New Times,
New Thinking.

24 May 2010

Afghanistan may end up as David Cameron’s biggest challenge

And the Prime Minister probably knows it.

By James Macintyre

Recent events in Afghanistan, including the resignation of Britain’s leading bomb squad officer, Colonel Bob Seddon, serve as a grim reminder to David Cameron that the deficit at home may not be his main challenge in government. Instead, it may be the war in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister may be aware of this. Mehdi Hasan and I interviewed the former master strategist of the army there, Brigadier Ed Butler, last year (read the interview here).

He mentions his father — Adam Butler, a former Tory MP and junior minister under Margaret Thatcher — and his grandfather “Rab” Butler, chancellor under Winston Churchill.

Butler, too, seems close to the Tories. He admits he has met privately with Cameron and warned him that Afghanistan would be his “biggest foreign policy challenge” in government, because, “in a couple of years’ time, we could be at [a] tipping point” in terms of public opinion about the war.

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