What should Liberal Democrats be saying about Afghanistan?

Ed Davey called for Parliament to be brought back from its Summer holidays to discuss the growing crisis in Afghanistan. His comments two days ago seem even more urgent now as the Taliban advance on Kabul in an entirely predictable consequence of the withdrawal of US and UK troops from the country.

I am not a fan of military action. There have been very few deployments of our troops I have been in favour of because we often seem to ultimately make things a lot worse. There have been a few exceptions to this, for humanitarian purposes, such as intervention in Kosovo, but it does take a lot to persuade me of the need for it.

On this occasion, our withdrawal before there is a strong enough political and physical  infrastructure to bring stability,  and a better life for the people has put the population in huge danger. Not only that, but the Taliban has form for stoking international terrorism so their presence makes the world less safe.

Joe Biden is in a difficult position. Surely he must know that Afghanistan and the world have become less safe because of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw US forces, but he is basically worried  of Trump in three years’ time if he sends them back in.  The Trump administration’s peace agreement with the Taliban in February last year was a disgrace with no guarantees on human rights or even a mention of women’s rights. Subsequent talks aimed at finding a political settlement for Afghanistan between the Government and the Taliban had few women in the room.

The Government of Afghanistan’s record on human rights is far from exemplary. Amnesty’s 2020 report on the country said:

Women and girls continued to face gender-based discrimination and violence throughout Afghanistan, especially in areas under Taliban control, where their rights were violated with impunity and violent “punishments” were meted out for perceived transgressions of the armed group’s interpretation of Islamic law

The report speaks of 2 million girls denied education, people not having access to healthcare or support during the pandemic, children facing harassment and sexual violence. It’s a difficult read.

You would have thought that in almost two decades, more progress would have been made on these issues. To leave with so many people vulnerable to abuse is the height of irresponsibility.

Ed said on Friday:

“If Donald Trump had made this decision, the whole world would rightly be calling it out. Joe Biden cannot get a free pass just because he is a Democrat.

“Afghanistan is spiralling towards a devastating civil war. Millions of women and girls are facing medieval brutality. International terrorism will thrive under the Taliban. Given the tragedy unfolding before our eyes, Parliament must now be recalled.

“Every effort must be taken to protect the innocent citizens of Afghanistan who have been betrayed by the nature of this withdrawal. If the US won’t, the UN must. The UK Government must use its seat at the table at the UN Security Council to initiate consultations on the deployment of UN peacekeepers in Afghanistan.”

Today Ed has written to the Prime Minister asking for urgent talks between the Westminster leaders to discuss the UK response, including protection for interpreters and others who had put themselves at risk to help us. He said:

Dear Prime Minister,

I write to you at a time of crisis.

On 8 July 2021, you made a statement to Parliament ahead of the final withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan. After twenty years of service – twenty years in which 457 British service personnel tragically lost their lives – you told Members that, “we are not about to turn away” from Afghanistan. You spoke of your desire to, “preserve those vital gains and the legacy of what has been achieved”.

Yet just over a month later, that legacy and those gains now face total annihilation at the hands of the Taliban.

With each passing day, they capture more territory and in each city where the white flag of the Taliban is raised, it ushers in a new era of injustice for the women and girls whose liberties we fought for over two decades.

Violence is spreading. Over 1,000 innocent civilians have been killed in the last month alone. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been displaced this year already.

Wherever the Taliban takes root, it is likely that a hotbed for international terrorism will start to flourish.

After nearly twenty years in Afghanistan, the coming days mark a crucial point in the history of the country and the legacy of our troops’ service there. Making the wrong decisions now risks not just the prospects of millions of innocent Afghan citizens, but the potential destabilisation of the region, a full-blown refugee crisis and the emergence of a new international terrorist threat.

It is without doubt that we face a crucial point in history and, as a nation, we must act together before it is too late.

Over the long duration of the War in Afghanistan, three national parties have been in Government and five Prime Ministers have held office. This is an issue of utmost national importance. It is therefore right that this issue is above party politics and that politicians come together over this issue.

That is why I am asking you as Prime Minister to immediately call a Westminster Leaders Crisis Meeting and hold cross party talks with every leader on the Afghanistan crisis.

Given the tragedy unfolding before our eyes and the grave threat to national security this raises, I urge you to invite all Westminster party leaders from across the UK to meet with you to discuss our nation’s response to this crisis. It is also right that Parliament is recalled as soon as possible to discuss the UK’s response.

Prime Minister, if we do not act, this moment will be seen as our Suez.

The UK has a responsibility to the people of Afghanistan and to the international community. Every effort must be taken to protect the innocent citizens of Afghanistan who have been betrayed by the nature of this withdrawal. That must include consultations at the United Nations regarding the potential deployment of a peacekeeping force.

There are particular concerns now regarding the estimated 4,000 UK nationals who are still in Afghanistan. I welcome the deployment of paratroopers to help evacuate our citizens. But given the rapidly deteriorating security situation, we need a clear commitment and timescales regarding this deployment. It is vital that no-one is left behind.

We must also take urgent actions to assist those to whom we owe a particular debt. Those brave interpreters, and other locally employed staff, who risked their lives to enable our Armed Forces to do their job must be brought home. It would be a stain on our nation’s reputation to abandon those who supported us at a time of crisis.

Now is the time to act – to do the right thing, and bring political parties together in our national interest. It is time to urgently call UK Westminster party leaders to Number 10, recall Parliament and begin forming plans with our international partners.

The stark crisis we are facing right now not only risks threatening our national security for years to come but also shows us failing to meet our responsibilities to the Afghan people.

I look forward to hearing your urgent response on this matter.

Doing nothing should not be an option. We have an obligation to the Afghan people we have let down. What we should do is a much more difficult question.

What do you think?

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

34 Comments

  • We should be trying to get as much help for Afghan Refugees as possible.

    Thats all we can do. We are a Minor Party in a country with small military capabilities & few friends.
    For now The Taliban have won & any future problems for them will be internal.

  • Brad Barrows 15th Aug '21 - 10:44am

    This is nothing less than an embarrassing failure of US/NATO policy. For those of us who actually marched against the planned invasion of Afghanistan 20 years ago, this was all entirely predictable, though I concede that I expected this to happen in 5 years rather than take 20. I have nothing but complete sympathy for our military families who lost loved once fighting in Afghanistan and for those still living with the injuries from their service in the country – to realise that their loss was for nothing must be terrible.

  • I agree that we could and should offer asylum to those who supported the NATO forces, but Ed should be well aware that the deployment of a U.N. pace keeping force is a non starter.
    The U.N. is virtually powerless in this situation.
    Even if there was a U.N. force deployed, their history in the Balklands suggests that Afghan civilians would hardly be any safer.

  • Yet another New Labour fiasco costing billions to the taxpayer not to mention the death & injury toll.
    Add a totally feeble US President for good measure to ensure the Taliban won game,set & match.

  • It’s just awful. I can’t claim to understand all of it, and tbh I mistrust anyone who does claim as much. It’s an incredibly complicated situation with no easy solutions.

    It was clearly wrong for US and UK+ troops to leave when they did and especially in the way they did. Even if our collective governments were to admit they got it wrong and were to return to providing air support ASAP, so much damage has already been done that it’s not going to be easy to get back to where things were just a few months ago.

    It was the height of selfishness and recklessness to withdraw support. I understand that it’s the kind of policy that sounds good to a domestic audience, but true leaders would have explained the truth of the situation. I can’t help but think that the unwillingness to understand the consequences of allowing the Taliban to return is down to plain racism and sexism. Unfortunately, many people who like to think of themselves as progressive or with an interest in social justice and human rights are prepared to accept lower standards for brown people and women.

    My heart is breaking watching the news this morning, knowing how terrified the people of Kabul must be right now, especially the women. We’ve all watched documentaries or read books on historical atrocities and wondered how it was allowed to happen. Now it’s happening in front of our eyes on rolling news, and the inaction is palpable.

  • The Taliban are winning because they are willing to kill large numbers of innocent people to impose their religious views on Afghanistan, and are themselves willing to die if necessary.

    Afghan troops are losing because the Afghan government is corrupt and incompetent.

    The USA (or the UK) cannot change that. If the Afghan people do not want to be ruled by the Taliban, they need to be willing to fight and die to defeat them. We can help by arming anti-Taliban forces if we consider them competent, and providing some air support, but that is about it.

  • The idea that the political ideals of Western democracy can take root in Afghanistan is somewhat naive in a region where human rights are somewhere near the bottom of urgent political priorities.
    The Raj fought a virtually continuous military campaign along the Northwest frontier of British India througout its existence with three military incursions into Afghanistan that ended in defeat. Gladstone, speaking of the 2nd Afghan war in the 19th century and British foreign policy said:
    “Those hill tribes had committed no real offence against us. We, in the pursuit of our political objects, chose to establish military positions in their country. If they resisted, would not you have done the same? … The meaning of the burning of the village is, that the women and the children were driven forth to perish in the snows of winter … Is that not a fact – for such, I fear, it must be reckoned to be – which does appeal to your hearts as women … which does rouse in you a sentiment of horror and grief, to think that the name of England, under no political necessity, but for a war as frivolous as ever was waged in the history of man, should be associated with consequences such as these? ”

    Afghanistan is lost to the west. The battle now is for control of territory between the largely Pashtun Taliban and the Afghan ruling government and its tribal allies. Afghan’s external relations will be dominated by Chinese Investment.
    The west will be looking to the Pakistani military to contain terrorist activity in the region. It is as Zhou Enlai said , in a play upon the maxim of Clausewitz: “All diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means.”

  • John Marriott 15th Aug '21 - 12:57pm

    I tend to agree with Mohammed Amin. The only problem is that what he proposes sounds very much like what JFK did to support the Diem regime in South Vietnam in the 1960s. Setting aside for a moment the corruption at the highest state and provincial level in Afghanistan, if the ordinary people are no longer prepared to stand up and be counted, I’m afraid that there is little stomach for a continued conflict on our side of the political divide.

  • Steve Trevethan 15th Aug '21 - 2:05pm

    In the immediate future, might we welcome and accommodate as many Afghan refugees as is possible?

    In the longer term future, might we avoid following the government and arms industry of the U. S. A into their selfish and and so harmful wars and other forms of conflict?

    Might we and our leaders of all political parties read some relevant history?

    In the late 1980s the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan and there was a democratically elected Prime Minister. But the U. S. kept funding the guerrilla campaign against the duly elected government in Kabul. In 1992 the elected Najibullah government was overthrown and chaos ensued and still is.

    Please read more.
    http://www.gasandoil.com/oilaround/2011/04/afghan-history-al-qaeda-the-taliban-and-the-texas-oil-giants?month:int=8&orig_query=

  • Jenny Barnes 15th Aug '21 - 3:56pm

    1954 – 62 The algerian war of independence against France is strikingly similar. In that conflict, the colonially supported government & organisations were corrupt, and some commentators have talked about how the police would go home at the end of their shifts at work – and come out again with their government provided weapons as freedom fighters.
    Was the Afghan war a neo-colonial one? Quite possibly. It looks to me as if the Afghanis will soon have got what they collectively wanted – politics by other means, if you like, and have a theocratic, violent – but importantly stable and not corrupt – government. Despite that I’m sure there are many Afghans who will be unhappy with the outcome, as many in the UK are unhappy with the results of any general election.
    It’s said that a trillion dollars was spent on this war. Where did all that money go? Who thought they were in line to get their snouts in the trough? The “West” is unwilling to give a tenth of that amount to help fund climate change prevention and mitigation in developing countries – think what could have been done with all of it!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Aug '21 - 4:21pm

    This is good analysis by Caron, and by friends here.

    The war in my opinion was justified. The Iraq fiasco was not. For unlike this conflict, Sadam Hussain, however awful, was not a threat of the same magnitude, to us.

    The reason for war must be, first, to protect us. Second, to deal with a threat to us. Thirdly, to punish and squash evil, or inhumanity, even if not a threat to us, but to another. Iraq failed all but the latter. The conflict this piece refers to, was one that has all these reasons at heart.

    Bin Laden was there and his part in the World Trade centre atrocity was admitted, and a direct and obvious declaration of outright war. To do nothing, as the far left as ever supported the doing , of that, precisely nothing, was unthinkable.

    The Taliban are another matter. They have changed from back then, in at least containing an element that convince, they are worth negotiating with.

    I am far, very in fact, from convinced. Clearly women, and all rights, have now been trashed. That is tragic.

    To do nothing is not on. As colleagues say, we at least must support, with arms, those who know that to do nothing, is to betray trust of those who need our values. And our strengths.

  • nvelope2003 15th Aug '21 - 5:30pm

    Fiona: I don’t think the Afghans are brown people. Are there any democratic states on the Western pattern in countries with an Islamic culture or other non Christian tradition for that matter ? Even the USA with its history of rigging the elections by altering electoral boundaries and limiting voting rights to exclude people who do not support the established order is hardly a shining example, and nor is the UK with its First Past the Post system of elections which produces governments with the support of less than 50% of the voters, less than 40% on some occasions and less than 35% in some individual constituencies.

  • Caron is right when she says “We have an obligation to the Afghan people we have let down,” and I agree with almost everything said here, but it is all much, much too late to do anything about it.

    Paul mentions refugees, but it is so much more than just refugees (for whom it is almost certainly too late to do anything but wring our hands for in despair).
    Brad mentions military families whose sons and daughters gave their lives for a government decision whose consequences later governments ran away from.

    Justin refers to asylum seekers, most of who wanted to be part of building a democracy in their homeland, not to have to run away – although most will not even have a chance to run.

    John mentions a feeble US president. Of course the main damage was done by a chancer who said “5,000 terrorist prisoners released, in return for you sending people to pretend to talk about peace – no problem Mr Taliban.” However, it all collapsed because of a decision to rush to the exit by another president who (along with his advisors should hang their heads in shame) refused to call out the populist incompetence of his predecessor for what it was – craven surrender – and instead condemned thousands of Afghan citizens, men, women and probably their children to death.

    What will stick for the Democrats will be the memory of the chaos of the retreat, just like Vietnam for Ford and Operation Eagle Claw for Jimmy Carter. They both lost at the next election. The trouble is that in 2024 the US will be faced with a choice between a self-centred, isolationist Republican party led by a narcissist, and a Democratic party obsessed with personal rights for very well off people, but who have been seen to have little to say for the dispossessed and downtrodden.

  • Andrew Toye 16th Aug '21 - 1:00am

    The Taliban’s record on human rights is disgraceful – we all know that – but do we need to be in perpetual war with them? If so, we need to be at war with all kinds of regimes all over the world simultaneously and lose hopelessly. The reason we went into Afghanistan was for their hosting of Al-Qaeda and their terrorist training camps. We can only hope that the Taliban have learned their lesson and will not tolerate terrorism again in their country.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 16th Aug '21 - 12:49pm

    David as in Evans

    Excellent strong critique. What then now would you argue in favour of?

  • nvelope2003 16th Aug '21 - 1:40pm

    Biden said he did not want to leave the Afghanistan problem to his successor so I guess he does not plan to stand again and therefore is the right person to take this difficult decision if it had to be done, which is apparently very popular in the US, at least until the immigrants start to arrive.

  • Nonconformistradical 16th Aug '21 - 3:14pm

    @nvelope2003
    “Biden said he did not want to leave the Afghanistan problem to his successor so I guess he does not plan to stand again and therefore is the right person to take this difficult decision…”
    Good point – he’s 78 now.

  • If we genuinely want a world in which any citizen of any country can be free to visit (and return home from!) any other country of a different culture, in safety, and in which any citizen of every country has the same minimum basic human rights irrespective of what culture, ethnicity or religion they are, then I’m afraid the only answer to that is to embrace a positive interventionist attitude. That has to be accompanied by the understanding that it can easily take a lot more than twenty years to build a new state.

    The lesson we should have learned from the several failed missions in various middle eastern countries is not that we should not intervene at all, but that we have to accept the costs and long-term commitment. And long-term means long-term. Not once have we completed the task.

    It also means that we can’t expect to be able to involved with an indefinite number of conflicts. There are those – and this sadly includes President Biden – who say they could name another ten countries as bad as Afghanistan in one way or another and question whether the western democracries could get involved in all of them, as if that somehow justifies withdrawing from Afghanistan and means that we should abandon a half-finished job? How ridiculous a leap of logic.

    Of course one can’t get involved in all of them. But we had genuine and imperative need to oust the Taliban (and Al Qaeda) from Afghanistan, which means that however arbitrary it might seem in the face of all the other nasty regimes around the globe, Afghanistan was the country of all those “candidates” that we had to get involved in.

    We should have stayed. We should have been prepared to accept much greater long-term costs and have had a much better strategy for ridding the country of corrupting and properly creating the stable institutions of state rather than just throwing money at things without due care and diligence. We trained many individual soldiers but didn’t train the institution of the Afghan army, it seems. Nor the civil service.

    So, I think Liberal Democrats should be saying we should not have left. We should have sacrified more of our wealth and comfort to make the world a better place. I also suspect we will eventually have to go back there with a military presence. If that is the case, Liberal Democrats should support that.

  • Michael, 20 years is enough! Or should have been to prevent such a rapid take over, we and others did train their army, their police, built schools and roads maybe not perfect in our time there but we demonstrated and encouraged a different way of life….too no avail. No to going back and on another matter, no to a federal U.K.

  • David Evans 17th Aug '21 - 8:13am

    Hi Lorenzo, The simple fact is that our leaders (I include Joe Biden in this) have chosen to walk away and to sacrifice those who helped us. They fail to accept that trust is vital for liberal democracy to thrive anywhere (or possibly chose to believe that they are so superior that it does not apply to their decisions). We know that this is a) wrong in fact and in principle [which is how we judge ourselves and others] and b) is recipe for disaster in anything other than the very short term [which how too many senior politicians judge things].

    We have all seen political decisions go catastrophically wrong so many times over recent years, at home and abroad and they all share the same hallmarks.
    1) Decisions are made at a whim by a very small number of people in positions of power in the organisation,
    2) These people then use their power and influence over the paid party bureaucracy, personal followers and organisational ultra loyalists to dragoon extra support,
    3) This it is forced through at each layer in the organisation until it becomes a fait accompli by the decision being made public, either by direct action (as in the case of parliamentary votes) or if necessary by announcing to the press a leader’s decision, when any attempt to overcome it can be portrayed as disloyalty.
    4) The organisation is then stuck with a choice between carrying on regardless of adverse consequences, denying fault and rewriting history to pretend this was always intended or alternatively accepting failure and taking the blame. This second option is never chosen.
    However, in the long term the organisation’s reputation collapses as the truth becomes ever more apparent. Eventually a new leader emerges who can say ‘Hey it wasn’t me’ and some sort of recovery can begin, but from a much lower baseline of trust and support.

    This coupled with a much too dismissive view of our enemies’ abilities then leads to disaster. Thus Farage and Johnson smashed both Cameron and Clegg over the EU referendum; Forster and Johnson smashed Von der Leyen when she tried to rescind the NI protocol over vaccine exports in order to hide EU vaccination incompetence; and Sturgeon conned Swinson into supporting a quick general election (which gave Johnson just what he wanted).

    That is the problem we have to learn how to stop recurring.

  • It is becoming clear that we cannot rely on the USA who we were told would be a better partner than the EU at the time of the Referendum.There is no sign of that trade agreement which was supposed to be better than the one we had with the EU, in fact it has been made clear that there will be no such agreement. The USA like all states acts solely in its own interests. Apart from the Telegraph and Express newspapers there seems little enthusiasm for Brexit and its supporters have mostly gone silent or even admitted that they got it wrong. Maybe it is time to review our decision to leave an organisation where we had an equal voice in order to become a pawn of the USA. This would seem an excellent opportunity.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 17th Aug '21 - 11:10am

    David

    Excellent analysis

  • Barry Lofty 17th Aug '21 - 2:44pm

    The real losers are the ordinary Afghanis who once again have been left to live a life of abject misery after having the hope of a better future dangled before then only to have it snatched away yet again. Envelope2003,s comments sums up where the UK finds itself.

  • It is certainly arguable that the invasion of Afghanistan was misguided whilst at the same time believing that the Western powers were wrong to withdraw in the way that they did.

    Military action can be effective when it is targeted and with a clear goal for example the aerial strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the interventions in Kosovo and Sierra Leone. I think it would have made more sense to wage an aerial campaign to take out the Al-Qaeda training camps rather than a full-scale invasion.

    However the atmosphere after 9-11 was such that the case for invasion was obvious and if you had doubts you were portrayed as a pacifist or worse.

  • David Evans 18th Aug '21 - 3:45pm

    Martin, You ask a very valid question “specifically what would David Evans argue for now with respect to Afghanistan (and surrounding countries)?” and it deserves an answer.

    Firstly, as we are not in government, we, as Lib Dems, have no direct power to do anything directly (a consequence of actions I referred to earlier in this thread), except urge, implore or beg that the Conservatives do everything necessary. However, we all know that they hold us in absolute contempt and will do nothing we say unless it is in their interest (and therefore they would be doing it anyway).

    Equally we have no influence with the US, nor with the EU (another consequence of actions I referred to earlier in this thread) so other than advise our European Liberal Friends if they ask us for our views, there is little to do there either.

    There are two things we can do and need to do. These are:-

    1) do everything we can do to support the anyone trying to help the Afghan people in their plight, and
    2) make a clear Lib Dem case for why we what we were working for in Afghanistan was right:
    – the right of someone campaigning for girls to be able to receive an education without being shot in the head
    – the right of women to participate in public life,
    – the right of men and their families not to be murdered because they helped us, and many, many more.

    We then need to use it to build our party up once more so we are a force in Westminster and when we are there, not be so naive and disorganised as to allow our leaders to make such abjectly flawed and damaging decisions as to destroy it all again.

    Finally I would suggest we all think on what William Hague (ex leader of the Conservative party) said after the completion of coalition negotiations
    – “I think we have just destroyed the Liberals.”
    and think on what Warren Buffet (one of the most successful entrepreneurs the US ever produced)
    – “You can’t make a good deal with bad people.”

  • Lorenzo Cherin 18th Aug '21 - 5:21pm

    David this is very good commentary. I believe that is why people like Layla, Moran and Sarah Green are those I shall back as future leaders.

  • Peter Martin 19th Aug '21 - 1:20pm

    The Lib Dems don’t usually have any problem bringing the EU into the discussion but not so much on this topic.

    No-one has mentioned the EU countries’ roles , or lack of, in this discussion.

    Did they let down Britain, Canada and America by choosing to offer no more than token support or was it a smart move on their part? Maybe it was both?

    Saying that an armed intervention in Afghanistan was a futile project, and therefore they weren’t going to have anything to do with it ,would have been a perfectly valid and justifiable position to have adopted. Conversely, doing just the opposite and throwing their full support behind the Americans and British would have been a sustainable position to have held too.

    But in typical wishy-washy EU fashion they did neither. They were asked for a Euro and gave a Eurocent!

  • David Evans 19th Aug '21 - 6:52pm

    Martin,

    Indeed. When you say ‘Your last sentence suggests hopelessness for Afghans under the Taliban and no possibility of dealing with them,’ I think you are very near to the nub of the matter. Experience of their previous period of rule shows them to be ruthless, Islamic fundamentalists for whom assassination or execution is the answer to anyone who upsets them for any reason. The only hope for Liberal Democratic Afghans is to keep an extremely low profile and hope they don’t get noticed.

    As for your comment on Paddy Ashdown getting noticed, his military experience and the fact that he was a leader of a successful party with 46 MPs probably gave him the platform to speak out from. Ed could speak out every bit as eloquently, but no-one in the media would pay any attention.

  • Peter Martin 20th Aug '21 - 5:48am

    @ Martin,

    You must be mistaking me for someone else who has said the EU countries weren’t involved in the Afghan war. They obviously were, but words I used were “token support” even including the LDV article! You acknowledge the fact yourself when you use the phrase “…..but actively backed by the UK.” You couldn’t say that about anyone else in the EU.

    The EU collectively and the EU countries individually, who do have armies, have all been “wishy washy”. This means they lack the courage of any convictions they may have. I would have liked to see America’s allies, including the UK, to have refused to become involved in Afghanistan. Anyone with any intelligence, and who could read a history book, would have been been able to see the danger.

    I can understand that many may well have disagreed with what you would term my “right wing bias”. OK Fair enough. But at least they should have said so and gone into Afghanistan with the same level of enthusiasm as Canada, Britain and the US. If a job is worth doing it is worth doing properly. Joe Bourke made the point that the war in Afghanistan was lost when Iraq was invaded. The allies had too few resources. He could be right, and if so, that extra enthusiasm could have made all the difference.

  • @Martin, Apologies for not noticing your last point.

    However, when you say “The best hope for Liberal Afghans is to escape to build new lives far from Afghanistan,” you have to realise that for those in Kabul (where most of those Liberal Afghans live), it involves travelling 585km to the nearest border point that is open (Spin Buldak). With a family? In a Car? and not get noticed or stopped? I gather many are trying it but how many don’t make it? Then get to somewhere else far from Afghanistan where you are allowed to stay, with how much money, certainly not in Afghan Afghani notes in your pocket?

    I don’t see it as an option for most people there. Do you?

  • William Francis 12th Sep '21 - 7:05pm

    @Steve Trevethan

    Somehow I doubt the Soviets installed a government more functional than the US did post-2001, given how they literally assassinated the hardline communist Hafizullah Amin in 1979 because they thought he was a CIA agent ( as he was losing support across the nation).

    In any case, given how dependent that government was on the USSR and the decade of American mujahadeen financing via the ISI, why must conspiracies about an almost non-existence afghan oil and gas industry be invoked?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Fiona
    Too often when people talk about 'dealing with the Greens' it's about whether or not we should do deals with them, or warning that they are not (always) our fri...
  • Denis Mollison
    @Jaz - You say "I can point to a major document signed by multiple transphobic organisations and individuals in the UK that calls for the elimination of people ...
  • Katharine Pindar
    Lorenzo: again you are making a helpful comment, thank you! William, well done the Parliament choir! But I am no longer participating in the great Masses, ju...
  • William Wallace
    Katharine: Do tell us what you are singing at present! I should tell all those who think that Westminster has no redeeming elements that the Parliament Choir ...
  • David Raw
    @ theakes "we need a strategy to combat them." More radical policies which appeal to the general public, more impressive leadership, and more door knockin...