In a remote part of Helmand troops are dismayed by the ambivalence of locals and a sense that the Taliban can outlast them.
“I’m not much for this war. I’m not sure it’s worth all those lives lost,” said Sergeant Christian Richardson as we walked across corn fields that will soon be ploughed up to plant a spring crop of opium poppy.
Unfortunately, our troops are dismayed by the cold hard truth of why there are in Afghanistan.
The invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was to have two outcomes for corporate profit, and they were: the control of the drug trade, and the installation of oil pipelines to control Eurasian oil.
On the first outcome, one can say, absolutely, mission accomplished; cheap heroin is flooding the world, particularly Russia.
On the second, eight years into the US/Nato occupation of Afghanistan, no pipelines have been installed, because the country continues to be too volatile for that to happen.
We are not in Afghanistan to "protect its people" or bring "democracy"; we are there for the pipelines and the drugs, period, end of discussion.