On air: Those who’ve lost the most in Afghanistan



The players in Afghanistan politics are setting about giving Hamid Karzai their opinion on how to make his second-term more stable and less corrupt than the first. But we’re going to leave the politicians to one side today, and talk to people who’ve suffered the unimaginable upset of losing a loved one in this conflict.

We’re inviting American, British and Canadian families, relatives of Afghan civilians killed by NATO, US or Taliban attacks, and, if it’s possible, families whose relatives have died fighting for the Taliban.

We’d like to hear what they want Hamid Karzai to do now, and if they feel their loved ones died in a conflict that’s worth fighting.

We’ll update the page as we know who’s taking part. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Here is a list of our guests.

Carol from the UK  lost her son who was a soldier in Afghanistan. 

Fawzia in Afghanistan says that she has experienced 30 years of death.  She has lost her father, 4 brothers and husband.  Now she is a MP for an independent party in Afghanistan.

Ruth lost her son on the very first night of major military operations in Afghanistan.

Mark, who was on the programme yesterday, was a former solider in Afghanistan and has seen his comrades die.

Naila is from Afghanistan but is now living in London.  She will tell us stories of friends who she knows back home and their experience of loss. 

What questions would you like to ask them?

47 Responses to “On air: Those who’ve lost the most in Afghanistan”

  1. 1 Ronald Almeida
    November 3, 2009 at 14:41

    The common people are always the one’s who lose the most for no fault of their own. I am sure their attitude at large will be,’ Leave us alone to get along with our lives in peace, we don’t need any of you power hungry vultures and hyenas, you are all the same!’.

    • 2 Najibullah Noorzai
      November 4, 2009 at 06:10

      I would like to tell everyone of you that the situation in Afghanistan and in the whole region where war is going on is the result of Surviving as Unipolar and Powerful Country of the World. I agree with a number of people here commenting very promptly that America or the West made (Monsters) and now these Monsters are becoming their own enemies.

      The World Situation will remain the same as it is and even will get worsen as the perceptions of the Westners are for ( Evils) not for Sympathy or Humanity.

      Human Right Covenants are being drafted not for promoting Fundamental Human Rights but in reality it is being drafted for Voliations of Innocent Humans such as Afghans,Iraqs,Palestinians etc..

  2. 3 nora
    November 3, 2009 at 15:32

    What would the dead say if they could speak to us? Have the lost loved ones left their impressions on their survivors on how to end the conflict ? Did they leave a message in a bottle with their friends and families? What would they tell us if they were here?

  3. 4 Bob in Queensland
    November 3, 2009 at 15:41

    Losing a loved one in a war must always be unimaginably difficult–but it must be harder still when the reasons for the war are becoming blurred and uncertain.

    • 5 Maxine
      November 4, 2009 at 06:27

      Good luck to Fawzia. After 30 years of death as she puts it, could she please explain to us non-muslim people why you kill each other? with bombs in shopping markets for instance . WHY? I am sure that her job in Afghanistan as an MP puts her life at risk. Does she have body guards? It would help us to understand her situation more if we could understand the motive behind all the killing of women and children.

  4. November 3, 2009 at 15:44

    Hamid Karzai has a lot on his shoulders. Keeping the militants at bay and trying to ensure that Afghans can lead normal lives again is an extremely difficult balancing act;.His own position is very shaky as fingers are being pointed at him for ‘stealing the elections’.By all accounts normal Afghans have led harrowing lives, traumatized by war and suffering. Children have lost out in terms of their education while their future careers are in jeopardy. Perhaps the United Nations should send trained teachers to help rebuild the educational system.The future is at stake here!

  5. 7 Faysal
    November 3, 2009 at 15:54

    @ Ronald
    Good point..An other proof of the big lie of democracy …Palestine..Somalia..Iraq.. Afghanistan..Pakistan…peoples must be left alone…alone…Let them decide there future..if so,the interest of the West will be safe..I’m an Arab Muslim..I’ve never thought about killing myself one day..But know,i DO know why people are sacrificing themselves..The only WINNER is the drugs and weapons traders..

  6. 8 Robert Evans
    November 3, 2009 at 15:58

    I think I have an old school buddy out in Afghanistan and if he is then I know he will be doing his best as that is what he said when I last seen him some five years ago. Come home safe mate I will get you a pint

  7. 9 JanB
    November 3, 2009 at 16:39

    “Perhaps the United Nations should send trained teachers to help rebuild the educational system.The future is at stake here!”

    Yeah, because no one is doing that already… all those foreign teachers and aid-workers that got abducted, all those new schools the Taliban blew up, all lies, damned lies I tell you!

    The UN and NATO have already invested incredible amounts, but it will all have been in vain if the Taliban aren’t exterminated soon and/or if the current Taliban-light keep “governing” the country.

    Maybe the Pashtun should start doing something to improve the country instead of sympathizing with the murderous Taliban and at the same time criticize every move NATO makes, stop calling us “materialist” when you’re the ones willing to look the other way when the Taliban murder your own brothers, as long as the Taliban promise you a few acres of land, or a handful of dollars.

    And if it’s really true that civilian casualties breed opposition then why haven’t the Taliban been destroyed by militas by now (the Taliban kill more civilians than NATO and they do it on purpose, so clearly their should be a popular uprising against them, but there isn’t, why is that?)

  8. 10 sheetalparmar
    November 3, 2009 at 17:02

    Hi, Sheetal here. We’ll be speaking to Carol Brackpool, mother of Private John Brackpool who was killed in Afghanistan in July this year. He was 27, killed a couple of days before his birthday.

  9. November 3, 2009 at 17:14

    Those who have lost the most in Afghanistan are long gone. They are the people who walked the land 5 to 10 generations ago. The people who have seen invaders come in to their lands and force them to change their way of life. They are the people who have seen their moral codes and religion hijacked by extremist who use propaganda and fear to corrupt and change that which had defended them as a people. If the idea of life is to propagate and facilitate your beliefs and value systems thought the generations, then they would be very disappointed at their lineage now. These people have lost much more then their lives, and suffered much more then the pain of torture. Much of that change came not by their choice, but by those who claim to have come to help them.

    November 3, 2009 at 17:58

    @ Families who have lost their loved ones,
    My fingers are unsteady as I type this to the families of the fallen; soldiers and civilians in all age brackets wherever there have been or there is conflicts. It is not easy for me to address you who I believe to be true believers in foundation and sustainance of the society of mankind. To bring up children and teach them values of sucrifice to defend human rights goes beyond all forms of rhetoric. To make working families that continue to feed nations with human souls for the purpose of renewal of the world society and prop its well being. Stand tall and walk with pride because you have paid the highest price for genuine patriotism. You have paid the highest bidding most of us including the rich cannot afford; you have paid with costly human blood which cannot be lost in vain.

  11. 13 Peter-singapore
    November 3, 2009 at 18:11

    After 9/11 NATO should have used diplomacy and garnering support to force the muslim world to check the activities of Al Qaeda and arrest all activist. Enough to hurt them. But the penchant for ‘ kicking asses’ has landed NATO esp. USA kicked their own.

  12. 14 Sheel,15,Kuwait
    November 3, 2009 at 18:21

    It must be unimaginably hard for those families to cope with after losing a loved one in a war which has no end. But, Those lost loved ones arent dead, they are still alive in the minds and hearts of those people who knows that they are ones who will spread the notion of freedom and termination of wars all around the world. In short, those lost lives of a common man or a solider have died completing a sacred mission. And that mission is to safguard one’s nation from all vices and invaders. Their mission is driven by self determination, The spirit of partriosm runs through their veins. Ther arent afraid of death, they are aware that their deaths arent futile and will kindle the fire of partriosim of their brethen Afghans and soliders, their families are rather proud than dismayed, and thier act is considered heoric by them.

    I have deep symphaties and condolences for those affected families, and I sincerly hope they are getting along now.

  13. 15 Sheel,15,Kuwait
    November 3, 2009 at 18:29

    My personal questions to those affected familes is that “Are the distant wishes of those soliders who have lost their lives in a battle can ever be fulfilled?”

    And my second troubling question is that “What is main driving force in the soliders which motivates them to fight fearlessly in a battle? Is is money fame or just simply doing your job?”

  14. 16 Shannon in Ohio
    November 3, 2009 at 18:38

    My hearts goes out to all of the guests who have suffered unimaginable, heart-wrenching loss.

    1.) I would like to ask those westerners who lost friends/family who were deployed to Afghanistan if the trauma of the loss changed their feelings about the people over there. If so, how?

    2.) For those Afghans who have lost friends/family: did it change the way you felt about westerners and the west in general? If so, how?

  15. 17 Jessica in NYC
    November 3, 2009 at 18:44

    As I posted in the cost of war blog post:

    Freedom is one of the most cherished values in a democracy and there is honor in losing your life fighting for it, however, sometimes our leaders sense of democracy is misguided and our soldiers pay the highest price. That is a difficult loss of life to accept. I’d like to see the Afghanistan people fight for the government they want, so my countrymen and women can come home.

    • November 3, 2009 at 19:28


      The problem is that like many other places in the world, Afghanistan has lost its identity. The people no longer collectively know what kind of government they want. Who do they turn their efforts on. The inhumane oppressors whose physical and ideological sense has more in common with their own, or on the western “liberators” who look nothing like them, don’t understand their heritage, and have their own agenda. It seems the choices are to be enslaved by oppressive violent leaders. Or they can support the west, become proud associates of Wal-mart, and be shackled into becoming something they don’t believe in. The people you are asking to fight, you are asking them to fight their family members. To do what, become more like us.

      On a side note. This war should have never taken place. It should have been handle a lot more efficiently. A small strike force enters the hideout/ camp where Bin Ladden was hiding. They take out every moving target, and leave. The US Government should have denied any involvement and the message would have been made clear. The US would not have escalated its profile. Concentration on more important issues would have been focused. But, no. Too many big ego’s wanted to be able to show they were “doing something”, take credit, and oh yeah make a bunch of money off of the fruitless turmoil. They were all too afraid they would get accused of doing nothing. Politicians can be soldiers too. Some of them might have to sacrifice their cushy careers and be viewed as” not doing anything.” Very few of them have an ounce of the courage of the deployed soldiers do. For their misgivings so many people had to, and continue to suffer.

      • 19 Jessica in NYC
        November 3, 2009 at 20:08


        I do not think Afghanistan’s people should fight for the kind of government the United States wants them to have, but for the one this wish to live in. I do not look at our involvement there through the rosy colored glasses of spreading democracy. I fear that in discussing the rhetoric of war and democracy, we do not picture the faces of the soldiers who are undertaking the mission and the civilian causalities.

        On a personal note, sometimes, standing with people who look less like you, but share what you value is more important and worth the risk. Case in point, today’s election day here in the US. Should I vote with the group I am lumped with as being “my” people for a misguided solidarity or with the people who don’t look or were raised the way I was, but represents the things that are important to me? It’s not an easy choice, but is a fundamental one.

      November 3, 2009 at 19:51

      BANG ON!

      November 3, 2009 at 19:53

      That BANG ON! was for you Jessica. Not sure why it put it under the other posting.

    • November 3, 2009 at 22:16


      I understand what you are saying. What I am saying is that you are asking the seemingly impossible. Kind of like how you would feel if you felt that a candidate on the independent ticket would be the best leader of the US. Everybody feels that the other two evils are so great that the vote for the independent would count for nothing if cast. It may even be possible that there are enough people who believe the independent candidate is the best to get him elected. But to get those people over their fears and actually vote is a whole new mountain.

      The Afghan people whose hearts are truly pure with intent to have a fair and just government are simple people. Like US voters at election time. They believe they are just being forced to pick between two evils.

      Let say i am one of these afghan citizens. I can’t vote for a decent leader. The elections have proven fraudulent. If I pick up a gun, these two powerful sides are going to immediately take notice and wonder whose side I am on. I can’t say Neither. I would have two enemies. So how do these people take their government back? They have spent so many years watching as one monster took the place of another. Who is going to lead these people who just want a simple life back?

  16. 23 John LaGrua/New York
    November 3, 2009 at 19:13

    Clearly,those family members who have lost sons in a futile effort to change the immutable .The folly and egoism of political leaders sacrifices the trusting and unwary in a vainglorius misadventure,Volunteer armies have become preatorian guards squandered at will by leaders who give little or thought to the human misery their ineptitude causes.The people have lost control of their governments ,particularly,in the US and UK..Reinstituting compulsory military service would restore control to the citizenry and end this mindless adventurism

  17. 24 seaAdamwestiii
    November 3, 2009 at 19:14

    I would ask him if he believed he could have a better country without the US? If he responded in the affirmative, I’d insist on US getting out of the country and turn the reigns over to him and his people. L. Joya a young female assembly woman has commented on numerous occassions it is worse today with occupying force. The women are being oppressed. She was even in Washington DC speaking with members of Congress. I have more trust in her than anyone else.

  18. 25 Abdul Baseer from India
    November 3, 2009 at 19:16

    This is just me thinking. When I see English speaking / non resident Afghans telling about what is happening in Afghanistan I don’t seem to trust them much. They are the minority I am sure and BBC should bring in more of people from Afghanistan and use translators to get the ground realities. Afghanistan is not just cities(kabul etc) it has lots of tribals/villages etc.

    Having said that kudos to BBC for this show, the topics and efforts.

  19. 26 Parag Deb
    November 3, 2009 at 19:25

    HI, this is Parag from Bangalore ( India)

    It is sad that lots of lives are lost in Afghanistan. It is not only the soldiers who lost life but also number of civilian workers from countries like India who were engaged in public works for the welfare of Afghanistan.

  20. 27 EchoRose in Florida
    November 3, 2009 at 19:30

    This is SO very heartbreaking…THANK YOU to all the Soldiers, LOVE to all the Families who have lost their loved-ones and to all the freedom-peace-seeking Afghanistani people who have lost loved ones too.


    November 3, 2009 at 19:31

    This Soldier from Oregon has the right attitude and one I am not sure reflects the American military, unfortunately I think too many of them think there going over there to kick some butt of them damn iraq-Astanies based on the rhetoric from the Bush administration at the time.

    I think we needed more professional soldiers, and stop sending the National Guard to fight in these conflicts. Any of these guys I have known are weekend warrior gun nuts!

  22. 29 Rachael from Oregon
    November 3, 2009 at 19:42

    It seems to me that the US, and allies, have misunderstood the social structure of this region, and have thus committed major ‘faux pas’ socially in this area which, at times, have made our intentions with military presence misunderstood.
    Additionally, promises of aid need to be followed through with, as Afghanistanies seem skeptical of US promises after they were not fulfilled in the earlier military actions in Afghanistan against the USSR.

    I do believe this conflict is worth engaging in, as the overwhelming message I have received about what Afghanistanies think regarding the military action is positive, as they too want a peaceful life where their children have an opportunitie at education, and choices regarding how they live their lives.

    A great book that can help people gain understanding of the complexities in the various tribes and ethnic groups in Afghanistan (and Pakistan) is Three Cups of Tea. Another book specifically about Afghanistan is The Place in Between. I highly recomend these books to people who care to learn more about this complex, anciant and majestic region of the world.

  23. 30 Tom D Ford
    November 3, 2009 at 19:52

    That American woman blames “the”media” for not keeping attention on the Afghan war but in reality it was Bush/Cheney who just sent a token number of soldiers to Afghanistan and then directed attention away and to Iraq.

    The media just reports what happens, they don’t run things, so you just cannot blame the media for what the Criminally Incompetent Bush/Cheney group did or did not do.

  24. 31 Tsubaki
    November 3, 2009 at 19:53

    Your loss is unimaginable. I’m so sorry.

    Has their death made you more active about the war, made you dislike it, or work more for it?

  25. 32 Tom D Ford
    November 3, 2009 at 19:59

    This is the reason that Mark Twain wrote the essay “The War Prayer”.

  26. 33 Derek in California
    November 3, 2009 at 20:03

    I’m so sorry for everyone’s losses, but I feel this program is disproportionately focusing on American and British troop loss. I believe Naila is adding a perspective of the massive loss to Afhanistan, but I find it so telling that the American and British perspective on the loss is to convince themselves that the troops are doing good ‘for the people,’ with no critical ambivalence about foreign policy. It’s a martyrdom that helps them sleep at night, but it does nothing to address the problem of the U.S.’ deadly mistakes.

    There is talk of being a part of the world, but it ends with a cry for support of our own troops? Being part of the world is holding ourselves accountable for our governement’s actions, which have cost the lives of thousands of innocent people, including our own sons and daughters. We cannot blindly ‘support our troops’ without making sure that those troops are justified in being there in the first place. And if we must be there now to try to make right, lets funnel resources into programs that strengthen the people, and not bolster corruption and increase anti-Western sentiment.

  27. 34 Peter-singapore
    November 3, 2009 at 20:11

    I see no end to the conflict but to negotiate with the Taliban . Disband the militia and arrest of Al Qaeda activist in return for NATO to pull out and conditional aid to rebuild the country. Ally with the leaders power brokers . Otherwise let the conflict carry on. Those who lost their love ones will have to come to terms with their misadventure. Otherwise more will be killed. Freedom loving afghans have to fight their own freedom like those those western colonies who won their battles by themselves.

  28. 35 Baris
    November 3, 2009 at 20:54

    America created a montster which is called Taliban to stop USSR and after that they lost to their control.

    Now many western countries sent their troops to stop Taliban. WHY? I really don’t understand why western countries politicians send their troops to Afganistan.They are not part of this problem.

    If someone have to stop Taliban, That must be America not western countries. Amreica have to clean up their mess and they have to take responsibility for their mistake .

    Nobody will remember the soldiers who lost their life in Afganistan except their wifes, childrens and relatives. They have to live with this pain… In my country, we really know this pain.We’ve learnt it the hard way

  29. 36 Crispo, Uganda
    November 3, 2009 at 21:24

    It’s always a heart wrecking thing to lose a loved one in war, whereas others have got theirs.

    To the families that lost friends, sons, fathers, daughters, mothers, et cetera, take heart and solace from the fact that they died saving the world, making it better, sacrificing for the good cause of humanity and above all to bring peace and unity to our world. For breeding such people of noble character, people who were and are just, I salute you all.

    We owe you people much more than thanks. No amount of or number of words is even sufficiet enough to aid us in paying our tribute to you, but remember, we do have you at heart.

  30. 37 patti in cape coral
    November 3, 2009 at 21:28

    A lot of my daughter’s friends are soldiers, and I couldn’t bear to listen to today’s show, maybe later when I work up the nerve. Even though I personally know people on the military side, I don’t wish to minimize the damage suffered by the Afghanis. I wish we could find pacifist solutions in the world, that is what I would call for if I could, but pacifism only works if everyone is a pacifist.

    My condolences to everyone who has lost loved ones in the ongoing violence.

  31. November 3, 2009 at 23:10

    All what I want to make the NATO forces to remember the Russian experience there. Have you studied the aims and results, Have you changed the believes or the ideas of those people? Are you able to make them feel safe? If you answered all these Questions I think it will equal, let Aghani who should defend and face their destiny and you should stop the shed of blood of innocent soldiers who are sent there to fight guests and unknown end waiting many of them there> I hope one day the story of Bin Laden will be folded with its bloody circumstances and let’s try anew blank era and give the sign of peace to glitter and try to confess one time we are wrong in this war.

  32. 39 Tan Boon Tee
    November 4, 2009 at 02:43

    Whither goes Afghanistan?

    A leader of rather dubious character, can Karzai keep his superficial promise of eradicating corruption?

    Who would want to trust him now, except those Washington administrators?

    Who cries for the many peace-loving and virtuous Afghans?

    Expect greater turmoil and more US troops in the nation.

  33. November 4, 2009 at 07:18

    Hi Ros,

    I feel that is a question for the people in Afghanistan as they are the ones who have suffered the most.

    The others are the UN tropps that include the British, Canadian, American and other tUn forces that are doing their bit to bring Peace to Afaghanstan.

    AS for Me I can only pray for the Afghan people to be delivered from these decades of war and terror.



  34. 41 scmehta
    November 4, 2009 at 08:07

    First of all, my condolences to all those aggrieved people, who have lost their loved ones in the Afghanistan-war against terrorism and extremism.
    I wish to ask them:
    Is it possible to get rid of this evil menace of terrorism/extremism without making a global effort?
    Can we win any war, nationally or globally, without being prepared to make some sacrifices?
    After all this progress, towards a prosperous and peaceful future for the world; Would we ever allow the barbaric and the mindless bloody-extremists to attack and terrorize our civilized way of life?

  35. November 4, 2009 at 08:26

    I think the people who have lost the most in Afganistan are the families of American and British soldiers who have continued to loose their loved ones for an unworthy cause. I have always maintained that this war is irrelevant and was a strategy of the Bush Administration to make American people live in fear. Fear is a very powerful weapon and if it is used well, the aims of the user are met without questions.

    • 43 Kevin PE
      November 4, 2009 at 11:31

      Mary I believe there is a lot more truth to your point than meets the eye. If we look back to the cold war, there was the Soviet menace with its deliberately over – exaggerated threat potential, coupled with a few trillion in profits for the weapons industry and a bucket full of nukes.
      Now we have the “global terrorist threat” to keep those profits turning. I really believe there is more underhanded skullduggery than a genuine desire to “help our fellow man” To these people the death of soldiers and civilians is just staff turn-over.

  36. 44 Terry Leche from Nigeria
    November 4, 2009 at 10:36

    I sympathise with those who have lost loved ones. I want Americans that know that their death is not in vain. We shall all live to see change in the nearest future.
    God bless their soul.

  37. November 4, 2009 at 11:05

    Those who could identify weapon traffickers are their clients, the customers among those are surely the Taliban themselves for sure.
    And what about drug trafficking being the source of finance for the purchase of weapons?

  38. November 4, 2009 at 12:14

    even those american troops in colombia must know that theirs is a war worth fighting.


  39. 47 baaroo
    November 4, 2009 at 15:18

    The West has its own agenda, Afghanistan and Iraq are of strategic importance to it. As long as there are situations like this, the human cost will be high, as it was since recorded history.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: