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Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 15:04 GMT
Should the UK send more troops to Afghanistan?
The UK has authorised the biggest deployment of British troops since the Gulf War to help root out al-Qaeda fighters.

UK defence secretary Geoff Hoon has called the Afghanistan deployment "a powerful force - up to 1,700 strong."

He added: "We will be asking them to risk their lives...they may suffer casualties."

Mr Hoon said that al-Qaeda continued to pose a threat to countries including the UK.

The British contingent will join a US-led brigade to flush out the remnants of the Taleban and al-Qaeda forces.

Should the UK send more troops to Afghanistan?

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


Your reaction


Everyone who is against terrorism has to support the fight against it, not only the UK

Stijn and Michiel, Belgium
Terrorism does not only appear in Afghanistan. So will sending troops to Afghanistan destroy the plague of terrorism? It's important to show support to the USA, but let them be the leader in the fight. Everyone who is against terrorism has to support the fight against it, not only the UK. However war doesn't terrify terrorists. They have to find other means to wipe out terrorism such as inspectors. It might be more useful to send medical help to Afghanistan instead of military troops and reorganise the country before it falls pray to new terrorist regimes. The only thing we can conclude after this period is the fact that terrorism still isn't destroyed and it will take a long time before it ends.
Stijn and Michiel, Belgium

The United States did not send any troops to support the British effort in the Falklands. Why should anyone send troops to help them in Afghanistan?
Richard Hills, Canada

I see the MPs are questioning military strategy in sending a further 1,700 troops to Afghanistan and comparing this to the Viet Nam war. Probably the largest contributor to that war lasting as long as it did and had the results it did was politicians trying to run the war. Stay out of it MPs or we will have another Viet Nam. And for Simon, England, UK: Why should the US spend millions on a movie and make another country the hero? A lot of people complain about the US rewriting history in their films (according to their view point of course). In some cases I am sure the truth is stretched a bit, in others almost to the breaking point, and in a lot more cases not at all. At least they are making quality movies, what have we done?
John, UK


For now we've won - come home, boys

James Clarke, UK
Yes ok Mr. Bush you win. We have won. Bring the boys home, declare a victory, have a huge parade and don't get bogged down in regional disputes between despots in Afghanistan. If the Taleban rise back up just wait until you know where they are then go back and get them. But for now we've won - come home, boys.
James Clarke, UK

I want to make clear that my reservations about Britain as an ally are based on the average British subject and their anti-American feelings, not the quality or bravery of British forces. Man for man they are the best in the world, bar none. (I'm a former US Army Ranger who fought alongside them in the Gulf War.) I just don't think their country can be trusted to back them, and will pull them out as things get rougher.
Fred Barnes, USA

This is a conflict with no end, but it does not fit into the traditional interpretation of 'war.' As usual it is Britain and America who have the motivation to destroy hidden evil. The events so far have made Bush and Blair a pair of world leaders that will never be forgotten. One day, these events will be studied in history classes across the globe. The children of tomorrow will then analyse why there had been so much hatred for America, there is much that the citizens of this 'free' world are unaware of, especially in the world of trade and commerce. But we cannot reverse the past, what has been taken can never be restored. Sir, I ask you this, will there be western troops in the Middle East if this conflict is solved? Somebody somewhere will always have to deal with the aftermath. I am all for military assaults on this evil terror group in Afghanistan.
Neil Thompson, UK resident in Sweden


Because this is a war on global terrorism, both Americans and British have a stake in the outcome

Rose, USA
Because this is a war on global terrorism, both Americans and British have a stake in the outcome. All sides need to take their part in this war. We in America thank the British for all that they have done and hope we have their support in the future.
Rose, USA

To turn an oft-seen argument on its head (or more accurately, the right way up): If regimes like the Taleban want to avoid US attacks in future, maybe they should start to think about addressing the causes behind them...
Henry Case, UK

E Pluribus Unum - Out of Many, One. We can't let our resolution waver on this war on terrorism. We fight this war together, or lose separately. My only criticism is that the US has assumed the leadership role rather than the United Nations.
Robert Herron, USA


I feel very strongly that British forces should not now be sucked into Bush's war against terrorism

Carl Gavin, Asia
As an ex serviceman who served in Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands I feel very strongly that British forces should not now be sucked into Bush's war against terrorism. I remember coming back to Brize Norton in 1982 and saying to my father that "unless there was oil around the Falklands we had just lost a lot of lives for very little". Mrs Thatcher, who I subsequently met, proved this correct by winning a landslide and then selling off oil rights. Now I think that George W Bush is trying to correct his father's wrongs, Senior could have strolled into Iraq in 1991 but didn't. History will show that he then managed to lose at the next election.
Carl Gavin, Asia

Who's is going to pay for it?
Graham Thompson, England

The UK does not need to involve itself in this war. But remember, those who don't participate have no right to complain about strategy and policy. So either start walking or stop talking.
Thomas, USA


Perhaps a lesson could be learned by the US from the way that we have dealt with our own terrorists in Northern Ireland

Richard Allison, England
I am fully behind the current US/UK/UN operations in Afghanistan, however perhaps a lesson could be learned by the US from the way that we have dealt with our own terrorists in Northern Ireland. Firstly spill the blood of hundreds of civilians, police officers, and soldiers eliminating and capturing these terrorists. Then release them all from prison with full pardons, after all they weren't really terrorists, they were 'freedom fighters?'. Finally install those responsible for countless bombings and shootings as members of parliament. Oh, and don't forget that they don't have to swear allegiance to the queen if they don't want to.
Richard Allison, England

Cheers to the UK for supporting us. With that being said, the USA imperialism and money mongering comments can cease. Who colonized most of the world in the name of His Majesty? Who started the slave trades for profit? Before we are allowed to call anyone a hypocrite we must first look at ourselves.

I believe in this fight. These people must be stopped. There only purpose is fear and hatred no matter the cause. Someone looked at them cross-eyed and they want to fight. Well, we are here to finish it. God speed to our men. US/UK/German/Canadian/Australian/Polish.
Winston, USA

So Blair has decided to send British troops to fight in Afghanistan. Comparsions between the Gulf/Falklands are being made, why? Troops were sent as a direct result of miltiary action, a subtle difference perhaps, but they were different. But before they went there was a debate and a vote in parliament, why hasn't there been one now? Where is the rest of Europe? Why has there been more discussion over fox hunting than the sending of British troops into another country where they could be killed?
Nigel Hughes, England

Good luck to all the brave troops, I agree we should be in there shorting this out.... next stop Iraq!
Stephen, UK


I have to disagree with a number of your writers who assume that the war in Afghanistan is nearly over - rather it is just begun

Ian, UK
I have to disagree with a number of your writers who assume that the war in Afghanistan is nearly over - rather it is just begun. At the end of the day war is about balance sheets and the way the war in Afghanistan will show a profit for the US and its allies is if a pipeline can be built from the northern oilfields to the Indian Ocean. This has been a US objective for over a decade and this is why the CIA encouraged the Taleban after the Soviet withdrawal and subsequent civil war. If nothing else the Taleban would have made excellent pipeline guards before they turned against the West. The present unelected government in Kabul cannot deliver the level of stability needed to build and guard a pipeline while it excludes the majority Pashtun tribes - who made up the core of the Taleban. So for the US and the UK to turn a profit in Afghanistan they will have to send in more and more troops - the lessons of Soviet experience have be noted by some correspondents. Britain will now have around 3200 troops in Afghanistan - half as combat troops in the South and West and half as "peacekeepers" in Kabul - the contradictions of this will increasingly become obvious to the Afghans and the "peacekeepers" will become targets. As the countries who have been involved in the "allied" involvement distance themselves from the situation - it looks like Turkey will not now take over the leadership of the "peacekeeping " force from Britain - the UK will find itself committed to a situation without an definable end date and with increasing financial cost. Can it afford to do this given the poor state of its domestic infrastructure? I think not.
Ian, UK

What I want to know is when is the first Hollywood movie on the Afghan war is going to come out? No doubt the US will be the heroes again! As for the UK troop deployment, I wish our lads all the luck in the world. As an ex-serviceman, I know that they will prevail!!
Simon, England, UK

I agree with the government sending British Troops over to support US Forces. International terrorism reminds me of the hydra of Greek mythology, we will never slay the monster of terrorism if we simply try to cut one head off. We must destroy the whole monster if we want to live in a free and civilised world where people talk about there problems. Unfortunately we must use force to forge this world. Yes British servicemen may die doing this, but if we don't then the freedom won by soldiers of the past will mean nothing and terrorism will plunge the world into chaos.
Paul, UK

Sending the Marines in will no doubt speed up the process of mopping up resistance, as everybody knows the British forces are the best in the world. The mountain and arctic warfare cadre even more so. However I am sure the troops on the ground will be the first to agree they should be led by their own officers and not the Americans. Another point besides, why is it always the British troops who sort out the world's trouble spots, sure they are the best but not the biggest and certainly not the most well funded. France for example has larger forces but they very rarely leave barracks unless of course it benefits France. Europe in general seems to get a better deal from every conflict, the Brits sort out the problem and then the rest of Europe go in and claim all the benefits and jobs in re-building. No doubt after the impending civil war in Zimbabwe the Paras etc will be on hand to sort out the mess, lets hope the UK is never threatened with invasion because by the time our troops get home it will be to late to do anything.
Stephen Wilson, England


British military intervention in Sierra Leone, the former Yugoslavia and as part of ISAF in Afghanistan has largely been a success

Toby Kubitz, Erfurt, Germany
British military intervention in Sierra Leone, the former Yugoslavia and as part of ISAF in Afghanistan has largely been a success because of the professional and realistic approach of the soldiers concerned. Their hard graft as opposed to the American predilection for high tech hands-off gizmos is in many cases the reason why "Death to Britain" has so little resonance round the world. An instrument of "constructive" military engagement would be lost if Britain continues too closely slipstreaming the US in this way.
Toby Kubitz, Erfurt, Germany

Hoon should definitely NOT send troops to assist the US in its war against terrorism. Through the Pakistani ISI (Intelligence Service) the CIA funded and helped to train these groups whom they now refer to as terrorists during the resistance to the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. They also backed and supplied Iraq in its 7-year war against Iran. These dual standards must stop NOW. It is time that people were told the truth instead of being persistently lied to over American sponsorship of terrorism. Countries that create these monsters should be called upon to deal with them. Stay out of it Britain and sort some of your own problems out - starting with Mr. Blair.
I Cordingley, UK resident in France

No I don't think we should be sending more of our troops over. The events on September 11 were terrible but it's not our war.
Jo, Britain

When UK has the best mountain trained combat troops in the world why should they not be use to flush out the Al -Qaeda and spare the free world of their horrible attacks? I feel they should be supported by the Royal navy's airpower and the RAF in addition to the US airpower.
Wynne C Paul, Goa INDIA


I wonder if the Americans remember Vietnam?

Charles Potten, UK
I wonder if the Americans remember Vietnam? France left with its nose bloodied and strongly advised that they leave well alone. Result? America's nose got pounded for years. Here, Russia left, again with its nose bloodied, for much the same reasons. Namely the terrain and the resolve of the locals to fight allcomers. America's in there again, with it's tactical forces, using its tactics and.... Oh the Afghans keep escaping. But like a good little puppy dog we British send over 1700 Marines. Big mistake. Sorry, I am against this completely, the battle is by all accounts won. Support the government that has been formed and get the hell out, otherwise Ameristan will have serious problems with its neighbours, who we all know are not exactly thrilled by the presence of such a large US military force on their doorstep. What pockets of resistance there are will play cat and mouse for months or even years. Is it worth it? I don't think so. Once they see Afghanistan start to prosper and move forward, these fighters will loose their power and they will no longer have a battle to fight. It might be painful for a while but it's their Northern Ireland, their Corsica. They are in a much better position to resolve it, they are closer to the ground and they are not foreigners (i.e. Americans).
Charles Potten, UK

Simply put - yes, yes, yes
Ron Williams, USA (UK retired)

This 'war' on terrorism is totally indefensible. It is just a way for Americans to vent their justifiable anger at the attack in New York. The moral and religious way to react surely cannot be to cowardly bomb people who had nothing to do with it. The moral standpoint of the USA is a joke. Who has the most weapons of mass destruction? And who used them first in Japan and Vietnam? The arrogance of the Americans and the fawning of the British are both totally repugnant and must be opposed by all right-minded people.
Peter, U.K.

President Bush & Tony Blair both have gone mad. They don't know what they are going to do. They will spoil the future of Americans.
Leena, USA


Let's not forget that this is a UN Sanctioned act of response to the September 11 attacks

Ian Westwood, UK
The whole aim of armed forces is to protect their country and to provide assistance to their allies. Let's not forget that this is a UN Sanctioned act of response to the September 11 attacks, and the mix of US, Canadian, UK or any other UN force, so it was a matter of time before another force was sent in. I think it is right that we're sending some of our troops in. Yes there will be casualties, but there wasn't so much dissention regarding the Falklands war which was over a small piece of land. It's time to finish the job and rid the world of Al-Qaeda and other extreme terrorist groups.
Ian Westwood, UK

You cannot 'fight' terrorism. Does anyone really think that the real terrorists are the kind of people to stand up and fight? Of course not. They are more like criminals than soldiers and the only way to counter them in the long run is to remove the causes of their anger. I also believe that British troops are the best in the world, but it's not a question of how good they are but more what is the purpose of them dying in Afghanistan? I doubt if any of Afghanis killed had anything at all to do with the attack in New York. If the West were fair then there would be no reason for terrorists to exist and no support for their actions. Let us get to the root of the problem and not stupidly charge at the symptoms.
John, Scotland

To claim that the American military forces aren't capable of winning the war in Afghanistan is absolute nonsense. I doubt any other military could have responded as quickly and powerfully as America did after the September 11 ''sucker punch.'' The last time I checked the Taleban lost their power on the streets and people weren't being be-headed at sporting events for chewing gum. As far as I'm concerned America has done a good job on the war on terrorism, allot better than most countries could have done. Instead of cruising America on its every move, try to admire the guts and the pursuit to rid the world of evil even though it may sound ridiculous or impossible. America is a peaceful nation that wants peace; the war is on terrorist or people who support them, not on Islam. Join the cause because if America fails, so shall the world.
Jerry Navarro, USA


I am not criticising the god work done by US & UK. But the realisation came very late

Aman Tandon, India
As an Indian it was really nice to hear that UK is also sending it's troop to Afghanistan, to wipe out the evil forces of terrorism. I am not criticising the god work done by US & UK. But the realisation came very late. Also the thing which should be looked at is the source of Taleban terrorism. It was US only who along with Pakistan full-heartedly supported them to counter Russian forces in Afganistan. You get what you reap. UK, over the years has shown great maturity in International relations. Contrary to US their image is of peacemaker rather than of a Universal Policeman. Now they both need to leverage the combined strength and make this world a bit better place for coming generations. Fighting in Afghanistan is totally different ball game. Moreover the people with whim are fighting with are have only one aim - to kill you whether they survive or not. I would convey my best wishes to US & UK forces for this daunting task. Hope this time they don't leave the task unfinished.
Aman Tandon, India

Any help from the UK is welcomed. If you are queasy or feel this is an American war, please stay home. Or perhaps take a nice vacation to Nigeria, I believe, for the upcoming stoning of a woman who had a child out of wedlock. Better book now as she only lives until the child is done breastfeeding. Unlike many of those responding here, she will only be buried up to the waist.
Kevin Ebright, USA

Why should the UK send troops to Afghanistan? Aren't the US troops good enough at killing Afghan civilians and mistake any relatively tall people for Osama? If the Americans want to mind what is none of their business, fine. Why do they consistently want to drag the UK and France into their own mess? To make it more justifiable?
Alain Marie, Malaysia

Seems to me that the USA can't deal with ground to ground combat in harsh environments. All it is prepared to do is bomb from the relative safety of the sky and get other nations to take the high body counts that may result from now on. As to all the nonsense of protecting the free world from Terrorism, Sept 11t was directed against the USA, every other country I know of has had their own share of terrorism without the states jumping in to aid the allies.
Cyndy,


The most powerful method and the most powerful weapon are truth and justice

Muath, USA
There is no need to use military power and fight any war. The most powerful method and the most powerful weapon are truth and justice. If these two are implemented, USA or Britain would not find itself in such a perplexing situation. It is very simple method, and the average simple can see it. But those in power usually ignore it in order to serve their own personal gains. There would be no fundamentalism in the Islamic world if there was justice. There would be no Islamists if there was no exploitation. We're dealing with 1/4 and more of the world's population, which happened to be the Islamic-Third-World. We're not dealing with just one person or one group. That is why there are many of what we call and perceive as terrorists. This is the product of the west. It is the west that has caused the creation of such phenomena.
Muath, USA

No number of UK troops or US troops can fight those "terrorists" as one can never fight an enemy whom are invisible. One can have all the latest in weaponry but have to accept that even if there is a single person who thinks like Usama Bin Laden then the terror threat will remain. Now tell me how one can achieve the impossible and eradicate every single person who hates the US and its friends. Lets no send these UK troops and bring them back in bags. Afghanistan was not the enemy and to this date those who have suffered are the Muslim civilians of Afghanistan (and US & coalition troops, no don't be silly. They would never tell you this).
Jakob, UK

To John, USA: You must be blind to the facts that your country is the only country in the world who supported terrorism and have been terrorizing other countries because of their recourses so your lazy a.. smoke pot and drink alcohol and watch football and you have the guts to bitch how the world is unsafe.
Anonymous

I am a dual UK/USA citizen and fully support the deployment of UK Commandos. The west must stop this terrorism at its heart otherwise we will face it again. It is up to the UK and USA to eliminate this threat because no one else will. We must also stop the violence in the Middle East by creating a viable Palestinian state by having Israel withdraw to its 1967 borders.
LTC (Ret) Greg Taylor, USA


I don't blame America for attacking, it is the natural instinct, but now surely the time has come to talk as well

Neil, UK
We should remember that the campaign in Afghanistan was started for one reason only - to try and put Al-Qaeda out of action. It was not done to save the "suffering Afghan people from the hands of the evil Taleban". The West sat around for years doing nothing to stop the suffering of the Afghan people. So we can't claim now that it is an altruistic action. I don't blame America for attacking, it is the natural instinct, but now surely the time has come to talk as well. You're very good at telling the rest of us we should negotiate, it's time you practised what you preached. It is also time for us (all of the west not just the USA) why much of the Muslim world hates us. The USA may be the focus for this, but we are all tarred with the same brush in their eyes. Whether our shortcomings are real or imagined, to the militant Islamic fundamentalist they are very real. A good hearts and minds campaign would be more beneficial in the long term than sustained use of military force.
Neil, UK

This is America's war, let them fight it. Simple question, if the UK was attacked and the British went into war in a different country, and then called upon American troops to go to the front lines while the British troops were far away on some hilltop looking, would the Americans send troops? The British government has to get its priorities right.... deal with the IRA who have blown up countless things in the UK as compared to Al-Qaeda and Taleban who to the best of my knowledge haven't ever hit the UK. If the Americans need more troops, tell them to bring up their reserves. This is Americas war, they were attacked and they were the ones who really pissed off the people who done the attacks on September 11th...not the British... It's their war, let them fight it!
Jason, UK

Why? To profit by doubly siphoning off the aid money. Afghanistan is a poor country unlike Kuwait it cannot pay war reparation.
Ash, India

There doesn't need to be a clearly defined goal: I think the goal can be vague. The idea is that the terrorists want to use lawless Afghanistan. Denying them this seems worthwhile - the goal is simply occupation.
Steve Dobbs, England


Of course Britain should send in more troops

Richard Lovell, London, UK
Of course Britain should send in more troops. Whilst I'm highly critical of Bush's Foreign Policy generally (and the presidential election was an awful example of democracy in action), this is a far bigger issue. We must stand side by side against forces that wish to destroy us. It may be unfashionable to say this, but self-preservation must sometimes take precedence over principle. Besides we make good allies militarily: the cynics will say the British are well-trained and poorly-equipped (and have always been so) whilst the Americans are the reverse, but I prefer to believe that we have complimentary strengths. British forces have more experience over many decades and in different theatres of conflict in fighting guerrilla and terrorist forces. In view of the terrain and altitude, can someone tell me why the Gurkhas have not yet been called in?
Richard Lovell, London, UK

Maybe it is old age but why is it that when politicians get involved in "thickened plots" my nose twitches? This is not about one side's troops being braver than the other's, they are all brave. No, this is about election year in the US and "body-bag" time. Bush needs the senate very badly to push through his agenda and body counts won't improve his chances come November, its all yours Tony and remember I've just handed you 27 billion in defence contract money. Next subject!
Terry Richardson, US

Of course Britain should support our American allies, not to forget the Australians and Canadians who are also engaged in this war on terrorism. Luckily the English-speaking world is prepared to take on these evil men.
James S. Welsh, UK

We don't have understanding of most of the Europeans (including, of course, French), but thank god we still have real friends in Europe -the British.
Alex, USA


I hope and pray that both governments know what they are doing in this fight against evil

Lisa Quested, USA
I am a British citizen and have lived in the U.S for over 10 years. I have an American husband and 2 children. I also have a baby brother who is a Royal Marine and is being deployed tomorrow (20th). I hope and pray that both governments know what they are doing in this fight against evil.
Lisa Quested, USA

I don't know if I should laugh or cry at some of the anti-us comments, but I know they don't reflect the views of the great majority of the British public. I support fully the troop deployment, and can think of no better soldiers to fight beside. When I read this rubbish about the Americans not being up for it, I want to laugh. In World War Two the Americans, British, Canadians, Australians and others stood shoulder to shoulder and defeated the great evil of the day, and 60yrs later we will do the same. Freedom comes at a price, and to all those who are against action where would you be now if it wasn't for the sacrifice of people like these brave soldiers.
Paul, Wales

I believe we are morally correct to send more troops to aid in the fight against enemy that tried to control its nation through public execution and oppression of belief. This is a nation of people that has suffered for far too long and I hope no one forgets that this should be done to aid the people of Afghanistan towards a prosperous and successful future free from fear. Good luck to the People of 45 Cdo and their supporting companies, we have faith that you will make our country proud.
Dave, UK

Most people don't seem to be aware that a huge propaganda machine has been set in motion by the American government to manipulate public opinion. News is being censored and carefully selected to fuel the hatred and so justify military action on the poorest country in the world. How ridiculous it is to bomb piles of rock and rubble. One minute American leaders are shaking hands with the terrorists and giving them guns, training and vast amounts of money, next minute they are demonising them. The American government is two-faced and hypocritical. The leaders of this world are all without imagination when it comes to resolving conflict - its tribal warfare all around - the boys with their toys are intent on destruction regardless of the long term consequences. It makes me want to despair.
Misha Taylor, UK


It isn't as if this support actually gained Britain any benefit or influence

TonyH, UK
Hmm, the US has asked the UK to deploy 1,700 elite combat troops. To keep the deployment in proportion to the size of each country, the US should be committing around 8,000. In proportion to size of military forces, it would be more like 11,500. This is in addition to other troops in 'peacekeeping' roles, which the UK is already contributing several thousand. The US comes up short, however you calculate it. It looks to me as if the British contingent are being supplied to provide a key role that US forces are not prepared for: Getting shot at below a height of 50,000 feet. It isn't as if this support actually gained Britain any benefit or influence. IRA...Beef...Bananas...Kyoto...Steel... My view is that British troops should be deployed where they would make the British safer. How about enforcing a blockade on Israel to stop War criminal Sharon accumulating more 'weapons of mass destruction' or as observers, to stop the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians?. PS: I don't want to hear another uneducated Yank complaining 'we saved your ass in WW2': Look up 'Red Army'.
TonyH, UK

I think sending UK troops out into Afghanistan is futile and is simply a strategy by the US to deflect some the casualties in this war to other nations. As American soldiers being killed does not make good press in the US and only serves to weaken support. This request coming days after al-Qaeda forces downed the two US helicopters is testament to this.
Travis Sitzler, USA

Because of confidentiality we have not revealed a name or e-mail address and hope that this will be "respected". We have a daughter who, again, is on 48 hr standby. Having realed day to day from September through to December not knowing whether she would "go". We presumed incorrectly, that Mr Bush did not "need her"! Why did a representative of the US on radio 4 this very evening state that that the US could not provide an adequately equipped force to deal with the situation in which they now find themselves? Why the hell not? Would it not be prudent to have a trained task force prepared for any eventuality "at the ready" prior to taking on such a mission? Are we to continue to mop up after Mr Bush and his mayhem? Where next? Our tri-services have to go, they have no option Mr Blair has committed them. He should "seriously" doubt the integrity of the aforementioned admission. Yes they will go but they should not! Not when their so-called compatriots c/o Mr Bush have NOT got their act together.
Anonymous, England

I know the US government would never agree to it, but I would like to see Britain take control of the mission in Afghanistan with the US forces put under British command. The reality is that they are more experienced and better trained for this operation and I just feel that they might succeed where a US led operation might fail. This is not to say that the US Army isn't one of the finest, and I have great pride in what they are doing. At the end of the day, though, I want us to win this war; if letting the Royal Marines take the lead and our pride taking a slight knock, then so be it!
Andrew, USA


Thanks Britain, Canada, and Australia; you are friends for a reason.

Robert, USA
If the Soviet Union or similarly strong entity (China for example) were backing the terrorists high up in the mountains of Afghanistan today, then maybe we could compare this war effort to the Soviet occupation. What people forget, is that those rebels in the 1980's were not throwing rocks. They were trained and equipped by the US. If the US was not involved, Afghanistan would have become another satellite country with occasional mild outbreaks of violence. To say otherwise is quite insulting to the Russian people. And thanks Britain, Canada, and Australia; you are friends for a reason.
Robert, USA

I don't support this policy of UK, and I also ask Bush to pull out the US troops, because he will pay a heavy price in that country. Remember in 1900s UK paid a heavy price when they tried to invade Afghanistan. Those people are very tough, and since western nations have lived in peace and luxury, they don't know how to fight. Remember what goes around, comes around. USA is a powerful bully, and they will learn that soon. "Its easy to invade a country, but hard to hold it", and Bush is learning this already. He is a man, who will bring America to its Knees.
Abdul Jabbar Khan, Greater Canada

The losses of the British forces in Afghanistan will be minimised if the soldier commanders are equipped with wads of money for bribes and a large probability of disaster can be prevented if NO MORE than TWO Afghan mercenaries pro Brit fighter are employee on the field.
Pylagoras, UK

I believe we are morally correct to send more troops to aid in the fight against enemy that tried to control its nation through public execution and oppression of belief. This is a nation of people that has suffered for far too long and I hope no one forgets that this should be done to aid the people of Afghanistan towards a prosperous and successful future free from fear. Good luck to the People of 45 Cdo and their supporting companies, we have faith that you will make our country proud.
Dave, UK

I'm not sure that the US has a firm grasp on what is actually going on militarily in Afghanistan and I am concerned that introducing troops from Britain to follow the course America has set could lead to unnecessary casualties with no clear focus of what is to be achieved. Public opinion in the US is beginning to accept that the US administration and defence officials are giving out a good deal of dissemination on the results of their military strikes and I would not want to see British troops unwittingly fall into the US propaganda trap. For example; according to US officials, over 300 Al-Qaeda forces were killed in operation Anaconda whereas the United States' own Afghan allies say the truth is closer to 25 dead with the rest having escaped. A good number of US soldiers died killing these 25 enemy soldiers and millions of dollars were spent in the process. Britain should be wary of blindly doing America's bidding when America seems to have difficulty understanding what it needs to do, how to do it and then, when it fails, admitting afterwards that it screwed up. There is no question that Al-Qaeda needs to be destroyed, it is just that I am not convinced that America has the military capability to do it and I don't want to see British lives lost because of it. If Britain were in charge and leading the charge then I would be more comfortable. I do not believe that America has demonstrated that it has the know how to fight this kind of war, they are good at storming the beaches but historically they have not been psychologically equipped for the kind of thoughtful fighting needed now for this battle. The blind leading the blind is bad enough all round but the blind leading the sighted could be a disaster.
Kenneth Jessett, USA

I have a comment for John from USA who thinks Pakistan is an "Axis of Evil". The first Pakistani president said in the assembly in 1948 "There is only one embassy in this country and that is the US embassy". I wish our leaders would wake up and realise who our friends really are. I just hope people you think like you are a minority.
Shayan, USA/Pakistan


I would like to thank our British friends for their support

John, USA
I would like to thank our British friends for their support. Yes, we still need your cooperation to root out terrorism and make this world a safe place for civilized people. I wish the war against terrorism would well be extended to countries like Pakistan, Iran and Iraq. To me these three countries are "axis of evil" which are the safe heaven for terrorists. Take military action against countries which believes in Islamic fundamentalism and the concept of Jihad. Make this world free from Islamic Militants.
John, USA

I have been in contact with US Army since the start of the year and I have visited the USA on a number of occasions since September 11. A number of things have struck me in my short time there. The most prominent is how the USA is feeling extremely alone in this big old world. A lot of civilian and military personnel recognise that the UK is its only true friend and close ally. During Operation Anaconda the US military suffered from heavy fighting and extreme climate conditions. The USA does not train in extreme climates to the same degree that the Royal Marines do, and for this reason this fighting force will add a formidable increase in capability to the land force commander. The Royal Marines will prove themselves (as they did during the Falklands War in 1982) to be one of the best fighting units in the western world. Good luck to all those men who go forward into arms way.
British Army WO2, UK

Come on the UK and US for goodness sake, any Al Qaeda people reading this website will be rubbing their hands. The US and UK bitching about each other! I say good on the US for taking the lead and good on the UK for sending the Royal marines. Let's get the job done. I think we all know that killing Al-Qaeda will be a messy hand-to-hand job ultimately. This is what the Royal Marines train for. Good luck and God's speed - that applies to the US, UK and all allies.
Andrew, UK


I think Great Britain is right to commit more troops to the War in Afghanistan, in support of our allies

Dave, England
Yes! I think Great Britain is right to commit more troops to the War in Afghanistan, in support of our allies. Although in response to the comments of Fred Barnes USA who suggests that the US does not need an ally like Britain because the British public is visibly expressing their concerns, I say this; from the selection of views we have seen here it could be suggested their is strong support for more British involvement, But this country, like yours, is a democratic country and the people here have the right to question the motives & implications of the deployments. The feeling I get from reading some of the comments from our American friends is that terrorism is something new that has only affected them, and that they forget this country, until recently has suffered at the hands of terrorists for the past 30 years, during which quite active support for the terrorist cause came from certain sections in the States. We should all stand shoulder to shoulder to defeat all terrorism where ever it my arise.
Dave, England

I am astounded by the ignorance of history shown by some of the replies! First let me state that I am full square behind the US and fully support British troops in this mission. The people of the US deserve our respect and our gratitude, period!. Now to the history lesson, Britain stood alone fighting for freedom in WWII from 1939, don't insult us with the saved your butt routine, and please remember that there were 5 d-day beaches, Gold, Juno , Utah, Omaha & Sword . Yes the Brits , Canadians and others were there too! Next step, where was US moral support when IRA terrorists were killing and maiming? oh sorry, forgot they are freedom fighters aren't they? Funny , but since 1945 I seem to recall British Serviceman serving in operations and giving their lives in Palestine, Korea, The Falklands, The Gulf, Suez , Borneo Northern Ireland just to name a few. All talk and no action?
Pete, England

Britain has an important role in the world today as an international peacekeeper, not having the reputation of the USA for intervening where it shouldn't be. As a proud northerner I am happy to see several of my countrymen and countrywomen perhaps die protecting the freedoms that we often take for granted in the UK. I sincerely believe that one British life is well worth sacrificing to save 30 or 40 Afghanistan ones. The more of our boys that are over there the better the world will be.
Katie Lydon, United Kingdom


Do you think that Tommy Franks asked for UK troops because Americans are hiding in their fighting holes crying and entirely incapable of small arms combat, or because the calculation was made that they are first rate mountain fighters and having British troops on the front line is more likely to strengthen the resolve of the British people to support an all out war on Al Qaeda?

Gerald Joyce, Chicago, USA
I would like to thank Rob B and Mike, former members of the UK armed forces, for being able to speak highly of their comrades in arms without using it as an opportunity to bash the US forces. I find it rather telling that people who have a first hand perspective on what it actually takes to win a war didn't resort to the "send in the professionals" amateur night sort of analysis. Do you think that Tommy Franks asked for UK troops because Americans are hiding in their fighting holes crying and entirely incapable of small arms combat, or because the calculation was made that they are first rate mountain fighters and having British troops on the front line is more likely to strengthen the resolve of the British people to support an all out war on Al Qaeda? During WWII George Orwell said that the British look at the Americans and say they can't fight because they have no discipline. The Americans look at the British and say they can't fight because the concentrate too much on spit and polish and what both sides forget is that each of them have a long history of taking on all comers around the globe and coming out victorious. I have complete faith in the infantrymen and special forces of the US, UK, Canada and Australia to do whatever they are asked to do with great bravery and effectiveness under whatever conditions they are asked to fight in.
Gerald Joyce, Chicago, USA

I guess a combat role is a lot more satisfying than mere security duty. It also gives the troops a chance to put all that stuff they've been learning to practice. But what Afghanistan needs is to rebuild itself. For that to happen it needs security. If it can move ahead as a nation those Taleban holdouts will become irrelevant If not and poverty and hopelessness prevail those western soldiers will come to be seen as the problem and not the solution.
Pat, Canada

My comment is to Ralph Maddams who states " we should not get involved its not our war" A great friend you would be.
Daughter of UK Serviceman, UK

Britain should NOT send troops to Afghanistan. It is NOT our war. However terrible the events of September the Eleventh were the country of Afghanistan did NOT instigate them.
Ralph Maddams, United Kingdom


These troops are not the last ones to be sent

Timur, Kazakhstan
Well, from the experiences of my own country (USSR) I can tell one thing for sure - these troops are not the last ones to be sent. After all Soviet army also started by sending one specops battalion.... So I suggest we prepare for losses, pain and a growing sense of futility of the war. Who can tell precisely, in a thesis form, what the coalition is fighting for? There are no defined goals. All the general nonsense about fighting terrorism is irrelevant - noble, but meaningless as a practical guideline. It is too general, there are no targets (Who is defined as Al-Qaeda and Taleban? Everyone who does not like Karzai's government? Who?). There are no plans and no ways to measure success. I support the efforts to track suspected criminals like Bin Laden - but I am simply terrified by the spread of this anti-terrorist campaign, that looks more and more like ugly and hypocritical anti-Communist campaigns of the Cold war. UK is making a mistake - I like and admire this country, and I am very sorry.
Timur, Kazakhstan

To Dee, Switzerland: I find the rabid anti-Americanism in Europe powerfully ignorant and intolerant. It's absolutely pathetic! It's quite obvious that Islamic fundamentalism is THE leading cause of international terrorism. Have you even thought about that? Or is everything automatically America's fault? Wow, you're SO tolerant!
Shawn, Washington, DC

I applaud the U.K. for taking an active, military role in an issue they feel requires action. I believe the premise that violence begets more violence is warranted. Nonetheless, I think the use of force was necessary in the case of Afghanistan. Terrorists do not have the deterrent to attacking other countries that nations-states historically have had. They have no infrastructure to destroy and no land to occupy. Thus, this necessitates the need to cooperate with the countries in which they operate to stop them. It was apparent that Afghanistan was not going to aid the U.S. to stem the operations of the Al-Qaeda. Thus, force was prerequisite to stopping the terrorists in this specific situation. They would not have gone away if we just left them alone, and I don't think they really wanted to talk it over. Granted this should be an eye-opener for America to begin constructive, compromising dialogues with antagonistic nations before they burgeon into more Sept. 11's. But talking would have done us no good with regards to Afghanistan.
Andy, USA


America is our ally, and has helped us out in the past

Paul, Britain
While I do not like the Bush administration, and its oversimplistic and sometimes hypocritical foreign policies, I think we are forgetting something here. America is our ally, and has helped us out in the past. This is a global war on terror, and we should be willing (and proud) to take part. As for America bailing out as soon as the going gets tough, that may have some elements of truth, but with our (better) troops standing by, can you blame them for asking for our help? We would do the same! My thoughts and prayers are with all the troops (whatever their nationality), fighting this very much-justified war.
Paul, Britain

UK shouldn't sent any soldiers to Afghanistan because their is a high risk and we don't want to see UK losses. Thanks Mr Blair
Mohammed Nuruzzaman, UK

We welcome help from British special operations forces. British soldiers are among the best disciplined and lead in the world. Keep your powder dry.
Joseph Arquieta, Jr., USA

Mike, England: I can't agree enough with your comment that the Muslim world should assist in helping create/maintain peace in Afghanistan, along with any other person or government that loves peace and freedom. That said, I support additional British troops being sent over, particularly if it's confined to keeping law and order for the citizens of Afghanistan, who have endured enough pain and suffering. Sometimes I think we have a tendency to try and compare this effort to past military campaigns, which I don't agree with. This isn't WWII, it's not Vietnam, and I hope like crazy it's not about oil like it was in the Gulf. It's about the innocent people who died on September 11, and another 3,000+ more innocent people in Afghanistan who have died as a consequence of those actions of a few religious fanatics being used as puppets by Osama. I don't think of this campaign as one of 'revenge' or 'imperialism' or really anything else I read out there. It's about defending freedoms of everyone we can, not just the Afghan people or those who fly on planes and live/work in skyscrapers. "Energy and persistence conquer all things".
Benjamin Franklin
Matt M., USA

Why send more troops to fight a war which has no clearly defined goals or objectives? Who is the Enemy? Why did the Enemy become the Enemy? And finally whose interests are we serving? Let's think about those questions and try to find some logical answers to them.
Ridah, USA

To Dee, Switzerland: Who exactly are "we" supposed to "talk to"? Who would we negotiate with? What would we negotiate over? There hasn't even been any clear logic or reasoning behind the terrorism.
Sure, blame it on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Isn't that what Bin Laden wants the world to believe? Nevermind the fact that several Arab countries have themselves murdered, imprisoned and expelled Palestinians from their countries, and have barely lifted a finger to help these people they claim to be killing innocent civilians for. Blame it on poverty? With all the money Bin Laden funnels into his little Bin Laden wannabe camps, he could have fed, clothed, and educated more kids than the number of terrorists he's trained.
And to those that say, "let America finish what it starts for once"...exactly how many wars do you think the US has started? The US has done a lot more of the "cleaning up" than you seem to want to acknowledge.
A.A., US


Violence leads to violence, is it not time to talk

Dee, Switzerland
Violence leads to violence, is it not time to talk. Why keep on trying to suppress people and not listen? What makes the USA and the UK so superior as to push their will upon others but not listen when they are criticised? As a European I object to being called socialist. We are much more liberal and free, much more multicultural and tolerant than the US. The US has to start looking at the cause of the problems before it can find the solution. The solution is not the strongest, the one who can bash the other to a pulp, (ever heard of David and Goliath? David is striking back). As for the UK, you have to stop following your American friends. You stick together due to a common language and that is about it.
Dee, Switzerland


The loya jirga

Profiles

Unfinished conflict

Rebuilding the country

FACT FILES

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
 VOTE RESULTS
Should the UK send more troops to Afghanistan?

Yes
 46.92% 

No
 53.03% 

2076 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

18 Mar 02 | UK Politics
Commandos head to Afghanistan
18 Mar 02 | South Asia
US forces hit al-Qaeda convoy
14 Nov 01 | UK
UK's mountain warfare elite
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