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Thursday, 3 March 2011

So We Ask What Was the Afghan War About? as MPs Call for Talks with Taliban

So What Was the War About? MPs Call for Talks with Taliban

The House of Commons cross-parliamentary foreign affairs committee has called for direct talks with the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan, making their original decision to go to war ten years ago into little more than an evil farce.
The announcement by foreign affairs committee chairman and Conservative MP for Croydon South, Richard Ottaway, coincided with his party’s leader David Cameron endorsing the idea of talks with the Taliban during an press conference in London.
According to Mr Ottaway and his committee, more “US engagement in talks with the Taliban is needed to bring the conflict in Afghanistan to a close” because “political reconciliation in Afghanistan could be impeded by ongoing fighting with insurgents.”
What this means in plain English is that continuing to wage war against the Taliban is preventing it from entering direct negotiations — a statement of the obvious if ever there was one.
Apart from the idiocy of this comment (befitting though it is for the current Westminster parties), its more sinister aspect is that the admission that the only solution to the conflict is to “politically reconcile” with the Taliban, raises the obvious question: why did they go to war in the first place?
The conflict in Afghanistan has cost the British taxpayer billions of pounds, hundreds of British lives and has served to incite Muslims around the world into attacking UK interests.
In other words, the war has served no useful purpose at all. Indeed, it was directly against British interests to attack Afghanistan, both at home and abroad.
Yet this same cross-parliamentary group which has now called for talks with the Taliban to “end the conflict” enthusiastically supported the war in the first place. The war, promulgated by the previous Labour regime, was supported and encouraged by the Tories, while the Liberal Democrats have, through their coalition with the Conservatives, been brought on board the warmonger bus as well.
The foreign affairs committee’s comments coincided with a visit by Afghan president Hamid Karzai to Mr Cameron in Downing Street, during which the Prime Minister genially promised that even more British taxpayers’ money would be given in aid to Afghanistan.
According to press reports, Mr Cameron also appeared enthusiastic in a joint press conference held yesterday lunchtime for more dialogue with the Taliban.
“The military campaign is only part of the equation on an Afghan-led process for reconciliation and reintegration," he told reporters.
"It is time for the Taliban to start this journey and make this year a decisive year in Afghanistan."
That comment will no doubt not be well-received by the family of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps soldier who was killed in the latest incident in Helmand province just a day ago.
The fatality brings to 358 the number of British military personnel who have died while serving in Afghanistan since the start of operations there in 2001.
The families of the dead might well now be forgiven for asking what their bitter sacrifices were now all about, if the end game is to draw the Taliban back into a “reconciled government.”
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