Archbishop lambasts Afghan campaign

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The Independent Online

One of the leading contenders to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury has denounced the US-led military action in Afghanistan as "tainted" and "an embarrassment", it was reported today.

In a book to be published this week, the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev Rowan Williams, questioned whether a long-term bombing campaign could retain "moral credibility", according to The Sunday Telegraph.

In his book, Writing in the Dust, penned in the weeks following the 11 September terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Dr Williams said: "There is a fine line between the crippling of military and aircraft installations and the devastating of an infrastructure with a half-formed aim of destroying morale.

"Combine that with the use of anti-personnel weapons such as clusterbombs... and the whole enterprise is tainted."

Dr Williams emerged as the first choice of the Church of England's General Synod last week when a survey of almost half the ruling body's members by The Times put him top with the support of 28 per cent of those polled.

The conservative Bishop of Rochester, the Right Rev Michael Nazir-Ali came second with 19 per cent.

Prime Minister Tony Blair will, with the Queen's approval, make the final decision on who succeeds Dr George Carey, who has announced he is to retire in October.

Mr Blair will choose one of two names passed to him by the Crown Appointments Commission.

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