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Life Experience

Afghanistan, 20-years of disaster created by America and Britain

Taking on Afghanistan in 2001 was an unnecessary and calamitous war on one of the poorest, most dysfunctional  countries in the world. It was started, we were told, to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban and thus prevent terrorism. 

After 20 years of occupation by mainly American and British forces and 20 years of killing, peace prosperity and harmony are desperately absent so that the stream of refugees from Afghanistan continues. We are back where we started: with the Taliban in power. Now it seems we will negotiate with the Taliban, an idea that might have been tried instead of bombing.

Tony Blair and his colleagues, and British politicians who supported the war, should be held to account for the shame they have brought to this country, and the thousands killed and injured as a result of their decisions, crimes against humanity.

Was it terrorism?

America, Britain, and the others presented the war against the Taliban as a war against  terrorism. Terrorism may be defined as the use of violence for political ends. On this definition the terrorism delivered by Britain, America, and others far exceeds any terrorist suffering we may have  endured before or since this war.

Self-inflicted injury

Much of our own suffering has come to us as a direct result of our own actions in Afghanistan. Over 450 British soldiers were killed in this war and approximately another thousand seriously injured. These facts alone show that this military fantasy operation has made things worse for ourselves even on that small measure of achievement.

160,000 Afghans killed

Of course,  the general picture is far worse than this. Although we are constantly told of the benefits brought to Afghanistan by Western involvement in the last 20-years certain facts are mostly quietly overlooked. For example, over 160,000 Afghans were killed during the last 20-years,  many by direct US bombing, but others in the ongoing conflict which the Western presence promoted in the country, taking sides but never bringing peace, far from it. Our use of violence against Afghans must have brought about suffering on a wide scale, and anger against the west, a stimulus to retaliation. More details below.

Afghan Refugee Crisis reveals despair felt during the occupation by US and UK

This is what an Amnesty web report said on 20 June 2019:
“There are currently more than 2.6 million registered refugees in the world from Afghanistan.
There are more than 2 million people who have been internally displaced by the ongoing conflict. . .
In a report published in June 2019, the Institute for Peace and Economics said that Afghanistan is the world’s “least peaceful” country, replacing Syria.”

Cost to UK taxpayer

The cost of the UK taxpayer is in the region of £40 billion. 

The figure put out by the government is about half this but its figures overlook a number of factors.  For an analysis of the costs see the Fact Check web page by Channel 4..


The death toll in Afghanistan    –    Associated Press and BBC statistics

Associated Press

American service members killed in Afghanistan through April [2021]: 2,448.

U.S. Contractors: 3,846. [employed to do military tasks or support the US military operation]

Afghan national military and police: 66,000.

Other allied service members, including from other NATO member states: 1,144.

Afghan civilians: 47,245.

Taliban and other opposition fighters: 51,191.

Aid workers: 444.

Journalists: 72.

[Total number of Afghans killed: 164,436. The number of Americans killed was more than twice the number that died in the 9/11 twin towers atrocity]

Evidence from the BBC  –  Frank Gardner BBC Correspondent, BBC web 17 April 2021

“The cost of this 20-year military and security engagement has been astronomically high – in lives, in livelihoods and in money. 

Over 2,300 US servicemen and women have been killed and more than 20,000 injured, along with more than 450 Britons and hundreds more from other nationalities.

But it is the Afghans themselves who have borne the brunt of the casualties, with over 60,000 members of the security forces killed and nearly twice that many civilians.

The estimated financial cost to the US taxpayer is close to a staggering US$1 trillion.”

My conclusion

Wars such as the one against Afghanistan are an affront to intelligence and affront to morality. They are unnecessary and counterproductive. Few countries in the world today involve themselves in such primitive military adventures and it is a matter of shame that the UK is one of the few countries that believes in violence as an acceptable mode of international relations.

David Roberts, 14 September 2021

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Linda Grace

Sadly, we do not learn from the past. If only we could focus on conflict resolution rather than military intervention the world would be a safer place for us all.

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David Roberts

Writer, publisher, music promoter

Born in 1942, I now have time to enjoy life more widely and reflect on my experience, interests, and contemporary events.

David Roberts

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