A Time to Reflect on Afghanistan
In 2001 the United States declared war on terrorism as Operating Enduring Freedom was launched along with the British Armed Forces and Afghan United Front (Northern Alliance). This was in response to 9/11 and now is a time to stop and reflect harder than ever before; does the death of Osama Bin Laden, once the world’s most wanted man, trigger a withdrawal from Afghanistan at a faster rate than was planned, that we can justify a progression towards concluding the war after ten years?
That is highly unlikely. Take Iraq, for example, which is, even now, in the ‘clean up’ stage of the war. British troops may be out of Iraq, but due to our actions there is still a persistent threat against the west from those terrorists and extremists who consider us ‘war-wanters’ and ‘middle eastern haters’. It could be very much like that in Afghanistan, that even if the war were to officially end, Afghan police need the training, the Afghan army requires further development and mentoring, and it seems a long way off from packing up our bags.
The death of Bin Laden could mean an increase in terrorism against the west, and an almost certain retaliation against those not just in the UK and US, but in Afghanistan. Couple that with the infamous fighting season we are about to undergo when the Taliban are at their best, we have a potentially volatile few months ahead around the world.
We must salute the bravery and resilience of our troops who risk their lives on a daily basis to keep us warm at night and safe from terrorists; we must spare them a thought and those who have fallen for their remarkable spirit and endurance during these tough times. Brave men and women who deserve the utmost respect and hospitality, and the very best living conditions and equipment.
Some may say one chapter has closed upon the death of the world’s most wanted man, but we can only hope that in the interests of international diplomacy, security and safety, the international community steps up its security not just at home but in Afghanistan.