London, Nov. 17 (ANI): In a bid to quell increasing public criticism of the Afghanistan war, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised to set an exit timetable for leaving Afghanistan.
After claiming that the deployment of British troops in Afghanistan has helped to disable Al-Qaeda this year, Brown said he wanted an international summit to take place in London early next year to thrash out a full timetable for transferring power to the Afghans.
"I have offered London as a venue in January. I want that conference to chart a comprehensive political framework within which the military strategy can be accomplished," The Telegraph quoted Brown, as saying.
"It should identify a process for transferring district by district to full Afghan control and set a timetable for transfer starting in 2010," he added.
According to sources, the exit timetable will be held in two parts, with the second round of talks held in the Afghan capital of Kabul.
Brown is keen for NATO allies to agree a timetable which would see British troops restricted to a training and mentoring role, rather than front line fighting against the Taliban, by the end of November.
The British casualty rate, there have been 233 British deaths in the conflict, has led to calls for troops to come home.
However, in a speech to the Lord Mayor's banquet, Brown also pointed out a series of recent successes due to British troops' bitter struggle with the Taliban.
"Since January 2008 seven of the top dozen figures in al-Qaeda have been killed, depleting its reserve of experienced leaders and sapping its morale. And our security services report to me that there is now an opportunity to inflict significant and long-lasting damage to al-Qaeda.
"We understand the reality of the danger and the nature of the consequences if we do not succeed: we will never forget the fatal al-Qaeda-led attacks in London on 7 July 2005," he said. (ANI)