The cross-party consensus on Afghanistan has been rocked by Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg's criticism of the Government's handling of the campaign.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said British soldiers were not being given the proper equipment and their lives were "being thrown away because our politicians won't get their act together".
His comments come after the deaths of seven British soldiers in the past seven days.
They also come amid signs of disquiet within Whitehall at the growing public dismay over the lengthening casualty list.
Mr Clegg said: "As leader of the Liberal Democrats, I have been keen to maintain the cross-party consensus on Afghanistan that formed after September 11, and has not faltered since.
"But recent events have led me to question, for the first time, whether we are going about things in the right way.