British lawmakers launch Afghan war inquiry

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Lawmakers in London said Wednesday they will start an inquiry into the Afghanistan war, examining why British troops remain there nine years after the invasion and whether they have been successful.

The House of Commons defence select committee has called for written evidence on "the justification for the continued participation" of Britain's 10,000 troops in the international coalition in Afghanistan.

Amid polls showing a lack of public support for the mission, the members of parliament (MPs) will also examine "the success of the government in communicating this to the UK public".

Prime Minister David Cameron has called for British combat troops to be out of Afghanistan by 2015, and the MPs will scrutinise this timetable, as well as success in the training of Afghan forces which could allow this to happen.

In addition, they will investigate the issue of Afghan civilian casualties in the war, and the success of stabilisation and reconstruction efforts.

Hearings will start later this year, the committee said. Parliament started its summer break Tuesday but returns on September 6.

Most of Britain's troops are based in the volatile south of Afghanistan, and a total of 325 have died in operations since the US-led invasion in 2001.

A second inquiry, due to be announced in September, will examine "the context for a political settlement" in Afghanistan, the committee added, without giving further details.

© 2010 AFP

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