British army head warns that West can't defeat al-Qaida

Gen Sir David Richards says defeating Islamist militancy is "unnecessary, will never be achieved," during 'Sunday Telegraph' interview.

November 14, 2010 11:18
1 minute read.
British army head warns that West can't defeat al-Qaida

al qaida gaza 224.88. (photo credit: AP)

Gen Sir David Richards, the new head of Britain's armed forces, has warned that the West cannot defeat al-Qaida and militant Islam, according to a Sunday Telegraph report.

Richards went on to say that defeating Islamist militancy was "unnecessary and would never be achieved," the British paper reported.

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He did, however, argue that it could be "contained" to allow Britons to lead secure lives.

During an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Gen Richards said that the West's war against a "pernicious ideology" had parallels with the fight against Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

Gen Richards talked of the threat posed by "al-Qaida and its affiliates" and said that it meant Britain's national security would be at risk for at least 30 years.

He said during the interview that the British military and the Government had been "guilty of not fully understanding what was at stake" in Afghanistan and admitted that the Afghan people were beginning to "tire" of NATO's inability to deliver on its promises.

Richards said the real weapon in the war against al-Qaida was the use of "upstream prevention" as well as "education and democracy". The problems that gave rise to militant Islamism were unlikely to be solved soon, he added during the Telegraph interview.

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