Wire: British Defense Secretary Criticizes Obama for Afghan Indecision
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2009 -- Newswire services this evening reported that Bob Ainsworth, the British defense secretary, has blamed President Barack Obama and the United States for the decline in British public support for the war in Afghanistan.
UK's Daily Telegraph said Ainsworth took the unprecedented step of publicly criticising Obama and his delays in sending more troops to bolster the mission against the Taliban.
A “period of hiatus” in Washington -- and a lack of clear direction -- had made it harder for ministers to persuade the British public to go on backing the Afghan mission in the face of a rising death toll, he said.See link below for details.
Senior British Government sources have become increasingly frustrated with Mr. Obama’s “dithering” on Afghanistan, the Daily Telegraph disclosed earlier this month, with several former British defence chiefs echoing the concerns.
But Mr. Ainsworth is the first Government minister to express in public what amounts to personal criticism of the U.S. president’s leadership over the conflict which has so far cost 235 British lives.
Polls show most voters now want an early withdrawal, following the death of 98 British service personnel this year alone.
Ministers say the mission is vital to stop international terrorists using Afghanistan as a base, but Gordon Brown has promised an “exit strategy” that could start next year.
(Report from newswire sources.)
Source: Bob Ainsworth criticises Barack Obama over Afghanistan