The death toll mounts: three servicemen were killed in action in July on top of six in June, and yet (or perhaps unsurprisingly) the war in Afghanistan has failed to reform Afghanistan. US General David Petraeus says the Afghan government “is a criminal syndicate”. The UN’s Assistance Mission there sums up, “women are denied their most fundamental human rights”. The United Nations reports that in the past seven years life expectancy has fallen and child mortality has risen.
When Afghanistan achieves development and democracy is up to the Afghan people. NATO cannot and will not do it for them. To make NATO forces’ withdrawal depend on achieving development and democracy there would mean staying for ever.
Last year’s YouGov/Sun poll confirmed that the British public wants the troops to withdraw. 28 per cent said they should be “withdrawn immediately”, while a further 44 per cent said that “most troops should be withdrawn soon, and the rest within the next year or so”. That is, 72 per cent want the troops out. This is almost exactly the same figure as in previous polls.
An 8 June BBC World News America/Harris Poll found that 52 per cent of Americans believe that the United States should move to get its troops out of Afghanistan “now’”, with only 35 per cent believing that the troops should stay. A Pew Research Center poll of mid-June showed 56 per cent of Americans want an “immediate” pullout.
US president Obama recently said that the US should not be spending billions on wars overseas while the country is struggling economically and he promised to shift from foreign to domestic issues. He said, “America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home.” In the midst of economic crisis, his government pours workers’ money into war. ■