If the killings continue at the present rate, another 100 British soldiers and untold Afghans will die in this pointless operation before final withdrawal planned for 2014
On the same day that David Cameron came out of Number 10 Downing Street to buy a poppy to remember the dead, the deaths of two more British soldier have been announced in Afghanistan. Nothing could better symbolise the cynicism of this government's attitude to the war in Afghanistan.
At the very same time as he is professing respect for dead soldiers, David Cameron is sending troops to kill and be killed in a war fully 80 per cent of the British public regard as being a total waste of life and resources.
The soldiers were from 40 Commando, and from 3 Medical Regiment and they died in the Nahr-e Saraj area. This is one of main focuses of the fierce and almost unreported offensive being fought by NATO against the Taliban.
Nine British soldiers have been killed there in the last ten weeks. Initial reports of the most recent killings suggested at least one of them died as a result of an insider attack by a member of the Afghan security services.
This has now been challenged by the MoD, but whatever their cause, the deaths take the overall figure of to 435 British soldiers fatalities in Afghanistan.
If the killings continue at the present rate, another 100 British soldiers and untold Afghans will die in this pointless operation before final withdrawal planned for 2014.
The futility of the war was underlined today by the parliamentary international development committee report on the situation in Afghanistan which reveals the catastrophic state the country is in. The situation is so bad that the MPs made the extraordinary judgement that Afghanistan may never have 'a viable state'. 'The MPs' report described the desperate poverty in the country and pointed out that Afghan women were three times worse off than men.
Despite some commentators' attempts to blame this situation on 'endemic corruption' in Afghanistan, parts of the report point to the occupation itself as being the problem. MPs note, for example, that far from having a liberating effect, the situation for women "appeared to us to have deteriorated in some respects since our last visit in 2007".
The obvious conclusion from the report is that the military operation should be ended now, and Afghans should be allowed to start rebuilding their war-ravaged country. But British and other NATO forces are being kept in the country for another two years, not for humanitarian reasons, but to save face for the politicians behind it.
Members of military families who have or have had loved ones in Afghanistan have launched a petition calling on the Prime Minister to end this horror and bring the troops home by Christmas. Please sign their letter and help us stop this government wasting more lives.
From the Stop the War website.
Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.
More articles from this author
- Blood year: Islamic State and the Failures of the War on Terror
- Libya: Britain heads to war
- Danny Dorling: the centre cannot hold - podcast
- Libya: they want us to go to war against the refugees
- The causes of chaos: interview with Patrick Cockburn
- Parliament and people power: the left and the movements after the demonstration
- Are we poised for another war in Libya?