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Kabul, Afghanistan

Nick Robinson | 19:22 UK time, Friday, 4 December 2009

Kabul, Afghanistan: A million Afghans live in Helmand province. Nearly 100 British soldiers have died here this year alone. Raw painful facts but not enough to convince David Cameron that British troops should come home any time soon.

David Cameron talking to army officer in AfghanistanSpeaking at the headquarters of Taskforce Helmand, Mr Cameron declared that he was "not interested in cutting and running nor setting an artificial timetable" for withdrawal. He added that whether he was in opposition or in government he wanted to help British forces come home with their heads held high.

What this marks is an end to a long period during which the military's frustrations with the government were taken up and amplified by the Conservatives. The Tory leader now says that he is happy with the strategy planned by General McChrystal and adopted by President Obama and Gordon Brown. He says he's happy too with the resources committed to it. His one concern is that talk of timelines has encouraged talk of "our boys coming home in 2010" which could encourage the Taliban to believe they can simply sit and wait for international forces to leave.

David Cameron was shown what success looks like in Afghanistan. At a wheat distribution centre he spoke to farmers queuing to collect seed sold to them at a massive discount in the hope that it will tempt them away from growing poppy and fuelling the opium trade which finances the Taliban.

Next, to a bazaar in Nad-e Ali where people dare to shop and the Taliban fear to tread - something unthinkable just a few months ago.

Each of these small steps will, it's argued, add to the people's sense that it is their government and the international forces, not the Taliban, which guarantees them prosperity and security.

All this comes at a cost, of course. That name - Nad-e Ali - may sound familiar. It's the place where five British soldiers were shot by a member of the Afghan National police. Their names are on a monument next to that of Guardsman Jamie Janes and others who gave their live trying to secure Afghan streets and, in the process it's hoped, British streets too.

Again and again today David Cameron was told by the soldiers he met that they didn't want sympathy. What they want is support. Sympathy, one told me, was for losers and the British army aren't losers. Similarly they are sick of the pessimism that has taken hold of the public and blame politicians and the media for spreading that gloom.One squaddie remarked ruefully - "I'll only get on TV if it's in a coffin".

I find it impossible to assess whether the army's confidence is misplaced but I was struck by their conviction that what they are doing is right.

There are, though, constant reminders of how far this country has to go, even eight years on from the war's beginning. Every journey we made today to witness the good news was made first in a Chinook helicopter which has to swoop first this way then that to minimise the chance of incoming fire and maximise churning stomachs. On the ground, trips are made in armoured cars, in full body armour accompanied by drivers whose radios crackle with warnings of "statics" or "slow moving from the left" - each a possible suicide bomber.

At a news conference with Governor Mangal of Helmand - the international community's model administrator - I met his son. He'd been attacked twice, had quit his university studies and complained that he was - in effect - a prisoner who, unlike his father, could not rely on armed protection and armoured cars. Another son who's based in the UK has applied for asylum.

On arriving at Kabul we were given a security briefing about five threats we faced - as well as suicide bombs there were roadside bombs, gunfire, kidnap and, well, the fifth one temporarily eludes me.

What's clear is that the political leaders of all three main parties have decided to throw their weight behind what David Cameron described today as a "last chance". Let's hope it works

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Let us, indeed, hope it does. Thank you for the report!

  • Comment number 2.

    Must be an election soon as all parties are backing the military, at least with words. Sorry lads, I have a plane to catch.
    I still think banks should be established in Afghanistan so they learn about real power and ruthlessness.

  • Comment number 3.

    Historically there have been very few counter-insurgency campaigns that have been won by the occupying force. As long as the local insurgents have some support from the indigenous population and a terrain suitable for guerrilla tactics it is almost impossible to defeat them. The Taliban are not hamstrung by Geneva conventions and rules of engagement or political strategies. They only need to disrupt and demoralise. Add Pakistan's political instability and its porous borders to the mix and the task looks nigh impossible.

  • Comment number 4.

    Nick,

    That's another blatantly pro-government political posting.
    It's not worth coming here for any realism or realistic unbiased political commentary.

    I gave up on the BBC's political impartiallity when Blair and Campbell were exonorated while the "WMD" garbage and Campbell sauntered down the staircase to tell the world the he had been exonorated, while the leading UK expert was dead from unexplained injuries. (Couldn't have died from wrist wound, because there wasn't enough lost blood. Couldn't have uied from pills, because there there was no evidence of sufficient ingestion.)

    Pakistan's instability? Take a look at the UK. Moral compass? Where? Yes, really. I'd like to know where I could move to.

  • Comment number 5.

    *Nick @ *0

    He (Cameron)says he's happy too with the resources committed to it. His one concern is that talk of timelines has encouraged talk of "our boys coming home in 2010" which could encourage the Taliban to believe they can simply sit and wait for international forces to leave.

    *************************

    There's the rub Nick. Whether we're there for 2 years or 10 years the Taliban will wait and be back once the troops leave.
    I believe the fear that the ordinary population of Afghanistan have of the Taliban, probably extends to a proportion of the Afghan military too.
    Once the Allied forces leave, however well trained the army we leave behind, the Taliban influence will permeate through.

  • Comment number 6.

    There is no military solution to Afghanistan. The only real value of more IED fodder is that it may persuade the Taliban to take the option of talks seriously.

  • Comment number 7.

    There's Corus; there's the u-turn on child care vouchers and we learn that AD will not be informing anyone as to how the deficit will be reduced in the next PBR.

    And yet you Nick, choose DC's visit to Afghanisatn as the next government smokescreen.

    I would like to say that you are a disgrace to your profession or that we all think you an utter joke, but I won't for fear of moderation.

    You're right Nick, Ali Campbell is back and more shame you.

  • Comment number 8.

    As a matter of interest, Nick, what value do you believe we as TV licence payers think we will get from you being away from home?

    So, you post from far away. Any bullets flying? Any IEDs under your car? How far from the hard stuff that troops have to deal with?

    I thought the Beeb had implanted BBC reporters. So what on earth are you doing there? How much has it cost us?

    Getting a tan, pre-Christmas?

  • Comment number 9.

    This has be be a unique situation in that you, Nick, and Mark Urban are both in Afghanistan though entirely different situations. There is a suggestion in Mark's blog that, far from being helpful, British involvement in a situation in Helmand may have been less than useful.

    Perhaps you have a view on why there is some enthusiasm in mainstream UK politics for further involvement in Afghanistan while the American PR people in the combat zone appear to be briefing against them?

  • Comment number 10.

    canteen bil,lIt's just garbage, isn't it?

    Come home, Nick. Spend a month amongst the poorest people in the UK.

    Forget the garbage from No 10 apparatchiks.

    Leave the troops alone.
    Just get out of the way.
    They do stuff that you "Westminster Warriors" will never understand, because there is always some much more worryinbg stuff about whether an MP hasn't paid his/her canteen bill...

    I don't care whether Brown, Cameron, Ainsworth or whoever turns up for a photo op.

    Get them out of the way. Let busy troops focus on what they need to do, not ponce about and pretend to be interested when a politician turns up. And, quite frankly, a BBC reporter isn't worth a spit in the sand.

  • Comment number 11.

    This is literally a life threatening issue. It is encouraging that party politics is being put to one side for something so important. I certainly can sense the strong feelings Nick has expressed being there with Cameron and the soldiers. Surely we all agree with the last sentiment - let's hope it works!

  • Comment number 12.

    open @ 4 and 8

    Rather down on Nick you seem to be at the moment. Carry on like that and he'll stop blogging altogether, poor guy.

    Hey you don't think there's a non remote possibility that Dr Kelly was murdered, do you? ... is that what you're implying there?

  • Comment number 13.

    This is lovely. Mr Robinson writes a tolerably fair report and you cannot move from vitriolic, hectoring, bile.

    As for fairlyopenminded - surely some mistake? - just because you think it, that does not automatically make it so. Test your opinions against reality every single day. Would you censor journalists so that the only opinions you hear match yours?

    Man cannot live by tabloid alone.

  • Comment number 14.

    fairlyopenmind might equally query why Cameron was in Afghanistan for a photo op? He and his host of minions had to be transported, protected, fed, watered and supervised. All using equipment, infrastructure and facilities designed, conceived, managed and put in place by the MOD Civil Servants his party hates so much.

    Any man who resorted to counselling when under stress has no place in the government of a nuclear power.

  • Comment number 15.

    Is there an election coming up?

    Oh yes!!!

    I wish they could actually say something that matters to me.
    Sorry, no job, no future, but I do have a secret vote
    I am waiting for the man at the door asking for my vote.

    I do support the forces as they are a professional unit but not the (unprofessional) politicians

  • Comment number 16.

    13 Madib2 wrote:

    "This is lovely. Mr Robinson writes a tolerably fair report and you cannot move from vitriolic, hectoring, bile".

    ======

    You miss the point Madib2.

    No one doubts the tragedy that is Afghanistan.

    The bigger tragedy is that this government and the BBC use the war as a distraction to fend off the economic disaster that is looming in this country at the expense of those who feel they are dying for a cause.

    When the money is gone, the Taliban will carry on as before and the UK streets that GB purports to protect will be just as vulnerable as before.

    I'd rather GB spent his time sorting out the mess he has helped to create and take the risk of outrage in our backyard.

    As always in politics, there is a trade off.

    My stance is 'let Afghanistan sort it out for themselves'.

  • Comment number 17.

    fairly @ 4

    What are you implying about the death of Dr Kelly?

  • Comment number 18.


    "My stance is 'let Afghanistan sort it out for themselves'."

    Nope, that got us the World Trade Centre attack 1 and 2 - there was one before 9/11 but most the public didnt notice it. 9/11 was nearly 3000 dead, thats acceptable to you.

    If you want to blame anyone for the distractions go talk to some bankers.

  • Comment number 19.

    Actually, I have a nasty feeling that Afghanistan may no longer the main issue, I'm beggining to fear that Pakistan is.

  • Comment number 20.

    18 Muadib2 wrote:

    "My stance is 'let Afghanistan sort it out for themselves'."

    Nope, that got us the World Trade Centre attack 1 and 2 - there was one before 9/11 but most the public didnt notice it. 9/11 was nearly 3000 dead, thats acceptable to you.

    If you want to blame anyone for the distractions go talk to some bankers.

    ======

    It goes without saying that 9/11 was a tragedy but from a terrorist point of view there was a lot of luck in how the attack panned out; even by Al Quaeda's admission, the aim of the mission was to fly an airliner into a building to make a point. The architects of the Twin Towers had prepared for such an incident and thought that their design was fool proof; it wasn't. I agree 3,000 was a lot of people, and each one a tragic loss, but if you re-enacted the same scenario a hundred times over, I don't believe you would end with the same number of deaths.

    Madrid was successful but despite the loss of life, the numbers were limited compared to New York.

    Yes, and even your earlier foiled reference to 9/11 the elder.

    As I said, everything is a trade off: 'let Afghanistan sort it out for themselves'.

    If the troops came home and you spent the same amount on the protection of our streets, even with the same troops, you could achieve the same security and have some change left over.

    After all the Taliban, or was it Al Quaeda, are hardly likely to launch WMD in the next 40 minutes.....or are they?

    Ali Campbell should let us know.

  • Comment number 21.

    16 andfinally wrote:

    The bigger tragedy is that this government and the BBC use the war as a distraction to fend off the economic disaster that is looming in this country at the expense of those who feel they are dying for a cause.


    No, that was the Falklands War, silly! You're getting mixed up.

  • Comment number 22.

    21. At 11:10pm on 04 Dec 2009, pdavies65 wrote:
    16 andfinally wrote:

    The bigger tragedy is that this government and the BBC use the war as a distraction to fend off the economic disaster that is looming in this country at the expense of those who feel they are dying for a cause.

    No, that was the Falklands War, silly! You're getting mixed up.

    ---------------
    Gosh, that was almost half my lifetime ago, and do you know I could fill my car up for a £5. Now it takes £75 and rising, by the week it appears, still, better than by the day as it was last year.

  • Comment number 23.

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

  • Comment number 24.

    we have been unable to watch bbc hd for several days due to freezing and blank screens!!!! this is the portsmouth hampshire area - what is going on????

  • Comment number 25.

    22 devils advocate

    #I could fill my car up for a £5. Now it takes £75 and rising, by the week it

    Cor! you must have a big car.

  • Comment number 26.

    don't be disapointed folks I'm still your well loved and revered [hated] Grand antidote in another guise.

  • Comment number 27.

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

  • Comment number 28.

    “David Cameron was shown what success looks like in Afghanistan. At a wheat distribution centre he spoke to farmers queuing to collect seed sold to them at a massive discount in the hope that it will tempt them away from growing poppy and fuelling the opium trade which finances the Taliban”.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Success Nick – are you sure?
    This tactic of trying to encourage the farmers to grow alternative crops has been tried time & time again to no avail.
    The poppies make good profits for all of the interested parties, so the farmers invariably end up growing them again.
    They need to sort out the drugs related corruption in the Afghan Government before this kind of tactic will work, but there’s no sign of that happening is there, just the usual noises being made.

    And there was me thinking that the cheap (sic) publicity shots where being monopolised by Brown – pass the sick bag.

  • Comment number 29.

    21 pdavies65 wrote:

    16 andfinally wrote:

    "The bigger tragedy is that this government and the BBC use the war as a distraction to fend off the economic disaster that is looming in this country at the expense of those who feel they are dying for a cause".

    No, that was the Falklands War, silly! You're getting mixed up.

    =====.

    I have been moderated for calling you a name which correctly labelled your intellect as being pretty close to the number given for that site in New York at the base of the fallen Twin Towers.

    The Falklands was a distraction which worked: on the other hand defending Hongkong in 1997 wouldn't have.

    Blair thought he could do the same, like playing MUFC against Stenhousemuir; it hasn't worked and it won't work for Brown.

    Brown has simulated Obama; there is no way he would have bucked the order either way. Could you imagine GB saying we're sending in another 500 troops when Obama said he wouldn't add to the number. And what if he had said that he wasn't sending in another soldier and Obama said he was. Is Britain in control? I don't think so.

    It's going to be another Vietnam unless they bring the troops home now. The reasons 'why' are soldiers are dying are pathetic and not worth dying for. I say this as a Tory and don't care what DC says. It's wrong now, it was wrong in the beginning.

    As for the economic situation. If you think Thatcher was wrong, you ain't seen nothing yet, pd, muadib et al.

    Just wait for QE to run out and then see what happens. If you think we are over the worst, bunker down, 2010 is about to get better.

    And as for those banks, I don't think any of them to be any better or worse than the triumvirate of blame: namely the banks, the regulators and the government, equally together.

    It is the debt that will be prove to be the real WMD and to think it was in our backyard all the time.

    All I am saying is the UK's growing out-of-control deficit is the problem; it is not whether one thinks the war is a good thing or a bad thing.

    In the end, it is the bankrupt state of the nation that will decide further participation in Afghanistan, not the principle of whether the war should be waged at all.

  • Comment number 30.

    3 TheBlameGame

    You only missed one point on why the Pathans/Mujahadeen/Taliban have the upper hand. The not only dont mind dying in battle,(jihad), they see it as an accelerated and advantageous entrance to Paradise.

    Invincible comes to my mind, on past historical disasters and 8 years of current sad losses.

  • Comment number 31.

    24 phippsp

    Ooh get you, cant get HD. If the wind blows, its cold , its hot or for no obvious reason at all digital breaks up, the sound rarely lines up with the lips. I now learn from you HD is just as bad.

    It is not fit for purpose as a replacement for analogue but nobody cares.
    "They" have decided it will change even though it is far from perfected.

    My only hope is that when analogue is turned off and digital is found wanting there will be a truly British revolution. Perchance to dream eh?

  • Comment number 32.

    19 DevilsAdvocate

    Yes the US is moving the battle there.It does apologise tho when its bombs/drones etc kill innocent Pakistanis.

    A question which was asked a lot after 9/11 but never answered and died away;"why do so many people hate America?"

    If only the Americans would start asking themselves the same question.

  • Comment number 33.

    Free Dating Sites
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 34.

    Nick, you wrote : "I find it impossible to assess whether the army's confidence is misplaced but I was struck by their conviction that what they are doing is right."
    Now the last thing anyone would do is criticise our brave soldiers or doubt their professionalism and committment. But I find your statement disturbing. In our democracy, it should NOT be up to soldiers to determine what is right. In our system, that should - indeed must - be the responsibility of elected politicians. Whether these politicians get policy right is a separate issue, but the armed forces should apply and enforce the policy laid down by elected leaders, not pronounce on whether it's right. Caledonian Comment

  • Comment number 35.

    This is a seems like a peripheral story in one sense, but it is does again surface questions about David Cameron. What both parties know is that it is very unusual for a government in any country that is at war, to fight and lose an election. The last 3 weeks have shown a battle over Afghanistan with both sides trying to rest the initiative - to show they care more about the military. They want to get the gloss of supporting our boys; or as some on the right were trying to do undermine the case for being there. Now there is an exit strategy and a clear improvement in the troop numbers and equipment, and the disastrous 'Sun' intervention it has been neutralised as an issue or started to become positive for Gordon Brown. So what does David Cameron do but go out there to show how at one he is with the troops. This is a craven attempt to make political capital out of the situation, trying to identify himself with the tragedy of people with which he has nothing in common.

    What would be much more impressive is to see how he will support those mentally broken soldiers who end up homeless on the streets of London. What have tory councils done previously is sluice homeless off the streets or stop soup runs in an attempt at tough love.

    The only way David Cameron can really show he cares about soldiers is by making commitments to their long term mental health after the war not posing for the camera to try and take the gloss off Copenhagen.

  • Comment number 36.

    34 Caledonian Comment

    You are quite right to say that it is the politicians who should decide, whether what the forces are doing is right. Is it not equally fair to put over the soldiers' view that they are doing a good job, when all the press and public interest only seems to lay with death.

    Occassionally, the view of a spokesperson for an NGO gets an airing when we do hear of the tremeandous work in building infrastructure, that is going on, but it is too easily drowned out by the by talk of body bags and coffins returning home.

    We should hear the good work that is being done.

  • Comment number 37.

    My first thought was if 1,000,000 Afghans live in Hellmand along with 100,000 troops, that's one soldier per 10 population. How I'd LOVE the policing of our town centres on Friday and Saturday nights at that level. We might be able to do something about the drunken, violent louts.

    If they can't "win" at that concentration, heaven knows what.

    Secondly, what do they do with insurgent members when caught? Pickle them? Execute them? Imprison them...no, not our liberal crime-but-no-punishment system - we'd give them community service obviously. Or maybe send them to N. Pakistan for a few months' rehabilitation. It's something we never hear about. Is it just hoped they disappear?

    I still don't know what the allies are hoping to win. I read in the London Evening Standard that critics were railing Obama for suggesting an early pull-out because that would allow the Taliban to regroup. Of course it will. So also it will if troops stay for 5 or 50 years.

    It's happened before, it'll happen again. As soon as the occupying forces leave, it's business as usual. No use relying on the Karzai government who are regarded by the Afghans as interlopers just as the troops.

  • Comment number 38.

    29. andfinally

    Could it be that Cameron is using this opportunity to distract public attention from some of the Tories recent U-Turns?
    For example – the apparent back down over the increase in prison places.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8392027.stm

    And to think a previous thread asked us why Brown was smiling so much?

    It would seem that Cameron has adopted the same kind of diversionary tactics as Brown (& Nick has fallen for it).

  • Comment number 39.

    38 forgotten

    It is in the nature of the catastrophic collapse of the public finances that has ensued since this policy announcement was made, that some policies which were announced before that collapse are unafordable after it. Political realism is all about recognising that fact and moving on.

    Judging from your tone, however, and that of certain government ministers quoted in your link, this does represent clear blue water between the Tories and Labour. If you want policies to be pursued pig-headedly, whether they are affordable or not, then vote Labour. If you want policies to be adapted or delayed where necessary, in recognition of the reality that the government has run out of money, vote Conservative.

  • Comment number 40.

    I was struck by the quote that you reported by British soldiers "the British army aren't losers". I suspect that this and similar thoughts are all that are keeping president Obama and Gordon Brown from ordering withdrawal.

    This is Micawberism. It is impossible for a conventional army to defeat an insurgency supported by a significant proportion of the local population, without moving the civilians into concentration camps, as was done in the Boer war and in Malaya, and presumably would not be acceptable in Helmand. A few bombs in Nad-e Ali and the seed distribution center will quickly put an end to the progress you were shown.

    If this really is a fight against international terrorists, they will be delighted to hear that they are to continue to have the opportunity to humiliate western forces for at least another 18 months.The Taliban are unlikely to "simply sit and wait for international forces to leave", because this would allow Obama to declare a victory and pull out. The Islamic extremists do not want this.

    The most important skill sucessful comanders have is the ability to choose the best ground to make a stand on. Helmand is notoriously bad ground for foreign troops. They should not have been sent there and should be withdrawn as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 41.

    29 andfinally wrote:
    I have been moderated for calling you a name which correctly labelled your intellect as being pretty close to the number given for that site in New York at the base of the fallen Twin Towers.

    Another sticker for my wall chart then.

  • Comment number 42.

    39. jrperry:

    Agreed, but the writing was on the wall for a long time before the crash wasn’t it.
    Heck, even I was able to lift my head out of the Daily Sport for long enough to realise that, so why not the Tories?

    I’d suggest they were riding the apparent tax & spend gravy train along with NuLabour & playing foot loose with their policy making.

    I’m not so sure of the clear blue water you speak of, because both parties are playing things very close to their chests now the cat is out of the bag.
    I have a feeling that this tactic will continue throughout the next election as well, so we will be left reading between the lines as usual.

    Anyway, I would argue that if they are so concerned about spending, they wouldn’t be gallivanting around Afghanistan in Chinook helicopters & using up valuable security resources.

    Still, gripping stuff from Nick all the same – keep it up.

  • Comment number 43.

    17. At 10:20pm on 04 Dec 2009, sagamix wrote:
    fairly @ 4

    What are you implying about the death of Dr Kelly?

    ===

    Maybe this?

    "Six doctors who believe government scientist David Kelly was murdered have launched a ground-breaking legal action to demand the inquest into his death is reopened.
    They are to publish a hard-hitting report which they claim proves the weapons expert did not commit suicide as the Hutton Report decided.
    They have also engaged lawyers to write to Attorney General Baroness Scotland and the coroner Nicholas Gardiner calling for a full re-examination of the circumstances of his death.
    The doctors are asking for permission to go to the High Court to reopen the inquest on the grounds that it was improperly suspended. If Baroness Scotland rejects that demand, or the court turns them down, their lawyers say they will have grounds to seek judicial review of the decision."


  • Comment number 44.

    37 Dr Bob

    You ask the same question I have been asking on this and other sites. What happens to the Taliban prisoners?

    They cant all be killed, can they ?

    It is never mentioned. Please not another scandal waiting to burst.

  • Comment number 45.

    43 yellowbelly

    Lost your 1959 in the U debacle ?

    I have difficulty believing that Saga did not know all that so what's his game making you spell it out.

    There was also the paramedic called to the scene who said Dr Kelly's body was not in a position to have inflicted the wounds. From that statement on the words "foul play" have been to the forefront.

  • Comment number 46.

    33. At 02:03am on 05 Dec 2009, aping ortis wrote:
    Free Dating Sites
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    No it hasn't been removed. It's still there. How odd.

  • Comment number 47.

    42 forgotten

    Compare and contrast:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8393986.stm

    In the link you gave, the Conservatives were making their U-turn, if you must call it that, in order to save money (which, I think we agreed, the government has none of at all).

    In my link, however, Brown is U-turning to spend more money (which, I think we still agree, the government has none of).

    Conservative pragamatism. Labour pig-headedness. Clear blue water in between.

  • Comment number 48.

    Nick

    Good reporting. Nice to see politicians venturing out of the military camps and seeing the "real" Afghanistan. Sure it is dangerous and costs, but to be frank if they wish to pose in front of a tank with some soldiers for a photo op then they could do that in blighty.

    Whether the locals know or care who Brown or Cameron is another matter. I doubt they would know who Obama was either. Cameron's point about timelines is very pertinent, as time does not matter to the Muslim mind in the way that it does for westerners. Tactically the Taliban have also evolved from a disorganised rabble into a sophisticated modern military force. Of courde the previous Prime Minister never lost any sleep when as part of arms sales to even the dodgiest of customers, elite troops such as the SAS passed on their tradecraft skills to the customer's armed forces. Perhaps we are that price just now, hmmm.

  • Comment number 49.

    #17, sagamix wrote:
    fairly @ 4
    What are you implying about the death of Dr Kelly?

    saga,
    Only that there was no formal inquest and the evidence said to identify his cause of death has been sharply challenged by some serious medical operators.
    The Hutton inquiry was not conducted in the forensic way that a coroner would have pursued witnesses.
    It was, in my view, disgraceful that Lord Falconer instructed the coroner that no continuation of an inquest should be permitted.

  • Comment number 50.

    my 48

    Last line should have read:

    Perhaps we are that paying price just now, hmmm.

  • Comment number 51.

    Nick Robinson:

    Thanks, for your important reporting on this important story from Afghanistan...And, I am thinking of the 5th thing in the text!

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 52.

    fairly yellow tunbridge

    Dr David Kelly was a proud and introverted man who was grossly and unfairly humiliated in public. It drove him to take his own life. Awful behaviour by Campbell et al. A terrible human tragedy. That's what happened and it's bad enough - no need to go looking for more.

  • Comment number 53.

    52 Saga
    Mellow yellow I take it?

    There is enough doubt in the public domain which together with the less than satisfactory investigation demands that the matter be investigated properly with a proper inquest. Or is this one the govt would want held in secret ?

    You sent me a wise maxim recetnly , let me return the compliment.

    Tis better to be thought a fool than open your mouth, or in your case post, and confirm it.

  • Comment number 54.

    52. sagamix

    "Dr David Kelly was a proud and introverted man who was grossly and unfairly humiliated in public. It drove him to take his own life. Awful behaviour by Campbell et al. A terrible human tragedy. That's what happened and it's bad enough - no need to go looking for more."

    What makes you so sure that's what happened? There is professional doubt over the original finding... that's why further investigation is being requested by the 6 senior doctors.

  • Comment number 55.

    I watched his testimony live at the time, noted then how distressing he was clearly finding it. He could barely speak by the end. David Kelly looked to me like a trapped animal. He also looked like he was going through serious mental anguish, dignity and self respect slipping away. That ultra pompous Labour MP Andrew MacKinley (who was on the questioning panel) spoke to him with no respect whatsoever. Really humiliated him. I think that's what did it. That on top of everything else. When the news broke of his death, I wasn't in the least surprised. Everything points to him taking his own life and nothing points to anything else. It certainly wasn't an accident, so the only other possibility is murder. Can't see any motive for that, there's no evidence for that. In an episode of Spooks it would be - for sure it would - but real life is usually more prosaic. In my view, murder's about as likely as a contract killing of Diana. I'm not saying don't have an investigation; by all means have one - especially if his family want that (do they?) - but it will find (as is almost always the case) that the simplest, most obvious answer is the right one. Suicide.

  • Comment number 56.

    I dont know about you Blame, but I suppose in a strange kind of way it is an honour to be continually put down by the only person in the world who is right about everything.

    The eminence of those not satisfied with the current decision holds no bounds for Saga. He watched it on the TV, he looked into Dr Kelly's eyes,he performed a psychoanalysis by video link and he alone knows the truth.

    Wonder what he is like on lottery numbers?

  • Comment number 57.

    xt @ 56

    Oh come on, Tun! Stop coming over all "hurt" everytime I disagree with you. Just given you the benefit of my view on this issue, that's all. It's what these Boards are for.

  • Comment number 58.

    57 Saga

    Fair enough but it may help if you showed a little humility in your posts instead of unequivocal pronouncements.

    For example the last sentence in 55 states "but it will find.......Suicide."

    Not that you believe that it may but that it will !

    You mentioned Diana. Well I have my own theory on that. I believe that advantage was taken of an accident. Too many questions about her treatment at the scene and the time taken to get to a hospital that was almost within view of the crash scene.

    But that is just my theory. Those events that negated any chance of her survival could just have panned out that way on the night. Cock up rather than conspiracy. On the other hand...............

  • Comment number 59.

    Best not to attach too much significance to the attitude of the troops. They are indoctrinated very early on with a sense that what they do is right if they follow orders. If they are required to be in Afg, that is sufficient for them and they will not seriously bitch when obeying an order. My 22+ years convinced me that this is a sensible attitude; it is foolish both physically and mentally to go against the grain.

  • Comment number 60.

    As soon as the occupying forces leave..its business as usual. And i may happen again too. Search Engine Optimization

  • Comment number 61.

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

  • Comment number 62.

    This is literally a life threatening issue. It is encouraging that party politics is being put to one side for something so important. I certainly can sense the strong feelings Nick has expressed being there with Cameron and the soldiers. Surely we all agree with the last sentiment - let's hope it works!
    fx alerts

  • Comment number 63.

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

 

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