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Has the Taliban Won in Afghanistan? Join the debate

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Steve Bowbrick Steve Bowbrick 16:49, Tuesday, 7 September 2010

We'd like you to join tomorrow's Radio 4 debate about the outcome of the war in Afghanistan. Host Eddie Mair is heading over to Chatham House to record the programme after he's finished on PM this evening, for transmission at 2000 tomorrow. We'll be opening the discussion here on the blog half an hour before transmission at 1930 and producers Hugh Levinson and Jo Mathys will be on-hand to host the debate.

There are two ways to join in: either tweet using the hashtag #TalibanDebate or type your comment directly into the live chat here on the blog. We'll publish as many of your messages as we can during the debate and the live chat will be archived permanently after it finishes.

Steve Bowbrick is editor of the Radio 4 blog

  • Listen to the debate on Radio 4 FM (92 - 95), DAB, digital TV or on the Radio 4 web site at 2000 on 8 September 2010.
  • The picture shows Taliban in Afghanistan. It's from the BBC News web site.


  • Comment number 1.

    In order to win a war, it is not only necessary for the military to win on the battlefield, it is also necessary for the losers to accept that they have lost. In the days of asymmetric warfare and religious fundamentalism this is more true than ever.

  • Comment number 2.

    Truth be told, nobody has 'won' this war..yet.

    We gain a bit of ground, then we lose that ground..to them, then we retake it..and lose it all over again.

    We certainly havent won the population, the 'hearts and minds'; we cant expect to with the rising death toll amongst innocents/civlians.

    The Taliban also havent won the people, yet, how long it will remain this way is unknown.

    In almost a decade we cant say that we have 'improved' their life, so what incentives do they have to snub the taliban? a job at the coca cola factory in Kabul paying pennies?

    Neither winning nor losing is about the only achievement NATO and the Taliban can both claim, thus far.

    Its stalemate, only its costing us considerably more than it is them, financially, at a time when most of the contributing countries are effectively bust.

    Hard for some to accept, but its the reality.

  • Comment number 3.

    We will only fail in Afghanistan if the public fail to support the operation to bring a real democracy to the Afghan peolple.

  • Comment number 4.

    The majority of Taliban and insurgents are from afghanistan, they do not need the logistics required by the coalition.
    Like the russians, the coalition will tire and leave.

  • Comment number 5.

    No Western nation is actually fighting in Afghanistan for the reasons that they present to their public. However bright and brave the troops and commanders, as longas the UKs principal aim in AFg is to sustain its place under the US defence umbrella, at the lowest possible price (an aim it shares with every other European NATO state), our governement will be unwilling (as was the Labour administration that committed forces in the first place) to make the necessary effort.

    America is little better-placed. It is clear that they do not believe the Taliban to be a threat to US national survival, and - much to the delight of the Taliban - they have made clear that US withdrawal is both inevitable and imminent. This lack of commitment manifests itself in many ways, not least the inability to convey to the public, the importance of the campaign.

    The Taliban will not 'win': in effect, throough its transparently uncommitted posturing, the West will 'defeat' itself.

    The consequences for ordinary Afghans do not bear thinking about.

  • Comment number 6.

    Mariam says that sending more troops is not the solution - what is her solution to removing the Taliban?

  • Comment number 7.

    Unfortunately compromise with the Taliban is not a possibility - we either hand Afghanistan back to them (in which case we almost certainly have to go back in at a later stage), or we fight them tooth and nail now. The latter is the better option.

    I hope General Petraus will turn the situation around for the coaltion, and I hope Karzai can one day create a government that will command the respect of the majority of Afghans.

    But whatever eventuates, allowing the Taliban back in is the worst possible outcome for Afghans and the international community.


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