On air: Is it time to let Afghans sort out their own country?

Afghantroops#Five British soldiers have died in Afghanistan, shot in their own compound, after an Afghan policeman they had been training apparently turned on his mentors.

The policeman, who had been living with the soldiers as part of the training programme, reportedly opened fire, then fled. It has sent shockwaves through the military not only in Britain, but in all countries with troops there.

Training Afghan’s security forces is a key part of NATO’s strategy to eventually leave the country, but if trainers are being turned on by the people they are helping, should they stay? With all the questions about corruption, the legitimacy of the Afghan government, and a rising death toll of both civilians and soldiers, is it time to let Afghans sort out their own country?

Former British foreign office minister Kim Howells has called for the “great majority” of British troops to be withdrawn, saying the opportunity given to Afghans to tackle their problems had “largely been squandered”.

This commentator calls for “a whole new approach” focused much more on development.

But remember that last week at United Nations guest house was attacked in Kabul, killing twelve people. And aid workers have been attacked many times in the country

This article in the Daily Beast calls for America to get out. He quotes a resignation letter from a US marine turned diplomat who resigned from his post over his country’s policy there. As author Christopher Buckley says, the belief of Matthew P. Hoh is that “the U.S. is little more than a “supporting actor” in a long running tragedy of Afghanistan’s now 35-year-old civil war.”

Despite 8 years of intervention and billions of dollars in aid, both military and civilian, Afghanistan is still one of the poorest countries in the world. Corruption is still absolutely rife – do read this comment piece by the new deputy head of the High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption in Afghanistan if you have time – it give a fantastic insight into just how difficult a problem it is to tackle.

As historians have noted many times, Afghanistan is a country that has consistently defied every foreign occupying power that has ever tried to control or influence it. Is the current military and development mission no different? Is it time to accept that Afghanistan is just different – that no amount of money or intervention is ever going to profoundly change it?

92 Responses to “On air: Is it time to let Afghans sort out their own country?”

  1. 1 Mr Jones
    November 4, 2009 at 15:12

    Its about time the government realised, that our boys are getting killed in a useless war, they are fighting the same people that were trained and armed by the US to fight the Russians all them years ago.

    What benefits are there to a sustained war in afghanistan for the Uk, none, they say the reason is to quench the Taliban terrorists, but while we spend all that time and money and lives in afghanistan the terrorists are training and striking elsewhere.

    The Talibans in afghanistan are doing what any people would who are faced with a foreign force in their country, fight them, we should withdraw all our troops and leave the Afghans to themelves.

    This war will not stop terrorism, its about time that the western governments realised that terrorism is with us to stay and the only way to beaat it is to fight it in the same manner, small organised groups covertly operating where ever is required.

    Afghanistan has never been defeated in all out war, the Russians tried it and failed and so will we.

    LETS GET OUT NOW !!!!!!

    • November 5, 2009 at 00:41

      We never should have gone there in the first place. Our Men are getting killed and injured.. and for what reason.? Over the past decades these people have never stopped fighting as it seems to be their way of life, so we should leave them to it if they desire to have a gun,

    • November 6, 2009 at 11:44

      Mr Jones you have it exactly right, but we should ask this question more strongly, why are these donkeys still leading our young lions into suicidal missions that can never be solved by such antiquated methods.?

      It has been said many times previously that this is the way to protect our country from invasion by terrorists, but it has been tried many times before, and has been a complete disaster every time.

      Public opinion has been clearly demonstrated within this post that our teenage newly trained soldiers should be withdrawn immediately, and the remainder as soon as possible,

      This course of action would most probably lead to more successful methods being devised than those being used at present, including support from other countries, who are heading for exactly the same dangers in due course, but are sitting on the sidelines at the moment.

  2. November 4, 2009 at 15:45

    Yes.Interfering in Afganistan is not productive either to those who interfere or for Afganistan.Mess will become messier.

  3. 5 Chester
    November 4, 2009 at 16:06

    It is much cheaper to just bribe the the Taleban than fighting them. As long as there are Afghan women to bare the next generation of fighters, a common enemy and drugs the Taleban will continue fighting for centuries to.

    November 4, 2009 at 16:09

    yeah i think is high time the Afghan people come Together and discourse for peace to Raine in Afghan, the great British and US should help the government of Afghan to develop a strategies for peace to come before they can withdraw there troop thank you.

  5. November 4, 2009 at 16:23

    Worried at the ramifications if we stay in Afghanistan, my husband says “Get out” while I say “Stay” worried at the ramifications if we leave the “Roof Top of The World” to the Taliband (and al-Quaida). I think our family represents the stalemate of worries in all of the supporting nations. Perhaps “stalemate” is precisely what the Taliband hoped to create as their victory? I do not fault the Afghan people for hedging their bets as to who will win. They are as much a victim of internal terrorism as victims around the world are of external terrorism. When the seed of fear takes root, there is little fertile ground left on which one can nurture independent thought and action.

  6. 8 Gary Paudler
    November 4, 2009 at 16:26

    It’s time to define what success, even incremental success, would look like in Afghanistan. When we discuss allowing Afghans to fix their own mess, we really mean a few corrupt officials in Kabul and a bunch of war lords, including the Taliban, everywhere else. The Afghans who are suffering the worst are largely illiterate, absolutely ignorant of politics and living in abject poverty. We invaded, ostensibly, to rout the Taliban; what was the real reason? Virtually every conflict everywhere boils down to desire to control resources. We contemplate saying “We wrecked your country and killed a bunch of your countrymen but we’re outta here, good luck” and then continuing to meddle with Pakistan and India; the real currency in the region. Let’s admit, if it’s the case, that we don’t really care about women’s rights, education, stabile government, corruption or opium. We must be honest and clear about our motives and then devise the best way to achieve them.

    • November 4, 2009 at 22:50

      We never learn from history. British had to leave afghanistan once before. The came Russians anfd they met with the same fate. Then fools like Bush and Blair got us involved again at the cost billions of dollars/pounds and more importantly human lives both of our hero soldiers and Afghan civilians. That war is unwinnable because it cannot be fought in the air and we cannot afford to have our soldiers killed and for what.History has proved it time and again. Therefore sooner we leave the better for all.

  7. November 4, 2009 at 16:28

    As to the murder of five British troops by their Afghan trainee? As far as I am concerned, the Afghan soldier could well have been a Taliband plant to give the impression of citizen hostility and untrustworthy-ness toward NATO forces. Whether these murders were Taliband strategy or a lucky fluke for them, the effect now calls to question NATO’s new strategy… implying that Afghani hearts and minds cannot be won. Very clever. The Taliband does not need to defeat our troops, it only needs to defeat the confidence of our people… a thing the Taliband has already accomplished in Afghan society.

  8. 11 Elias
    November 4, 2009 at 16:30

    The time is way past overdue for Afghanistan and Pakistan to sort out their problems, nothing the foreign soldiers do will help to bring about peace in the region.
    It is downright diabolical that a policeman who is part of the force fighting the Teleban, shoot and kill 5 British soldiers who risk their lives far away from home, and subsequently dissapear afterwards.
    One way is to inform the civillians who live amongst the Teleban to leave the area for their own safety and then go all out by blanket bombing all areas where the Teleban inhabit, then send troops in an all out effort to clean up the areas. When the Telban find themselves isolated they will soon realise their cause is futile.

  9. 12 George Williams Bangirana
    November 4, 2009 at 16:45

    Did I read it right? A trainee turns on his trainers?
    What drives the international forces to stay around?
    What clearer signal do the foreigners want? Is it true that blood is thicker than water? Then Afghans are better fighting their own battles. Just isolate the country and work with the bordering states to ensure no spillages into other territories. If it means the Afghans annihilating themselves so be it.

    All foreigners should just get out. Alternatively let the Karzai government collapse, allow the Taliban to take over and then try bribing them to route out terrorrists.

  10. 13 nora
    November 4, 2009 at 16:48

    What is the responsibility of a major power that has intervened by first arming one side in a war, then years later fought a war on those they armed?

    The war on terror is like the war on drugs. Good for speeches, impossible to win. Terrorist tactics seems to go in and out of fashion like skirt lengths go up and down. Some of history’s greatest warmongers grow older and embrace peace, and we stand a better chance of that than beating terrorists by throwing money and lives at a moving target and fueling the fire.

  11. 14 Robert Macala
    November 4, 2009 at 16:54

    Read Thomas Friedman’s column in today’s New York times. It says it all. Foreign contractors are overrunning the country. It’s Iraq all over again.
    Again we are not trying to make this country independent, we are making it forever
    a vassal state of American global interests. American and British troops are
    canon fodder for these questionable interests. The sad thing is that
    the Western public is passive and oblivious to this travesty and injustice. The
    pain and suffering will go on, American and British blood will be spilled
    long into the future.Thank you….

  12. November 4, 2009 at 17:04

    Until you’ve lived in a community where armed soldiers patrol the streets you can’t understand the feelings of an occupation.

    These heavily armed and armored young men are in a strange place, don’t speak the language and don’t know the local customs. That doesn’t create security it creates fear.

    Since the Afghans think of all foreign troops as occupiers, a feeling that grows the farther one gets from the few cities– the deaths of foreign troops don’t matter to them. No one is upset that 5 UK soldiers were killed by a cop. He killed occupiers. He’s a hero to many and is now being sheltered somewhere in Kabul.

    It has become a guerrilla war where the presence of foreign troops aids the Taliban. Withdrawal from one of the world’s failed states isn’t going to matter too much to the rest of the world. Let the Afghans work out their future now. Keeping and adding troops strengthens the Taliban. Let’s get out while they are still manageable by the local population.

  13. 16 Tom in the USA
    November 4, 2009 at 17:16

    Is it time to let Afghans solve their own problems? Yes, it is. Our focus (the U.S. and its allies) should be scaled back to just fighting terrorists. We can’t be in the business of nation building. It’s too costly, and it doesn’t work.

  14. 17 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    November 4, 2009 at 17:26

    The USA and NATO went into Afgghanistan to try to prevent further terrorist attacks like the ones on 9/11. By now,it’s obvious that military intervention cannot succeed.

    It’s time to think outside the military box.

    • 18 Ronald Almeida
      November 4, 2009 at 22:13

      Very true! How can you stop an individual ready to die for his ideals with an Army?

    • 19 Tom K in Mpls
      November 5, 2009 at 20:41

      Most in the military agree. Most are supporting making it difficult for the Taliban to operate, not to focus on attacking them. Then the locals can develop enough to resist the Taliban. The trouble is, this could take decades.

  15. November 4, 2009 at 17:27

    I understood that the west were in Afghanistan to allow the Afghans to sort out their own country,with our help.Should we now abondon them to the Taliban?If so,perhaps we can say goodbye to Pakistan as well.History is littered with killings by friendly people,Mrs Gandhi,for instance.Should we bury our dead and go home?Or fight for a solution or a bitter end.The choice is ours.

  16. 21 NSC London
    November 4, 2009 at 17:28

    I feel bad for the Afghan people, they’ve endured about 150 years of western meddling in their affairs now. Still, these conflicts aren’t about “winning” – they are about conditioning the developed world to accept endless, UN/NATO style conflicts in preparation for a one-world government. The first test conflict was Vietnam. If the Afghans had simply let us use thier country for our energy interests they wouldn’t have become yet another test case.

  17. 22 Tom K in Mpls
    November 4, 2009 at 17:29

    It has always been up to the locals, and it always will be. There is so little active law and organization there that this is no surprise. That is why the corruption of Karzai is no big deal yet. He is better at controlling the mess at this time than anyone. Some of what we call corruption that he currently does is the most practical workaround for the nonexistent infrastructure.

    If we pull out, the most powerful armed group wishing to move in will be in power. That is the Taliban. The question then is not do we want to be there. The obvious answer is, no. The question is which is worse for us ( and the locals ), do we want to loose lives now in the slow ( very slow ) move to a stable nation, or is it better to let the Taliban have a secure base?

  18. 23 Tim Dean
    November 4, 2009 at 17:36

    Earlier, the under the heading of ‘Top UK Stories’ on the BBC news website, was a headline stating, ‘PM says Taliban shot UK soldiers’ which was corrected later to say, ‘Killings Taliban role ‘possible’.

    To which I say is typical and par for the course in this war.

  19. 24 Tim Dean
    November 4, 2009 at 17:43

    From the link above to the BBC story on ‘Labour MP urges Afghan withdrawal’, a paragraph states “But Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said the Afghan mission was “inextricably tied” to UK security.”

    No, its not… Its tied to a successful NATO misson and the future of the same entity.

  20. 25 Chedondo, Johannesburg
    November 4, 2009 at 17:48

    NATO had the chance to wipe out the Taliban early in the decade but instead they chose to follow a blind man into Iraq. Leaving now will hand over Afghanistan to the Taliban, with all the problems that pauses for teh security or even future of Pakistan. So NATO is damned if they leave and damned if they stay.

    Your seoldiers deserve better protection though, both in terms of the equipment they use and the rules under which they operate. The commanders must have known that the Taliban have infiltrated Afghan society and the armed services are no exception. They cannot afford to trust anyone.

  21. 26 Dennis@Tc3
    November 4, 2009 at 17:50


    I think it was a good time to leave Afghanistan and allowed the country to sort out it problems several years….

    =Dennis Junior=

  22. 27 Bert
    November 4, 2009 at 17:52

    At this stage, Afghanistan is definitely the place to get out of, for NATO forces. We have no interests there now. The intial mission was to root out the Al Qaeda camps and overhtow the Taliban, by working alongside the Afghan Northern Alliance. That mission ended, and mission creep created this new nation building losing proposition. Extending our stay only exacerbates the terrorism problem, seems to me.

    I surely don’t envy the reasonable Afghanis left behind, though. Their voices were simply not loud enough within their own country. Still, they must surely know, there is a limit to our willingness to sacrifice our own for a cause we have no stake in.

    In all of these Vietnam scenarios, I firmly believe that the minute we are seen as “occupiers” by the locals is the minute we should withdraw.

  23. 28 Waqar Toor
    November 4, 2009 at 17:57

    Unfortunately, There is no end to this war . Now the NATO can’t even trust the local police and army of Afghanistan.

  24. 29 viola
    November 4, 2009 at 18:03

    Even I, living far away from the country under discussion and trying to sift through the huge mass of information, propaganda, and reported events, know that the people who go to Afghanistan to assist that country knew the risk when they signed the contract to go. It is sad for those killed and for their loved ones and is terrible that the world is as it is, but it is not surprising.

    It’s not news that there are many elements in Afghanistan that hate the west, hate western values, hate occupiers and will do anything in their power to prevent the establishment of a strong, stable, reasonably secure and reasonably fair country that they will not be in control of, with all benefits flowing to them and their friends and everyone else expected to just suck it up and endure their misery.

  25. 30 James
    November 4, 2009 at 18:07

    It’s pass time……… There’s no shame in leaving Afghanistan. The history tells us other invaders have left. No one is laughing at them…..

  26. November 4, 2009 at 18:09

    Afghanistan can’t be allowed to have its own way as the Taliban are still affiliated to the Al Qaeda which is trying to impose its ways around the Muslim world and among Muslims in every part of the world.

    The West, in particular, has either to be “omnipresent” in Afghanistan to curb the power of the Taliban or to leave it and let the Taliban have more influence spreading beyond its borders.

    Another point is that the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan will be a propaganda victory for the Taliban, which will make them even intransigent in their dealing with the West. In short, the West can’t, for the sake of its strategic interest, turn a blind eye to a region that is the breeding ground of fundamentalism feared by non- Muslims and moderate Muslims.

    Afghanistan will remain a mine land where everyone has to be on guard in every step as there are always pockets of resistance dating to precolonial era through the current international interventions.

  27. November 4, 2009 at 18:11

    How tragic! The Americans, British and other NATO troops are putting their lives in extreme danger by helping Afghanistan rid the country of Taleban and al Qaeda militants. But it is imperative they do not leave Afghanistan in the lurch. This is an extremely nerve-wrecking time where cool heads should execute sensible strategies! Afghanistan is most certainly a quagmire but the Afghan police need to be trained and turn-coats should be weeded out.

  28. 33 patti in cape coral
    November 4, 2009 at 18:14

    My condolences go out to the families of these five soldiers who lost their lives in the ongoing violence. Is it time to let Afghans sort out their own country? I don’t know.

  29. 34 Peter-singapore
    November 4, 2009 at 18:15

    Americans and british never learn. Confounded by their ill conceived war , many down to earth people knew the impending outcome. The romance of ladies welcoming them with flowers is deeply entrenched in the psyche of hillbillies of remote states in USA ready to take up some hubris cause that worsen an unrepairable fault. Tighten your own borders . Osama might be staying in Britain. There are more terrorist in your own shores.

  30. November 4, 2009 at 18:19

    Putting all the blame on NATO nations is easy, but wrong. A leader must emerge from among the Afghan people to lead everyone toward a government for all the people. Does nobody in Afghanistan get that? Or is it that there are too many powerful and selfish leaders around who will eliminate principled opposition? I was in Afghanistan in the 60s and it was doing o.k. Then came the USSR. Then, in reaction to that tyranny, a home-grown tyranny. All were selfish people desiring power for themselves. The ideal of “Equality before the law” was nowhere to be seen. Where is there a Malcolm X for Afghanistan. They need someone with a heart of gold and a grip of steel.

  31. 36 Nigel
    November 4, 2009 at 18:26

    Its a myth to believe that al-Quaeda will be any real threat to the West once the Muslim lands are no longer under Western occupation and they have their internal tribal wars to fight. It is US Homeland security rules, as unpleasant as they may be, that has ensured this period of peace on the NA continent, not the war in Afghanistan or Iraq. That al-Queda will be a threat if the West pulls out is Bush residual neocon propaganda and hysteria. Get the troops out and leave the Afghans and Iraqis to come to their own level of peace whatever it may be. al-Quaeda getting their hands on Pakistani nuclear weapons?….another myth, created to keep Hillary important.

  32. 37 Margaret
    November 4, 2009 at 18:32

    Whilst I am deeply saddened by the report of a further 5 soldiers being killed in Afghanistan, I am also very angry that our soldiers are out there trying to help these people and all I seem to see on the tv are queues of young men at Calais trying to get into our country as well as thousands of others already here sheltering. If they loved their country why don’t they go back and fight for freedom ?. Perhaps then we could bring our chaps back and stop them being killed by these murderous people!

    • 38 Maxine
      November 5, 2009 at 07:49

      Agree with Margaret. Why do these Afghanistan people and Iraqi’s flee their country by the thousands to the freedom of the hated West? The Christian countries are their first choice? Why?. Is it because they know that they will be treated well with free medical benefits, free education, free housing plus spending money? When they are at our shores suddenly we are their friends. Why don’t they return to help their own country live a peaceful life. What joy it must be for their women to have dignity, be able to shop without being blown up, here in the Christian West.

      • November 6, 2009 at 00:17

        Good thinking! but perhaps not quite deep enough, the real reason may be that they are not fleeing at all, but are part of the invasion of the Western World.

        The first priority must be to control the Channel Tunnel properly and our soldiers are the only real defence we have to do that.

    November 4, 2009 at 18:41

    I am not surprised by this event nor do I feel that it is welcome. To Afghans, war and killing is a spot probably dating back to the rough an ready Mongol gangs lead by war lord Gengis Khan that maimed with abandon. It does not matter who you are Russians, Nato – name it.
    When the terror training camps were initially destroyed, that ought to have been the best chance for the political mandarins in Washington and London to call it quits. The genie would have been capped instead of the call for democracy that has incessantly failed to take root.
    Send more troops? What does that mean? Increased targets for the Taliban and while we are at it we are not yet sure whether this killer was a Taliban.
    Finally, Karzai and his henchmen were fighters or if you like – partisan forces before the western powers came in. From where did some educated naivettes get the guts to say that he will be a uniting figure?

  34. 42 Elina, Finland
    November 4, 2009 at 18:45

    “Is it time to let Afghans sort out their own country?”

    I don’t have an answer really, but I tend to believe that no war will bring peace or permanent change for good in Afghanistan. The more Afghan people suffer in this conflict, the more hatred and bitterness towards foreigners and the foreign troops it will bring about, and the circle of revenge will only go on. Thinking this, perhaps the wisest thing to do would be to let Afghans sort out their own country. On the other hand then, it’s also hard to predict all the consequences if the foreign troops would be withdrawn from there now. How could it be made sure that the conflict wouldn’t actually escalate and cause even more problems for the neighbouring countries and for the rest of the world?

  35. November 4, 2009 at 18:52

    Law and order will prevail in Afghanistan: Wrong!
    Karzai may be President but warlords, chieftains and Taliban will retain power.
    Karzai will not destroy poppy fields. Strict code of address will remain, Karzai or no Karzai. Afghans will be Afghans. Karzai understands that, we don’t.
    Some 47% of Afghan Police Force are addicts. Democracy is a western term designed for western civilization. It has no significance in Afghanistan, Iran or Pakistan.

  36. 44 rob z.
    November 4, 2009 at 19:02

    NATO,in it’s present form should pull back.Let the neighbouring nations try to settle the problem.
    Where is Suadi Arabia,Jordan and other middle-east countries help?They don’t want the Taliban or Al Qaeda in their country causing trouble,so where are their troops?
    The Taliban and Al Qaeda share Muslim roots,or so we are told in the West.So why can’t the Muslim nations take a clear stand against theese terrorist groups?
    The Taliban and Al Qaeda are a far more bigger threat to the stability of the region of the middle-east than Europe or USA.
    Rob in Florida

  37. 45 Bruce - Texas
    November 4, 2009 at 19:02

    I say there is only one good thing happening in Afghanistan right now and that is that the treatment of women has greatly improved. If we leave, it will go back to the way it was, or perhaps even worse. However, I’m unsure if us staying there will make things any better; from what I hear it is already getting worse for them.

  38. 46 Tara Ballance, Montreal Canada
    November 4, 2009 at 19:02

    Imagine for a moment that back in 1942 a French police officer being trained by members of the Gestapo had turned upon them and killed them. Today we would call him a hero of the Résistance. Context is everything.

    When I read media reports of military action, I am always amazed at how our soldiers seem to kill ONLY Taliban militants and NEVER civilians. We bomb a village, and everyone who died somehow turns out to be an enemy combatant.

    We in the West fail to realize that in Afghanistan WE are the invaders, the occupiers, the killers of innocent people. It’s this arrogance of being the “good guys” that blinds us to the true needs and wants of the Afghan people.

  39. 47 Richard
    November 4, 2009 at 19:12

    STEP 1: The ‘western’ forces should declare an immediate ceasefire, together with an amnesty.

    STEP 2: US and British troops should withdraw, replaced by UN troops.

    STEP 3: Call elections that allow Taliban and anyone else to stand.

    STEP 3: Allow new elected body to shape their own country, to include all elements of their population.

  40. 48 John in Salem
    November 4, 2009 at 19:25

    If the Afghanis want us to leave then by all means we should leave. We’re wasting our time there anyway – the idea that there is a “front line in the war on terror” somewhere has never been anything but rhetoric and we’re not going to prevent al-Qaeda from getting a nuke by spraying poppies.

  41. 49 Kat in Vancouver
    November 4, 2009 at 19:27

    The murder of the 5 British Soldiers highlights one of the fundamental problems between the Troops and the Afghans; trust. I am not certain that in the last 8 years the NATO mission has done a very good job of building trust among the sects in Afghanistan.

  42. November 4, 2009 at 19:28

    Yes,we hear all about the badness of Afghanistan,but never of the good that is happening!

  43. November 4, 2009 at 19:34

    It’s like that saying about holding a snake, you cannot let it go…you cannot keep on holding it.

    India and Pakistan needs to get involved in this. The insurgents attack in Afganisthan and then go across the border into Pakistan and only a force led by Pakistan can move into Pakistan.

    The world needs to get serious and make an actual goal of what it want in Afghanistan. What is happening now is going nowhere. Day to day ‘stabilization’ is just dragging on the war with no resolve insight. Involve the general Afgans in the process of what THEY want. It’s do or die now. Do something now or leave.

    Of course leaving now will make the situation a lot lot worse.

    November 4, 2009 at 19:36

    I have been very skeptical not on the desired outcome but on the strategy used to achieve stability in Afghanistan. By last week though, I thought there was a shred of hope that we had even though it was a dim one in using elections as a barometer. That was trashed and what we realized was going to happen is the current form of democracy that is popular at home in Washington and recommended abroad; loosers and winners trying to stear the boat together thereby undermining the voters. This only works in very few places and Afghanistan is not likly to be one of them. We have argued ourselves about it to no avail on this blog.
    I have wondered too whether President Obama knew exactly what was in the bag when he shouldered it from Bush even before the campaigns were over. To me, a new courses of action to steer peacefully away from this quagmire have continously been squandered at the behestof politics.

  45. 53 Kat in Vancouver
    November 4, 2009 at 19:37

    Also, the NATO member states are facing one of the world’s largest financial crisis and this might have an impact on the depth and breath of the Mission. How is it possible to commit to the continued financing of the Mission in Afghanistan?

  46. 54 Song in Singapore
    November 4, 2009 at 19:39

    I would say that since the international community has already gotten involved, the job Should not be left half done. It is, however, important to remember that democracy is not Something that suits all cultures. perhaps this should be considered before rushing in.

  47. 55 anthony
    November 4, 2009 at 19:40

    What the afgan nation cannot be completely rebuilt in a few years? Come on people this isn’t a microwave burrito, you dont hit the timer and wait for the ding.
    its funny paradox that Americans who cant even make their monthly credit card payments on time can comment on the time frame of nation rebuilding.

  48. 56 Gerald in USA
    November 4, 2009 at 19:41

    If we desired a humanitarian solution to the Afghan situation, we would indeed withdraw all forces except for training the police/military personnel. All monies would be spent on agriculture, infrastructure and education. BUT we would also destroy all poppy fields. This is “all in” economic warfare and would break all Taliban economic influence. Remove their economic influence, they are then just a cultural factor. They are not religious, they are hipocrites and blaspehemers.

  49. 57 paul8222
    November 4, 2009 at 19:42

    The arab police in Aden turned on the Northumberland Fusiliers more than 40yrs. ago with an even bigger casualty list; treachery had its part in previous British withdrawals from Afghanistan.

    This is nothing new,but the same question arises how long can we hold the ring & to what point?

    My sympathies are with the law student who is trying to do what NATO-ISAF should have been doing on a massive scale long since-“Hearts & Minds” Apart from that & training up the local police & army we must look at disengaging, if necessary paying “subsidies” as we did in 1919.

    Having looked at the constitution, I would suggest it needs overhauling so that it is less of an Islamic warlord’s charter.

  50. 58 Reverend LMF McCormack
    November 4, 2009 at 19:43

    If you want peace,stop backing WARlords.
    If you want peace, don’t back a government that hires WARlords.
    If you want peace, help the Afghani people. Go out, ask them what they need, ask them how to get it implemented within local custom and sensibilities and then implement the changes WITH them.
    Afghanisan is NOT its alleged government, it is its PEOPLE.
    The people can build a real governement when they have lights, heat,indoor plumbing and education.
    What is so hard about this?

  51. 59 Errol
    November 4, 2009 at 19:48

    I agree with the majority of comments in referance to the fight in a country that will never be conquered. Also all the U.K and the U.S. are proving a sucess in is we are having our boys killed and for no purpose, the majority of Afganistan including the government are corrupt. This is not a war we can win without 100% backing of every Afgan. Bring the boys home to where they are valued.

    Florida U.S.A

  52. 60 Neelab
    November 4, 2009 at 19:49

    International community leaving Afghanistan, AGAIN? How could you place a bet on the lives of millions of people, their freedom and their basic human rights by saying “US is not a good goverment builder, so let’s just leave”. When the international community deserted Afghanistan in the 90s, things were not quite as bad. Taliban were not quite as influential or powerful as they are now. Leave Afghanistan now and witness what could overshadow the Holocaust. No exaggerations here. Just study the few years that Tabliban were in power….

  53. 61 Irene
    November 4, 2009 at 19:49

    Afghanistan is a country under occupation. There is no freedom of information. There is no way for someone outside the country to have the information needed to know whether continued NATO occupation will stabilize Afghanistan. My hunch is if there is any way to suck any natural resources out of Afghanistan, “we” will stay under pretense of doing the Afghan people some good, whether it’s women’s rights, democracy or electricity on every home. If the political or financial costs outweigh the benefit to major corporations, the U.S. and it’s coerced allies will leave. If western governments cared about the people of Afghanistan or if they had any real foresight, they would have helped Afghanistan rebuild after the Soviets pulled out.

  54. 62 Tom D Ford
    November 4, 2009 at 19:55

    The US goal of defeating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan has been done.

    Now the excuse for being there is being rewritten into nation building?

    Just what is the goal in there? What is the mission?

    Let’s stop rewriting history and get to what is the real goal there!

    • November 4, 2009 at 20:13

      The US adventures in both Afghanistan and Iraq were preposterous from the beginning, and remain so. The initial goal of of the Afghan adventure was, ostensibly, to capture Bin Laden, a goal which we failed to accomplish. There is no valid reason for the US and their partners to continue the Afghan occupation. The various current excuses for continuing there fail to meet the test of logic. The Karzai government is a corrupt, ineffectual sham. The majority of Afghan people don’t want us there. As for al quaeda, when will we realize that terrorists are not effectively neutralized using military force. At best, one uses intelligent police work. We really need to abandon these military adventures.

      • 64 Bert
        November 4, 2009 at 20:45

        Sorry to disagree Francis, but Osama Bin Laden himself was NEVER a goal of the Afghanistan operation. In fact, I think that George W was still making good decisions at this early stage, and he repeated this point more than once.

        The aim was to dismantle the Al Qaeda organization in Afghanistan. Success or failure would not be determined by just this one figurehead.

        Too bad that both he, and now Obama, have strayed from this well-focused path, and landed themselves in a quagmire.

    • 65 Tom K in Mpls
      November 5, 2009 at 19:15

      I’m still waiting for Al Queda to be found. Does anyone know where they are? And Tom, don’t forget, it was equally stated that we went for their supports, the Taliban.

    November 4, 2009 at 20:04

    There is so much delusion in Afghanistan too. Afghans think this is all funny; that all of a sudden they falsely appear to be very clever. The whole nation needs to realize that it is the high time they moved away from backward cultures. Given the long time that it has been on a state of war, they need to re-examine their tools of war and evaluate whether these are necessary to build a modern nation for their own future.
    There exists serious flaws on the whole given the fact that they have had a theocratic state that has not had a shred of peace. Which way now? On their own? With UN? With outside sympathisers? They need to tell us.

  56. 67 Emmanuel Coleman
    November 4, 2009 at 20:08

    Look fellows, these rogue insurgents will do anything to get their message across ie,disguising themselves as friendly,like what that policeman did. Trust is not the sole issue although it could be part. How else do we build trust apart from the so many friendly gestures America and Britain have shown. Sometimes i feel that Afghans don’t know what they want looking at how slow they respond to working hard to taking over the security responsibility of their country.But big ups to countries like the US and Britain doing their best to make Afghanistan a better habbitaional land for fellow human beings.

  57. 68 Tom K in Mpls
    November 4, 2009 at 20:26

    I just realized something, I have not yet heard a single Afghan capable of presenting a well thought out argument that didn’t support keeping foreign troops in their country. And I do make allowance for those with a clear mind and poor English. This needs to be addressed.

  58. 69 Marty
    November 4, 2009 at 20:43

    When a teacher is teaching is better to realize that a student longs to become like their teacher. Therefore am not surprised that a trainee killed his trainer and in my opinion it’s about time the American and British soldiers moved out of Afghanistan.

  59. November 4, 2009 at 21:50

    Imagine how deluded our mission in Afghanstan is that we can bring in recruits that turn on their trainers and kill them. Any Afghan can be a fighter ready to kill our occupying troops. We don’t know who the “enemy” is until they start shooting.

    Some say our mission is to destroy al Queda and the Taliban, and yet we don’t know who they are! It is time to LEAVE!

  60. 71 John LaGrua/New York
    November 4, 2009 at 22:08

    Soldiers die and Obama diddles.Brown plays the Blair game of deffering to Washington.It is time for a massive rally in London and US cities to bring an end to this stupidity. What can be said to justify feeding brave young people into a meat grinder.Afganistan is not a country but a tribal territory ungovernorable,untamed and totally hostile to foreign armies.Procrasination and stubborness are immoral since the price is more human misery .It takes courage to cut your losses and recognize that the whole affair was a terrible mis-adventure .The Bin laden problem required not armes but assasins .The Bush team responsible for this folly was riddled with hidden agendas which sought to consolidate a US/Isreal hegemony in the Middle East ;an absurd and illegitimate goal.We cannot continue to waste blood and treasure on a fools errand.

  61. 72 claudine
    November 5, 2009 at 01:40

    What is the fight over?
    To get rid of the Taliban and al qaeda and/or to introduce democracy?

    Well, they have shown they dont know much about democracy and now they have a President elected by a minority who is willing to include the Taliban.
    Well, Abdullah Abdullah should not complain too much that Karzai got the election win for free. After all he has pulled out and handed it over to him on a golden platter.

    What is there worth fighting for?


  62. 73 Ex Brit Squaddie 23 years RNF
    November 5, 2009 at 02:28

    History tells us, Governments never learn, protect whats yours and mind your own business if it’s not. Look at British History, 130 + years in Aden, winding down in June1967, 1st Battalion RNF handing over to 1st Battalion A&SH who would be final Infantry Regiment in theater, ambushed by the British Trained Police, who were on the way to their location to protect against rioters. Check out our history , every were, sooner or later the locals decide we were not welcome in the first place and resort to killing squaddies from the shadows in a cowardly manner, and he probably did’nt want to be there anyway. Diplomats and suits made the decisions , making sure there was no chance of them being on the ground, other than the “look at me ” visit, escorted from the airport to the mess (guarded at all times) , to the airport safe and sound. Should we all be meant to be the best of friends, I feel sure this would have been considered at the creation of human kind, the only species that kills for pleasure.

  63. 74 Ex Brit Squaddie 23 years RNF
    November 5, 2009 at 02:34

    Bye BYe

  64. 75 Timur, Moscow
    November 5, 2009 at 09:22

    This is really strange, to read all these comments. Some say Afghans do not know what they want, some say their culture is what keeps them in the ancient times, some say “we bring light and freedom to all of you afghans, why don’t you understand that”.
    Well, one man once said that the freedom is never “granted”, and if it is granted, then it is not valued. Freedom is something people fight and spill their blood for. If it takes Afghans to deserve their freedom on their own in several centuries, so be it. If it takes women and children of Afghanistan to suffer for centuries for the sake of their descendants’ freedom, so be it. In that case it will be valued as the most sacred thing their nation has achieved and no men in Afghanistan will ever forget that. Help them, but from outside, and DO NOT let them immigrate to your countries. That would be the dummest thing to do.
    As for the drugs issue – just remember, that the drugs from that region WOULD NEVER appear in your countries without help of your own authorities that are supposed to watch after the borders and check-points. It is almost impossible to deliver drugs through a border without help from someone inside.

    • 76 Tom K in Mpls
      November 5, 2009 at 17:15

      Just look to the US to see you are wrong on one point. The value of freedom is soon forgotten. Usually in two generations. The only thing that can keep it going past this point is a stable and adaptive economy.

  65. November 5, 2009 at 11:28

    its actually time for big nations with the moral duty of being good samaritans to actually double the size of their army for more humanitarian needs in the future….that sabotage should not be a gotten excuse to live afghanistan the way it was in the hands of taliban and bullies.


  66. 78 Piers
    November 5, 2009 at 13:11

    I remember when we pulled out of Iraq not too long ago and turned the focus on Afghanistan, many said clapped and said we’re fighting the right war; now those same people are beating the Appeasement Drum simply because it’s now obvious this won’t be an easy war like Desert Storm. Anyone who expects this is like a person entering a marathon thinking it will be just like a sprint. The truth is counter-insurgencies never are easy- the best equivilent of the current conflict is Columbia’s war against the FARC. We should also remember that there were no Western troops occupying any South West Asian country on 9/11; if we pull up our skirts and run, they will come after us again in the long term via AQ, and in the short to mid term, attempt to take Pakistan which is a state armed with nuclear weapons – we cannot allow that to happen at any cost.

    The truth is we are unlikely to actually beat the Taliban outright (though that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t investigate possible ways to do this) – the goal is to continually contain and minimise their influence to the point where they are not in a position in to take over the country a la 1996 and/or provide an environment where terrorist training camps can flourish. Of course, this responsibilty should fall increasingly to the Afghans over time but it takes time to build a military force from scratch; the first officers have only recently graduated! The whole process may take 40-50 years minimum during which time, the Taliban will continue to bleed our forces slowly in the hope of making them lose public support back home. Right now, they are succeeding. We need to get behind our troops for them to see this though to the end, not help the Taliban by stabbing them in the back.

  67. 79 JanB
    November 5, 2009 at 14:28

    We can’t let Afghanistan sort itself out because it’s too divided (Pashtun, Hazari, Turkmens, , Tajiks, etc..) and if you open up an English-Pashtun dictionary you’ll see that “sort itself out” translates roughly to “slaughter all who oppose you and their families too”, so we first have to find a way to save Afghanistan’s minorities before we leave the Pashtun to rot in their own barbarism.
    I say we chop up Afghanistan, give the Turkmen areas to Turkmenistan, the Hazari areas to Iran, etc.. and then let the Pashtun “sort themselves out” (by getting the troops and aid agencies out of there and braking off all economic and diplomatic ties if the Taliban get on top, and let Pakistan, Russia and China clean out their own backyards for a change.)

  68. 80 JanB
    November 5, 2009 at 14:32


    We could give the government of Afghanistan a choice: change your constitution into a democratic one, reduce corruption by any means possible by a certain percentage (to be determined by NATO) per year and get serious about fighting the Taliban, no more deals, no more support for warlords!

    If they do not comply we split up the country and leave.

  69. 81 Ricardo
    November 5, 2009 at 16:39

    Everything is related with petroleum. Someone here, in this list, said it’s their lifestye…. but did anybody wonder why? I’ll give you a tip..what happen when English Empire was there!?

    • 82 Tom K in Mpls
      November 5, 2009 at 17:21

      Currently it is seen as petroleum. In the past, it was gold. These aren’t the reasons, they are the tools. The tools of power, it is always about power. The issue is for societies to prevent others from abusing power to allow the society to grow from within.

  70. 83 JanB
    November 5, 2009 at 17:45

    Well spoken Tom K, humans desire power, petroleum is just one of many possible means to that end.

    Though I’d like to add that Afghanistan doesn’t have a drop of a petroleum in its soil as far as we know, if oil was the only reason, there would be easier ways to get it (like for example occupying an African country or just making “no questions asked deals” with any country willing to trade, like the Chinese do.)

  71. 85 Ronald Almeida
    November 5, 2009 at 17:51

    Is it time to let the Afghans sort out their own country? I’d say, more than about time.

    The west went in there on the pretence of fighting the Taliban, Al qaeda and their terrorists. But the rest of the world, not being blind knows that it was all hog wash. In the process a lot of lives were lost on both sides especially of those who had nothing to do with it. Now having destroyed lives and property leave them alone to get on with the rebuilding

  72. 86 Moeka From Freetown
    November 5, 2009 at 18:56

    Have you take the time to ask why the war in Afghanistan is still raging? Have you asked who those police men that have the guts to open fire on their trainers in an open day light are? Forget who kills what, Come to the hard reality. They are the youths that cannot see a future for them self nor for their generations yet unborn. This youth sees the British and their American counterpart leaving a life worth emulating but they are squeezed in their little huts noting to feed on or not even think of a career. If you have been a war situation you will understand what I mean. When I read your comments I noticed that there is lack of war like situation among most of you. Excuse my French. Wars are not fought with the keys on your computer or with the nice phrases you put together but when people are desperate to change a condition be it economic or social they can even kill them self. You all know what I mean now.

  73. 87 JanB
    November 5, 2009 at 19:32

    Yes, Moeka, I know they are desperate, I also know turning against NATO and supporting the Taliban will only make their situation worse, except of course when they except the Taliban’s blood money, that would make things better for them personally, but only at the expense of their own brothers and sisters, so no matter how desperate you are: support for the Taliban is still a crime against humanity.

  74. 88 Hazel
    November 5, 2009 at 20:25

    As the mother of a serving soldier and a member of a very military family I am not interested in the politics of this phoney war I am interested in the sacrifice our brave soldiers are making, giving their lives for the sake of a Prime Minister and former Prime Minister who has and had no idea what is happening.

    I am sick of this pandering to America when it comes to something like this. Bush virtually forced us into Iraq and then Afghanistan, aided and abetted by Blair. How the politicians of today can keep coming up with futile excuses to keep our soldiers in Afghanistan is beyond me. I think they seem to think that the people of this country are standing firmly behind them.

    As far as I am concerned the people of this country want our soldiers home more than anything and this should happen now, not tomorrow, now.

    We couldnt beat these people in the 1930’s and my late father in law said we never would and he fought there and he was right. The Russians couldnt do it and neither will we are the Americans.

    Leave them to it, let them carry on as they have done so for thousands of years but bring our brave soldiers home so no-one else has to suffer for something so utterly futile.

  75. 89 Trevor Breslin
    November 5, 2009 at 22:19

    The argument that we are fighting in Afghanistan to stop terrorism on our streets is a hollow one when one realises that the Afghan plane hijackers are still in this country seven years later. This is despite various Home Secretaries trying to have these terrorists deported. The Judiciary is the biggest threat to our security and Parliament needs to sort them out.

  76. 90 Hazel
    November 6, 2009 at 00:50

    Remember World War I where millions died and thousands were never found in the mud and horror of the Somme, Passendale and other horrendous battles. Remember World War II

    Watch the British Legions Remembrance Services Saturday and Sunday

    Watch these proud people march, lay wreaths in memory of loved ones lost but never forgotten but also see the pain in their faces, pain that lives were taken, families broken in heart because of war and conflict.

    Both World Wars were justifiable but Iraq and Afghanistan were and are not justifiable because both were and are illegal.

    Most of all watch the respect and sadness of the people of Wooton Bassett who time after time have received our brave soldiers who were once so young, so vibrant and adored by their families. Once you have done all this then maybe people will begin to understand the futility of illegal wars and the misunderstanding of politians who think they know better than the military.

  77. 91 James Ian
    November 6, 2009 at 09:36

    With this shooting at the military base yesterday I have to ask myself if it is wise to have any Muslim in our military at this juncture. Their loyalties lay with their religion and to think otherwise is naïve and dangerous.

  78. 92 Hazel
    November 6, 2009 at 20:26

    And another young life is lost to add to this weeks tally of death.

    I listened to Brown’s speech this morning and found him, as usual, sitting on the fence, making no distinct decisions only if’s, but’s and maybe’s.

    How he has the gall to produce a speech like this has me spitting feathers because of his dithering about the situation instead of withdrawing our troops and saving lives.

    There is no disgrace in withdrawing none whatsoever and the reasoning that our streets are safer whilst we occupy Afghanistan makes no sense. I would have thought that withdrawing now, letting the Afghans rule themselves WOULD protect us better.

    Karzai is surrounded by corrupt warlords and is purely a pawn for them to do as they wish and continue the corruption as practised over hundreds of years so why are we protecting a corrupt regime that will never ever change.

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