Brown launches campaign to gather Labour support for Afghan war

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London, Nov. 20 (ANI): British Prime Minister Gordon Brown along and three of his cabinet colleagues has launched a campaign to gather Labour support for Britain's role in Afghanistan.

In a joint e-mail to party's MPs, the trio have insisted that military action is essential for Britain's security.

The move comes after 23 Labour MPs called for an urgent Commons debate and vote on Britain's involvement in Afghanistan.

Brown was joined by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth and International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander in the attempt to steel their MPs' nerve.

"The reason Britain has sent military forces to Afghanistan is clear - our national security is at stake. Afghanistan was where al-Qa'ida trained and planned terror attacks - including September 11th," the joint e-mail says.

In response to fears over the equipment supplied to the forces, the MPs have been told that the Government has spent over 1.2 billion pounds on new vehicles for Afghanistan in the past two years and increased helicopter numbers in Afghanistan by more than 60 per cent between 2006 and 2009.

However, Labour MP Frank Field, who called for an urgent Commons debate, said: "We don't want an email. We want a debate. There's not a member that doesn't grow more disturbed by the scenario unfolding before us in Afghanistan. Even if some of them do not wish to change policy, there's widespread and deep unease among the Parliamentary Labour Party."

Harry Cohen, another MP, claimed that the e-mail was full of inaccuracies and omissions.

"All those troops and all those civilians who have died - they are neglected in this letter. Before the election they were saying our principal reason for being in Afghanistan was to bring democracy - where is that in this letter?" he asked.

"The Iraq war increased the risk of terrorism in this country. Rather than improving our safety, being in Afghanistan could make it worse," he added. (ANI)

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