• Author:Ben Jones
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Weekly News- Afghanistan letter

The following letter was published in this week’s Widnes and Runcorn Weekly News:

The British people are questioning our mission in Afghanistan and asking whether the war can be won. A recent ComRes opinion poll showed that 64 per cent said that the war is “unwinnable”.

These respondees are not questioning the dedication and bravely of our troops, over 230 of whom have laid down their lives since 2001, but are questioning why they are in Afghanistan.

One of the reasons the British people believe the war cannot be won is that the Government has not properly explained to us our mission.

The mission should be to deny Al Qaeda territory to plan more attacks against Britain and to prevent any resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism that will inevitably lead to more attacks on the streets of Britain, and against our interests around the world. That has to be better explained by the Government.

Along with this confusion over our mission, concerns have been rightly raised over the availability of helicopters for our troops, the provision of body armour, cuts in the TA budget, and the risks our troops faced to provide security for the recent deeply-flawed and discredited elections and to support President Karzai’s corrupt administration.

We need to focus our efforts, not on trying to impose democracy in Afghanistan, but to help the Afghan Government provide the security forces it needs to tackle the Taliban and Al Qaeda on its own.

As we continue to ask British soldiers to fight and die in the conflict, we need to ensure they are not fighting and dying in vain. We need to remember why they are in Afghanistan. And we need to give them the tools they need to do the job so they can return home.

Yours sincerely,
Ben Jones
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Halton