Ashdown: Afghanistan is lost
Nato forces have "lost in Afghanistan", with dire consequences and a devastating regional war a distinct possibility, according to Lord Ashdown.
The former Liberal Democrat leader revealed his pessimistic prediction after being put forward for a new 'super envoy' role in the troubled country.
"We have lost, I think, and success is now unlikely", said the former United Nations high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina ahead of a Nato summit in the Dutch town of Noordwijk yesterday.
"I believe losing in Afghanistan is worse than losing in Iraq," Mr Ashdown added. "It will mean that Pakistan will fall and it will have serious implications internally for the security of our own countries and will instigate a wider Shiite [Shia], Sunni regional war on a grand scale.
"Some people refer to the first and second world wars as European civil wars and I think a similar regional civil war could be initiated by this [failure] to match this magnitude."
US and British officials have proposed the super envoy role in response to fears that current UN special representative Tom Koenigs lacks international renown.
The Telegraph reports the new position would encompass the duties of the UN representative as well as increased responsibility for rebuilding the war-torn country.
Apart from 66-year-old Lord Ashdown, candidates in line for the super envoy position include Bernard Kouchner, the current French foreign minister; Joschka Fischer, the former German foreign minister; and Jaroslav Kaczynski, the former Polish prime minister who lost Sunday's general election.