Latest Channel 4 News:
Row over Malaysian state's coins
'Four shot at abandoned mine shaft'
Rain fails to stop Moscow wildfires
Cancer blow for identical twins
Need for Afghan progress 'signs'

Brown: Afghan mission 'must not fail'

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 06 November 2009

Britain "cannot walk away" from Afghanistan, Prime Minister Gordon Brown warns, as he calls on President Karzai to take decisive action in tackling government corruption.

Gordon Brown (Reuters)

The prime minister said that Britain could not be "deterred, dissuaded or diverted" from the Afghan mission as it is crucial to keeping terrorist attacks off UK streets.

In a keynote speech Brown urged President Karzai to tackle his country's difficulties but warned that he was, "not prepared to put the lives of British men and women in harm's way for a government that does not stand up against corruption."

Anti-corruption laws should be included in new proposals to tackle the rumoured corruption and the new government should be "a more inclusive political settlement", Brown suggested.

The prime minister also reaffirmed the government's commitment to the campaign following heavy losses in recent days - including five soldiers killed by a "rogue" Afghan policeman they had been helping to train.

He stressed the need to continue mentoring Afghan security forces, arguing that it is what distinguishes the international military presence from "an army of occupation".

Brown used the speech to issue a rallying call to the other members of the international coalition in Afghanistan, urging them not to give up on the mission.

"We entered together eight years ago. We must persist together, in our different ways we must all contribute, in the end we will succeed or fail together," Brown said.

His comments come amid concerns that public and political support for the Afghan mission is beginning to crumble in the face of the continuing losses.

The latest casualty, killed in an explosion in Helmand province yesterday, is set to be named by the Ministry of Defence later. View the full list of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan here.

In his speech, Brown again attempted to drive home the message that the military campaign is inextricably linked to the national security of the UK, with terrorists continuing to plot attacks from the region.

"We will not be deterred, dissuaded or diverted from taking whatever measures are necessary to protect our security," he said.

"When the main terrorist threat facing Britain emanates from Afghanistan and Pakistan; and when, although the sustained pressure in Pakistan, combined with military action in Afghanistan, is having a suppressive effect on al-Qaida, we know that they continue to train and plot attacks on Britain from the region - we can not, must not and will not walk away."

His comments are a direct refutation of the argument by the former foreign office minister Kim Howells that Britain would be better off withdrawing its troops and diverting the resources to strengthening internal security.

The prime minister strongly defended the policy of British troops working alongside the Afghans to build up their security forces in the wake of concerns raised by this week's lethal attack by an Afghan policeman.

"We will not give up this strategy of mentoring, because it is what distinguishes a liberating army from an army of occupation," he will say.F

Send this article by email

More on this story

Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Watch the Latest Channel 4 News

Watch Channel 4 News when you want

Latest Fight for Afghanistan news

7-day catch-up


Watch Channel 4 News when you want to, from the last week.

The lonely walk

British Army bomb disposal unit

Alex Thomson joins a British bomb disposal unit in Afghanistan.

Life in an Afghan warzone

A British soldier in Helmand province

Follow British soldiers on the frontline of Panther's Claw.

Afghan fatalities in full

British soldiers killed in Afghanistan

The full list of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

Week in pictures

credit: Reuters

A selection of the best pictures from around the world.

Sign up to Snowmail

The day's news from Jon Snow and the team direct to your inbox.

Channel 4 © 2010. Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites.