London, July 28 (ANI): Most of British nationals believe that the war in Afghanistan cannot be won, and that British troops should be pulled out immediately, a recent poll has found.
According to ComRes survey conducted for The Independent, more than half of voters (52 per cent) want troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan straight away, with 43 per cent disagreeing. Opposition to the military action is even stronger among women.
By a margin of nearly two-to-one, the public believes that the Taliban cannot be defeated militarily. Fifty-eight per cent view the war as "unwinnable," with 31 per cent disagreeing.
There is overwhelming agreement - by 75 per cent to 16 per cent - that British troops in Afghanistan lack the equipment they require to perform their role safely.
Despite that, 60 per cent of people do not think more troops and resources should be dispatched to the war zone. Just over one third (35 per cent) are in favour of reinforcements being sent in.
The growing opposition to the military offensive emerged as another two UK soldiers were killed, bringing the number of deaths so far this month to 22.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared on Monday that Operation Panther's Claw - the five-week onslaught on Taliban positions in Helmand province - had been a success.
"What we've done is push back the Taliban - and what we've done also is to start to break that chain of terror that links the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the streets of Britain."
For British troops the immediate effect of this is that they must now be present on the ground in large numbers in the areas they have captured.
Ministers are now backing moves by the Afghan government to draw moderate Taliban fighters into the political process by dividing them from hardcore militants.
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, speaking at Nato's headquarters in Brussels, said: "The Afghan government needs effective grassroots initiatives to offer an alternative to fight or flight for the foot soldiers of the insurgency. Essentially this means a clear route for former insurgents to return to their villages and go back to farming the land or a role for some of them within the legitimate Afghan security forces." (ANI)