British forces in Afghanistan
Last month I wrote a letter to my MP Daniel Rogerson about my concern about British forces in Afghanistan. He hasn’t replied after one month. As more troops die today in Afghanistan, I reproduce the letter below:
I am writing with concern about British forces in Afghanistan. I know you are opposed to war, but let me quickly share my thoughts on this matter.
In November 2004 I joined my dear Pakistani colleague from University in a small town south of Peshawar called Latamber. This area is in the notorious tribal belt of Pakistan. My friend is the son of an esteemed tribal leader and I was received with the greatest hospitality.
Since my friend and I are keen debaters from University we discussed many topical events. Also by staying there for a couple of weeks I learnt many things about the Pashtu and Afghani people of this region.
I hold them with the greatest respect. For their culture, their religion and their way of life. They are very proud and stubborn people and they aggressively oppose change. Also you probably won’t be surprised when I tell you these people are effectively armed. I fear British troops that are patrolling or “protecting reconstruction efforts” or what have you in this region are in grave danger. Not just from suspected terrorists or Taleban, but from local everyday people.
I strongly suggest you encourage the Labour government to get our forces out of Afghanistan and instead support reconstruction efforts remotely. Britain’s strength is its diversity and there are many Pashtu people living in the UK. They should be earnestly consulted and funded in helping their people.
My friend has told me, once the Western forces leave, the locals will ask the Arabs to leave too. I believe him.