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Over 2 millions Afghans have fled Afghanistan over the past 12 months.

If we had any sense (militarily and politically) we would have been training
them to go back into their own country to oust the Taliban which has reduced
their country to a pile of ruins; impoverished the mass of the people and
introduced a religious dogma which is the very antithesis of Islamic teaching.
The Taliban also finance their operations by exporting drugs to the West.
I am always amazed that this side of their operations is given such scant
attention when, without the money from drugs, they could not buy arms.

They have also given a safe haven to Osama bin Laden  (an outcast from his
own country of Saudi Arabia) who (by his own admission) orchestrated the
massacre at the World Trade Center on 11th September.

At the present time we have the richest country in the World attacking the 
country in the World.  It is not a spectacle which invites 
support.   Furthermore, it
sows the seeds of suspicion and mistrust amongst Muslims everywhere who have
never forgotten the Crusades.  It also gives a ready platform to the 
zealots who find it
easy to inflame the passions of the faithful.  In other words, our present 
policy is
playing into Osam bin Laden's hands.

A decision never to send European troops into an Asian theatre of conflict 
was taken
by the combined Chiefs of Staff at the end of World War II because (a) 11 
Asian Divisions
could be equipped for the cost of one European Division and because (b) 
soldiers needed a period of acclimatisation.  This sensible decision was 
soon forgotten
which led (inevitably) to the military disasters in Vietnam and 
Korea.  Alas, military
lessons are rarely learned as we saw from the Maginot line mentality which 
existed at
the beginning of World War II; as we saw in Vietnam and Korea; and as we 
are seeing
in the present approach to the Afghanistan situation.

People have been asking for solutions.  There is never any perfect solution 
but we can
begin by using a thief to catch a thief i.e. by training Afghans to go back 
into their own
country.  A million Cruise missiles will simply re-arrange the ruins.  They 
will not bring
Bin Laden out of his hole.  The Americans and the British are using a 
sledge hammer
to crack a nut and, in so doing, run the risk of galvanising Islamic 
opposition. If, by an
odd chance,  Bin Laden was killed, he would become a martyr.  On the other 
hand, if
he was killed by disaffected Afghans, he would be consigned to the dustbin 
of history.

I pray wiser counsels may yet prevail.

Niven Sinclair
who has fought on the Asian Continent.