08 September 2010

Britain's Afghan Envoy Walks Away

After a brief absence, he's decided to quit.

Britain's envoy to Afghanistan, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, has quit with immediate effect amid reports of a clash with Nato and US officials over the correct strategy on fighting the Taliban.
The UK’s special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan was appointed in March last year after being UK ambassador in Kabul the two previous years.
In June he took an "extended leave" from the role just a month before a crunch international conference in Kabul, in what observers described as a surprise move.
At the time no reason was given for why Sir Sherard temporarily stepped down and the Foreign Office said he was "expected back in the autumn".
Sir Sherard was known to have been critical of the United States-led military strategy in Afghanistan and to have argued in favour of holding talks with the Taliban.
He then missed the Kabul summit attended by world leaders including Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary General.
Foreign Office insiders at the time rejected reports suggesting he had been sidelined by the new Coalition Government at the request of the Americans.
But on Wednesday the FCO announced that it had been agreed that a separate representative was no longer required due to the changing situation.
A spokesman said this would allow the role to be handled by a policy chief, which would be now handled by Karen Pierce, the FCO director for South Asia and Afghanistan.

By: Widow 6-7

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