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Afghans pay price of New Labour’s war

This article is over 16 years, 6 months old
The British media heralded the capture of Musa Qala, a town in Helmand province which has been under Taliban control for ten months, as a decisive turning point in the war in Afghanistan.
Issue 2081

The British media heralded the capture of Musa Qala, a town in Helmand province which has been under Taliban control for ten months, as a decisive turning point in the war in Afghanistan.

British defence secretary Des Browne said on a visit to Afghanistan that Musa Qala had taken on an “iconic importance”.

The truth is that its capture is designed for newspaper headlines rather than any great strategic importance.

British forces evacuated the town last February because they could not hold it.

The problem for US and Nato forces is not capturing the town but holding it in what has become a “see-saw” war in Helmand. Conventional forces can defeat guerillas in pitched battles but they then find it difficult to maintain occupation of Musa Qala and to supply troops by road.

New Labour have talked of a 20 to 30 year military presence in Afghanistan – promising decades more of the brutal war and occupation that have already destroyed so many lives.

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