Afghanistan is close to being lost, warns Lord Ashdown

November 14th, 2007 - 2:49 am ICT by admin  
Lord Ashdown, who is one of the candidates short listed for the role of “super envoy” in Afghanistan, said achieving success in Afghanistan was now unlikely.”

“I believe losing in Afghanistan is worse than losing in Iraq. It will mean that Pakistan will fall and it will have serious implications internally for the security of our own countries and will instigate a wider Shiite [Shia], Sunni regional war on a grand scale,” The Telegraph quoted Lord Ashdown, as saying.

Lord Ashdown, 66, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, was speaking in advance of a NATO summit in the Dutch town of Noordwijk yesterday.

Britain and the US have reportedly expressed anger over the lack of assistance granted by allies to those countries with forces operating in Afghanistan.

Both countries are now pushing for the creation of a super envoy and are looking for a political heavyweight to fill the role.

Both countries consider that Tom Koenigs, the current UN special representative to Kabul, lacks the international standing to fulfil such a role. He will complete his posting by Christmas.

It is understood that the super envoy would have the existing duties of the UN representative but also greater powers to co-ordinate the rebuilding of the country after decades of war.

A spokesman at the British Embassy in Kabul told The Daily Telegraph: “There is an important role for the United Nations to play in co-ordinating efforts in Afghanistan and we would like to see the international effort better co-ordinated.”

A senior diplomat who declined to be named said: “The overall leadership here is that of President Karzai. So whoever takes on this role needs to be able to co-ordinate the international community but also serve the interests and structures of a sovereign state.”

Apart from Lord Ashdown, the other candidates under consideration include former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and former Polish Prime Minister Jaroslav Kaczynski. (ANI)

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