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'Resolve to succeed' in Afghanistan

Britain has the "resources and resolve" to succeed in Afghanistan, the Government has insisted after 10 years of war in the country.

This week marks a decade since the US and UK launched the campaign known as Operation Enduring Freedom in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks.

And the British administration is offering a cautiously optimistic assessment, while acknowledging that mistakes have been made.

A Foreign Office (FCO) spokesman said: "Progress over 10 years has been uneven. At times, the international community lacked a cohesive plan and adequate resources to respond to an insurgency more resilient and adaptable than anticipated.

"Development of effective Afghan security and governance capabilities was slow, with a lack of investment by the international community."

But despite the setbacks and misjudgments, advances have been made, the Government stresses, albeit from an "extremely low base".

The FCO spokesman said: "The strategy is now focused, the coalition strong, our Afghan partners fully engaged and we have the resources and resolve to succeed. Afghanistan today is unrecognisable from the Afghanistan of 2001, but addressing the damage caused by thirty years of civil war and the misrule of the Taliban will take time."

This judgment has been borne out in the weeks leading up to this Friday's anniversary, with a string of high-profile attacks serving as a reminder of the uphill struggle still ahead.

Chief among these was the suicide mission that killed Afghanistan's former president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, on September 20, demonstrating what US Ambassador Ryan Crocker called "the utter disregard that the terrorists have for Afghans and the future of this country".

President Hamid Karzai insisted it would not deter his government, but some thought his words rang hollow against a backdrop of escalating violence.

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