On air: Is the war in Afghanistan making the world safer?

dead soldiersThe conflict in Afghanistan – and in particular Helmand province – has dominated the papers and news bulletins in Britain over the weekend.

This poll , however, commissioned by the BBC and the Guardian, suggests the public here are unwilling to turn against a war while British soldiers – like the 8 who died in one day last week (pictured ) are dying.

But the conduct of the war – and whether the British and the Americans are even in the right places – is being discussed widely.

Lord Ashdown was tipped to be tyhe UN’s special representative there last year :

 The army were persuaded, for political reasons, to follow a Beau Geste strategy – putting our people out in forward forts largely because the politicians were persuaded by [Afghan president Hamid] Karzai that this was where his supporters and family lived, It led to a military error of major proportions. The army’s job in a war is to find and kill the enemy.”

Another opposition vouice – Conservative John Maples;

“Increasingly, people are starting to ask whether this war is winnable and whether our military objectives are sensible given the number of troops and the amount of equipment we are prepared to commit.”

In this article in the Telegraph ,  Richard Preston asks “what exactly are we doing in Afghanistan ? ”

“But Osama bin Laden is still in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. He chooses to be there precisely because Pakistan can be more assertive in its state sovereignty than Afghanistan and restricts US operations.”

And Peter Preston in the Guardian has this to say :

“The world is full of places where al-Qaida can hide and operate. Somalia, Sudan, twisting back streets from Jakarta to Casablanca. You don’t need the full military monty to wreak death and destruction. A few deluded kids from Bradford will serve quite as well. And, anyway, to quote Gordon Brown again: “Three-quarters of the most serious plots investigated by our British authorities have links to al-Qaida in Pakistan.” Downing Street’s “crucible of terrorism” is somewhere east of the Durand Line. Our soldiers are fighting and dying in the wrong country – and that’s the idiocy that has got to stop.”

Despite this, the British Government continues to insist that the  war is just, and is even making Britain a safer place.

And a senior figure in the Afghan section here at Bush House says he thinks the majority of the Afghan people SUPPORT the action, if not necessarily the way it’s been handled .

is it the right war to be fighting ? or the right war in the wrong country ?

128 Responses to “On air: Is the war in Afghanistan making the world safer?”

  1. 1 VictorK
    July 13, 2009 at 11:31

    A pointless conflict, maintained solely to spare politicians the embarrassment of admitting their blunder in getting us into it.

    The mantra of ‘We must fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here’ is a lie in the class of WMDs. They’re already here; and the UK government hasn’t the will to prevent the entry of more (Afghans – and others – are spoilt for choice when it comes to getting into Britain: as ayslum seekers, legal migrants, or illegals).

    It’s for the Americans to capture or kill bin Laden & Co. Britain – whose foreign policy is almost entirely subservient to US interests – has launched an aggressive war against Afghanistan, a country that had never harmed us in any way, on the bigoted notion that Western democracies can do no wrong.

    The war, the locale and the justification are all wrong. It’s scandalous that unprovoked aggression isn’t called a war crime when the perpetrators are powerful democracies. Brown joins Bush and Blair in that paradoxical category: the kind-hearted and well-intentioned war criminal.

    • July 13, 2009 at 18:34

      The Khyber Pass is littered with the graves of foriegn armies going back centures. When the only tool you use is a hammer you get limited results. In terms of US forces being in country plan on the fact they will be there. Once they enter they never quite leave they just get relabeled. Just ask the Philipines about a presence that dates to at least Teddy Roosevelt. The large contribution that Europe can make is cutting their opium cosumption. They are the largest group of consumers.

    • 3 mike
      July 14, 2009 at 19:10

      thank you very much for your comment. at least there are still a few people who refuse to be brainwashed. and to think Tony Blair came into office as a human being. what a let-down

  2. 4 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 13, 2009 at 11:42

    A country cannot be called a country if it cannot ensure security for its people therefore Afghanistan is a failed state.

    I say leave Afghanistan but the US and UK feel obligated to the Afghans because they are the prime reason for the turmoil Afghanistan is in now.

    Its sad to see so many young british soldiers die for the mistakes that their leaders made.
    Families in mourning trying to take hope that the war is a just one and that their sons didn’t die in vain.

    • 5 James
      August 5, 2009 at 13:33

      Are you kidding? What a bunch of historical revisionists! Has anyone forgotten September 11? Or do all you live in the fantasy that September 11th was a CIA ploy? Shall we bring Chamberlain back from the grave to negotiate with the Taliban? Grow up!

  3. 6 Goonbalder
    July 13, 2009 at 12:39

    Remind me again what form of democracy has an unpopular, unelected pm pursuing an unwanted war in a foreign country, by ousting one so-called representational government in order to install another representive government,.

  4. 7 Will, British Columbia
    July 13, 2009 at 12:49

    I live in a small town in British Columbia and there are a lot of cars and trucks driving by with the support our troops ribbon. I was not entirely against the initial invasion albeit apprehensive in the approach taken. I don’t see how after eight years we are supporting our troops by putting them through the same seek and destroy missions to break the ‘taliban’ only to have the same cycle of violence continue year after year with nothing to show for the price in blood. I think its somewhat ironic that the broadbase support for the fighting found across America, Britain and Canada is, across the world in rural Afghanistan drumming up further ‘insurgent’ resistance against the west. This was probably the right war after 9/11 but I doubt that either the west or the east is doing each other any favours as the operation continues.

  5. 8 Churman
    July 13, 2009 at 12:59

    Back to the basic, i strongly oppose any strong power intervene in the internal affair of the other countries, no matter how brutal that autocractic government is.Under the international order without a single authoritanrian government, it is important for the independence and dignity of nation to be respected .Any problem of the countries should be solved itself.Therefore, the United States is wrong to start the war in Afghanistan,even though the Teleban government is too suitable to be overthrown.The main problem is that,without the understanding of the political,social characteristics and cultural thinking of the country,how can the US establish the system that can make Afghanistan stable?

  6. 9 Rickenbacker
    July 13, 2009 at 13:13

    RE twitter : ‘Obama isn’t here, stop bombing us ‘Pakistan tells the Times. ‘we’re trying to win people’s hearts, drone attacks are driving them away’

    Typo? sure that isn’t supossed to read ‘Osama’ isn’t here; otherwise this would seem intended more for the Taliban.

  7. 10 Nigel
    July 13, 2009 at 13:25

    Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country” cannot apply to an invasion of another’s country because the Prime Minister of the time wanted to prove himself to his American counterpart and the subsequent PM doesn’t know how to get out of a war that cannot be won.

  8. 11 Linda in Italy
    July 13, 2009 at 13:33

    I find this a very troubling question. I’m of the general opinion that war should be a last resort and even in that situation it can cause more problems than it solves.
    I feel great sympathy for families of the soldiers killed and injured in that conflict, but, as someone whose father was in the British army for 38 years and whose husband was in the RAF for some 15 years, I feel that, unfortunately, if you sign on for the forces, that is a risk you have to take.
    Huge mistakes were made over Afghanistan, first, if not the actual “creation” of the Taliban, then at least its strengthening to combat the Russians when they were in there – an example of the law of unforeseen consequences.
    Post 9/11, there did indeed seem some justification for the invasion, but the real disaster was the adventure in Iraq, based on a complete lie, that really alienated most of the Muslim world and acted as a recruiting sergeant for Al Qaida. This act of crass stupidity allowed the present situation in Afghanistan to develop and as it is now, I see no alternative, although the indiscriminate bombing has to stop, meaning that more soldiers will die as this sort of war cannot be conducted by air, Vietnam should have taught the world that.
    The terrible risk now is that if the Taliban are not defeated, Pakistan will the next to fall, and what then happens to all those nukes?

  9. 12 steve
    July 13, 2009 at 13:45

    What is the alternative? Afghanistan is a failed state. The only other “option” would be be to put a giant wall around the country, and not let anyone in or out, as they would pose a terrorist risk given the country is destined to be a giant terrorist training camp. It’s a failed state, so we either continue the war, and fight with hands tied behind our backs, or just throw in the towel and let it become what it was destined to be.

    However to question the war over 8 deaths in a week? Does anyone know what happened during WW1? There were days where tens of thousands of soldiers would get killed. in a single day. TENS OF THOUSANDS would get killed in battles like the Somme. At the Battle of Antietam during the US Civil war, thousands died on a single day. Just in case many of you don’t understand perspective.

  10. 13 Tom K in Mpls
    July 13, 2009 at 13:58

    The Taliban was based largely in Afghanistan. After the very effective initial attacks they moved into mountainous terrain and into Pakistan. There are tactical, logistical and political reasons for this. Bush then decided to invade Iraq and the Taliban were forgotten. Now it is the main focus once again on the Taliban.

    We need to learn from the past just what happens when a strong military force is pulled out too early or too fast. Just because an enemy ducks its head and quits shooting for a moment doesn’t mean the fight is over. Also there is the issue of what fills the vacuum when two opposing powers leave an area. This is no less important than the original conflict.

    In a few words, this is far from over.

    • 14 Julie from Indiana
      July 13, 2009 at 17:51

      I completely agree with this comment. I understand that people do not want to see soldiers dying. But once a decision is made, you either resposibly acknowledge that an error has been made and responsibly leave the country, or you accept that once you start something you must see it through, even when it seems a losing battle. Afghanistan is not a popular war, but when is war popular? We left too soon once before, and fought a war that has turned the world into skeptics when it comes to our decision making ablility but i agree we should learn from that mistake. The situation that is now in Pakistan and Afghanistan is a direct result of this.

  11. July 13, 2009 at 14:11

    I agree with Linda. This looks more and more like another Vietnam, where “the war” cannot be won. But the forces of Operation Enduring Freedom have slipped into a vicious cycle. This war will go on and there’s no end to it in sight. PUlling out now would ring in a new era of the taliban and all those countless lifes of civilians and soldiers will be lost in vain. Staying there would mean more loss of life, but with a chance of betterment… if Pakistan starts doing its part.

    But in terms of war, it’s a weird battlefield. “The war on terrorism”. In any other war, there were at least defined enemies. But with terrorism, it’s a political attitude, a means of harsh expression, if you will. And judging from the violent history of Afghanistan, it’s embedded in many minds. How do you find and fight an enemy like that? There’s no defined enemy in Afghanistan, the enemy is amongst all population.

    Capturing and/or killing Osama bin Laden won’t change anything about it. He just channeled and fed on the violent warlord’s minds, that are already there.

  12. July 13, 2009 at 14:13

    what would be the consequences of abanding the war in Afghanistan is the question that should be asked?

    What, your just gonna watch as the Taliban regain control?

    What about the promises made to the Afghans of finishing your task.

    Would it not show how weak the UK is if you basically surrender and run away?

    If the war in Afghanistan is lost then terrorists now have a new breeding ground, do you think they will not attack if you pull out?

    Finish the task and stop pussy footing around, or run and let everything be in vain.

    • July 14, 2009 at 10:12

      Puneet, what “task”? No military power on earth can defeat guerillas who have the capacity and determination to attack when and wherever they like. They are NOT centred or trained exclusively in Afghanistan. They are in every nook and corner of this earth. Taleban and Al Qaeda do not have an infrastructure, they have no command post, you cannot see them or confront them on a battlefield. So, where do you fight and defeat them? What is amazing is, America has not learnt anything from Vietnam.

      If, by “task”, you mean establishing democracy in Afghanistan, do remember that democracy is repugnant to Islam. Every true Muslim believes that Koran contains every law that is necessary to govern mankind, and this law was ordained by Allah. In a democratic country these laws are made by elected representatives of the people. This means usurping the powers of Allah to make laws. A Muslim would fight unto death to save his religious traditions and his faith. So, there can be no democracy in any true Islamic country in a million years.

  13. 18 K.Anaga
    July 13, 2009 at 14:37

    It will be a disaster sooner or later. It is pity that UK and USA have not lernt a lesson despite so many debacles in Vietnam ,Iraq. etc. It is unfortunate that both countries have allowed China and Pakistan together with India to support the genocide of the Tamil in Srilanka. It would have been prudent for UK and USA to have intervened in Srilanka rather than Afganistan,thus keeping this region free from state terrorism. What are these two countries doing about the 300,000 Tamils in the Concentration camp? .Are they burying their heads in the sand like Ostrich?

  14. 19 VictorK
    July 13, 2009 at 14:46

    @Steve: the alternative is straightforward – countries like the UK and US should interdict nationals of designated states from entering their borders – with extremely limited exemptions for diplomats, certified businessmen, etc. The countries I have in mind would include: Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq…but you get the picture.

    It’s madness for British soldiers to be throwing away their lives on an impossible mission to transform Afghanistan into a stable and prosperous democracy – for which the one essential piece of equipment would be a magic lamp – when the British government continues to admit into our country, legally and illegally (and it does little to police illegals), nationals from all the states that naturally generate West-hating Jihadists. We recently discovered, for example, that 10,000 Pakistani students are allowed into Britain annually. Yet our lying politicians insist that we must fight ‘them’ in Afghanistan in order not to fight them here, the security forces advise us that terror attacks are inevitable for years to come, and foreign and home-grown Jihadists are tried in our courts on a regular basis. Afghanistan is an imaginary front in this war. Our troops deserve better.

  15. July 13, 2009 at 14:53

    The war on terror should be global. Al Qaeda or the Taliban has proven its resilience as it can change the land where it can operate systematically. It has/had Iraq as its strong hold. Now it has other vast areas mainly in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia.

    So the war on terror, it has to be winnable, should include all areas where terror is operating through military action, indoctrination and the reception of aid.

    Even military experts acknowledge that the war in Afghanistan will take very long years. Al Qaeda and Taliban still have many sympathisers who can replace those killed or captured.

    Maybe, the Taliban can be totally defeated or softened if Afghanistan becomes a prosperous country with very little corruption and also economic aid to the country is as quick as the deployment of military forces. You can’t win a war like this in areas where people have only a constant sense of revenge. They have only their lives to lose as they have no material security to live on.

  16. 21 Roy, Washington DC
    July 13, 2009 at 14:53

    Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But what would happen if the US and the UK were to suddenly pull out? Like everyone else has been hinting at so far, that would make things much worse for us. Taliban-style warlordism would flourish, and the West would be rightfully blamed for it. We created the mess in Afghanistan, so it’s up to us to clean it up as best as we can.

  17. 22 Timothy von Germany
    July 13, 2009 at 14:54

    According to the UNHCR, Over 18,000 Afghan asylum-seekers were registered in 44 industrialized states in 2008. The UK appeared to be the most popular European Union (EU) destination, with 3,730 Afghan applicants.Afghan immigrants nowadays pay US$10,000 to a smuggler to be taken to a European country. Some of these new immigrants could potential land in a Jihad camp.

  18. 23 Ramesh, India
    July 13, 2009 at 14:55

    The war was winnable until B duo shifted their attention from Afghanistan to Iraq. This allowed Pakistan to play double game too long with the west that allowed Taliabans to retreat to safer places and regroup. The gravest mistake has happened and we have just started to see the repurcussions.

    July 13, 2009 at 14:57

    This is a war in futility. The only result we see is the continuous propping of Kazai’s regime. We are told that there will be democratic elections. This is a cropper given that it is going to be done under the gun.
    There is no clear mission statement of this war which started as a fight against terrorism, then turned to regime change, then turned into installation of democracy. Afghanistan was already in a state of war after a war with the soviet union when the superpowers went in to use their soldiers to fight a political war with no clear goal after cange of original mandate. Currently, The western powers are now relegated to fighting a guerriller war using uniformed regular army. That is what we call ‘open direct targets’. Good advice has been ignored if you consider words like the ones below uttered in 2001.

    “Afghanistan taught us an invaluable lesson … It has been and always will be impossible to solve political problems using force,” said Gromov, the last soldier to leave Afghanistan two days after the Kabul pullout.

  20. 25 Dan
    July 13, 2009 at 15:08

    This was a war that was thrust upon us. Granted that the power vacuum created by the United States after the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan opened the door for the Taliban to rise to power was the root cause, it is irrelvant as we are now in this up to our eyeballs.
    Should we walk away, the world will ultimately suffer as the ambitions of the Taliban go beyond Afghanistan. Given that soon they will possess a WMD and they have a friendship, and provide succor to al-Qeada they threaten the entire world.
    This war musty be fought and it must be won. We cannot allow another Vietnam type of surrender.

  21. 26 Auspicious
    July 13, 2009 at 15:10

    Blood does not wash out blood. Guns, bullets, tanks and all weaponry must be stashed away in safe vests in the barracks. No matter how long the American presence is in Afghanistan, the bullet wont solve matters. Only more blood shed.

  22. July 13, 2009 at 15:14

    When I was in Kabul in 1966 the country was poor (limited by sparse natural resources for one thing), and judging by embassy sizes China seemed to be the country most interested. The West was not interested until the USSR came in, and, unfortunately, the West was not interested after the USSR left. The stability of the 1960s was gone. No wonder regional power centers arose and fought each other. Al-qaida floats to wherever it can be safest, so Afghanistan was ideal for it Then 9-11, and after that the U.S. toppled the Taliban with surprising ease. After that the West was not interested anymore. It is in the interest of all but the worst people that Afghanistan have a stable government that is responsive to the needs of its own citizens. The British success in combating insurgents in the 12 year Emergency in Malaysia should be our model. Gaining the allegiance of decent people to a government that can provide the basics of security, food, shelter, etc. is the indispensible step into a better future.

  23. 28 patti in cape coral
    July 13, 2009 at 15:20

    It’s too sad to see the soldier’s pictures, they are all so young and it seems like such a waste. That’s what happens in war, though. Logically speaking, Steve is right, in the grand scheme of things, 8 deaths are not much. When you look at their faces, though, even one death seems like too much.

  24. 29 Jim L.
    July 13, 2009 at 15:26

    Oh dear. Does anybody out there still believe that the invasion of Iraq was about WMDs and not just about the oil reserves? And Afghanistan? Who really still believes that the Taliban had anything to do with 9-11 or 7-7? Well, maybe you should try google ‘Afghan oil pipeline’, or just go here:


    I´m sorry to disappoint anyone, but it´s really all about oil – a plain and simple old-fashioned colonial grab for resources. The politicians don´t and never have cared about the local population or the troops. The British troops never were properly equipped – the US troop levels (initially) kept to a bare minimum in order to keep costs down, while private firms were given huge contracts for jobs previously done by the military. More profits for the friends of Mr. Cheney.

    And how does invading a country that never was any threat to anyone and then killing and torturing thousands of innocent civilians make our world any safer? Wouldn´t it be better use of our resources to educate and feed people rather than killing them? But of course, there´s no profit in that! And please, don´t start ranting about ‘terrorist training camps’ or the like. Bin Laden and his allies were(are?) trained and funded by the west and I certainly don´t believe he brought down WTC Building 7, but in any case, our actions in the Middle East (Israel!) are a better recruiting agent anyone could ever invent.

    • 30 Ramesh, India
      July 13, 2009 at 16:45

      Very interesting argument. But regarding afghanistan it doesn’t stand out to be persuasive. I never heard about Afghanistan having significant levels of oil reserves. So, in your opinion, it should be for oil pipeline. But from where to where? I don’t see any benefit for UK or US if they mke a pipeline in Afghanistan.
      However, sending forces to Afghanistan was a mistake. No doubt about it. But those were the times when american arrogarance was at its peak. If 9/11 happened in 2008, things would have been different!!

    • 31 Tom K in Mpls
      July 13, 2009 at 18:16

      Another point, it is accepted that the US won in Iraq. Now if this was about oil, the flow would increase and the price would drop. It is well documented that the flow dropped and I know the price here in the US went up. I don’t agree with this assumption at all.

  25. 32 L.E.-New York
    July 13, 2009 at 15:45

    It’s not whether a war in Afghanistan is making the world safer, but how it’s being fought. Unlike the Iraq War, I believe my country is justified in fighting in Afghanistan, as any sovereign nation would be in the same circumstances after September 11th. Unfortunately, having a major military front-which I believe, has yet to happen there, and a minor humanitarian one is a recipe for disaster. I think that the United States could learn a lot from its opponents, in areas of the world like Gaza, where Hamas is popular not because of their propensity for violence but because they offer social services to ordinary people, and more comprehensive than anything the US government provides to its own taxpaying citizens at home! Just trying to outfight the Taliban has instead directly let to the instability of Pakistan and the widening of the war to included a nuclear-armed state. If the US wants to win this war, it has to provide more than violence to the region, something the area already has too much of.

  26. 33 VictorK
    July 13, 2009 at 15:51

    @Patrick: is Malaysia a good analogy?

    Wasn’t British success related to the fact that the insurgents, the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), was a communist oufit comprised of and almost entirely supported by ethnic Chinese? The Malay majority were onside with the successful campaign against the MNLA because of racial hostility towards Chinese Malays (hence the expulsion of Singapore from the Malay federation) and a fear that an MNLA success would lead to a Chinese dominated Malaysia, possibly under the additional domination of China.

    Contrast that with Afghanistan. There is not a shred of practical evidence that ordinary Afghans support the US and its allies. Instead, I hear constant reports of Taliban attacks on the occuppying forces, after which the Taliban effortlessly disappear into the civilian population. It’s futile for anybody to dream of victory in such circumstances.

    The Taliban are the natural rulers of Afghanistan. We should leave the country to its fate. Its well-being is not our responsibility.

  27. 34 Lorraine
    July 13, 2009 at 16:02

    It is a hard task but unfortunatelay someone has to do this. But I believe the government have to do more about the young men going accros to train in the Taliban camps & using their British passports when it is convenient.

    I as a mother whos son was in the forces My heart goes out .

  28. July 13, 2009 at 16:11

    The Taliban, al-Qaeda, 95% of world’s opium production, the refugees in Sangatte, Greece, Italy, another 2.5 million Afghan refugees in Iran and still another 3 million in Pakistan: Britain and NATO have gone to the heart of the problem. It’s a bloody fight. Every country is concerned: We owe a great debt to these troops. It’s up to all of us to contribute material assistance, human resources and military hardware as they are needed.

  29. 36 Anthony
    July 13, 2009 at 16:13

    I thought Iraq was a stupid waste of time, but I do believe in the war in Afghanistan. If we don’t show these fundamentalists that there are consequences to their actions, we’ll have every jihadist screwing with not only America, but all around Europe.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  30. 37 Elias
    July 13, 2009 at 16:16

    It is not necessarily making the world safer, what it is doing is making Pakistan safer so that its elected government has jurisdiction over all of Pakistan. Giving into the insurgents is to risk further absorbtion of areas by them to impose their will on people who did not elect them.
    There can be no doubt that al-Quaida is the enemy to allow them to thrive and expand their influence is to give in to huge problems in the future. Pakistan alone cannot deal with the problem, it is not a rich country, further some of their own people have links to al-Quaida, they must be weeded out one way or another.
    A war against an enemy must be fought in any and every way to get rid of the enemy otherwise the result would be futile.

  31. July 13, 2009 at 16:35

    The Taliban are determined to destabilize the world and should be stopped in their tracks. Unfortunately in Afghanistan they have established strong-footholds. If they are not dislodged there, terrorism would creep into other vulnerable parts of the world.The Americans are trying to wrest the vicious grip of the Taliban but need the vital support of British troops there. Time is of vital essence. The British Government needs to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Americans. If the Taliban gain control of Afghanistan, mayham would be the order of the day. Of course this is a tough sell for Gordon Brown as the British public seem to be disenchanted with the idea of committing young servicemen in harm’s way. But the alternative of handing Afghanistan on a platter to the Taliban is even far worse!

    • 39 Tom K in Mpls
      July 13, 2009 at 19:46

      In the short term, your belief of the Taliban’s goal seems correct. As a tactic they do try to weaken their enemy with destabilization. But they are about total stability through complete, strict control. It is actually an important point.

    • July 14, 2009 at 10:47

      Pancha Chandra, please read my comments, further above. Terrorism is not global. It is confined to America, Britain and those misguided countries that support them. Unfortunately, India has gone to bed with America, Israel and Britain and therefore, it can be said safely that irrespective of the war in Afghanistan, big time terrorism is likely to spread to India. Sadly, India, having lost its wisdom and non-alligned status, did not think far enough before choosing its friends.

      We have to look at the causes of terrorism if we want peace.

    July 13, 2009 at 16:53

    Political power hovers over countryside like an invisible cloud. Innocent civilians and innocent soldiers are squandered in order to prop up antiquated politics. In a statement, it is not clear what is beeing fought for if you are to ask those soldiers put at lethal risk and the happless Afghan populations who are dying for nothing they know of.

    Bush and Blair have retired and may be right now want to distance themselves away from these conflicts they started. They posited one fallacy; that Taliban and Al Queda are one and the same thing. The upshot of this is that you are left with one big puzzle. Who is a Taliban and who is an Afghan? As for the Al Qaeda, they not always those iliterate hardcores being bombed there and they are not always the one that those soldiers are fighting. Any one can tell you for sure that Al Queda is nothing more than a educated briefcase army tucked in expensive hotels and innocent looking neighborhoods. Why can’t the world do things any other way?

    As for ideologies, they made much sense during the cold war. I do not think even the Taliban know who they are killing. All they know is that they are killing English speaking foreigners who are part of Kazai army for the control of Afghanistan.

  33. 42 rob z.
    July 13, 2009 at 16:55

    Afghanistan has been a no-mans land for almost 30 yrs.
    It is a place where anything goes,the country was ravaged by the Soviets and the American backed freedom fighters during the Cold War.
    What is being done now is not the right strategy.
    I believe that Russia and the USA should be working together to fix the mess THEY BOTH MADE in Afghanistan,along with the surrounding countries fixxing the mess.
    Terrorists will exist no matter what our governments do,whether they are Islamic,Leftist,Religious,what ever they call them selves.
    Bad guys are a fact of life.

  34. July 13, 2009 at 17:07

    In the space of eight years, there have been two wars in Afghanistan: the war under Bush II and the war under Obama. Bush II mucked up the war in Afghanistan in the eyes of both the Afghan people and the home countries of the soldiers fighting there. Obama is now faced with nuclear Pakistan being taken over. THIS is the cause that supports the present increased military pressure and empowerment of the Afghan people to establish their economic and political peace.

    If Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are to be kept out of the hands of the Taliban and al-Qaida, their forces must be disrupted in Pakistan and there can be no safe-haven left in Afghanistan where they can regroup. The tables have turned and Afghanistan is now the critical base from which to pressure the Taliban and al-Qaida, while the Pakistan army clears its own country of the interlopers. The fact that American drone attacks are no longer criticized as they were only months ago demonstrates the Pakistani public’s own sensitivity to their vulnerability.

  35. 45 John in Salem
    July 13, 2009 at 17:15

    We don’t have a lot of options. We’ve seen what al-Qaeda is capable of and we know they’re commited to acquiring a nuclear weapon and using it and if left alone they WILL succeed in that goal. The target might be Washington DC or London or New York or Paris, and the objective will not be a political statement or an attack on infrastructure. Their aim is and has always been to kill as many people as possible.
    All we can do now to prevent that from happening is to keep them off balance and focused on their own survival and it is in EVERYONE’s best interest to maintain that pressure.

  36. 46 Mohan, USA
    July 13, 2009 at 17:18

    Whether it is the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, or whatever name they come up with, what the world is fighting is an ideology, not an organization. We picture some organized corporation, with leaders, generals, and foot soldiers. What we should see is a rag-tag group of mercenaries, pulled together by fanatical religious beliefs to serve a cause that has become greater than God, money and power. I personally feel that behind the image of warlords hiding in caves are strategists sipping expensive martinis, discussing ways to raise and lower the price of oil.

    July 13, 2009 at 17:19

    It is good to give credit where it is due. George Bush Senior was a clear winner. He was a soldier and knew that you won by sticking to the original mandate. It is a shame that he was seen as a coward but he saved the reputation of America by making sure the troops knew what they were fighting for.
    The current war is divorced from UN since it is a war between the Taliban and NATO forces, each in its own sector. There has been too much meddling. The Afghans have been confused too. At one time it is about winning hearts and minds. before this has taken root, there is more drone attacks against innocent civilians. We are now not sure whether any forces now dispersed all over Afghanistan know what their counterparts are up to. This war can be won but only through going over the failures and making corrections on false impressions created by the initiators.

  38. 48 nora
    July 13, 2009 at 17:22

    The Soviet Union was brought down by the war in Afghanistan, money running out and mothers of soldiers having had enough of endless death. This was partly because the US was funding whoever would fight the Soviets, however 12th century their views were.

    Predator drones and the innocents that fall to them create a social foundation for the most concerted guerilla tactics against our soldiers. Smartbombs and drones really trouble me. As in other situations where occupation lasts a long time, the people who trusted us will be screwed if we leave.

    • 49 Tom K in Mpls
      July 13, 2009 at 20:08

      All tools of war kill innocents. They always have. For the sake of protest some people will focus on these deaths and focus on the most controversial cause of these deaths. Drones are no different except that there have been no friendly fire deaths yet.

      As for the Soviet Union being beaten, it was by the US backed Taliban.

  39. 50 gary
    July 13, 2009 at 17:28

    The Afghanistan conflict is not now making the world a safer place, nor would it do if the Taliban were ultimately defeated. Likewise, a dead Osama bin Laden will merely energize Al-Qaeda. If it is to be believed that wars “work,” then it follows they should only rarely occur. This isn’t the case.
    We have observed generations conducting vicious wars in which millions have died, and at their conclusion, each side makes a fresh accounting. Every time, only half of those involved think themselves in the black, and when a more complete assessment is made, everyone who has lost a loved one thinks the other side has gotten off far too easily. The next generation seeks to balance the books. How many times within our memories and those of our parents have these horrible adjustments occurred? War does not work. The highway of space-time is littered with the indisputable evidence of this.
    Perhaps it is time to find a way to communicate.

  40. July 13, 2009 at 17:44

    To Iraq we went in search of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and i ask ‘where are these weapons?
    The war is not only catastrophic but pointless, it must stop now. More blood than is required has been spilled.

    • 52 Tom K in Mpls
      July 13, 2009 at 20:12

      The question of WMDs is why Blair is facing legal issues now. I hope/expect Bush Jr to be facing these same legal actions soon.

  41. 53 Chintan in Houston
    July 13, 2009 at 17:48

    This war even though is a right war it won’t ever completely eliminate the problem of terrorism fueled by the Jihadis. In too many instances innocent people have been caught in the conflict and have lost their lives or been serverely injured.
    All these action does is make a whole new generation of orphans that grow up hating the countries that brought war and destruction to their land.
    After all “you can’t ‘win a war again terror’ because the statement is an oxymoron” as stated by Deepak Chopra.

  42. 54 David
    July 13, 2009 at 17:52

    Why war?? Does’nt history tell us any thing? Is there no other reasoning? War is only a show of force so long as your son or daughter is not dead.

  43. 55 Chrissy in Portland
    July 13, 2009 at 17:56

    I absolutely agree with L.E.-New York’s comments.

    We have to offer the people of Afghanistan more than just violence! Destroy a man’s home, kill his loved ones, take away his ability to feed his family, imprison his father, brothers and sons and you WILL make an enemy!

    Afghanistan is yet another screaming failure on the part of the Bush administration! Just like his father in the first Gulf War, he left before the job was done. We have to go in, get the job done, and then work with the people to rebuild their lives.

  44. 56 Archibald
    July 13, 2009 at 18:02

    No, not at all, in fact it has puts more people in danger everyday it continues, despite what some believe. There is a reason that Russia pulled out and it is going to happen again, because you cannot fight an insurgency which springs from and has the full support of the local populace. There are too many examples to name……
    Besides, haven’t the Brits learned anything from dealing with homegrown insurgencies just a bit north of them? At the end, the only way to make peace is to make peace. You cannot shoot to encourage disarmament.
    Support of the locals people can only be won by giving them what they require to prosper in a better way than the insurgents. Killing a town full of people just to eliminate a few insurgents would not endear the liberation army to anyone except maybe the insurgents, they have just gotten stronger without having to lift a finger.

  45. 57 Jim L.
    July 13, 2009 at 18:03

    Now, who was it that said that if a big lie was repeated often enough, it would end up being believed? Well, whatever, messrs Bush, Blair, Cheney, etc. did a pretty good job. Al-Qaeda/Taliban/Iraq/9-11- please, pull the other one, I´m really sick of hearing that mantra. The so-called War on Terrorism is a big lie – enough, please!

    And why is it we assume that the Afghanis cannot simply rule themselves without interference? I too dislike the Taliban, but cannot see how we are going to defeat the ideology with bombs.

  46. 58 Anthony
    July 13, 2009 at 18:05

    @ gary

    Yeah, but what if the world saw us sit back and do nothing? Then we would be seeing a lot worse things happening here and around the world.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 59 Jim L.
      July 13, 2009 at 18:23

      @ Anthony

      So who elected you as the world policeman? Don´t you think that by its´ actions the USA is just building up a lot of resentment and pushing people into the arms of the extremists? The IDEOLOGY of extremism needs to be fought, but not with bombs and bullets – that just doesn´t work.

  47. 60 saad,pakistan occupied baluchistan
    July 13, 2009 at 18:07

    Well the success of war also depends on he transparent government working not only in Afghanistan but also in Pakistan. US government is pressing hard on Afgnistanistan government while paying no or little heed to Pakistan’s. The AFGHANISTAN-PAKISTAN boarder is major problem in combating terrorism. The double standard being shown by Pakistan military agencies is also aggravating problems. US government should press hard on Pakistan government to make it combat terrorism honestly.

  48. July 13, 2009 at 18:07

    Of course war does not make us feel safer. I am an American who lives in New Delhi, so here we see loads of individuals involved in the conflict, from soldiers and diplomats to Afghan refugees who get crappy treatment from locals (no effort is made to make their transition easier). Even encountering soldiers arriving or deploying from airports in America makes me feel LESS safe. Once in the Atlanta airport I saw an entire unit deploy- all Americans under 25. Inside I wept, but outside I smiled at them and wished them a safe trip BACK home. On another trip I chatted up one of the many soldiers home on leave. He had a cast on his hand, and found it difficult to emotionally connect with anyone or anything around him….this reminded me of them men and women we abandoned upon their return from the trenches of Vietnam. Have we not learned anything.

  49. 62 Julia in Portland
    July 13, 2009 at 18:14

    I’m afraid that we may have lost so much ground with this battle….

    There was a point when we had reduced the poppy production and were supposed to give the people another way to make a living….we left that a void and the people had no choice but to go back to poppy production.

    When that happened I think that we gave the negative forces in Afghanistan a stronger foothold and more control over the people.

    Are war has been run poorly…..I think we can’t cut and run….but better management of the situation may help the people of Afghanistan and the US.

  50. July 13, 2009 at 18:16

    War is only a means. It’s not the end.

    The end is a political, social, economic solution that ensures respectable well-being of people involved. The US that’s leading the attack and Afghanistan that’s caught up in the war, are nowhere nearing the end.

    There is a long, long way to go. The longer we take to reach the end, the fatigue of the journey is going will prove counterproductive, and the solution will be harder to achieve.

    Get talking to the enemy — overtly or covertly. That will lead to a solution. A solution will lead to the end of the war. And, then probably the world will be a bit safer.

    Bangalore, India.

  51. 64 Kurt
    July 13, 2009 at 18:22

    Even if one believes the war is justified our of fear of this fundamentalist activist sect acquiring nuclear weapons, is it worth the cost? Sustained fighting, at some point, costs more than the damage of a bomb. It may seem ugly, but only because we apparently value soldiers less than civilians.

    A formal war does not appear to be a responsible or rational decision. Perhaps encouraging local(not imported and western) business development and education might immunize people from this fundamental extremism by bringing them into the world.

    Here our investment can have a positive and defineable end-game result. Right now we are involved in a poor battle where we must win (but cannot define it) while the ‘enemy’ must only not lose.

  52. 65 Tom D Ford
    July 13, 2009 at 18:22

    @ Jim L.
    July 13, 2009 at 15:26

    “Oh dear. Does anybody out there still believe that the invasion of Iraq was about WMDs and not just about the oil reserves? And Afghanistan? Who really still believes that the Taliban had anything to do with 9-11 or 7-7? Well, maybe you should try google ‘Afghan oil pipeline’, or just go here:


    I´m sorry to disappoint anyone, but it´s really all about oil – a plain and simple old-fashioned colonial grab for resources. …”


    And Hamid Karzai was an employee of Unocal back when the Taliban refused to give permission to Unocal to build that pipeline.

    In reality this is just another war for control of Oil & Gas. The US and Great Britain heavily subsidize the Fossil Fuels industries by taxing their citizens for the support of their Military and that subsidy money really ought to be redirected to alternative sources of energy like wind and solar.

  53. 66 N.J.
    July 13, 2009 at 18:24

    The entire concept of this “war” in Afghanistan is going totally in the wrong direction.

    The Taliban and Al Qaeda are two very different things. The Taliban more closely resembles a nationalist insurgency, while Al Qaeda far more resembles the Mafia, an international organization with tendrils in every nation.

    The best statement made during the last 8 years was that Al Qaeda should be handled as one would handle such a criminal organization, rather than treat it in a military fashion. John Kerry suggested this in 2004 and was criticized severely for it.

    Historically no one has been able to beat any religiously based insurgency such as the Taliban, but the Taliban is a limited regional insurgency. Al Qaeda is different. It is not a nationally based insurgency but an international organization based on a religious philosophy totally independent of a nation state. For the time being, the Taliban and Al Qaeda have mutual interests, but are not one and the same and should not be considered so. Stopping the Taliban will not stop Al Qaeda and will never be able to.

    The British have a very long experience in this region. Their opinion on this should be paid careful attention to.

  54. 67 mountain adam in portland oregon usa
    July 13, 2009 at 18:24

    I agreed with Julia. I don’t like war after having been in one. However we should put some confidence in Mr. Obama and allied forces to finally bring resolution to these serious situations.

  55. 68 Anthony
    July 13, 2009 at 18:25

    I can’t believe all these people saying that war never solves anything? Does anyone remember WWII? There are more than enough wars all over the world that prove that war can be a very good thing.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 69 Tom K in Mpls
      July 13, 2009 at 20:24

      We all know about the ” War to end all Wars”. Tell me just what it solved. It transitioned from two groups determined to own the world in open wars, directly to one group using a ‘cold’ war. No real change there.

  56. 70 Vijay
    July 13, 2009 at 18:26

    Is the war in Afghanistan making the world safer ?

    Yes,it is better to defend your country over their than on the streets of your own country(eg.Northern Ireland)

    The British Armed Forces are professionals if they have to die they die, if 8 die or 800 it shouldn’t make a difference as long as the job gets done,you can’t compare them to the conscript Russian Army or the virtual consripts (because there isn’t a welfare state,so people have to join up to avail benefits) of the US.

    The Young British Soldier by Rudyard Kipling from Departmental Ditties and Barrack-room Ballads(1890)

  57. 71 Joseph Swift
    July 13, 2009 at 18:26

    If everyone acknowledges the complexity of the situation, why do we only pay attention when Western troops are killed? What about the countless Afghani civilians?

  58. July 13, 2009 at 18:26

    Yes, i think, war in Afghanistan against Talibans definitely making the world safer by killing the “peace-killers”.

    Thank you.

  59. 73 Lei
    July 13, 2009 at 18:27

    Philadelphia, United States

    As Sun Tzu’s Art of War discusses, there some initial estimations one can make to evaluate the relative strength of two forces fighting in any conflict. One of those measures is to ask “For whom are the rewards and consequences clearer?”

    When we ask this question, I think we will find that the rewards for the Taliban are great: victory means national liberation, and a safe base for them to operate their agenda. Defeat means destruction, death, and obliteration of their political ideology.

    What are the rewards for our forces? Victory means they will get to go home. Defeat would result in the same thing.

    Hence, it is my opinion that the Taliban have a tactical edge, in this most fundamental “willpower” measure.

  60. 74 Cris in El Paso, Texas
    July 13, 2009 at 18:27

    Not sure that the war is hurting or helping levels of safety around the world, but it is not necessarily what I would say is the most important question here. I would say that the question worth asking is whether the war is changing the conditions that are creating the environment for terrorists to develop and recruit? To this I say no. To stop ideas we must address them directly. Framing it as a battle between good and evil is self defeating and playing into the hands of religious fundamentalists. They view the West as evil. The West views them as evil. Who wins in this framework? Nobody. Fighting ideas with bullets just causes carnage. It does not stop or change any condition in the world. It does not affect safety.

    • 75 Tom K in Mpls
      July 13, 2009 at 20:27

      An excellent secondary point/issue. A plan for a better future for sure. But action is needed against active threats.

  61. July 13, 2009 at 18:27

    The world is not a safer place yet, and we may need to have a military presence in more countries in order to eliminate Islamic extremism. Our presence in Afghanistan can make the world a safer place, providing we have the will to win, and the will to be as brutal towards the Taliban as is necessary.
    The US wasn’t defeated in Vietnam. The US lost the will to keep defending the freedom of the Vietnamese people who didn’t want to live under communism. The US and other countries need to learn not to abandon those who want freedom, and never to give in to the forces of tyranny.

    I believe this discussion is happening because fifteen British soldiers have been killed in ten days. It is worth publicising the fact that thousands of Taliban have been killed in Afghanistan, and that given the length of time we have been in Afghanistan, our casualty figures are very low compared to our enemy and to other wars we have fought in the past.

  62. July 13, 2009 at 18:28

    Too late to decide whether the war is the right or the wrong one and if the true motivation was WMD or flagrant lies, installing democracy or oil and in fact creating a mess for every concerned. Too late: the game is on and on to last and now it must be won. So stop hesitating and hoping for a “No casualty war”, stop and begin to take the bull by the horns and pour the indispensable numbers of troops and military hardware into the battle on the ground not only in the air. Use latest technology for detecting location of hostile forces. They are a match for anyone. They must be dealt with accordingly. NOW.
    Stop all immigration from the countries quoted by another poster above.
    Otherwise they will grow to become the overwhelming force in your own country.
    One day you may well be a minority in your own country. And it will be too late to help.

    Yes, i think you should invite that man to WYS

  63. 79 Will, British Columbia
    July 13, 2009 at 18:28

    It seems to me that Jim is preaching the same old politics of fear, another ten years, maybe twenty and we’ll have this mess all sorted. Unless we can win the hearts and minds of the people on the ground there will never be stability in the region.

    • 80 Jim L.
      July 13, 2009 at 18:41

      What? Me?

      Please explain, I don´t understand, I thought I was saying the exact opposite!

      • 81 Will, British Columbia
        July 13, 2009 at 18:58

        I was refering to the Jim speaking on air, sorry for any missunderstandings to that regard.

  64. 82 Brian
    July 13, 2009 at 18:31

    The primary reason the US is in Afghanistan is to prevent Russia and China from increasing their sphere of influence in the region in this potential pipeline route. The West cares not a whit about Afghanis or the Taliban, we were ready to make deals and recognize them in the past.
    The Taliban is not going to leave Afghanistan- they are Afghanis. The spread of radical Islam through Afghan and Pakistan borders was done through the efforts of Saudi Arabia and with the blessing and help by the US. CIA head Casey under Reagan actually had Korans printed in local dialects and smuggled into Soviet-held areas.

    Oh and the Heritage Foundation is a neocon think-tank.

    July 13, 2009 at 18:33

    What we have on this blog is nothing new judging from what many of us are reacting to. Politicians should have listened to the throngs that took to the streets of European Capitls and Washington demanding an end to these campaigns. Apperently, public opinion fell on deaf ears for protestors did not have power over those mandarines who craved for oil, arms contractors, drug dealers and what have you. Time and again soldiers and civilians in battle zones have been made to pay ether for campaign pledges or an accidental slip of the tongue which has to be defended with at times unacceptable loss of human lives.
    Unlike those who posit that correcting wrongs will be humiliating, I beg to differ. It is not cowerdly to correct wrongs and say sorry to those mothers in Afghanistans, France, Britain whose children have been squaredered at political expediency. It is not too late or cowardly to save the tax money for people living in those allied countries fighting in this conflict. Humiliation should not be visited on those soldiers but should be placed squarely on the shoulders of politicians, big business and the intelligence communities whose weakness in vision and valor has betrayed the wrong people.

  66. 84 Tom K in Mpls
    July 13, 2009 at 18:34

    One thing needs to be cleared up in this debate. There are two types of war. One is to take from others. Land, food, oil, and is pure aggression. The second is to stop others from doing something. This is could be considered defensive.

    The reason for this is there are some people in the world that will kill others for what they want. Sometimes they manage to get the power to kill many. Sometimes people decide to attack these groups in the hope that it will cost fewer lives. People that like to kill will always exist and sometimes the effort to stop them will drag on. There will never be a good answer to the question ‘ was it worth while ‘. Since we can not know what might have happened, hindsight is useless.

  67. 85 Vijay
    July 13, 2009 at 18:39

    Is the war in Afghanistan making the world a safer place?

    Yes, but Afghanistan and Pakistan also need basic development such as electricity,roads and a safe water supply.

    There are 175 million Pakistanis that need some future,some hope,some CHANGE.

    The BBC World Service should broadcast in Punjabi,so people sitting in the rural areas can get some quality information about the world.

  68. 86 Prashanna Rana
    July 13, 2009 at 18:39

    A war at any given time is bad. The factors that have contributed in all the unfoldings today(the afghan War) were the results of faulty foreign policy by the West and it is no surprise that they find themselves in War with the people they once treated badly. To expect a quick hault of the on going war may simply be a folly which of course is sad….the war is still going on..and it doesn’t seem like it will actually end for good anytime soon..and no the war in Afghanistan won’t make the world safer. the longer the war goes..the more intense it will get…as it has turned to be till today.

  69. 87 Tom D Ford
    July 13, 2009 at 18:39

    This Conservative Republican Heritage Foundation Jim Phillips is just repeating right-wing propaganda to try and justify the Afghan war and misdirect attention away from the real reason for the military occupation of Afghanistan, the Unocal Gas Pipeline.

    Heroin? The Taliban had nearly completely stopped the growing of Opium Poppies before the invasion and occupation, so we know that that is a lie.

    Democracy? The Afghanistan people have their own longstanding tradition and form of democracy called the Loya Jurga, so that is another lie.

    The Heritage Foundation has a longstanding Heritage of Dynamic Dissembling, of Loquacious Lies, of Putrid Pusillanimous Propaganda, of Prolific Prevarication, of Can’t Believe It Canards.

  70. 88 Julia in Portland
    July 13, 2009 at 18:49

    Thanks, Dungaree! :~)

  71. 89 Phyllis , Naples Florida
    July 13, 2009 at 18:51

    it would be nice to hear from Afghan women.

    Afghanistan fell into a state of barbarism and those images of women being whipped as they walked on the muddy streets were quite real.
    The continued presence of the US and Allies there reminds the Taliban and Al Quaida that they are in focus. I
    It may provide time for Pakistan, Afghanistan and all the other ‘Stans’ to catch up with normal Islamic life and practices.

  72. 90 michelle
    July 13, 2009 at 18:53

    How is killing others ever going to solve anything? For all of recorded history, there are accounts of groups killing those that are “other” because they feel these “others” are a threat. in the 16th and 17th centuries it was witchcfaft and magic, in the 18th and 19th it was Satan, now it is “terrorists”, Taliban, Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein and so on. We need to have confidence in ourselves and extend generosity of spirit to rveryone, not just those we think are like us. These days political and economic greed is added into the foul mixture of battle. Time to ban Trident, and spending on expensive aircraft that will never fly. Call home the troops, dismiss the fear and declare peace on earth. Do it now before it is too late.

  73. 91 gary
    July 13, 2009 at 18:58

    Yes, I remember WW 2. The memory of wars is precisely why they do not work.

  74. 92 Ronak Shah
    July 13, 2009 at 18:59

    Regarding War in Afgahistan, the main question is how in the world Al-Qida is able to acquire arms and weapons. The War is definitely winnable if the western countries cut off the link where the militants get their arms. Then along with all other humanitarian aids, this War can come to end in next 10 years.

  75. 93 gideon
    July 13, 2009 at 19:00

    how is the us coalition intervention regarded differently from the soviets’ by afghans

    July 13, 2009 at 19:07

    We are what we believe and realities follow suit. Our biggest industry now is FEAR which was authored by originators of this conflict. If you maintain that we are not safe, its a cinch we won’t be. If you believe tomorrow will not come, it won’t. If you believe the UN is powerless, it will become powerless. In a way we are casualties of our belief system.

    The more we need to exhibit double standards the more the uncertainties will increase. If its democracy, let all democratize without leaving others flouting democracy in the name of allies. Lets have deomcracy in Burma and Saudi Arabia, Egypt etc and it will flourish in Iran and Syria, and Burma too. Lets not make clubs whose sole purpose is to exclude others. For nukes, lets destroy all of them we must all agree that these are dangerous toys.

  77. 96 A.J.
    July 13, 2009 at 19:09

    I’m sorry, but the gentleman that was just on air saying that the U.S. only has to close their borders and everything will be safe and okay seems just incredibly naive. We have a HUGE mostly open border with Canada and a fairly porous one to our south. Yikes. Besides all the flights coming in from around the world the idea of being able to completely control who enters this country is ridiculous. About the Afghanistan conflict: if we are not incredibly focused on every detail and have the proper assistance and cooperation from bordering countries governments, it will be a fruitless endeavor. If our enemies (those responsible for the 9/11 attacks) are there, then they should be hunted down and captured or killed. Up to this time it seems an almost impossible task. As far as the effort making the world safer: it is definitely pissing-off those who hate us but we cannot let such horrible acts go unanswered. While continuing these operations it is also vital that we clearly state our mission and attempt to gain assistance from similarly affected entities and repair relations with others. No war is good. People will always die and there will always be those against it, as it should be.

  78. 97 Michel Norman
    July 13, 2009 at 19:12

    In December of last year, after 8 years and thousands of rockets aimed exclusively at civilians, my country finally took action to stop the rockets. As a result Britain, not for the first time, having sold arms, has now decided to ban the export of spare parts. To the best of my knowledge, Afghanistan is yet to attack Britain. They certainly have not fired any rockets and so by your own standards, this action in Afghanistan is comepletely disproportionate. Presumably the rest of the world should look at the collosal collateral damage you people have caused and then ban arms exports to Great Britain, based on the british premise that arms should look shiny but should never be used in action.

  79. 98 RightPaddock
    July 13, 2009 at 19:30

    The US helped create the muhjahadeen which morphed into Al-Qaeda and it directly suffered the consequences of “Blowback”, http://www.thenation.com/doc/20011015/johnson

    Pakistan created the Taliban to gain control of Afghanistan in order to have control over the territory to provide it with “strategic depth” in its perpetual war with India – i.e. a place to which its forces could retreat and regroup.

    After US/UK/Australia triumvirate invaded Iraq 2003, the Taliban were able to regroup and take control of parts of Pakistan from which to mount attacks on Afghanistan. Thus the Taliban had turned the tables, they were using Pakistan to provide the strategic depth needed to prosecute its war in Afghanistan.

    The Pakistan military have at last come to realise that the Taliban, their own creation, now poses an existentialist threat to Pakistan, Blowback again.

    To walk away from Afghanistan now would be to betray both it and Pakistan, and open up the possibility of a vast array of weapons falling into the hands of the Taliban and their co-extremists Al-Qaeda. Should we take that risk, I suggest not.

  80. 99 Mckyntosh-Ghana
    July 13, 2009 at 19:40

    This war on terrorism mainly by the UK and UK has lost its merit long ago. They have been fighting the same people or forces over eight years and achieving nothing.
    Those who want to fight terrorism should stay in their countries and protect its borders rather than invading supposed ‘den’ for terrorist which always ends up affecting innocent women and children.
    Presidents Bush and Blair in their bid to display self confidence, has ended up killing innocent youth thus affecting innocent families.
    The young soldiers whose pictures i’m seeing did not join the army to lost their lives as young as these in this ‘let’s show the world we are the greatest’ war where victory is nowhere in sight.

  81. 100 Alec
    July 13, 2009 at 23:41

    Another campaign of aggression orchestrated by those leaders of ours (who only love themselves) against our desperately poor, uneducated fellow human beings. How can it be dressed up as some kind of act of righteousness!
    It seemed, for a moment, as though Obama was bringing a fresh new hope to the world – but we were too optimistic …

  82. 101 Dennis Junior
    July 14, 2009 at 00:11

    NO…The world is not safer with the ongoing fight in Afghanistan!
    ~Dennis Junior~

  83. July 14, 2009 at 00:56

    The major problem that I personally see with this war (similarly with Iraq, perhaps) is that the term “victory” has yet to be defined. What exactly is the US/UK aim in this war? How is “victory” defined, not only tactically, but also politically? Are we fighting “terrorism”? Fair enough, but what exactly is ‘terrorism”? One would have to be able to define it before trying to win a “war on terrorism”. If the (futile) history of war shows us one thing, it is that pointless wars begin with pointless or ill-defined objectives. Afghanistan is a good case in point. Ian Allen at intelnews.org.

  84. 103 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 14, 2009 at 02:07

    Afghanistan is a sovereign nation invaded by foreigners and therefore the taliban WILL NOT STOP their attacks on the infidels who have invaded. The US, Uk and their allies are a pestilence released upon Afghanistan.

    Any government that has the support of the West during this war is a proxy of the West to impose US and UK imperialism and dominance on Afghanistan.

    Every Afghan and taliban that is killed by the West in this war empowers the next generation of fighters to arise and protect their land and family. The people don’t like the taliban but they despise the West even more.

  85. 104 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 14, 2009 at 03:06

    Interestingly the operation in Afghanistan is driving Afghans who travel to the UK illegally. Among these illegal migrants the taliban and Al Qeada will have moles waiting for activation when they enter the UK. http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/112207/Paris-park-where-migrants-plan-new-life-in-UK

    1. Instead of spending billions on the war on terror in these far-flung regions the West should focus on strengthening its borders and its screening of foreigners.

    2. They should also focus on mending the fence with moderate muslims thus marginalising the reach of the fundamentalists.

    3. Focus on helping Pakistan bolster its army and police which they are doing. In addition give technical and financial support to Pakistan to help them develop basic infrastructure and buttressing of the judicial system because the taliban does well in regions with poor infrastucture, weak institutions and inept judicial systems.

    4. Give tacit support to Pakisatan to nationalise and streamline the education system. A prime objective will be to modernise and have a say in the running of the Madrasas which are islamic schools. Some of these schools brainwash and prepare a new generation of taliban and Al Qaeda fighters.

    • 105 Tom K in Mpls
      July 14, 2009 at 20:21

      Deryck, on your points. 1: There is nothing close to being effective here for quite a while. This is due to the volume of legal traffic and enormous borders to big to possibly be made secure. A national ID system would help this and many other issues as well, but a huge number of people fear an Orwellian hell.

      2: Definitely.

      3: Agreed, but it needs to be based on the governmental style of their choice. No matter what the name on it is. It will require a long military presence for development.

      4: This is a part of #3, “develop basic infrastructure”.

      Also since the Taliban freely cross the border, do it in Afghanistan too.

  86. 106 T
    July 14, 2009 at 03:07

    Afghanistan is turning to into Vietnam again for both the States and the U.K. And the ONLY way it’s going to stop is for millions to protest every day. And get arrested and not back down. It worked to stop the Vietnam War. So why can’t it work again? And, why aren’t people willing to take that step?

    • 107 Tom K in Mpls
      July 14, 2009 at 20:34

      Not true at all IMO. In Vietnam, near the end Nixon was no longer worried about reelection and started bombing in the north. The north was crumbling and the Tet offensive crippled fighters in the south. Then Watergate occurred and the Democrats attacked in every way they could. So we pulled out for domestic political reasons when we were on the verge of winning. And keep in mind, I was always opposed to that war, but these are the facts.

      Unlike in Vietnam we know what we face. Also, the Taliban has no support from a world power nation. In this war we don’t face a standing army or industrial complex. It is hard to tell friend from foe and they are at least as determined. Protests in other parts of the world will have no effect on them. And documented efforts by them to attack abroad will keep the war alive.

  87. July 14, 2009 at 07:30

    Is the world safer? Safer from? Ummm? Are we not safe enough? Come’on, there will always be danger in life, there is no guarantee from anything. It’s all politics and power plays. I personally think human beings are totally nuts and create more trouble they they solve on this planet.

    • 109 Tom K in Mpls
      July 14, 2009 at 20:38

      LOL, if you read my posts, can you believe I agree with you! But when people want to spend my tax money, miss the points and ignore the facts, I have to speak up.

  88. July 14, 2009 at 09:34

    NATO must never get out of afghanistan if in particular they havent surveyed afghanistans border to see if its neighbours have taken chunks from it and thus wishing the conflict continued so that they would never be exposed….i doubt afghanistans neighbours than NATO.

    tambua village(TV),

  89. 111 Roberto
    July 14, 2009 at 10:54

    RE “” British Government continues to insist that the war is just, and is even making Britain a safer place. “”

    ————– War may have started off just, but The Mission Accomplished President quickly went off the rails and squandered national treasuries and decades of hard fought moral authority as he persuaded your PM Blair to drink the koolaide in a most unfortunate binge.

    Now that the western powers are poised at the edge of bankruptcy with armies ground down to the nub, the Islamic fundies who don’t need fancy watches to mark time are back on the move in these regions as if they never left.

    The west cannot withdraw from the current mess behind, so we will be stuck there for decades until a better system of governance develops that protects and enables the potential of the Afghan people.

    That won’t ever happen until the US and UK admit their military strategies have been atrocious and do major housecleaning within. They need innovators to come up with a pared down effective plan that can stay in the fight for the long term.

    As long as the Taliban and Al Qaeda can finance their operations with poppy production, it’s a losing proposition for the west to launch expensive shock and awe technology at an inexhaustable supply of terrorists.

  90. July 14, 2009 at 11:02

    The fight that the Western soldiers launched against the Islamic infidels is prooving to be costly and appears to be mirage.The partial fight the the West that the putting up aginst the Taliban continues to be elusive as it began because the interiors of Afghanistan are known to Taliban only.Secondly the continuous supply of arms and ammunition that they receive is still a mystery.In the light of these it is not possible to root out the talibanisation of Affghanistan.And whether the country can be returned to its glory is doubtful.

  91. 113 John Alexander WEIR
    July 14, 2009 at 13:58


    the only way to make the world a safer place from acts of terror is not to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan or the Sunni Insurgents in Iraq it is to address the source of most of the anger of the Muslim and Arab World namely the plight of Palestinian refugees and ensure the removal of Israel from the occupied territories.

    Then the primary source of all anger will be gone and the international community can be happy that they have helped resolve the main cause of terror in the world.

    Kind regards,

    • 114 Tom K in Mpls
      July 14, 2009 at 20:47

      So, you want to eliminate the Jewish Fundamentalists and leave the Muslim Fundamentalists? I hate to tell you this (ok, a small lie), but as long as Fundamentalists ( religious hard liners) exist, there will be war. They believe they are gods chosen and will eventually kill to spread gods will/word. Or maybe you believe that either side would back down and allow anyone to change the Palestinian situation? Ain’t gonna happen.

  92. 115 Patrick
    July 14, 2009 at 14:33

    I have read in several comments stating that the Taliban was created in order to fight the Soviets. This is a common misconception. The Taliban was formed by Afghans in response to the internecine fighting that occurred AFTER the Soviet withdrawal. Similarly, the US never gave support to Al-Qaeda. The support effort was centered on the indigenous Afghan resistance, some of whom were/are admittedly of an Islamist bent. Please people, before forming opinion at least get the basic facts correct.

  93. 116 James Turner
    July 14, 2009 at 15:54

    I like this comment best,

    “VictorK July 13, 2009 at 11:31
    A pointless conflict, maintained solely to spare politicians the embarrassment of admitting their blunder in getting us into it”.

    but I belive there are lots of other so called reasons.
    The whole thing is based on lies, and miss-directions, what ever you call it the bottem line is it is wrong and a serious mistake!

  94. July 14, 2009 at 17:02

    Having read all the comments so far I feel that Krish, July 14 @ 1012, especially his second paragraph says it all really. Fundamental Islam believes in direct laws from their God. And if that is so then, there can be no further argument,no discussion,no questions,no why or wherefore and no ifs and butts. If God said it then that is that. Christianity had the same problem in european middle ages, if it was not done by God or for God then,it just was not done. Fotunately for us we had our moderates. There must be millions of moderate Islamists who are not being heard? Perhaps they, the fundamentalists,will eventually come out of their middle ages too. I think the war in Afghanistan should continue,if only to save the worlds sanity and allow people to think for themselves.

  95. 118 Dilli Sharma,raniban,ktm,Nepal
    July 14, 2009 at 17:13

    i think the war in Afghanistan has turned the world a horrible place to live in.Until and unless USA AND UK and other so called coalition forces stop bullying Afghanistan and any other Muslim nations for that matter,none in this world is going to have a peace of mind. The longer the so called coalition forces remain there the more unsafe the world will be.if America and western nations want this world to be worth living then they must immediately withdraw their troops and learn to respect other nations and stop playing a ‘hero’, Time has come that maximum damage can be caused with minimum means!They{USA,UK and western nations)are not the people who have any mandate to decide what Afghan people want or who should rule Iraq or what sort of government should be formed in Iran.its better they enjoy their excessive wealth and be content!

  96. July 14, 2009 at 18:28

    hi, I’m from Vietnam. Nice to visit your blog

  97. 120 mike
    July 14, 2009 at 18:49

    the war in afghanistan is not making the world safer. the war is being waged for reasons that the normal human being will never know. even some of the politicians who send their young men and women into that battle don’t know the true reason behind it. NATO and its allies are marching around the world, destroying lives, homes and cultures. NATO is terrorising the rest of humanity. But every good thing shall come to an end. NATO is teaching the rest of the world to look out for itself, and one day NATO will not be so strong and the lessons it had taught will come back to haunt it. It may not be in our lifetime, maybe not even in our grandchildren’s lifetime but the time will come and the children of the warmongers of today will pay the price for their father’s deeds. And this is not a prophecy. Just plain, common wisdom which NATO is too muscular to possess

  98. 121 Ruth Brown
    July 15, 2009 at 12:30

    We absolutely MUST keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Pakistan has them, but I haven’t heard that Afghanistan does. What Afghanistan does have is a flourishing drug/opium trade, which I believe both Al Qaeda and the Taliban use to finance their terrorist missions. For these reasons and more, America needs to continue the fight in any country that has become a particularly fertile breeding ground for groups bent on the destruction of Israel and America.

  99. 122 viola
    July 15, 2009 at 19:22

    If the taleban and al-queda are defeated, it will discourage those kinds of insurgencies, insurrections, terrrorism, and power grabbing (whatever you want to call it). It won’t totally prevent others from doing the same thing, but it will prevent these particular ones from carrying out their plans.

    The taleban and al-queda in Pakistan and Afghanistan are caught between the twin hammers of NATO in Afghanistan and the Pakistani army in Pakistan. It would be folly to withdraw from the fight right at the point that Pakistan and its people understand the threat the taleban and al-queda are to them. It would also be a betrayal of Pakistan.

    War is bad and a better way must be found. But maybe, until it is found, war is better than the alternative. Here’s a thought: If eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, could we also say that eternal war is the price of safety? Can anyone honestly say that others’ safety is as important to them as their’s and their family’s and friends’ safety? Until everyone in the world understands that, actually, it is, there will be wars.

  100. July 16, 2009 at 08:39

    In the matter of fact,
    a seprate place, under an agreement,namely swat was given to them
    for imposition islam,
    but they failed, why?

    It is an admitted reality that they (Talban) know nothing about islam,
    they are criminal assembled in the lawless trible area coming from different parts of Pakistan.

    Islam does not permitt of killing innocent people, including women and childern by blasting bombs on the public palce.

    Every one in Pakistan is happy on the decison taken by president of the country to root out insurgency from its bottom.
    It is right decison ,being supported by not only common people but whole world also..

    After successfull millitary opration in the stronghold of terrorists, the situation would effect Afghanistan and in this way terrorism to face its death.

  101. 124 AHAMD SHAH
    July 16, 2009 at 09:33

    I think UK was not fighting against terrorism in Helmand and even was supporting Taliban in the region, UK is against US’s policies in the world and he uses Afghan people.
    Neither I agree with Taliban nor with West,I say that west especially US and UK interfered to our interior affairs in the past and caused millions people dying or migrating to other countries, and now want to continue war in our country and again UK supports terrorist Talibs (by Pakistani religious schools).
    I (we Afghan people) hate Taliban and hate fake west policies in our country.
    Eng.Ahmad Shah—Kabul Afghanistan

  102. July 16, 2009 at 10:42

    justice and crusade against evildeeds are essential part of islam,
    islam diagree with hate,unjustice sin and crimes.

    So called Talban are deprived of that things,as above-mentioned,

    They targeted a nice islamic cleric in Lahore who declared their activities unislamic,
    he was killed by suicider it is bare voilation of fundamental principle of tolrance.

    As have seen, suicider is always a boy of tender age, he is seen paradize by preaching and prepared for commission of suicide attacke, notewithstanding the fact that suicide in islam is great sin and crime in the law of the land as well..

    Jihad must be gainst the social evil or evildeeds but they floge a young woman in public because she can not go to bazar with her father in law.

    Without providing alternative, they destroy businessof others describing them unislamic.

    Guest is respectable in islam,but as we seen what happened with Srilankan cricket team

    So it is essential for us to admitt that they are knowledgeless about islam, what is doing security forces is admireable, same action must be taken aginst them in Afghanistan.

  103. 126 Mohammad Shafiqul Islam
    July 20, 2009 at 13:12

    Islam is an arabic word meaning peace.So the real followers of Islam can not do anything leading to unrest in the world. What the Talibans are doing we can not support it blindly at the sametime soldiers from developed countrys frequently exceeding the limit. The net result is loss of human lives.It is better to leave Afghanistan and let Pakistan and Russia to solve the problem.

  104. 127 Elias
    August 5, 2009 at 17:32

    This war is like using a cane to kill a lion. All wars are only winnable if it is fought in an all out fashion, to have American, British, Pakistani and other countries troops in different pockets of Afganistan fighting in different areas is to have limited progress in those areas with soldiers dieing for little purpose. Good men who are far away from their homes and their love ones are dieing for no good reason. Either all the forces combine in an organised way with all the best military equiptment and accept its an all out war, like World war 2, blanket bomb areas where the enemy are hiding which would unfortunately cause civillian casualties, as has been done in World 2, and use the ground forces to go in and mop up the enemy where ever they are, this kind of war is not winnable.
    There can be no justification to have good men dyeing for a lost cause.
    The Pakistani army should and must be able to eliminate the enemy within its borders and should get assistance in military hardware.
    Wars are fought by united countries whose military forces are not limited by borders. An all out war means its all out to the bitter end for better or worse, there is no other way, otherwise its a waste of good soldiers lives for no purpose at all.

  105. January 29, 2010 at 06:10

    i so cools thanks for best article forme

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