There is every indication that the end of Britain’s fourth war in Afghanistan will be as politically driven as its disastrous entry was. The Helmand that British troops leave behind after 2014 will be as far from David Cameron’s mind as Basra was from Gordon Brown’s in 2007. It was not a defeat, Mr Brown said defensively at the time. Well, it certainly was not mission accomplished and our impending withdrawal from Afghanistan is not looking any better. In the meantime, British and US commanders have to ask themselves a question: what are foreign troops doing on the front line other than to prolong the misery? A week which started with the deaths of six British soldiers, ended when a US soldier went on a shooting spree killing 16 Afghan civilians, among them nine children and three women.
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