The length of time British troops can expect to remain in Afghanistan has raised its head again. Apparently, the Afghan government do not think it will last forever. But wait a minute. Afghan government? What’s that then?
As far as I can see there isn’t an Afghan government. There is certainly a Kabul city state with a government backed by the west. But can we really call it an Afghan government?
I don’t think so.
Rather, Afghanistan remains what it has always been – a disputed land between here and there, occupied by the largest ethnic mixture imaginable. And Afghanistan cannot be understood unless we realize this.
In many ways it is similar to early Britain. That, too, was a melting pot of diverse tribes. But rather than continually fighting each other, the Brits came to an eventual piece of brilliance.
Far better, it was decided, to compromise.
And that formed the foundation for what put the ‘Great’ into Britain. We tend to talk before fighting today. Which is something the Afghans have never learnt.
And until they do, we can either leave them to train terrorists by the tens of thousands, or we can stay. And if we stay, it is likely to be forever. It is about time we realized that. And make the most of a no win situation.
© Anthony North, January 2008
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