Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Our troops should be pulled off the front line in Afghanistan. I am not convinced by any of the explanations given to explain their continuing presence, and I don't know how we would recognise a "victory."

We are an occupying force, fighting for one side in a civil war and too easily portrayed, even if we "win", as crusading imperialists seeking to impose our cultural and religious beliefs on others. Radical Muslim men rally to the cause of our opponents in consequence. This does not help make Britain safer.

I bow to no-one in my detestation of the Taliban and the perversion of Islam they use to justify the subjugation of women. I would love to see the country transformed into a benevolent liberal democracy, free from corruption and a champion of liberty. But the recent elections demonstrated how removed that vision is from reality.

We can continue to train Afghan soldiers, but the Taliban have a role to play in the country's future and we should talk with them; can that be so much worse than dealing with our current "allies", the warlords? Our money at least buys us some influence with them, perhaps it can also be used to curb the worst of Taliban abuses.

Let us not have more soldiers killed and maimed because politicians here are unwilling to lose face, accept that lives have been lost in vain, or weaken our links to the USA.

Afghanistan has defeated the British in the past. It has defeated the Russians. The present campaign is not going to result in a triumph for America or its British and European allies.

Our troops should not be there.

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