Why I think the Afghanistan Elections have longevity …. (pt1)

This morning I’ve been debating with Niall Paterson of Sky News on twitter and in the comments of a previous post about whether the Lockerbie story will run and run.

I don’t think this story is the biggest political story of the moment, he does. I think the biggest issue is the Afghanistan elections, and here’s why:

The low turnout and fraud allegations in the Afghanistan election call into question the success of our tenure there, they show quite how vast a challenge reforming the country is. If democratic elections in Afghanistan weren’t the aim, what was?

The US have recognised this. President Obama is coming under huge pressure from liberals in his party. The US armed forces are changing strategy – trying to win “hearts and minds”. This even means that they are thinking of negotiating with the Taliban – the people we went in to take out. It cannot be underestimated how galling it is to be negotiating with them – it shows their strength, our weakness; it makes it seem as though nothing at all has been achieved. So the biggest question to Gordon Brown isn’t “did you agree with the Scottish decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds but “why did we go into Afghanistan; what do you think we will achieve?”

PS Ask yourself this, if operations in Afghanistan were working out, why would a journalist who had been embedded there for over a year call for a policy of “masterful inactivity?”. An adoption of this sort of policy would mean operations in Afghanistan would run for years and years and years. Currently a BPIX poll shows that two thirds of Britains want us to pull out of the country. No wonder Mr Brown is hinting at withdrawal.

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One Response to “Why I think the Afghanistan Elections have longevity …. (pt1)”

  1. Niall Says:

    My appraisal of which is the “bigger” story is based on the public interest in it. Plus, don’t forget that a story’s place in the rundown is a fluid thing (at Sky often changing hour to hour). Releasing the Lockerbie bomber, like it or not, is gathering far more attention than a set of elections thousands of miles away whose results are still unclear.

    That may change, of course. But I’m unaware of anything moving in the Afghan story.

    I was in Afghanistan with the PM last weekend. Ask him why we’re there and he’ll tell you it’s to prevent terror attacks at home – nowt to do with fair and free elections. In fact I’m not sure anyone in govt has said in the past few months that democratisation is anything like the purpose.

    Have at look at the blog I wrote about my time there (and ignore the obvious spelling and grammar mistakes… we had some problems with the copy-taking, as I was using a very old school Nokia to phone it it!), let me know what you think.

    http://blogs.news.sky.com/boultonandco/Post:c9ac966c-c4df-4efd-bcd2-d95f3ec29d1a


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