Tuesday, July 12, 2011

War in Afghanistan: Comment

Following the tragic death of yet another young soldier in Afghanistan, the message to the Government must be what? To give up the apparently utterly futile conflict in Afghanistan and bring all British forces back home as quickly as possible? Or to dig ourselves in for yet another few more years before we pull out? After all we commited ourselves to aiding the Afghan people by removing terrorists (and inadvertently the Taliban) and traditionally, we are a stubborn lot, we like to see things through.

I wasn't born until the 1970's but as far as I know, during the previous 80 years the only time we've ever retreated with our pride damaged was at Dunkirk and during Suez. Every other conflict we've been involved in we've been a thorn in the side of the opposition.

Is that enough to remain? To maintain our prestige and in addition, more significantly, to preserve the memory of the fallen can only but strengthen our resolve to see this conflict to the bitter end. And despite the recent deaths, it is quickly coming to and end. The Taliban are in disarray themselves and have split several ways into rival factions. But whose propaganda can we believe?

Some would argue however, that this is a war which should never have been begun. Almost 400 British lives have been lost, and many more times that number have been injured and maimed. Afghanistan is basically still a medieval tribal country, with regions dominated by local warlords and an economy almost entirely based on opium. What possibility is there of forcing it to become a western-style democracy and establishing human rights as we understand them in the west?

The original reason for invading 10 years ago was to capture Osama bin Laden and destroy his terrorist organisation, Al Qaeda. Hasn't this been done? Bin Laden is now dead and his international terrorist group is nominally based in Pakistan, Sudan, and Somalia.

Frank Roberts - HMForces.co.uk

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