NATO needs to brace for spike in casualties-Britain

British Defence Minister Liam Fox at a security forum in Singapore on June 5, 2010.

From Adam Entous, Reuters: Britain’s defense secretary warned NATO allies on Wednesday against prematurely withdrawing forces from Afghanistan and said they should prepare their war-weary publics for a spike in coalition casualties.

Liam Fox, secretary of state for defense, said premature pullouts risked sparking civil war, destabilizing Afghanistan and its nuclear-armed neighbor Pakistan, and giving "a shot in the arm to jihadists everywhere."

"Premature withdrawal would also damage the credibility of NATO, which has been the cornerstone of our defense in the West for more than half a century," Fox said in a speech at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington. …

Fox said coalition casualties were likely to rise further this summer as the U.S.-led counter-insurgency campaign expands in Afghanistan’s restive south.

U.S. General David Petraeus, named to lead the Afghan war effort after the sacking of his predecessor, has likewise warned that violence may intensify in the coming months as major operations in the Taliban birthplace of Kandahar get fully under way.

"The political and military leaders across ISAF (NATO-led International Security Assistance Force) nations need to prepare our public for this," Fox said of the likely spike in casualties.  (photo: Getty)

Image: getty%206%2030%2010%20Liam%20Fox.jpg