David Blackburn

For want of leadership and a clear aim

For want of leadership and a clear aim
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A Channel Four News You Gov poll suggests that an overwhelming 84 percent of the public think that the war in Afghanistan is being lost and that British troops specifically are not winning in Helmand. Just because a large majority think that British troops are losing the fight does not mean that the public are not behind the forces’ efforts, but it is hardly a ringing endorsement and British servicemen deserve support.

But, this poll should send a clear message to the cross-party consensus in this country and Nato leadership that the current ill-defined strategy is failing. It is telling that Jeremy Corbyn MP, vice-chairman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said:

"The war in Afghanistan has no clear war aims, is clearly escalating and spinning out of control and can only impact on Pakistan and the whole of South Asia.

"Now is the time to change policy and bring the troops home to prevent Nato involving itself in a Vietnam-style quagmire."

Withdrawal should not commence until political stability, durable enough to keep al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, is secured. The contrast between the diverse Taliban's unified aim and the supposedly unified Nato's disorder must be reversed. Certain leadership, clear goals and engagement with the non-jihadist elements of the Taliban will enable military and civilian authorities to impose order, whilst convincing the British public that this is a war worth fighting.