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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Comments (4)

by stuart munro on August 10, 2010
stuart munro

The comparison to run with Afghanistan would be US intervention in China in support of the Nationalists. As usual, the US has chosen a position deeply offensive to middle of the road Afghans. As usual, they will not be winning hearts and minds unless they can learn to ressurrect the civilians they've killed.

Why are we there? Because our political leadership is more cowardly than the Dutch, and because Key presumes it will take more than a handful of casualties to build significant support to oust him. He should not be too sure. The Taliban has been known to target groups with weak political leadership, and once the worm turns it rarely climbs above 50% again.

by william blake on August 10, 2010
william blake

I agree Tim, it would be irresponsible to leave Afghanistan in a worse state than we found it, but then it was probably irresponsible to go there in the first place.

It does seem anachronistic, to say the least, to have regular NZ troops as part of an occupational force; it is just old school colonialism. Isn't the appropriate reaction to a terrorist cell or nexus, the deployment of the special forces? The globalised , free market, entrepreneurialy styled soldier; allied to the West but more or less autonomous and deniable.

If Al Qaeda is in Somalia and Ethiopia now then I imagine so are the SAS.

The New Zealand Government needs to put foreward an exit timetable on Afghanistan before it looses more credibility and more importantly; any more New Zealanders.

by peasantpete on August 10, 2010

The Taliban in Afghanistan gave succour to El Qaeda.

Omar led the taleban in Afghanistan.

El Qaeda did what they did on the twin towers.

Of course the US would chase El Qaeda, based in Afghanistan.

Taliban are supported by Pakistan.

Where is El Qaeda?

Where is Omar?

What is there to win in Afghanistan?

It appears the Taleban are still in Afghanistan.

The Taleban are stll in Afghanistan because of Pakistani support.

Why does the us still prop up Pakistan leaders?

Perhaps nuclear issues get involved as well.

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