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Afghanistan: Is It Mission Impossible?

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Steve Bowbrick Steve Bowbrick 19:01, Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Afghanistan debate

Eric Joyce MP.

Afghanistan debate

Brigadier Buster Howes, Head of overseas operations, MOD.

Afghan debate

Francesc Vendrell, former EU Special Representative to Afghanistan and Lindsey German, Stop the War Coalition.

Afghanistan debate

Eddie Mair, presenter

Afghanistan debate

Eddie Mair, presenter

To warm you up for tonight's debate about the war in Afghanistan, chaired by Eddie Mair, here are some pictures taken at the recording. They were taken by photographer Tully Chaudry.

Steve Bowbrick is editor of the Radio 4 blog

Steve Bowbrick is Editor of the Radio 4 blog


  • Comment number 1.

    A growing list of experts and authoritative voices are calling for a get out strategy in Afghanistan
    If we changed our role from a military force stumbling around looking for elusive geurilla,s to policing borders ports and airports we immediately force our oponents to come out of the shadows in their own communities. They will then have no enemies but their own people which in my view will forward democracy as long as we continue to support their new executive to take control of their people.
    By changing our( and our partners ) troops role from a mobile fighting force to static policing agency we will minimalise losses and I suggest costs.
    Surely this is closer to a UN mandate?

  • Comment number 2.

    I listened to the Afghanistan debate and can not believe that not even once it was mentioned that the whole episode of this Afghan tragedy is about the USA securing the area (inc. Iraq, Iran to come) for tapping into the vast Caspian Basin reserves of gas and oil. I was in particular disappointed with Lindsay German.

  • Comment number 3.

    Eddie asked the panel to answer:
    1. What is the Mission? - all the answers worked from the premise that the UK reacted to the events of 9 / 11. However why did 9/11 happen? Possibly to provoke a reaction from the USA and others which would set off a chain reaction of events which can not be resolved in a place with a history of failure for the foreign invader. Being beguiled into Afghanistan (and Iraq)has put the UN and NATO, the USA and UK into a dangerous reactive mode - reacting to the game of Al Qaeda. - Consequences: threats to the unity of NATO, alliances between USA and European nations, an increase in terrorist threats and the rooting of an eternal conflict between cultures. The Mission in Afghanistan does not address the fundamental goal which should be the security of the UK and its citizens.

    2. What is working - from what was said by Dr John Mackinlay, our home fight against terrorism threats is being more effective than our military operation in Afghanistan.

    3. What is a Win? For the people of Afghanistan - a strong and benign leader who can balance the many tribal factions and provide the ordinary people with security for their children and opportunities for them to live in peace and realise their potential for the good of the Afghan nation (not democracy). For the UK - a shift towards a proactive strategy to engage the terrorists on ground of our choosing which provides increased security for this country. This will mean considerable rethinking of why these events happened in the first place. As the moment The Win is to win in Afghanistan because of the cost of losing is unthinkable - think again.

  • Comment number 4.

    "can not believe that not even once it was mentioned that the whole episode of this Afghan tragedy is about the USA securing the area (inc. Iraq, Iran to come) for tapping into the vast Caspian Basin reserves of gas and oil."

    this is the fact of the uk media at this time, it allows itself to be directed by the govt agenda and rarely tackles the reality of the claims being stated either by ministers or their affiliates.

    for instance today the prime minister yet again repeated that 3/4 of all threats emanate from pakistan, this remains un-evidenced and as dr john mackinlay pointed out it is not our presence in afghansitan that is preventing terrorism on our streets in the uk but the actions taken here by our security agents and police.

    it is pretty clear from the neo con shills from the usa the target is in reality pakistan and its nuclear capability. all of the uk propaganda is leading to that end, our intervention into that country. reports suggest that india has promised some 100 000 troops , the increase in mercenaries (Xe aka Blackwater) and of course the steady increase of both american and british forces.


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