How can we be there to fight the terrorists when the terrorists have left?

The government says we're in Afghanistan to stop it becoming a safe haven for terrorists. Problem is, the war has changed and that rationale no longer stands up to scrutiny

The government is right when it says that the death of Lt Tim O'Donnell is no reason to pull our troops out of Afghanistan, but it still has one heck of a problem explaining to New Zealanders why we're there and what we're achieving.

When I asked a member of a New York think-tank last week how the war was going, they replied, "I can tell you in one word. Badly." Seven years in, this is no longer the mission it once was.

The death toll of foreign troops has increased, serious questions are being raised about the competency of the Afghan national forces and even Pakistan president Asif Ali Zadari reckons "that the international community, which Pakistan belongs to, is in the process of losing the war against the Taliban ... And that is, above all, because we have lost the battle for hearts and minds."


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