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Two thirds want British troops out of Afghanistan: poll
More than two thirds of people in Britain believe that UK troops should leave Afghanistan within a year, a poll has found.

By John Bingham
Last Updated: 9:09AM GMT 13 Nov 2008

Opposition to the deployment was highest among young people, with three quarters of 18 to 24-year-olds calling for a withdrawal.

The survey, carried out by ICM for the BBC, comes at a time when the Government faces pressure to increase the number of troops in the country.

Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai is meeting Gordon Brown in Downing Street for discussions expected to include a call for more international forces.

Barack Obama, the US President-Elect, is expected to call for Britain to increase its deployment to Afghanistan in support of a "surge" strategy.

British forces in Afghanistan now number just over 8,000, with most operating in the troubled Helmand Province in the south.

A total of 124 British servicemen and women have died in the country since the start of the US-led operation to topple the Taliban regime in late 2001, following the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.

But the vast majority of British fatalities have happened in the last two-and-a-half years since the start of the mission to the south.

While British troop numbers in Iraq have already been sharply reduced, with further reductions expected, President-Elect Obama wants to step up operations in Afghanistan.

The Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, warned on Sunday that the British military was already overstretched, and suggested that troops from other Nato countries should be sent to fight.

The ICM poll of 1,013 people, carried out for a BBC Radio 4 discussion, found that 68 per cent overall believe that UK troops should withdraw within 12 months.

Among men the figure was 59 per cent while 75 per cent of women agreed with the statement.

Speaking in London on Wednesday, the Afghan foreign minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta said: "For the short-term strategy... we need more forces in the south, and the south east...to control cross-border terrorist activities.

"But these troops have to be fighter troops, to be active in this part, to respond to terrorist activities."
Vote: Should British troops be withdrawn from Afghanistan?

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Members Comments

moon 6-Feb-2009 9:53
I believe that Iran should be allowed to develop in peace, whether or not Iran opposes expansionist Zionism, and that the invasion and destruction of Iran's neighboring States amounts to preparation for war against Iran. I do not believe that the UK should contribute to such mediaeval adventurism and I believe that the UK will benefit by withdrawing all military personnel , including 'advisers' from both Iraq and Afghanistan. Further, I believe that UK involvement in both of these American/Zionist wars was sold cheaply and that there should be a far stronger parliamentary structure which works for the avoidance of UK participation in invasions and violence against other UN member States. This structure might function in parallel with the UN and take advantage of that organization's expertise in international law.
ROBERTHBROWN 17-Nov-2008 14:8
I agree with Andromeda's statement that "the idea of fighting evil everywhere is laughable". Are we really responsible for policing the world and dictating our so-called moral standards which everyone must obey?

I think not ... I believe we have a greater responsibility to put our own house in order and try to lead by example how best to govern our own people. Once acheived it still gives us no right to impose our way of life onto the rest of the world. If the world sees anything good in the way we govern our own nation it should be up to the people of other nations to decide if they want to follow our example and adopt them.

I have absoultely no right to enforce my beliefs on anyone ... all that I can do is show by my example how to bring love, peace and harmony to the people I share this planet with, which is why I am personally against attacking and fighting Afganistan, Iraq or any other nation. It's theirs to sort out and NOT OUR BRITISH SERVICEMEN TO GET INVOLVED IN.

I'm asking Mr. Gordon Brown, please bring our servicemen home...now.
Andromeda 15-Nov-2008 10:58
I do not know what remarks about the Taliban "Thinker" thinks I have made, or what "basis" he thinks he is agreeing with me on.

The idea of "fighting evil everywhere" is laughable. We certainly don't have the inclination and no longer have the resources. It is clear that people like "Thinker" have little underestanding of the National Interest.

As far as I am concerned, the National Interest is nothing to do with keeping liberals like him in their cocoon of insufferable smugness about what compassionate, nice and morally superior people they are compared to the rest of us who don't want anyone they know to die for some interfering do-gooder's stupid war.

Now that the warmongers have failed to seek and exterminate bin Laden, it seems they are now using the oppression of Afghan women as an excuse to continue this policy of pointlessly sacrificing the lives of British servicemen.

What I do care about is that some general understanding of what constitutes the National Interest is reached.

I would argue that the feelings of liberals (who would of course want to think they live in a caring, compassionate and non-judgemental society at the expense of the people they in fact despise, ie anyone who considers soldiering as a career) are nothing to do with the National Interest.

jeffreymarshall 14-Nov-2008 21:21
Thinker believes 'you have to make a moral choice, either you are prepared to fight evil everywhere (with a little help from our friends one year maybe?) or you just draw the blinds and ignore the next extermination. I know my choice.'

This country should not engage in any war anywhere unless either its own interests are threatened, or they may - perhaps - be extended.

You never ever ever fight a war for 'moral' reasons.

Why assume your morality is superior to someone else's?

Black Africans, for instance, slaughter & destroy one another because that is what they are good at. So let them get on with it. Zimbabwe is not a British problem.

The logic of invading Afghanistan was to remove a government that had been supportive of terrorism.

There is, admittedly, some logic to remaining there & preventing this government returning to power - but exactly how long are we going to stay?

Another 10, 20, 30, years? What is the point?

Eventually our troops will have to vacate the place & it might as well be sooner rather than later.

I think some of the difficulty many people today have in understanding why wars are fought is due to post publicity given to the Allied crusade against Hitler.

Britain - which in 1939 was still a world empire - declared war on Germany for strategic reasons connected to the balance of power in Europe, as well as ultimately a perceived threat to our overseas possessions.

It was neither to 'fight fascism' nor rescue the Jews. That was thought of afterwards.

As a result, some now believe British servicemen should be dying just to prevent a load of savages from killing one another.

Tommy rot.
RichardCostello 13-Nov-2008 22:4
No army has ever won in Afghanistan, when there finished killing us, they will be killing each other as history dictates, I believe i could sort out the Taliban and the opium trade but it would not be very popular with the liberals, drop African locust during the spring and they would eat everything green for miles around, no food no drugs, give food aid to those freindly to the west, and sod the rest

avtar 13-Nov-2008 16:31
the taliban have been booted out so let's get our boys out of there; we have no right telling them what drugs they can or can't grow. if the taliban make a come back we can always send the troops back in!
ROBERTHBROWN 13-Nov-2008 14:32
I agree ... why on earth are we sending troups into Afghanistan to fight. Our troups should only be used for defending our nation. We should NOT BE going into battle with other nations spending British Taxpayers money to fight wars we have NO RIGHT to fight in.
Mr. Gordon Brown I demand you withdraw our troups with immediate effect ... not to send anymore of our military personel to fight in other nations battles. Defend YES/ go to war NO.
Thinker 13-Nov-2008 13:40
Andromeda, I take your remarks to relate to the Taleban, and on that basis quite agree. The sooner they yield the better.

As the world’s fifth largest economy and a long established democracy, it is imperative that we stand up for Human Rights (true Human Rights, not the claptrap version) everywhere. That applies equally in our defence of women as of men.

I believe that a significant part of the reason that we stand spinelessly by as many are murdered, starved, raped and stolen from in Zimbabwe, is because of the knee jerk reaction of misplaced empathy in the conflict in Iraq.

You have to make a moral choice, either you are prepared to fight evil everywhere (with a little help from our friends one year maybe?) or you just draw the blinds and ignore the next extermination. I know my choice.
Andromeda 13-Nov-2008 13:11
To be thought either evil or stupid or both is hardly morale-raising to anyone who happens to be British, be they Muslim or non-Muslim. I would argue that it is bad for morale of the WHOLE nation to have to defend the indefensible.

Besides, it is ruinously expensive and obviously a disaster.

So why keep doing it?
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