The total cost in lives, of the futile and senseless attack and occupation of Afghanistan, of American and British service personnel, is, in monetary terms, approaching $360 billions; and in terms of service personnel, over 2700 American and British have made the ultimate sacrifice, with thousands more wounded, physically and psychologically. We went in to remove the Taliban from power, as they gave succour, space and training facilities to the terrorists teams of Al Quaeda and of Usama bin Laden before, during and after 9/11. We won; but instead of establishing a ‘Islamic Democratic Republic’ which is probably the first time such a lunatic title has actually been written down in earnest we should have simply said to the Afghans ‘Sort Yourselves Out’.
But, ignoring the history of Afghanistan, from the first invasion in 1839, through the retreat and massacre of Elphinstone’s Army in 1841, onwards through the Second (1879) and Third Afghan (1919) wars; and even after the Russian invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 1979, we in the West thought that we understood the Afghans; we thought that a mob of truly-corrupt religious nut-cases could be converted to a stable democracy, we thought they could be persuaded to accept Western ideals and moral standards. So we stayed, and fought, and bled: and eventually, we crept out.
But the standards we have set ourselves, of ordinary Western moral behaviour, are just foreign to the Afghan, corrupt and viciously immoral as they are. When a Staff Sergeant beat a corrupt Afghan Police captain for kidnapping and raping a young Afghani boy, the Staff Sergeant is listed for early removal from the Forces because he, and all Americans in country, were ordered to ‘look the other way’ because ‘it is part of their Culture’.