British soldiers training Afghani troops at Ghar Ordoo military base
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Afghans are 'better off' after war

Britain's war in Afghanistan is almost over. All troops will be out by the end of 2014 but the most significant withdrawal is taking place now, with thousands of British servicemen and women coming home over the next few months.

The Afghan National Army is now largely in control of operations and while a couple of years ago British forces were in 137 patrol bases across the province, by October they will be operating out of just four.

The Today programmes Sarah Montague spoke to Brigadier Rupert Jones, the commander of taskforce Helmand, regarding the withdrawal, and he feels the Afghan people have benefitted from the war.

"People of central Helmand have been given an opportunity that simply wasn't there before. They have an expectation about what their lives will be like that wasn't there before," he said.

"Their focus is on schools, their livelihoods. They have that choose to use the opportunity will be clearly up to the Afghans. My sense would be they wouldn't accept a reverse back to the bad old days. For them it's about the families and the livelihood."

Jawed Ludin, who was deputy foreign minister until May and former chief of staff to President Karzai, believes Afghanistan is better off now after British intervention.

He explained: "Britain's decision to join the international effort to stabilize Afghanistan, to fight terror and help Afghanistan. It regained its ability to govern and re-create its state, the state it once had, and that was the most important contribution Britain made to international security. Lets remember our security is connected today in ways it never was before in history."

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Friday 28 June 2013.

  • 28 Jun 2013