3500+ brave men and women from allied armed forces have tragically lost their lives since the war in Afghanistan started on the 7th of October 2001, yet, watching the scenes unfold like they have over the past few days, I am left scratching my head wondering, what was it all for? Why did we just waste 3500 lives to simply hand the country back to the men we were defending it from? we invaded Afganistan because they refused to hand over Bin Laden right? Hardly seems like a valid reason to cause the likely imminent death of thousands of women and children, doubtlessly caught up in the fighting. The UN reports that 2021 had been the most deadly year for civilian casualties with 5000 men, women and children being killed, So why walk away now? So many questions, with seemingly the same amount of reasons for leaving as the reasons for entering.
If you listen to the Americans then they tell you that the objective of the war was “to diminish the capability of Al-Qaeda to wage war on the streets of the allied nations” I.e another 9/11, yet one can’t help but recall the countless terror attacks across Europe, from Charlie Hebdo in Paris to London 7/7 bombings, with tonnes more in-between, now of course the government will tell you that its not Al-Qaeda, its ISIS or the Taliban or Boko Haram but You say tomato, I say tomato, what’s the real difference? They all have aim of bringing Islam to the world.
I don’t have an answer, I actually have no idea its very easy to sit in my castle in leafy Cheshire preaching what the government should do, but I can’t help but think the that way they have pulled out of Afghanistan is nothing short of disastrous. Now I fully understand Joe Bidens point when he says “why should we fight when the Afghans won’t” i am totally onboard with that statement, but the sad reality is the Afghan army was not ready to take over the fight from the Americans. Whilst I agree fundamentally our lads and ladies shouldn’t be in the Middle East, the facts remain that they are, a quick look on YouTube at some of the Afghan Armies training videos and it would be clear to a 6th grader let alone our highly steamed military commanders that these guys were not up to it, they could barely march in formation, how are they going to fight a Taliban army that has been sharpening its tools in the theatre against the biggest most powerful army in the world for the last 20 years. I can’t help but feel that if you make your bed, you should lie in it, Afghanistan is a bed well and truly laid, yet we have just upped and left, and seemingly we are leaving the Taliban with all our weapons and vehicles to further attack our allies with. Not to mention the hundreds or thousands of people that are now going to suffer under a new Taliban rule.
The scenes broadcast across the world this week of people fleeing at the airport, clinging too Aeroplanes and in some cases falling to their deaths was all too painful to watch, panic and desperation setting in for what they are about to be put through under Taliban rule. Afghanistan had started rebuilding, Women were being educated, they could go out in public alone (imagine that) between 2001 and 2021 Afghanistan experienced improvements in health, education, women rights, the average life expectancy increased, 5 million refugees returned to the country, and all for what? For us to hand it back to the Taliban, the Taliban are saying they will respect this new world yet with the sight of the women on shop billboards being painted over you can’t help but feel that what the Taliban say and what they Taliban do are two very different things. It really brings it home to me, It makes you think that what we have been going through here and complaining about the lock downs or the closure of pubs is all trivial in comparison, it pails in comparison to what these people are going to experience, so bad that you would rather cling to the bottom of a plane and face what is almost certain death, than stay and live under more Taliban rule.
I just hope and pray that the people that have helped and worked with our soldiers from translators to cleaners that would clearly be punished for the crime of helping foreign troops are given the sanctuary that them and there families need, because our boys and girls wouldn’t have been able to do their work without them. I understand the Taliban has “said” there is an amnesty for those workers, but you only have to see what’s been happening in the districts around Kabul to know that, that is a load of BS.
The British government has said they will take a measly 20,000 afghan refugees, but the mess we have been a part of causing it hardly seems like a drop in the ocean of the numbers we should be taking. And for the record my views on immigration are fairly conservative I’m not a huge fan of large waves of people being able to just freely enter the country (but that’s a chat for another day) but if you went and burnt somebody’s house down I think you should be expected to house them until it was safe to return.
I will end this by again paying tribute to the brave men and women that have lost their lives in this 20 years war. 3500 parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles that will never see these brave soldiers again. And to the rest of you, we thank you for your service.