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Britain to launch Afghan war inquiry
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 13:11:42 GMT
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A member of the House of Commons' defense committee said the inquiries would have nothing to do with the Wikileaks documents.
Britain will launch two new inquiries to investigate the country's role in the war in Afghanistan, the House of Commons has announced.

The House of Commons' defense committee announced the new inquiries Wednesday, after previously secret documents leaked to the media shed new light on the civilian casualties of the Afghan war.

Commons' defense committee said in a statement that the first inquiry would examine whether it was justifiable for Britain to remain involved in the nine-year-old unpopular war. It will also examine reports of civilian casualties and a timetable for withdrawal.

The statement said the second inquiry would consider ways to find a political settlement in Afghanistan.

The performance of the US-led foreign troops in the Afghan war was further undermined this week after whistleblower site Wikileaks published thousands of secret military documents unveiling that foreign armies fighting in Afghanistan indiscriminately killed civilians and tried to cover up civilian casualties.

The British parliament's defense committee is an influential panel whose inquiries are aimed at scrutinizing the government's performance.

A committee member said the inquiries would have nothing to do with the Wikileaks documents, adding that the discussions to conduct the probes had begun before the disclosure of the leaked documents.

A public inquiry into the war in Iraq is already underway in Britain.

In a testimony given on Wednesday, former head of the army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, told the so-called Chilcot Inquiry that former premier Tony Blair bounced military commanders into deploying large number of British troops to Afghanistan while they were facing a growing insurgency in Iraq.

Dannatt said he only heard of the UK's leading role in Helmand province when Blair announced it at a 2004 summit.

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