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Should UK troops leave Afghanistan?

10:00 UK time, Monday, 21 June 2010

The number of UK service personnel killed as a result of the Afghanistan conflict since 2001 has hit 300. Has the time come for British troops to withdraw?

The Prime Minister David Cameron said it was a moment for the whole country to reflect on the sacrifices the armed forces make.

Mr Cameron, who recently warned the country to expect more casualties during the summer, acknowledged that many people questioned the UK's role. But he added that UK forces would withdraw as soon as Afghanistan could ensure its own security.

Do you think Britain's troops should leave Afghanistan? What do you think of the UK's role in Afghanistan? Are you a member of the armed forces? What is your view?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    Oh not this old chestnut again. For the millionth time YES !

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes, we should get out.
    While I believe the reasons for invading Afghanistan were more credible than for invading Iraq, the fact remains that the Taliban are not Al-Qaeda (who are an international organisation who mainly seem to be based in Somalia, Pakistan & Yemen currently). The Taliban may be an unsavoury bunch, but that is hardly a reason for starting a war if they're not actually threatening the UK.
    The most credible reason so far for the invasion seems to be the reports that Afghanistan has circa 1 trillion dollars of mineral deposits, including the rather handy lithium that will be helping to power some peoples cars in the future. Mining it is a different matter though.

  • Comment number 3.

    I say yes they should leave & should have left a long time ago, but what does my comment matter, no matter how many people say yes the troops will still stay in Afghanistan fighting a pointless battle for another couple of years.

  • Comment number 4.

    Its time that britain stopped losing its brave soldiers,and kept its nose out of other peoples business.If other countries want democracy or freedoms let them fight for it,Not our brave lads.Britain isnt a superpower anymore.Pull out of all wars that have nothing to do with us.Become like switzerland "nuetral". And stop trying to change other peoples ways. IF THEY WANT DEMOCRACY LET THEM DIE FOR IT.Not us.

  • Comment number 5.

    Should UK troops leave Afghanistan?

    I really don't know.

    Kharzi's regime is pretty abhorrent to westerners. - they recently passed laws making it legal to starve your wife if she refuses sex - it was already legal to rape.

    Huge sections of afghan society are offended by women's rights and its reasonable to expect more anti-gay legislation in the near fututre.

    All in all its not that much different to the Taliban regime that was ousted in 2001.

    On the otherhand the conflict with the Taliban is far from over and has now actually spread to areas in Pakistan where pre-2001 there was no conflict.

    According to the UN the fighting in the first months of this year has been significantly more intense than last year, and there are still mafor offensives being planned in Kandahar brfore the year is out.

    In conclusion we seem bogged trying to help a regime that we would normally be condemning whilst much of that country does'nt even want us there.

    Its difficult to see what we hope acheive in the long term, or how our continued presence is any kind of guarantee of future UK security.

  • Comment number 6.

    NO,NO,NO,thay are their to do a job thats is what thay get payed for,if you cannot do the job get out.

  • Comment number 7.

    The two key questions are - is this war "winnable" and can we afford to keep our troops there?

    Unlike Iraq, I believe we are in Afghanistan for the right reasons and is backed multi-laterally. However, it is clear that the Afghans will backslide the moment NATO forces leave and the Pakistani influence is undermining efforts within the country.

    My personal opinion is that we should begin withdrawal from Afghanistan, simply on financial grounds. Although it is sad that the tribal warfare will rise again and quality of life will not improve, socially evolving the Afghans is not within the West's capability or remit.

  • Comment number 8.

    Afghanistan is a war without end. How many more union flagged draped coffins are going to have to come back from there carrying the bodies of lads barely out of school. We have to withdraw NOW!!!!!

  • Comment number 9.

    Yes definitely.

    The troops have been there now since 2001, that's almost as long as WWI and WWII put together. Since that time we have had the biggest attack by islamic extremists on British soil in the 7/7 tube attacks, we've had violent riots between extreme groups like the EDL and Islam4uk all over Britain, we've had raised threat levels and several failed terrorist attempts. Alqaeda has become galvanised by Bush/Blair, in the same way the left was galvanised by their ill-judged rhetoric.

    Add to that our mission in Afghanistan has become confused. One minute we're chasing Osama, the next the Taliban, sometimes Alqaeda, occasionally just conservative muslims, and then we also have problems tackling the drugs trade which is booming, and political corruption which is rife at the highest levels. There's little indication that we are going to leave them better off then when we found them. You just can't guarantee stuff like that with guns when the economy is failing them. It pays better to do work for the Taliban then to work for the Afghan army.

    The final argument is obvious. Not only are we losing hundreds of British lives on a whim that things 'may' get better (without any proof), but we've also spent tens of billions of pounds in the effort. Tomorrow the chancellor will announce cuts to the NHS, education, pensions and many other areas. This will make thousands of people unemployed. Our economy will suffer even further. We desperately need these resources back home. Think how many people we could employ with that money, how much new industry could be stimulated and how much new infrastructure could be built?

  • Comment number 10.

    This is not our decision, surely the boys (and girls) on the front line are the ones whos opinion matters the most.

  • Comment number 11.

    Yes, waging war to prevent terrorism is counterproductive. Killing somebodies brother or sister will not improve their standing towards UK and Us. Providing education and economical opportunities are better ways to fight extremism.

  • Comment number 12.

    Absolutely no idea why they were sent there in the first place.

  • Comment number 13.

    If they leave now, every one of those 300 Soldiers (and Marines and Airmen) lives will have been lost in vain. The country is nearing stability- so it is our responsibility to see the job through. It isn't going to happen tomorrow, it may take many more years- but we can't give up now.

  • Comment number 14.

    Yes, they should leave, as should all foreign armed forces. Let the truly heroic pers and aid workers do their work - and make sure that the nations who have been fighting overseas make full reparation for the devastation they have caused. The west picks and chooses its fights solely according to where the resources are, where the strategic advantage lies and where a different kind of society has the courage not to bow to the *supreme* powers. Whilst some of the regimes are totally abhorrent, so are the leaders of many other countries - they are left to wage war, commit genocide and buy weapons from the west, purely because the major powers are too cowardly to stand up to lobbies at home, because the oppressed nations are without resources, or simply because the oppressees have skin of the wrong hue.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 17.

    Yes.

    The reason we are there is to disrupt terrorists who may attack us here. However, the number of attacks here have been minimal. Given that 1 serviceman is worth 100 (or even 1,000) civilians, is the cost in service lives worth it given how few civilians have died here as a result of terrorism?

  • Comment number 18.

    Should UK troops leave Afghanistan? I'm sorry but that question is irrelavant. It is irrelavant because i do not yet understand why we are there in the 1st place. Why are we in Afghanistan? That should be the question asked. It would be interesting to see what the opinions are.

    The reasons for being in Afghanistan keep changing. Initially we went their purely to catch Bin Laden after 9/11. We invaded a sovereign country whos people did no harm to us to catch 1 guy who is not even a afghani. Does Bin laden even exist? Some people have suggested "Bin laden" haven been a manufactured enemy to provide justification to raid Iraq and Afghanistan. Regardless, the justification for war has now changed. Last i heard; we were there to get rid of the Taliban. The Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11 as far as i understand. Apparantly the taliban are bad and we are now trying to help the afghani's get rid of them. Then why do we not go around policing the world and getting rid of other bad rulers? Darfur comes to mind.

    They laughed at people who said before the war that the actual intention was to build a gas pipeline through to the caspian sea. They called them conspiracy theorists. Yet, as soon as Afghanistan was raided; that construction was the first to begin. The theory was true.

    It is my view that; we did raid Afghanistan for the gas pipeline. America got what it wanted. Our british government eother is aware of why we really are there or simply blindly following the US.

    People in power and those who make the riches from oil and gas do not care about lives. Personally, every person has their own control over their lives. It is not an excuse saying you are following orders. Every soilder has a choice whether to participate and go to war. How can you go to war not knowing why you are there? How can you go there and pull a trigger as if you are in the right when you are in their country? What did the afghani's ever do to us?

    We should not be their in afghanistan. I cannot forsee ever pulling out fully; else who will protect the investment? Soilders will continue to die as clearly the afghani's will never ever give up until they evict their invaders. However, everyone has a free will and they chose to go to war.

  • Comment number 19.

    YES!

    Get them home and leave the Americans to sort out their own mess!

    Pleanty of work to be done here, like searching for the enemy within....

  • Comment number 20.

    Yes we should. Let's leave Islam to their peculiar medieval practices and customs. They can join the modern world when they are ready. Until then, if they want to flog us their oil, they can.

  • Comment number 21.

    Frenske wrote:
    Yes, waging war to prevent terrorism is counterproductive. Killing somebodies brother or sister will not improve their standing towards UK and Us. Providing education and economical opportunities are better ways to fight extremism.

    ----

    Wow someone finally talking some sense on HYS, I never thought I would live to see the day

  • Comment number 22.

    Iraq and Afghanistan wars came about because of 9/11, for the first time in it's history America was bombed. So they have pulled the best part of the world in to a conflict that's not theirs and that includes Britain. When Britain stood alone with it's cities being bombed nightly with thousands being killed with each raid, where were the Americans, it wasn't their war. Likewise this isn't our war, time we pulled out, if America doesn't want another 9/11 there's lots of options they can take to avoid it happening, and likewise so can we. If other races can't exist in a civilsed manner then you have to restrict their movement to their own countries, better that than the needless loss of life for a cause that has no end. First world war, seen the pictures the generals ordering the troops out of their trenches only to be mown down in their thousands. Not a lot of difference today only now it's foot patrols and IED's, the generals still want their glory and despite what they say, their troops are cannon fodder just like in the first world war, bring them home, it's not our war.

  • Comment number 23.

    Should UK troops leave Afghanistan?

    I really don't know.

    Kharzi's regime is pretty abhorrent to westerners. - they recently passed laws making it legal to starve your wife if she refuses sex - it was already legal to rape.

    Huge sections of afghan society are offended by women's rights and its reasonable to expect more anti-gay legislation in the near fututre.

    All in all its not that much different to the Taliban regime that was ousted in 2001.

    On the otherhand would this affect Tony Blairs income, Tony put a lot of time & effort in arranging for our troops to die needlessly, if withdrawing our troops resulted in a loss of income for him, then the whole excersise will have been pointless.

    It's a no brainer.

  • Comment number 24.

    Yes. Absolutely Yes.

    We are there to justify a war on terrorism and assist the Americans who are so quick to destroy BP when they did nothing to prevent the Union Carbide compnay killing people in Bophal, India.

    The British are legitimising an illegal, corrupt and despotic Afghan governement and 300 Britsh soldiers have expired to maintian this so-called 'government'. That is reprehensible.

    The new UK Coalition should tell the Americans that 'their' Afghan War is no longer in the interests of the United Kingdom and get the UK troops out of there immediately.

  • Comment number 25.

    They should come home now 300 dead is 300 to many for a war that has nothing to do with us.

  • Comment number 26.

    10. At 10:39am on 21 Jun 2010, suzie127 wrote:
    This is not our decision, surely the boys (and girls) on the front line are the ones whos opinion matters the most.

    I agree, the forces should decide, civilians should have no input, they don't really know what's going on, what it's about, or are willing to put their necks on the block.

  • Comment number 27.

    as others state, why is this still being asked, of course.

    we have no right there and we have no justification in lives, ours and theirs, or the cost. it's stupid.

    can our governemtn for once, just once, think about the british people first, just one time, that's all i ask. it seems we are nothing but a country working hard so we can send our taxes overseas

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Like most right minded people I disagreed with the war in Afghanistan like I did for Iraq.

    But... and its a big 'but' I support, with my whole heart, the troops on the ground. So when I hear of another fallen hero I am sad, so sad that there is nothing that I can do or say to make it any better, for his comrades or for his family, all have my deepest sympathy and utmost respect.

    Sadly the premise for troop commitment was and is weak, the chances of success, because we have no idea what success is in these theatres is currently zero. All I know is that our troops do the best they can to help those who want to be helped, beyond that they can do no more and I would ask no more.

    But I tell you this. There is not one non serving person here and I am one of those who has the right to say if they should or should not be withdrawn. As far as I am concerned we have let the troops down by allowing our politicians to do what they have and what they continue to do.

    If I were in charge and thank your lucky stars I am not, I would not be so bold as to make a decision now after years of men and machine being placed into the meat grinder. No, I would ask the troops, their commanders, what can we do? Is the loss worth your much valued effort and tragic loss?

    If they say no, then thats it we are out of there. But if the military said we can do this, and we can make it better then they would get everything that they wanted and more and we the taxpayer would pay for it because of our failure to have good politicians.

    But there are two things that we can do

    1) Blair the war criminal should be charged and tried along with his slimy mate Bush and slung in prison for the rest of his disgusting life.

    2) Make sure that the scum that throw abuse at returning troops are removed from our society. The method? Not really bothered!

    For all those who put their lives on the line for their country have my deepest respect... God bless you and your families.

  • Comment number 30.

    Poll after poll has shown that the Afghan war is unpopular in the UK, but almost all of our elected politicians are still saying “Give war a chance”. There’s something badly wrong with British democracy.

  • Comment number 31.

    Well said, No.24, well said! (BBC...it would be MUCH easier on us all, yourselves included, if you brought back some form of *I agree* button under posts (and, of course, an *I disgree* button too).

  • Comment number 32.

    No. The minute we pull out the Taliban will strike at us here in the UK, the problem is that not enough international troops are committed in Afghanistan, that is why the Americans and us have the most casualties.
    Let's not forget the casualties, if we pull out what would these soldiers have died for?

  • Comment number 33.

    Afghanistan will be just like Irak where the West at huge cost in lives and expense charged in for no good reason and left the place ungovernable.

    Will we never learn or control our elected decision making idiots.

  • Comment number 34.

    Yes, their problems are not now and never have been our responsibility. If they can't sort themselves out and they still pose a threat to us then we should just ban all travel to and from the region. Problem solved.

  • Comment number 35.

    13. At 10:45am on 21 Jun 2010, Marie Harris wrote:
    If they leave now, every one of those 300 Soldiers (and Marines and Airmen) lives will have been lost in vain. The country is nearing stability


    -----

    Nearing stability - where on earth did you get that from - there have been more violent incidents in afghanistan this year than last - if you take into account the spread of the conflict into Pakistan, things are actually a lot worse than they were immediately after the 2001 conflict.

  • Comment number 36.

    13. At 10:45am on 21 Jun 2010, Marie Harris wrote:
    If they leave now, every one of those 300 Soldiers (and Marines and Airmen) lives will have been lost in vain. The country is nearing stability- so it is our responsibility to see the job through. It isn't going to happen tomorrow, it may take many more years- but we can't give up now.
    ---------------------------

    this is the same futile responce that seems to come from all those that back the war. what do you mean by see the job through? what is it that we are trying to acheive? is it that as long as they are different to us; we are have acheived the job? is it that as long as they dont eat, dress, talk like we do that we still need to pursue the job? is it that until they become civilized like us; we need to see the job through?


    Clearly you listen blindely to the politicians as your responce is very typical of political language and something im sure have seen said by politicians. "responsibility to see the job through". Its as if you beleive we have a god given right to be responsible for other nations. You beleive we are better than them and have a responsibility to nuture other nations to bring them up to our standards? What did the aghanistan people do to harm us? Why are to there now in afghanistan to "see the job through", when went there to catch 1 man named "Osama Bin Laden". We invaded a whole country to catch 1 man. I know i sound like a fool for saying that. I apologise for making such a absurd claim. I am supposed to forget that initial justification for war arent i?

    We are their for the gas pipeline - fact.

    "responsibility to see the job through" ...how propaganda and political speech prone are you.

  • Comment number 37.

    Fighting for pease is like having sex to preserve virginity.

  • Comment number 38.

    Yes, at once.

    The UK does not have any clear purpose for the presence of UK troops in Afghanistan either in terms of furthering UK interests or aiding the legitimate regime. Neither are there any stated aims and objectives nor ways of telling if they have been accomplished.

    Indeed, as others have already stated, the present regime has many practices which fly in the face of UK norms, particularly in the area of human rights, and there are doubts as to its legitimacy due to electoral fraud.

  • Comment number 39.

    Oh no, not again. You might as well ask - is the Pope a Catholic ?

  • Comment number 40.

    Yes, our troops should be pulled out of Afghanistan immediately, saving many more lives and untold £millions. Otherwise they'll be there eternally waiting on stability in Afghanistan. The UK should never have got sucked into battle in the first place - the Yanks can cope - especially if they use Congress members. 300 British lives were unnecessarily lost, fighting someone else's battles. Hope Cameron's accountants send the bill of costs to America and they clear the debt in double-quick time.

  • Comment number 41.

    We need to save money lets do it and save lives at the same time by pulling out of this unwinable war, leave today

  • Comment number 42.

    Definitely YES.

    We went there after one enemy (AlQaeda) and we ended up fighting a different one (Taliban). We made many more enemies than the signle one we had entered Afghanistan for.

    Let's get out NOW. Not tomorrow and with no timescales.

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    It would be great if we could pull out but we can't, the Taliban has a large following in Packistan and if we left Afghanistan they could posibly take over in Packistan as well and don't forget Packistan is a neuclar power!!!!

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    Leave Afghanistan? It would be brilliant to see our troops come home but they have found a £1 trillion worth of mineral resources in the country. You can bet that Wall street and the Stock Market in London are ensuring our brave men stay as long as possible! The Rich have found yet more wealth to exploit and make them richer and richer and richer and richer and richer and will get the blessing of the obscene Rightwing media - so the deaths of soldiers is less important. After all Capitalism has NO morals or ethics and they dictate life and death in this sewar of a system we have.

  • Comment number 47.

    comment#16
    Willo says that 300 dead is a low number, OK Willo, send your son or daughter as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 48.

    34. At 11:10am on 21 Jun 2010, G wrote:
    Yes, their problems are not now and never have been our responsibility. If they can't sort themselves out and they still pose a threat to us then we should just ban all travel to and from the region. Problem solved.



    Hohohohoho. We can't stop asylum seakers getting across the English channel, much less stop people walking from Afghanistan into Pakistan and flying here....especially if they have British passports.

    While the issues in Afghanistan may not be our responsibility (and after 200 years of the Raj using Afghanistan as a buffer against Russia then 10 years funding the Mujhadeen in the 80's it debatable thats it not our responsibility) but it IS our problem, as is the heroin the Taliban sell to fund their side of the war.

    If the Taliban succeed in taking over Pakistan a nuclear armed Taliban will be everyones problem.

    On a different note why does the 300th soldier to die in Afghanistan matter more than the 1st 2nd or 299th?


    #28 "Our soldiers die in Afghanistan yet it is never made clear what we are doing there. If its to stop terrorism - we should bring the troops home where they can fight the islamic terrorists who are in this country"

    You mean like on Bloody Sunday? Everyone on HYS just LOVES it when the British army fire on civilians.

  • Comment number 49.

    20. At 10:53am on 21 Jun 2010, Tony Dixon wrote:
    Yes we should. Let's leave Islam to their peculiar medieval practices and customs. They can join the modern world when they are ready. Until then, if they want to flog us their oil, they can.

    -------

    Saddam would not sell oil to the US and hence was invaded and old oil contracts torn up.

    The Taliban did not approve of the gas pipeline going through their nation to the caspian sea; and so needed to be invaded.

    Muslims are not medieval. Their bad issues are simply blown out of proportion. What do you think of what the muslim world thinks of the west? Peodophile preists, the many recent cases of fathers (fritz etc)and daughters in incest relationships here in the west, death row in america etc.

  • Comment number 50.

    No, our troops are there as part of the NATO force not on behalf of the Americans as so many seem to think.

    Many of our troops who have died have died because of lack of or the wrong equipment. The blame for this lies with the previous government.

    As 32 has said, if we leave what will our troops have given their lives for?

  • Comment number 51.

    "22. At 10:55am on 21 Jun 2010, Toothpick Harry wrote:
    Iraq and Afghanistan wars came about because of 9/11, for the first time in it's history America was bombed."

    First time in history if you discount the wars of independence, the war of 1812, The US civil war, The spanish-american wars, Pearl Harbour (Hawaii is America), the Japanese shelling of Santa Barbara (23rd Feb 1942 if you want to google it), the unabomber, the Oklamhoma city bombing and the first bomb attack on the world trade centre.

    .....so not really the first time american was bombed at all.

  • Comment number 52.

    Do the Afghan people want them there?
    What are they trying to achieve?
    Are they achieving their goals or anything else by being there?
    Can we afford to keep them there?
    Should the UK still have pretentions of being a world policeman?
    Should the UN partition the country so that those who want to live under Taliban rule get their wish and the more moderate get their wish? Does partitioning ever work?

    The problem is ignoring what goes on elsewhere in the world always comes back to haunt you and cost you more later on but in this case, with the US being the major player, I see no solution and therefore no point in staying. The US Gov supports who they want, when they want, for as long as it suits them and once their usefulness has ceased they are quite happy to dump them and ignore the effect on them and even their own allies. The US will quite happily throw the UK to the wolves unless it was to the US's advantage so unless someone can explain how it is to our advantage to stay in Afghanistan I think we should withdraw as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 53.

    26 Bigmac,
    "I agree, the forces should decide, civilians should have no input, they don't really know what's going on, what it's about, or are willing to put their necks on the block."

    You have hit upon the solution. Bring all the troops home and send all those who seem to want to waste other peoples lives. See how many volunteers you get from Parliamentary MPs, flag waving media pundits, and the Whitehall staff.

    By the way, would you consider polling the mothers and wives of serving soldiers about the war's future?

  • Comment number 54.

    I dont agree with the killing of our friends.
    I dont agree with the murder and rape of innocent civilians.
    I dont agree with allowing warmongers to take over a country.
    I dont agree with a cult with the desire to conquer the world and launching terrorist attacks against civilians.
    I dont agree with civilians being decapatated on camera.

    So since I dont agree with the taliban or their evil actions against civilians over the world and against our allies the afghans, we are right to be there until the taliban surrender or negotiate

  • Comment number 55.

    Our military are fighting a losing battle and they should be bought home - no one has ever won a victory in that country. Our troops are bravely trying to change a country that as Liam Fox stated had 13century goals - if it is believed that Taliban or other terrorists offer a threat then deal with it at our borders. If they managed to gain access to the UK then ship them back without all the legal hoops that they seem to claim as their human rights even though their intent is to kill and maim British citizens.

  • Comment number 56.

    Yes, our troops should be withdrawn, immediately. No more lives of our sons and daughters should be lost in this God-forsaken hole and the politicians who sent them there should be held to account.

  • Comment number 57.

    Firstly the troops are men and women, not girls and boys. They are professionals not conscripts sent to fight at the behest of politicians we, the voters elected into office.

    The "fact" that the incursion is unpopular with the public has made no difference to any of the three major parties. They all had in their manifestos a committment to keeping the troops in as "long as it takes". We cry crocodile tears for the dead and injured but put little or no pressure on our elected representitives to get the policy changed.

    What is really needed is not just a defence review but also one looking at our long term foreign policy aims. My immediate thought is that this particular incursion is not in our long term interests as it is radicalising the very people we want to keep "onside".

    Military force alone cannot solve the problems caused by radical or conservative Islamic ideas. That is for those who follow Islam to sort out amongst themselves. The coalition cannot and should not try and force their "world view" on populations and states. The sooner we withdraw the better for all parties concerned.

  • Comment number 58.

    I would like to see our troops brought out of Afghanistan. They have fought long and hard to aid a people, frankly not really worth bothering with and who evidently have no intention of helping themselves for a better future.

    You are never going to counter the tribal mentality of these people, its far to ingrained.

    I would hope before they depart though that our troops would have the good sense to incinerate the poppy fields that have funded the Taliban’s war against us and that has brought the evil horror of heroin and drug addiction to the West.

    Let the farmers of Afghanistan grow food, not the cash crop of misery and destruction.


  • Comment number 59.

    YES its not our war.
    I don't want to see anymore of our lads being MURDERD.
    What price failure.

  • Comment number 60.

    David Cameron says 300th UK death is reminder of 'incredible service' of troops in Afghanistan.

    NO Mr Cameron. The 300th death reminds us of the absolute waste of lives and devestation to families here and in the war zones.
    It also reminds us that governments can send our military like lambs to the slaughter whilst they ensure their families are safe with police protection.

  • Comment number 61.

    "#33. At 11:10am on 21 Jun 2010, angryandgrumpy wrote:
    Afghanistan will be just like Irak where the West at huge cost in lives and expense charged in for no good reason and left the place ungovernable."

    LEFT it ungovernable????

    Someone else who has no idea that the Russians fought a ten year war in Afghanistan killing nearly a million people in the 1980's then the 'Northern Alliance' and Taliban fought a civil war for the next decade. By 2001 when we 'charged in' the country had had no effective government for nearly 30 years and most of the buildings were about 6" high.

    Doubtless you think Iraq was a happy, healthy functional democracy too?

  • Comment number 62.

    10. At 10:39am on 21 Jun 2010, suzie127 wrote:
    This is not our decision, surely the boys (and girls) on the front line are the ones whos opinion matters the most.
    -----

    if the boys and girls on the front line had intelligence, common sense and a sense of morality to make this decision; they would not be on the front line anyway. everyone has a free will and they chose to go. are you confident that all the soilders on front line even know why they are there? do they know who they are fighting before they pull a trigger and kill someone?

    it is patriotsm and a right to fight for your people and country when you are being invaded or when a aggressor comes your way. Afghanistan is neither. instead it is the afghani's who have a patriotic right to galvanise and fight its invadors. that is why we will never win. we are the invaders. we are the hitlers in their country and they do not appear to be giving up the fight to expell the invaders.

  • Comment number 63.

    No, its too late for that. We shouldnt be there, but we are, we now have a duty to see it through, atleast until the ANA and Afgan police can look after themselves. I keep hearing people say we have no right to be there, yes your right, but we also have no right to abandon them after we did get involved. How could you explain running away to the relatives of the casualties.

  • Comment number 64.

    No, the loss of life, of both our brave soldiers, and innocent civilians, is very regrettable, but we went there for a good reason, and are doing a difficult job well. What we *should* be doing, is showing support for our troops, especially on next weeks Armed Forces Day.

  • Comment number 65.

    Shouldn't the BBC be asking the real questions like

    Should the british army be sent to afghanistan to protect americas vital corporate interests?

    Or should the troops be removed from overseas combat arena's to reduce the cost of military spending to fix the budget deficit ?

    try asking the reall questions some time and do some real journalism !

  • Comment number 66.

    Of course they should leave. How many more young lives have to be lost before the government accepts this was a major error? 400-500, 1000, 10000? Surely the UK-US weapons industry has made enough money since the last Iraq war to allow us at least a few months of peace?

  • Comment number 67.

    An exercise in futility. We are there to win hearts and minds not to wiped out by roadside bombs. Given the history of this region and the treatment of those with similar missions before us, we should never have been involved. Again, perhaps this is more about oil that the Taliban!

  • Comment number 68.

    Fed up of answering this one. NO!
    We have had a fairly quiet time of it since the London Bombings.
    Bring them home and the Taliban and Al Qaeda will get busy!

  • Comment number 69.

    Yes we should bring our troops home. We tried to pacify this region last century and failed. The USSR tried the same thing and also failed. The region cannot be "westernised" therefore they should be left to their own devises.

    I do not care what happens to the region if it means one more British service person is killed or wounded. We should therefore drop anthrax on their poppy fields and abandon the area.

    The area, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, would be perfect place for Arab refugees and Muslims in the UK that hate the west. It can be their Islamic Utopia.

  • Comment number 70.

    Well said No 24. Spot on with you your observations and the solution. Thanks

  • Comment number 71.

    I have read of an argument between a "hawk" politican and a "dove" politican in the Vietnam War when the US were considering pulling out. The hawk said: "You guys will ensure that we will lose the war and that every mother who has lost her son will have lost him in vain" and the dove replied: "And you would keep us in a war that we can't win and ensure there will be more mothers that lose their sons in vain". Seems to me we are already negotiating with the Taliban and we are already looking to try and copy the "Vietnamisation" withdrawal strategy by trying to pass the fighting on to the local Afghans (which may well end in the same result as it did in Vietnam). It's a question of WHEN we withdraw not IF and how best we can disguise the withdrawal as something other than failure. Counter-insurgency should be about hearts and minds as the only way to defeat a guerilla enemy who lives in the people is through the people.

  • Comment number 72.

    For the billionth time... Yes, get out and leave the country to it's own devices!!!

    As for supporting the US, Why? Obama seems to be enjoying his vain attempt in kicking-butt where the UK is concerned.

  • Comment number 73.

    Yes, now, today.

  • Comment number 74.

    Service personnel lives are NO LESS VALUABLE than those of tube and bus travellers.

    I commute to London every day and was around at the time of 7/7. 50 odd people lost their lives that day (and it could have been me). This is horrible for their families - BUT

    What about soldier's families.

    Let Al Queda train in Afghanistan. If it isn't there it'll be somewhere else, but use our troops to defend our shores. If know where they are we can keep an eye on them, and people travelling to/from.

    Put them at airports and ports. User their experience of historic campaigns (NI etc).

    They will be in a lot less danger, and it will cost a LOT less money. Our security will probably improve too.

    I have nothing against legitimate conflicts, but Britain's interests are not best served by us being in Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 75.

    If we are to waste money we don't have as a nation on another countries issues, maybe we should invest it in eliminating the source of that nation's trouble's - poverty, education, economic infrastructure etc. This war will go on for generations and changing a countries fortunes likewise. Like Korea and Vietnam they are not wars that can be won. We were bullied by the US into entering a war we were not resourced to commit to. I doubt a staged withdraw will make much difference to the outcome and we certainly owe the US no favours.

  • Comment number 76.

    British troops should leave Afghanistan. They should not have been there in the first place. However, the Prime Minister and British commanders (not US commanders) should detail what our mission objectives are in Afghanistan and stick to them. Once these objectives have been met then we should leave. We cannot just leave right now.
    I also must stress that we should leave US commanders and their mission priorities out of the decision making process on defining what the British mission objectives are, as the US and its commanders have changed the missions objectives in Afghanistan and Iraq so many times its a joke.

  • Comment number 77.

    "Should UK troops leave Afghanistan?

    I really don't know.

    Kharzi's regime is pretty abhorrent to westerners. - they recently passed laws making it legal to starve your wife if she refuses sex - it was already legal to rape.

    Huge sections of afghan society are offended by women's rights and its reasonable to expect more anti-gay legislation in the near fututre."

    akin to saying the US should have been invaded and society destroyed because the government would not listen to reason in regard to black rights? they are no the UK or US, they are behind us, we can't goto war with them because they havn't got to our level yet.

  • Comment number 78.

    Kevin G 29. Well said.

    I totally agree.

    Would still like to see the real reasons we went to war out there, as I no longer believe any politician anymore. Unfortunately the real merits of going to war are never shared with us, and we are always fed the 'popular' and 'palatable' reasons.

    I'd love to see stability there, I'd love to see the drug trade there cease to exist, I'd love to see extremism turned into balanced thinking, education, productivity, prosperity, understanding, forgiveness and I'd love to see it as a success.
    Do I think it will happen? Not unless there is a global effort and commitment. Personally I think it would require more than 10 times the manpower and just as many non military personnel for health, education and regeneration programmes. Would the Afghans be grateful for this? Sadly I doubt it.


  • Comment number 79.

    Time to get out fast. This has become a tragic farce; tragic for our soldiers and their families and an utter farce for the politicians who will not admit that they do not have a clue what to do next. I don't buy this stuff about Afghanistan clinging to a medieval culture - there are too many Afghans of military age doing courses in our colleges and universities. This suggests a preference for some western values. But the west is not going to win in Afghanistan - that is, if someone can say what winning would be in this situation.
    Like all US presidents Obama has had his war - it failed - and the UK ought to tell him we are leaving with some dignity.
    Come to think of it - the electorate have not been given an opportunity to express their opinions on this topic.
    Final work to Clegg and Cameron - show some sense and courage, pull our men and women out.

  • Comment number 80.

    6. At 10:33am on 21 Jun 2010, sam wrote:

    NO,NO,NO,thay are their to do a job thats is what thay get payed for,if you cannot do the job get out.

    _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

    British soldiers do their job well. They do not get paid to fight other peoples wars, this is a US war that was unnecessary. Please remember this, British troops are there to protect Britain and its interests, British troops are not mercenaries for the US or any other country to use, and sadly that is the case now in Afghanistan and Iraq (yes we still have troops in Iraq) thanks to Blair.

  • Comment number 81.

    Look,its quite simple.We "invaded"Afghanistan on the pretext that terrorists were being trained in that country funded by drug money or in other words poppies(heroin) grown by the Taleban tribesmen/farmers. Destroying the ability of this trade to continue was acceptable but have we done this? NO! We have entered into a regime change on a huge scale endorsed by NATO which has caused a full scale war. Its difficult to see how Nato can win against the Taleban unless you move beyond convential weapons.There seems to be a groundswell that using drones to search and destroy are more acceptable and cheaper than seeing troops either blown up by road side bombs or shot in fire fights. The problem is once the Taleban stop fighting for a few months it looks good for Nato but of course these people only fight at certain times of the year for cash and that cash comes from the production on a massive scale of heroin,which accounts for 90% of its world trade distribution.You have to question the tactics of Nato if all that needs to be done is destroy poppy production.There are many means of making the land useless for poppy production thus stopping the supply of what seems endless cash which is used to pay fighters,buy weapons and generally wage war against Nato. It would be interesting to see who is pulling the strings in Nato.My guess is the Americans are actually blinkered regards terrorists who they believe caused the 9/11 attack and this whole conflict is revenge at any cost and that cost is very high in lost lives in all Nato countries. We have no right to change the way people choose to live and despite the Taleban being an objectionable wicked bunch of religious terrorists its surely up to the people of Afghanistan to choose. I don't doubt some of the people of Afghanistan would prefer someone to do everything for them where billions of dollars are pumped into regime change to mimick a semi democracy but in reality it just doesnt work. You cant drag a stone age country into the 21st century by any means other than evolution and that doesnt come through a change of way of life overnight it takes decades.
    I think Nato should put all of its resources into destroying drug production and therefore amputate the money supply, once that is done Nato should get out. If the Taleban then get back into power it will be because the people want it but my guess is there will not be the following for the Taleban if there is no cash from drugs-its a win win situation. Lets have some common sense.

  • Comment number 82.

    21. At 10:53am on 21 Jun 2010, me me me wrote:

    Frenske wrote:
    Yes, waging war to prevent terrorism is counterproductive. Killing somebodies brother or sister will not improve their standing towards UK and Us. Providing education and economical opportunities are better ways to fight extremism.

    ----

    Wow someone finally talking some sense on HYS, I never thought I would live to see the day

    ----------

    You can blame media for the lack of sense, in its biased/hypocritical/misinformative propaganda, driven by business and greed.

  • Comment number 83.

    37. At 11:14am on 21 Jun 2010, EUR1P wrote:

    Fighting for pease is like having sex to preserve virginity.

    _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

    Apart from the horrendous spelling, that is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard....or in fact read. So are you telling me that all the lads who fought against the NAZIS were fighting for no reason? I think you should go away and think about your statement before contributing again.

  • Comment number 84.

    yessssssssssss they should imediately!! its time we left america to fight there own stupid wars, im surprised the big USA didn't start a war with Iceland claiming the volcano to be a weapon of mass distruction.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    300 good young lives lost, 300 family's lives changed forever and countless young men and women injured and maimed.

    Enough...bring them home.

  • Comment number 87.

    At 11:01am on 21 Jun 2010, Bigmac68 wrote: "At 10:39am on 21 Jun 2010, suzie127 wrote: This is not our decision, surely the boys (and girls) on the front line are the ones whos opinion matters the most" "I agree, the forces should decide, civilians should have no input, they don't really know what's going on, what it's about, or are willing to put their necks on the block"

    I agree. Civilians should have no input. They shouldn't pay for it.

    If anyone wants to fight in Afghanistan or anywhere else, they should fund it themselves.



  • Comment number 88.

    WW1 4 years
    WW2 6 years
    Afghanistan 9 years

    Something to be said for total war!

    Either be serious and do it, or just get out!

  • Comment number 89.

    100% YES!!!

    Why should we fight someone else's war! Bring our children & family home,

    where they belong.

  • Comment number 90.

    24. At 10:57am on 21 Jun 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    Yes. Absolutely Yes.

    We are there to justify a war on terrorism and assist the Americans who are so quick to destroy BP when they did nothing to prevent the Union Carbide compnay killing people in Bophal, India.

    The British are legitimising an illegal, corrupt and despotic Afghan governement and 300 Britsh soldiers have expired to maintian this so-called 'government'. That is reprehensible.

    The new UK Coalition should tell the Americans that 'their' Afghan War is no longer in the interests of the United Kingdom and get the UK troops out of there immediately.

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    What war on terrorism? Did you see US troops fighting in N. Ireland against the IRA? Quite the opposite, the US supplied a safe haven for IRA terrorists. Do you see US troops fighting ETA? Did you see US troops fighting the Tamil Tigers? The list of terrorist organisations is endless, but the only so called terrorists we are fighting are those who are against the US. So this is not a war on terror, it is a war against the US's enemies.

  • Comment number 91.

    More to the point is should the Muslim Army (Taliban Supporters) be allowed to freely roam our street and commit outrageous acts the latest and not last being the contempt they hold for us and our troops by their outrageous actions against the homecoming of our brave soldiers on the streets of Barking. In Afghanistan British Muslim Birmingham & Northern accents can be heard on Taliban radio nets. They obviously have no jobs so who is funding them? The good old stupid British tax payer is, so they can go out and kill our troops (supported by the British Government by lack of decisive action).

  • Comment number 92.

    We don’t have the will to achieve victory and must therefore accept defeat. We view the war as a health and safety issue in which keeping troops safe and bring them home a soon as possible are the top priorities. When Obama assigned an extra 10,000 troops to the war he also stated he would be bringing them back in 18 months. How defeatist to announce your intention of retreat before the troops have even set foot in the country.

    The Taliban on the other hand, might only be equipped with ancient AK47s and pickup trucks but they are in a holy war decreed by their God which never ends and justifies any amount of sacrifice. Do you think troop safety and how soon can he send the soldiers home are top priorities for Taliban commanders - of course not.

    What is the point in being in a war when you don’t have the will to win it? Bring the troops home.

  • Comment number 93.

    69. At 11:42am on 21 Jun 2010, Graham wrote:
    Yes we should bring our troops home. We tried to pacify this region last century and failed. The USSR tried the same thing and also failed. The region cannot be "westernised" therefore they should be left to their own devises.

    I do not care what happens to the region if it means one more British service person is killed or wounded. We should therefore drop anthrax on their poppy fields and abandon the area.

    The area, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, would be perfect place for Arab refugees and Muslims in the UK that hate the west. It can be their Islamic Utopia.



    ----
    the fact that you even mention bangladesh shows what kind of a person you are. b'desh is a poor country who has harmed nobody. you have simple included B'desh in your list because? You fail to include India which seperates B'desh from Pakistan by hundreds of miles. B'desh has not done a thing to the west.

    Funny how the moderator allows comments like "We should therefore drop anthrax on their poppy fields". I would have thought that that comment was a bit extreme. He/she is obviously unaware that the poppy production has increased since US/UK invasion. He/she is obviously unaware that the CIA is the biggest drug dealer in the world and deal out of Afghanistan. If we are to drop anthrax on the poppy feilds, what do you suggest we do with the drug dealer?

  • Comment number 94.

    Bring our troops home, get out of Afghanistan and stay out, you cannot win a war where the very people you are supposed to be defending are the enemy.

    Let the Afghan people decide, if they want (allow) an Islamic Fundamentalist Regime to run there country, then that is none of our business.

  • Comment number 95.

    Such a waste for nothing.

  • Comment number 96.

    Does it really matter what we think ?? Britain should really ask this question to BIG DADDY - USA... Britain or anyone will not dare move against the wishes of SUPER RACE USA..

    Kind Regards,

    FSKHAN

  • Comment number 97.

    If they pull out now 300 lives lost for what??? If they stay more lives will be lost for what???? Pull our troops out now and let the Americans sort it out. If and it is a big IF they can.

  • Comment number 98.

    It was inevitable that this tragic landmark was going to be reached soon. The rate at which we have been sustaining casualties has been increasing, with little sign of an end. There will never be an end to this awful quagmire we are bogged down in. I served in the Armed Forces for 28 years and do not regret leaving. My stepson is about to join and I dearly hope that the boys and girls are pulled out soon. Nobody knows what we are actually fighting for. It certainly isn't homeland security, which Politicians like to ram down our throats.
    The US started started this horrible mess, and then pulled out leaving us to it!!! Now they are back and things are getting worse!!

  • Comment number 99.

    "This is not our decision, surely the boys (and girls) on the front line are the ones whos opinion matters the most."

    You are having a laugh aren't you? These are people stupid enough to volunteer to be shot at. I don't think their decision making skills are worth relying on.

    When they signed up, they agreed to be cannon fodder wherever the politicians send them. They have no say in it.

  • Comment number 100.

    No because if UK troops leave then the Taliban will retake Afghanistan, therefore meaning that all the British casualties and lives lost will be for nothing.

 

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