghanistan, said a team would conduct a manhunt to track down the suspect.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the House of Commons, meanwhile, that training Afghan security forces remains the foundation of the mission there, London's Daily Telegraph reports.

"We must not allow ourselves to give up what the Afghan Taliban fear most: that we will have a strong Afghan security force that is Afghan-based and is able to face them," he said.

Nick Clegg, leader of the center-left Liberal Democrats, however, said the incident highlighted the uncertain future for the long-term British role in Afghanistan.

"Our mission in Afghanistan is in trouble because we do not have a legitimate government in Kabul, and we do not have a coherent international plan for Afghanistan," he said.


Wednesday's incident brings the death toll for British forces fighting in Afghanistan to 91 for 2009.

Latest Headlines