British Army chief issues wake up call to govt, public on Afghan war

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London, Oct. 4 (ANI): British Army chief General Sir David Richards has warned the government and the public that if they don't "wake up" to need of winning the Afghanistan war, al-Qaeda and the Taliban may "happily blow all of us up".

"If al-Qaeda and the Taliban believe they have defeated us - what next? Would they stop at Afghanistan? Pakistan is clearly a tempting target not least because of the fact that it is a nuclear-weaponed state and that is a terrifying prospect.

"Even if only a few of those (nuclear) weapons fell into their hands, believe me they would use them. The recent airlines plot has reminded us that there are people out there who would happily blow all of us up," The Telegraph quoted him, as saying.

General Richards' intervention comes at a time when the Gordon Brown Government is being criticised for the way it has handled the war, with many saying the armed forces have been under-resourced.

The increasing tensions come against a background of rising British casualties and a 219th member of the armed forces has died in Afghanistan since the conflict began in 2001.

In an unprecedented warning, the chief of the general staff described the conflict as "this generation's war" and if Britain and NATO failed in Afghanistan the risks to the western world would be "enormous" and "unimaginable".

"Failure would have a catalytic effect on militant Islam around the world and in the region because the message would be that al-Qaeda and the Taliban have defeated the US and the British and NATO, the most powerful alliance in the world. The geo-strategic implications would be immense," General Richards said.

He said that Obama administration's plans to reduce troop number in Afghanistan and concentrate on counter-terrorist operations using special forces would not work. (ANI)

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