After sixteen years of war and 3,200 dead NATO soldiers, President Trump escalates the war in Afghanistan. In the quest for victory, are America and its allies merely stoking the fires of terrorism at home?


The Afghan war continues. After sixteen of fighting, Trump promises yet more troops. When will it end?

Hi. I’m Leon Hawthorne. The western presence in Afghanistan is foolishly increasing as the Americans seek victory in an un-winnable war.

President Trump broke an election promise this week, heralding 4,000 extra soldiers in Afghanistan.

Whilst he declared his policy was not nation building, nor attempting to form a western-style democracy, he said his goal was victory.

“We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition… attacking our enemies. Obliterating ISIS. Crushing al Qaeda. Preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge.”

More than 3,000 western troops have been killed in Afghanistan and thousands more have suffered life changing injuries… for what?

These patriotic men and women have sacrificed their lives for nothing. They are lions led by donkeys, politicians who told them they were fighting for democracy and our way of life.

The truth is vain politicians made grandiose speeches, calculated to make them look like statesmen, while other people’s children died in the desert, blown up by improvised explosive devices.

Now Trump, who in his youth conjured up a foot injury to get himself out of fighting in Vietnam will send more patriotic sons of working class Americans to their deaths, so he can appear presidential.

Look. The Taliban did not attack us. They had their hands full, fighting other Afghan warlords and building an Islamic republic. They did give shelter to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, who were responsible for 9/11.

President Bush made the reckless and emotional decision to wage war against the Taliban, instead of limiting his response to al Qaeda. But as another American cowboy put it…

“A man’s got to know his limitations”.

Killing bin Laden and disrupting al Qaeda was a realistic goal.

But we will never eradicate the Taliban, al Qaeda or Islamic State because these are just labels to affix to varying degrees of Islamic nationalism that exist inside people’s hearts.

Unless the Americans have a drone that can look through a window into men’s souls, there will never be victory. Quite the opposite.

The more troops we send, the more bombs we drop, the more civilian casualties we cause, the stronger the feeling of anger in Muslim countries, which in turn will yield more terror attacks in the west.

Reading between the lines of Trump’s speech, he spoke of the need to depart Afghanistan with some semblance of pride. That surely is what this new policy is all about… the US saving face and not admitting the war was a big mistake.

He should have ordered peace talks with the Taliban, who inevitably will resume control of the country.

But the Blair-Bush fantasy of waging purportedly moral wars in Muslim countries has been the biggest foreign policy disaster since World War II.

It costs NATO members £4 billion pounds a year to sustain the war in Afghanistan. That’s money that could be spent on schools and hospitals at home.

Let’s get out of Afghanistan now. Also Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. They can decide their fate for themselves.

I have no doubt Islamist groups will cease terrorist operations in western countries if we cease military operations in Muslim countries; and that includes stopping the sale of weapons to the corrupt Arab monarchies.

Barcelona, Paris, London. There will be more blood on our streets until we change our foreign policy.

I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.

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Journalist, broadcaster, media executive, academic, author.