It’s about so much more than the money!
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One of the election pledges of French presidential candidate François Hollande is to bring France’s three and a half thousand Afghan-based troops home before the end of the year
The majority of Americans want a complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan. But in Washington certain politicians, are bandying about words like ‘ignominious’ and ‘humiliating’, as if the US military presence must remain in situ as some sort of facesaving exercise.
In the run-up to the Nato Summit in Chicago later this month, it is becoming increasingly clear there is growing disenchantment, not to mention dissention, in the organisation’s ranks.
One of the election pledges of French presidential candidate François Hollande is that, if elected to office on 6 May, he will bring France’s three and a half thousand Afghan-based troops home before the end of the year; it has proved a popular election promise from Paris to the Pyrenees.
Other Nato participants have made clear they think the end of 2013, rather than the end of 2014 should end Nato’s combat role in the country, a case that is likely to be pressed forcefully in Chicago.
The West is weary of war and, as far as most voters are concerned, in the current economic climate there are more pressing issues to be dealt with at home, where – it is widely believed – money would be better spent fixing domestic woes, rather than those of Afghanistan.
With the break down in talks with the Taliban a negotiated exit looks unlikely, so where do we go from here?
Washington security experts warn that without a US presence in Afghanistan, the threat of terrorism will be intensified a thousand-fold and with it the risk of further attacks in the mould of 9/11. Other analysts counter the argument by saying what the extremists desire above all else, is the removal of western powers from Islamic lands, ergo – remove the presence and remove the threat,
Both sides must face the fact that however worthy intentions might once have been – it is just not working. Time then to call it a day?
I think so.
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May 2011 The Middle East 7