Insights from the UK and beyond
Drawing the line against the Taliban
Former Foreign Office minister Kim Howells poses the question in the Guardian in a piece made grimly relevant by Wednesday’s shooting dead of five British soldiers by an Afghan policeman.
Howells says troops should be brought back from Afghanistan and that the billions of pounds saved should be used to beef up homeland security in Britain – drawing the front line against al Qaeda around the UK rather than thousands of miles away in Helmand province.
He accepts that such an approach would result in “more intrusive surveillance in certain communities,” a tacit acknowledgment that Britain’s Muslims would be subject to greater scrutiny by police and intelligence services.
His “Fortress Britain” theory takes into account indications that a growing number of experts feel the war against the Al Qaeda’s supporters the Taliban in Afghanistan is unwinnable.
It also makes the point that not all Al Qaeda training camps are in Afghanistan anyway.
Howells is Gordon Brown’s intelligence and security watchdog and his theory goes counter to the prevailing wisdom in Washington and London, both of which are preparing to send more troops to Afghanistan.
Do you agree with him?