Afghanistan is winding down

Britain wants Karzai to negotiate with the Taliban. Again: why are we supposed to be in Afghanistan?

Thankfully, Brits are against the war. The war cannot last very long in my opinion. The legitimacy of the war evaporated incredibly quickly. I think the turning points should be considered the following: Obama’s admission that the war was being lost, and the Bush and then Obama administration cooling on Karzai, who complained about the bombings. The problem is that this effectively gave the green light for stories in the mainstream media to begin reporting on his administration’s corruption and so on, and then when the elections came, they reported on the rigging after the elections (serious papers, like the Independent showed clearly the elections were farcical before they took place, but that’s another story). Now that Karzai’s regime is considered completely illegitimate (and the Iranian elections made rigged elections seem so outrageous to the public), the war is now considered a war in defence of Karzai. Not for democracy.

Anyway, the Independent reported:

In a ComRes poll for the IoS this weekend, an overwhelming proportion – 71 per cent – supported this newspaper’s call for a phased withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan within a year or so, while just 22 per cent disagreed.

Nearly half – 47 per cent – think that the threat of terrorism on UK soil is increased by British forces remaining in Afghanistan, while 44 per cent disagree. The position is at odds with the argument put by government ministers that the Afghan campaign was vital to preventing terrorism around the world – and in the UK.

Researchers for Oxfam spoke to more than 700 Afghans in 14 provinces, who provided powerful testimonies.

Shamsullah, in Balkh province, said: “Families sell their daughters for money to save the other members of the family from starvation.” Mirwais in Herat said: “Illiteracy, forced marriages and all other domestic violence are the consequences of the war on women.”

Various casualty counts suggest that between 12,000 and 32,000 civilians have been killed either directly or indirectly due to the fighting since 2001.

The United Nations has said the “surge” in fighting in recent months has also taken its toll on the non-military population. More than 2,000 had died as a result of the conflict in the first 10 months of this year – at a faster rate than any time since the initial invasion.

The number of botched Nato air strikes, killing civilians, is continuing to rise. Latest UN figures for the first half of this year alone report 40 rogue air strikes, which are believed to have killed 200 civilians. The figure compares with the 116 Afghan civilians killed in 13 aerial strikes in 2006, and 321 in 22 attacks the following year. In 2008, 552 were killed.

Another poll shows most Israelis support negotiating with Hamas. The article talks about Mofaz’s “plan”, which is a non-starter.

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