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Cameron: British patience with the Afghan mission is not limitless


OUKTP-UK-BRITAIN-ARMY-STRENGTHNew British Prime Minister David Cameron is not giving a timetable for the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan but during his first visit to the country as premier on Thursday he was already looking ahead to a time when the British have left the country.

“Even after our troops have left Afghanistan — and I believe that they will — the relationship between Britain and Afghanistan, just as the relationship between Britain and Pakistan, are vitally important relationships for all of our countries,” Cameron said at a press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.

Unlike his predecessor Gordon Brown, who talked cautiously about gradually handing over Afghan districts and provinces to local control, Cameron made patently clear that British patience with the Afghan mission was not limitless.

“No one wants British troops to stay in Afghanistan for a day longer than is necessary,” he said.

Remembering the dead – or “poppy fascism”?


poppyThis week, hundreds of thousands of people will join the annual act of remembrance to commemorate those who have died in war, proudly wearing a poppy to honour the fallen.

However the simple flower emblem, which has been used since shortly after the end of World War One as it was the only thing to grow on the devastated battlefields of Belgium and northern France, has once again become an issue in itself.

Who’s worth more: a squaddie or a traffic warden?


dannatt.jpgGeneral Sir Richard Dannatt says men and women in the armed services deserve above- inflation pay rises.

He argues that at the moment an individual soldier gets paid less than a traffic warden, and a failure to address this state of affairs would affect motivation.

Recruiting for the army in schools?


army1.jpgA motion at the National Union of Teachers annual conference wants a campaign to stop all military “recruitment” in schools. It says the Ministry of Defence is luring youngsters, often from deprived areas, into the armed forces.

Last year, Scotland’s biggest teaching union, the EIS, also voted to call for such a ban, claiming the military was trying to boost its falling numbers — caused by the unpopularity of the Iraq and Afghan campaigns — by targeting impressionable teenagers