Walking away from Afghanistan mission would have “devastating” consequences

Nato’s secretary-general says it would give “free run” to al-Qaeda

In the midst of what is already the deadliest month for Western troops in Afghanistan since the war began, and facing growing opposition within countries sending soldiers to Afghanistan, Nato’s secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has warned that walking away from the mission would have “devastating” consequences and would give “free run” to al-Qaeda. “As much as we may long for the near-perfect security of Cold War deterrence, we must accept that security today requires engagement in far away places – engagement that is dangerous, expensive, open ended, and with no guarantee of success,” he said today in a speech in London.