The Afghan Problem

November 4, 2009

The tragic death of five British soldiers today has once again ignited the debate relating to the aim of the mission in Afghanistan on the same day Kim Howells MP, chairman of the intelligence and security committee and former minister advocating the removal of British troops.

As things stand I don’t support the idea of removing our troops as this would be a massive fillip to the Taliban and its allies and would lead to a surge in Taliban fighters coming into Afghanistan from the border region of Pakistan, once again destabilizing the country and undoing the work that has been carried out by allied troops to date. This would also quite simply be disastrous for Afghanistan, Pakistan and India not to mention the UK. The removal of allied troops would lead to the Taliban and its allies again setting up terrorists training camps specifically training would be terrorists to target the UK and the west which would mean once again taking some sort of military action to deal with these camps in the near future.

Having said that what is unclear is the strategy that we are currently employing in Afghanistan and what the clear goals of the current operation are. There is a great deal of ambiguity about the current operation and while keeping out the Taliban is the obvious aim, the Governments of the UK and US have allowed their initial strategy to drift to the extent that members of the public have no idea what is being done and when the end is likely to come for this operation or when the troops are likely to be pulled out. Alternatively, if the intention is to stay in Afghanistan for a period of say twenty years then this should be categorically stated so that the continued discussion which must be demoralizing for the troops and their families of whether we should pull our troops out each time we sustain casualties is avoided.

I hope that with an incoming Conservative Government there is a clearer strategy and a better explanation of the aims of the mission in Afghanistan.