Lib Dems want Afghanistan review

By staff

Public ‘mission tests’ have been called for by the Liberal Democrats to help voters track progress in Afghanistan.

The party’s conference backed a motion proposed by its foreign affairs spokesman Ed Davey calling for a radical change of strategy in the country.

Political reconciliation – “tea with the Taliban”, as Mr Davey put it – and a regional peace agreement are identified as priorities.

“A strategy of grassroots diplomacy, reconciliation diplomacy, tea-drinking diplomacy – that is a strategy worth trying,” Mr Davey said.

“Not because our troops aren’t capable of fighting back – they are. No. It’s a strategy worth trying – because history tells us, that’s what works in Afghanistan.”

The motion calls on the UK government to press Washington to end the US’ ‘military-first’ approach.

It wants the Foreign Office to “focus on concluding the Afghanistan mission” and present to parliament on its return “a series of public ‘mission tests’ that set out progress towards key security and governance goals, and progress with allies in steps to peace, against which ministers can be held to account”.