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Wednesday, 24 October, 2001, 08:28 GMT 09:28 UK
Ground attack: Is the timing right?
The US launched its first ground attack against Taleban forces in Afghanistan on Friday.

More than 100 elite troops were supported by AC-130 flying gunships in a raid which US officials said lasted several hours and ended with the force returning to base.

The US also suffered its first conflict-related casualties: the Pentagon said two people were killed when a military helicopter crashed accidentally over Pakistan. Taleban sources claimed it was hit by their fire.

Yesterday aid agencies were appealing for a halt in the military campaign to let their workers get food supplies to the Afghan people before the winter snows start.

Is the timing right for a ground attack? Should this signal the end of the US-led bombing? Or should the military campaign cease altogether?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Involvement of ground troops will get us no results

Arif Sayed, Dubai, UAE
The Western powers have now proved a point. However, while the intensive bombing may have initially stunned the Taliban, more damage has been inflicted on the civilians. Involvement of ground troops will get us no results but will lead to prolonging the current situation leading to further deaths and continued misery for the Afghan people.
Arif Sayed, Dubai, UAE.

I think ground war is fitting for the capture of Bin Laden. You can not find him in the air but on the ground.
Good Nundwe, Zomba, Malawi

Ground attacks are now needed to show the world the determination and ability of America to protect itself. Troops on the ground will reduce the risk to Afghan civilians and demoralise the Taliban/ Osama regime. It will also show that Americans are not just push-button warriors, but are the original "cult of the gun" society. As for Afghanistan, history shows that the best thing that can happen to a nation is to be defeated by America, who will then pour in billions of dollars of aid to rebuild the entire infrastructure of its former enemy. A moderate Afghanistan nation could again become a great crossroads of trade, a new "silk road" that could benefit all of South Asia.
Scott Myatt, New Braunfels, Texas

We must hold our resolution and carry it through to the end

ES, Waterford, Ireland
War is ugly, however it is also completely justified in this case. We must hold our resolution and carry it through to the end. I feel for the Afghan people, however let's look at the bigger picture.. if Afghanistan can endure one more winter of misery in order to capture peace in a free country for the future, so be it.
ES, Waterford, Ireland

The US military has no business invading a sovereign nation like Afghanistan. Their objectives have expanded too wide. Killing children and innnocent people is not a civilised behaviour for whatever reason.
Abraham Eli, Malaysia

In response to the comment from Heinz of Zurich: What you say is well and good for the future, but what about NOW? Yes, it's an excellent idea to work with the young people of the world now to prevent future acts of terrorism and retaliation. But what do we do now? Do we let those who began this atrocity get away with it? Do we allow them to be free so they can plan, recruit, and terrorize again? I am not happy about the bombing - what it's doing to the innocents is beyond tragic - but I see no other present solution.
Cassy Buela, Pennsylvania, USA

We should stop the bombing immediately because soon winter in Afghanistan will make it very difficult to bring aid to the starving people. But this is not enough. If we want to get rid of terrorism we must study its causes: why so many people in the poor countries south and east of this world hate Western civilisation? Let's organise international conferences and workshops with young people from rich and poor countries and give them the resources to develop cooperative strategies for economic, social and political change. Let us encourage The UN and the Red Cross to work in this direction.
Heinz, Zurich, Switzerland

It is important that one has proper focus of the intended target

Francis Tailoka, Cambridge, England
Whether, by air or by land, it is important that one has proper focus of the intended target. No amount of bombs can actually dampen the human spirit. It is true that what can be achieved with bombs is not the same as what can be achieved with a one to one battle on the ground. In all this it is important to bear in mind the lives of innocent civilians. I am sure that with modern satellite technology which has been successfully tested, it should be possible to precisely pinpoint Bin Laden, even if he is hiding under the bed! This would certainly minimise loss of human life on both sides.
Francis Tailoka, Cambridge, England.

After watching refugees flooding out and asking this question again, "Is timing for ground troops right?" I believe the answer is "NO." Installing ground troops in Afghanistan to kill or capture Osama bin Laden and associates at this stage, after continuous bombardment of more than two weeks, will be futile.
Habib Hemani, San Francisco, USA

Your question is a leading one. It assumes that a ground attack is the correct course of action, leaving us to discuss the pointless issue as to when the attack should take place. Our time would be better spent discussing some of the moral issues, like the murder of helpless Afghans. Blair, Bush and all their supporters should be ashamed of themselves. This is yet another case of the arrogant west dishing out what it has the nerve to call justice.
OS, Brighton, UK

In this case I support the USA 100%

Eric Newell, UK
It's a war against terrorism - it has to be stopped, and people will be killed. The alternative is that countries and the world could be threatened with modern weapons in the future. Religion should be for your own comfort and help, not to be used by fanatics who also kill innocent people. I would also hope that terrorism nearer home is treated as urgently as others. No country is perfect in its beliefs but in this case I support the USA 100%.
Eric Newell, Solihull UK

Osama Bin Laden is in control of a number of bunkers placed throughout Afghanistan. Now even with the new missiles developed which can penetrate 20ft. of concrete some of these bunkers are really deep. Vietnam was a similar case with many of the resources and command posts being under ground. You have to have land-based attacks if you want to penetrate into the bunkers to get to the heads of command. No amount of bombing is going break the fanatics that are in control.
Gustaf Dieckmann, Nottingham, UK

The campaign in Afghanistan should be left to the military

Phil T, Oman
If the military think the time is right for a ground attack then it is. They should not be pressured into carrying out operations for publicity or because politicians deem it is politically advantageous. The campaign in Afghanistan should be left to the military to finalise it when they are ready and when there is a chance of being completely successful.
Phil T, Oman

The bombing and destruction caused thus so far may seem very unappealing however it is an effective tool. The bombing actually creates less bloodshed then just sending in ground forces. If people could look a little farther at the reasons behind the US and UK reactions they might see that its the best longterm solution. If you stop the attack on Bin Laden now, do you really think he will just go away?
Dorian Wolaniuk, Canada

As far as the ground troops go, it's a lost cause

James O'Brien, London England
The Bombing should have stopped after the US had full confidence in Afghan skies. How can you expect to stop terrorism with missiles? It's a joke. As far as the ground troops go, it's a lost cause. Stopping any heroin leaving Afghanistan would make a lot of sense, but dropping fat bombs all over the place isn't going to do anything except make a lot of people angry, and embarrassed.
James O'Brien, London England

Afghanistan has always been a grave land for the invaders and attackers. Americans arrogance shall be buried there.
Austral, Austria

Yes, because they going in to looking for Bin Laden, instead of killing innocent civilians. Now is the time for war against the terrorists.
Aaron Kinega, Tanzania

Afghanistan seems to be one of those places in this world where evil has manifested itself. Trying to hunt it down out there or anywhere else is useless and a waste of time and lives until its source is discovered: the attitude of the rich nations towards the poor in this world that is.
ron brandenburg, rijswijk, the netherlands

If the bombing stops now the Taliban have won

Andy, Leedse
If the bombing stops now the Taliban have won. They are on the brink of defeat, easing up now would make them look like heroes, for holding out against the mighty forces of the west. Personally I would like to see more troops from different nations (eg Russia & China).
Andy, Leeds

Whether we drop bombs or shoot missiles or send in ground troops it all amounts to the same thing. We have taken up arms against them. It surely is for the military strategists to judge how this is best done. Whether we go to war at all is the issue and how we handle the matter of bringing Bin Laden to justice. In my opinion it would be better if it was a large concerted effort headed by the UN. In the long run that would be better for all.
Philip S Hall, England, UK

Bombing Afghanistan won't end terrorism, we'll most likely experience more terrorism in the future.
Fredrik Holmgard, Luleň, Sweden

It's overkill!

Kirk, Honolulu, USA
It's overkill! One day after the intial bombings, targets were hard to come by, as admitted by military intelligence. This campaign is all about forgetting--temporarily--the big economic problems we're having at home, exacerbated by the cost of funding military might and disreputable intelligence agencies. There's a bigger picture behind the lines of guns, planes, ships, men, generals and government leaders, and "enemy jargon."
Kirk, Honolulu, USA

The military campaign should cease altogether and America should start thinking of the causes of terrorism.
Chitovapanyoro., Zimbabwe

We have to continue the bombing until the Al-Queda network is destroyed and we can replace the Taliban with some form of government that represents the people. To those who condemn the bombing on the humanitarian grounds, how many times have you condemned the Taliban, they have massacred thousands of civilians and persecuted numerous minorities? We have to realise we are dealing with people who have a different regard for human life. We hit now, we hit hard and we leave a message that they will not forget.
James, London, England

Stop the bombing immediately

Nassir Ahmed, Midlands, UK
I think that the American and UK governments do not know what they have entered. Do they think that by bombing innocent people they will capture Bin Laden? Instead they are doing the opposite - they are creating the next generation of Bin Ladens. My suggestion is that they immediately stop the bombing and feed the hungry people. At the moment we are only seeing a few casualties but when will the Americans and British stop bombing? When there are a 1000? 10,000? Or maybe when a million people have died as a result of there actions?
Nassir Ahmed, Midlands, UK

The war strategy so far has made perfect sense. Use bombing to take out air defences, claiming the skies for coalition aircraft. Soften or remove key targets, then send in the ground troops for more precision hit-and-run strikes. Saying we need to stop the bombing to feed the starving ignores the fact that the Taleban obstruction will continue. Afghans were starving under Taleban leadership in the first place. Sure you can say the US and the UK are always first in war, if you want to ignore the historical fact that the US and UK were trying to avoid war 60 years ago. Germany slaughtered millions. In that case, a united coalition striking immediately would have saved million of innocents.
Margo, Fresno, CA, USA

Of course the timing is right. Grinding them into dust and making an example of them is the point. It's gets really tiresome reading people blather on about "innocent civilians" or "humanitarian aid". This conflict is not about those things in Afghanistan. It's about wiping from the earth the threat of terrorism against the west. Humanitarian aid and trying to avoid civilian casualties are secondary considerations. I can assure you, though, the US and Great Britain place far more value on them than any other country does or would.
Charles, Fargo, USA

It makes sense to continue bombing

Colin, Gosport, UK
It makes sense to continue bombing the Taleban and al-Qaeda positions to keep the pressure on, but only with accurate guidance and cast-iron intelligence provided from the ground troops. The bombing should only seek to destroy any military or terrorist capabilities that may pose a threat to coalition troops. We have seen US bombing in past engagements become very 'loose' in terms of target intelligence and accuracy (e.g. Chinese Embassy in the Balkans, British Armoured Vehicles in the Gulf, and more recently UN and Red Cross facilities in Afghanistan) causing great damage to innocent people and providing opponents with valuable propaganda. This must be avoided.
Colin, Gosport, UK

This military action should stop now. It has made a point, but can never achieve the eradication of terrorism - or indeed any more than it already has. The only reason this action started was because the US knows no other response (following the great success of Vietnam). To see Blair following Bush like a lost puppy is quite sickening.
Pat, UK

The Taleban are fascists

Kathleen, Anoka, MN, USA
The Taleban are fascists, not just some misunderstood group of socialists who are searching for a higher social order. They want an absolute theocracy, they want to spread their brand of religious, fundamentalist fascism and marginalize women and minorities. They are a real threat to the safety of millions of people. The US went to try diplomacy with the Taleban first, but you can't waste too much time trying to talk to a lion attacking your camp.
Kathleen, Anoka, MN, USA

Britain and USA have always been first in war. For a change, prove your 'superiority' by being first for peace.
Armien Cassiem, Cape Town, ZA

The most brutal thing that could be done to these innocent, starving people would be to continue to let them live under the rule of these crazy fanatics. Bin Laden's people killed thousands of people because they were able to. If they are able to introduce a bio-weapon and kill tens of thousands of Westerners, they will. We are there to stop that from happening by destroying these fanatics and anyone that supports them, and we will do whatever we have to do to make that happen. We will use troops as needed and hopefully as few as possible. We want to protect our soldiers and destroy theirs.
Rusty, USA

Stop bombing and let the aid get through

Muhammad Haris Zafar, Karachi, Pakistan
"This is a war. Innocent people die in wars." Isn't this what those terrorists must have said? What is the difference between them and us? Stop bombing and let the aid get through. Have mercy on those innocent people who have done no harm to no one. Please do not add to their sufferings.
Muhammad Haris Zafar, Karachi, Pakistan

The bombing of Afghanistan must be stopped at once. It is the most brutal thing that could be done to innocent, starving people. If it is not stopped immediately America will have to pay a very heavy price. This campaign will not eradicate the so-called terrorism, because it is targeting innocent people including the Taleban. This will obviously cause retaliation, and give rise to more and more hatred for America throughout the world.
Maria, Qatar

The US thinks that by bombing terrorists, it will root out terrorism. On the contrary, I think that it will unleash a chain-reaction of terrorism that will span generations. What will the orphans created by this bombing campaign grow up to be? Will they forget the country that killed their parents? Will they take revenge? Would we call them terrorists then and kill them too?
Azhar, Melbourne, Australia

I would commend Tony Blair's effort to stay in Aghanistan for the long haul, but really he should condemned for his naivety. As soon as Tony Blair and George Dubbya have finished with the Northern Alliance, they will be disposed of like a dirty tissue. Afghanistan has no resources for the West, consequently there will be no stay with in the country.
Rohan Fisher, Australia

Aid support should only increase within Afghanistan after we have defeated the Taleban

Phil T, Oman
The campaign has not finished yet. Aid support should only increase within Afghanistan after we have secured the country and defeated the Taleban. Until then any aid should be concentrated on the border regions of the adjoining countries unless safe passage can be guaranteed within Afghanistan.
Phil T, Oman

Governments have described the request of the aid agencies to pause the bombing as emotional and unrealistic. The reality is that these governments pay no attention to the fate of innocent Afghans, including the refugees. If what Bin Laden did was a terrorist act killing innocent people, then the governments are doing the same thing in the name of the War on Terror.
Khalil, Jeddah -Saudi Arabia

In response to Salima, Karachi, Pakistan. If Osama Bin Laden isn't guilty then why did one of al-Qaeda's spokesmen warn Muslims in western countries to keep away from airplanes and high buildings, as well as saying that those who attacked the WTC and the Pentagon had done a good thing?
Cara Doyle, Dublin, Ireland

Civilians get hurt during wartime, that's just a fact of life

Gary, Kent
Civilians get hurt during wartime, that's just a fact of life. No consideration was given by Osama Bin Laden to the civilians injured and killed on September 11th. We need to continue with our current strategy, eliminate Osama Bin Laden and his fanatical followers. At that stage the international community can concentrate of the humanitarian issues and help rebuild Afghanistan.
Gary, Kent

Gary, Kent said "civilians get hurt during wartime, that's just a fact of life." It wasn't a war before we escalated it to war. You're implying that September 11th gives us the right to sacrifice innocent lives, as if two wrongs make a right, which is ridiculous. Terrorism must be fought in every other way but that one. We must also fight callous attitudes like those of Gary and the terrorists. Stop the bombing and get the aid in. The willingness to let innocent people die was one of the worst aspects of the September 11th attacks. We are now also showing that willingness.
Jo, Horsley, UK

Whatever the media and the public have been told, a war is in progress and the result for the remaining population of Afghanistan is likely to be a lottery of sudden injury, death, starvation and sickness. A band-aid and a bowl of rice is no compensation for a cruise missile strike. Some could be saved but a lot more could be saved by not bombing. Either agree or protest with this 'war' but stop the hypocrisy.
James Scobbie, Stirling, Scotland

It would not be advisable to stop the bombing at this stage. The alliance has a strategy to follow, and it cannot be disrupted now. Most of the food has been confiscated by the Taleban themselves, who do not seem to care for their own people. They seem to choose to harbour a terrorist, who is not even an Afghan national, over the well being of their poor citizens. If they really are concerned about their folk, all they have to do is hand over all terrorists who are hiding like cockroaches in dark places!
Roseanne Singer, Princeton, New Jersey

Thankfully we all agree we are at "war" with terrorism. I'm fighting this war on terrorism personally by trying to remind everyone that our bombing of Afghanistan is terrorism.
Mike, Detroit, USA

Many people are shrugging off the plight of the Afghan people as a price worth paying

George Phillis
I doubt that Osama bin Laden, or whoever is responsible for the attacks of September 11th, really thought that the thousands of people in those office buildings were responsible for the evils of US policy. So the question is, why kill innocents? The answer is simple. Whoever did this simply shrugged their shoulders and said, "This is a war. Innocent people will die." This is very similar to the way many people are shrugging off the plight of the Afghan people as a price worth paying.
George Phillis

The bombing which never should have started should immediately stop! Mr Bush likes to quote Western movies, but does not have the guts. Attacking a weaker enemy is an act of cowardice, and he has proved that his pride is his power. Had he any common sense, he would have proved the guilt of the related party to those who had to hand him over. However, it was a good opportunity for him to step into papa's boots, as well as boost his pre-war popularity the lowest ever, a measly 52%.
Salima, Karachi, Pakistan

So Ms Short thinks the reactions from aid agencies are emotional. So what are the reactions to the WTC attacks then? Unfeeling?
Bilal Patel, London, UK

It is quite obvious that bombing Afghanistan and removal of the Taleban is not going to end terrorism. The only major advantage for USA and UK is that they will be getting a new military base in Afghanistan. Military action should be halted to deliver the aid to civilians and UN should handle the crisis. Instead of the bombing, there might be some sort of restriction on the availability of weapons and related material. There should be some policy on the selling and export of weapons.
Manish, India

I think a lot of people need to wake up and see what is going on. This is war! We are already wasting resources on feeding the enemy when we should be destroying them. The Taleban have declared Holy War and are not surrendering. They do not value the lives of their people and we should not hamper our efforts by letting them use it to their advantage. They are intent on killing our civilians and would not help us as we are just infidels to them. The only difference between a soldier and a civilian is training, not intent. All the liberals out there should go out and help them if they care that much. We don't want pro-terrorist opinions over here anyway.
Stuart, UK

If we stop bombing and let relief in, it will only be a temporary solution. The only way to help the people of Afghanistan is to remove the Taleban, a group that has a history of jailing relief workers and punishing women who try to earn money to feed their families. If you want to give Afghanistan a future, keep bombing. Furthermore, it's unrealistic to say that civilian casualties make bombing unacceptable. If a few innocent people must die so that thousands more potential victims of terrorism may live, that's a trade off I can accept.
Robert, New York

I can't believe that I'm still hearing comments that question the guilt of Bin Laden

I can't believe that I'm still hearing comments that question the guilt of Bin Laden. I was pretty much convinced after he threatened that more planes would be hijacked if we didn't stop bombing Afghanistan. It's clear that they won't stop this terror campaign unless we step in and try to bring an end to it ourselves. As for everyone suggesting that the matter should have been turned over to the UN in accordance to international law - get real. If the Taleban wouldn't cooperate with us when we were clearly threatening to steamroll their country, do you think they would have done anything other than laugh at the finger-waggling from the UN? We should feel sorry for the starving civilians in Afghanistan, this campaign will make it much worse for them I'm sure. But let's not also forget that the Taleban has been throwing out aid agencies for a very long time who's primary purpose was to feed and provide medicine to those that needed it. At best, you could say that we're make a horrible situation that they created worse.

To JF in the USA. In a free and democratic society we operate on the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Lots of people would have said what Bin Laden said after the attacks. It doesn't make them guilty. They are just happy it happened that's all. The Americans will neither hand over the evidence needed to extradite bin Laden nor will they agree to try him in an international court - two perfectly reasonable demands by the Taleban. America likes to preach about democracy and justice, so why don't Americans practice what they preach, instead of bombing innocent refugees?
Bilal Patel, London, UK

Civilian casualties make bombing unacceptable, and experts in the Afghanistan region seem to agree that ground troops will not be able to capture the terrorists they seek
Ahmad, Lahore, Pakistan

Ceasefires have always been misused by organisations like the Tigers to buy time. Providing aid during a war is not the solution to help the Afghan people. The better solution is to win the war against the Taleban and then provide aid that will actually reach the poor and the needy.
Mukund R, USA

The US is showing a lot of restraint

Prakash, Delhi, India
All the people in favour of stopping the bombing should also see that Taleban can stop this by handing over Osama Bin Laden. This will also serve as a lesson to future terrorists. Why is every one pointing finger at US and not saying a word against Taleban? If the Taleban had Nuclear capabilities, and some small country did something wrong to them, they would not have hesitated in Nuking that country. The US is showing a lot of restraint.
Prakash, Delhi, India

Enemies of the US flew planes full of innocent civilians into buildings full of innocent civilians, thereby killing 6000 innocent civilians in a matter of two hours. Assignation attempts have been made on our political body and our news media. The innocent lives that will be lost will be those of Americans if the United States does not take a stand. The events of September 11th have already demonstrated this. So I choose to defend my family and myself, because it is obvious that someone is trying to kill us! It is not a matter of politics; it is a matter of life and death. While I do think the UN should have the lead role, I don't believe that the international community cares enough for my life nor the lives of my fellow Americans, as is demonstrated by some of the comments here.
Jordan, Brewster, USA

The Taleban is absolutely responsible for this situation

Shawn, Washington, DC, USA
We should be doing more to ease the suffering of the people of Afghanistan. They are certainly the innocent victims of the Taleban. Regardless of what many seem to believe, the Taleban is absolutely responsible for this situation. Individuals and governments need to stop blaming the US for every problem they have. This being said, the military action should not stop until the Taleban is gone. I just read a newsflash: "EU says overthrowing the Taleban no longer a legitimate objective." Are you kidding me? What a bunch of wimps. People say Americans are dim. At least we learned from our mistake of not removing Saddam Hussein from power. When the going gets tough, Europeans run away. I'm glad world peace is not on your shoulders.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

"When a terrorist incident occurs it would only be necessary to report it as such and not attribute it to any organisation. After all terrorism feeds on publicity no matter how bad." Is this a joke? Have you been hiding a closet for the past month and a half? The World Trade Center crumbled into a heap of rubble with thousands of people in the building. Not to mention the Pentagon, and flight 93. And what about the US Embassy bombings and the bombing of the USS Cole? These were all the actions of the same American-hating terrorist group. It is finally time for the US to strike back. We need to cut this cancer out from its root. And we need to support those people in power who are finally taking some real action against these terrorists.
Monica, Santa Clara, USA

When reading the comments and opinions people have about stopping the bombing, it seems they simply state the problem and no-one seems to offer an effective solution better than our current strategy of disabling the Taleban, terrorists infrastructure and weaponry. Can anyone suggest a more effective strategy? If so, please do tell us.
Daniel Garraway, Hampshire, UK

It makes no sense to punish people for breaking the law by breaking the law oneself

Phil, Wales, UK
Mr Garraway: How about trying to engage with international law for a change. It makes no sense to punish people for breaking the law by breaking the law oneself. And the coalition (or lynch mob, depends on your point of view) is most certainly breaking all sorts of laws here. That's an alternative, Mr Garraway.
Phil, Wales, UK

To Phil from Wales and others who suggest that we should try to use international law to bring these terrorists to justice. You are forgetting that this route has already been attempted. After the Embassy bombings in 1998, the UN Security Council unanimously issued a resolution demanding the Taleban immediately hand over Osama bin Laden. Their refusal to do so is the reason for the current UN sanctions against Afghanistan. Do you imagine that a second UN resolution would be any more effective? Would tightening sanctions cause anything other than more Afghan civilian suffering? What recourse is left under international law in this case?
Noah Adams, USA

Mr Phil of Wales, do you really believe the Taleban would reciprocate in abiding by international law? What signs have they shown so far? While your argument has an air of plausibility it actually offers no viable alternatives at all.
Paul, Hull

To Phil from Wales. "Breaking the law?" Crashing three loaded airliners into two of the tallest buildings in the world and the Pentagon and killing 6,000 innocent civilians is not a crime. It's an act of war! What is wrong with you people? Your "solution" is just more delusional, feel good twaddle that feeds terrorism. And if you think a nation defending itself against aggression is "against the law", you might want to read the UN Charter instead of the Guardian.
Peter C Kohler, Washington DC, USA

It seems to me the US is running a PR exercise in Afghanistan with their Peanut Butter Aid! The Afghani people need more help than just tokens of support because the circumstances dictate it.
Nouri Beladaci, Coventry, UK.

Afghans were starving BEFORE Sept 11th and none of the people who want to stop the bombing to deliver food now even cared last winter!

Karen, USA
People need to remember that the Afghans were starving BEFORE Sept 11th and none of the people who want to stop the bombing to deliver food now even cared last winter! The US gave up the chance to send out a warning to terrorists when they left Kuwait without capturing/killing Saddam Hussein. This time, the US has to show that they mean business and see this thing through to the end. A new government can then be set up and all the humanitarians can then take care of the starving and try to get the Afghans "up & running"
Karen, USA

Tom said, "To my mind wars have one objective and that is to decisively beat the enemy to remove the cause of the war and the means and the spirit of the enemy take offensive action again." There actually is another reason Tom, you see, when a massive portion of a country's (or a hemisphere's) industry is based on the manufacturing of arms, then having a war is economically sound. It employs MILLIONS! And generates a great "boom" for the economy. But to have a war you must get the population's support, so you make an "enemy", then you make a war.

Sandra said, "I'm sure we the public, don't even know half the facts about what Bin Laden has done. Blair and his cabinet would have thought about all the points that have been made". In other words: "Leave it to the politicians, they know what their doing"! Is this why we elect people? So we don't have to think? Why then don't you ask about the facts with regards to what Bin Laden has done before you support the demise of an already impoverished country?

Gerry said,"[the terrorists are] paying the penalty for their dreadful actions." A) It hasn't been proven that Osama did it (you're acting on an assumption). B) The terrorists are paying? And the 7.5 million people who are on the verge of starvation and can't receive aid? And the thousands of refugees? All for an assumption!
Sharafe Elladen, Edmonton, Alberta

When a war is undertaken it means that people suffer or get killed

Tom, Leicester, UK
Looking at the comments I seem to think that most people missed the point. When a war is undertaken it means that people suffer or get killed. Unfortunately this also encompasses the civilian population as well as the military. I don't think the US/UK forces would purposely hit none strategic targets intentionally especially if you consider the availability and cost of the weapons used. To my mind wars have one objective and that is to decisively beat the enemy to remove the cause of the war and the means and the spirit of the enemy take offensive action again. No one wants a war. However once the decision has been made then it has to be pursued to the end, otherwise it's just a waste of those lives already lost and a signal to others that we never mean what we say. This is why politicians should think very hard and very long before starting such actions. Like it or not we elected them to take these decisions on our behalf so the least we can do is back up what they are doing to protect our way of life.
Tom, Leicester, UK

I agree with Tom. Politicians have to make decisions - it's their job! I'm sure we the public, don't even know half the facts about what Bin Laden has done. Blair and his cabinet would have thought about all the points that have been made, but their job is to protect us, not the rest of the world. If they think this is the best way of getting to Bin Laden, then we should support them a bit more.
Sandra, UK

Did the terrorists give two figs for the starving millions when they unleashed their horror? No they didn't, so they should get off the moral high ground now that they are paying the penalty for their dreadful actions.
Gerry, Scotland

To stop the campaign now to bring in aid would only prolong the suffering

Victor D, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The bombing is only the first phase of this military campaign. Once the air defence is removed, special and ground forces will take over. To stop the campaign now to bring in aid would only prolong the suffering. Besides, it seems that the Taleban are the ones who profit most from the aid, not the people that need it.
Victor D, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

There is one simple way to stop the bombing and help all the Afghan people. The Taleban must hand over Bin Laden. The pressure should be on them to stop the bombing, because they are the only ones that can do it.
Jo, London, UK

In response to Jo, London's comment that the pressure should be on the Taleban to stop the bombing, because they are the only ones that can do it. This is the language of bullies and extortionists. I pity you.
Mark, UK

To Mark, UK. The Taleban are the bullies and that is why they're regime must and will be destroyed.
Dean Cox, British in USA

I agree with many that the bombing should stop. After all, if the Americans think that the bombing will solve terrorism, are we going to see them flying over parts of Belfast?
Dave F, UK

It is imperative that the current campaign against the Taleban and al-Qaeda be continued. Not only are the Taleban showing signs of weakening but a let-up in the US-led attack now would possibly send a signal of US weakness. Diplomacy has failed and it's clear that we cannot trust the Taleban or anyone in the al-Qaeda network!
William Mitchell, USA

I'd just like to say to William Mitchell, heaven forbid that any signal of "US weakness" would be sent out just because a few million people are either starving or being bombed to death.
Stu Fenton, UK

Until such a time as Bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network are handed over the Taleban should continue to reap the whirlwind.
J, Newcastle, UK

Whether the aid gets through or not depends on the Taleban

Peter, Netherlands
Whether the aid gets through or not depends on the Taleban government and no one else. There is no reason to believe that the bombing campaign is physically preventing aid from reaching its destination. It's hardly as if the whole country was going up in flames. On the other hand, there are reports of the Taleban holding up at least one food convoy until a "tax" is paid. This is in fact typical in wars of this kind.
Peter, Netherlands

Most of the people who now are raising their voices for stopping the bombing are the same ones who did not want any reaction from the beginning. The military campaign has to go on until the Taleban and al-Qaeda is defeated. On the other hand, we must stop the terrorists from winning support by pretending that this is a religious war. The best way to stop that is to be ready to help the Afghan people as soon as the country is safe from the Taleban.
Chris, Skovde, Sweden

The bombing should stop or should never have been started in the first place. The surest way to defeat terrorism is not to publicise the perpetrators. When a terrorist incident occurs it would only be necessary to report it as such and not attribute it to any organisation. After all terrorism feeds on publicity no matter how bad.
Vic Dean, Wirral, UK

If anything we should be intensifying the whole operation instead of trying to pander to extremist sensibilities

Matt, England
In no way should the bombing stop. If anything we should be intensifying the whole operation instead of trying to pander to extremist sensibilities. Let's get it over with and sort these nutters out once and for all. Might is right my friends. So suck it and see.
Matt, England

The bombing should stop for the simple reason that the USA has set a dangerous precedent whereby any country that feels it has a fundamental right to attack terrorism, will invade the foreign soil of other countries. Countries will invade each other and attack each other at will on even a minor suspicion of terrorism. I am sorry to say it, but the USA has just opened the door for others to pursue justice in whatever way they see fit. A dangerous precedent indeed.
N Khan, London, UK

The bombing serves no purpose but to punish the Afghan people further. There is little chance of finding Bin Laden or his terrorist organisation and the sooner the US and UK realise this, then hopefully the sooner a humanitarian effort can begin in Afghanistan. History has shown time and time again that constructive dialogue and humanitarian aid are the only solutions to the problems the world now faces post September 11.
Barney, London, UK

If the current campaign continues unchanged then there will be great loss of civilian life in the winter months. Whilst it is imperative that the Taleban and al-Qaeda be held to account, the people of Afghanistan must not be made to suffer more than they already have.
Dug Paton, Dundee, Scotland

It is disturbing that people here in the west are calling for continued bombing. That is wrong. It is this sort of callous disregard for other people that breeds hate and anger. Why not just use special forces. All these people saying that the bombing should continue are doing so sitting in their homes without an understanding of the suffering these people are having to endure. This is shameful.
Chet, UK

I haven't seen any evidence that the bombing is going to achieve what Blair and Bush have said it would

Joe Korner, London
It seems obvious to me that the bombing of Afghanistan is not going to end terrorism - from Bin Laden to the Tamil Tigers, the IRA, ETA, or the Cuban exiles directing operations against Cuba from Florida. Whatever moral position people take about using bombs or force to achieve political aims, the policies that my government or the US pursue have to work practically. I haven't seen any evidence that the bombing is going to achieve what Blair and Bush have said it would. We urgently need new thinking. With every smart bomb dropped costing $1 million, it would probably have been more cost effective to bribe people in Afghanistan to flush out Bin Laden so that he could be brought to trial. A trial would be the best propaganda against the terrorists.
Joe Korner, London

Let's just stay focused and get the job done

Alan Dean, Edinburgh, Scotland
It would be totally counter productive to halt the military action now for the sake of attempting to deliver aid. The supplies would no doubt find their way into the hands of the Taleban and their supporters, which would only help prolong the campaign and heighten the chances of potential humanitarian catastrophe. The military campaign must continue through its various phases and onwards towards a speedy conclusion. The histrionic and grandiose posturing of Taleban representatives in recent days is indicative that they are faltering. Let's just stay focused and get the job done.
Alan Dean, Edinburgh, Scotland

I am in favour of what the aid agencies are saying - stop the bombing. I have a feeling that the bombing has only hurt the civilians who were already affected by the first war with the USSR. They have had to leave their home with no food or shelter to protect them from winter. If people die due to starvation and cold weather, the world will remember Sept 11 2001 as the day innocent US citizens were killed and the beginning of a humanitarian disaster for Afghanistan.
M A, Islamabad, Pakistan

Not unless or until al-Qaeda and the Taleban are brought to justice, and the remaining Afghans have some chance of a reasonable government. Reports by Afghans that the civilian casualty figures are being greatly exaggerated is significant. Even more revealing is that troops are being urged to hide out in heavily populated civilian areas. Obviously, they know the US and its allies are going to great lengths to avoid hitting civilians. Keep it up. Continue avoiding civilians, while attacking those who, until recently, have been allowed to plot terrorism with impunity.
Robert Dawson, Conover, USA

Shouldn't the UN be handling this?

Philippa Dunne, USA
Civilian casualties make bombing unacceptable, and experts in the Afghanistan region seem to agree that ground troops will not be able to capture the terrorists they seek, and instead will be captured and killed. An alternate strategy must be found. Shouldn't the UN be handling this?
Philippa Dunne, USA

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15 Oct 01 | Americas
The US war of minds

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