Ex-PM Brown’s adviser told former NATO commander to play down Afghan failures

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

LONDON - A senior adviser to former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is reported to have put pressure on a NATO commander to play down troop-related failures in Afghanistan.

According to leaked documents provided by the whistle blowing web site WikiLeaks, the adviser is said to have told the concerned commander not to reveal too much about the “bleak and deteriorating” situation in order to reduce criticism of the Brown government.

According to The Telegraph, the leaked diplomatic cable states that the security adviser told General Stanley McChrystal that his “bleak assessment” could result in negative press coverage.

General McChrystal, who was later forced to resign, refused to back down.

The cable, passed to The Daily Telegraph by the WikiLeaks website, states: “COMISAF [Gen McChrystal] replied that while he was sensitive to that impression, he would maintain his intellectual honesty - and that what might be perceived by some as a bleak assessment, might be considered by others to be ‘realistic’.”

At the time, Brown was under scrutiny over equipment shortages and the number of British soldiers being killed.

He was being urged by Army chiefs to “get more boots on the ground”.

The cable states: “COMISAF stressed that while the situation in Afghanistan was “serious and deteriorating”, the mission could still be accomplished with proper resources and a focus on ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] expansion and partnering.

“COMISAF said that without additional resources, current efforts would be “fixed” - but with more resources, enough terrain could be controlled to deny the Taleban strategic traction.”

The meeting was held at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand in August 2009. (ANI)

Filed under: Politics

will not be displayed