When British troops went into Afghanistan in 2006 it was seen by many as the “good” war, in contrast to Iraq. I was not so sure. It was not just that we did not appear to know how to achieve victory. We did not even know how we would recognise a victory.
What would winning look like? Underpinning Afghan democracy? Stabilising the Karzai regime? Providing education and healthcare to the Afghan population, both male and female? Delivering law and order? Eradicating corruption? Creating a working economy? Crushing the drug trade? Protecting Pakistan from instability? Or simply defeating the Taliban and creating a stable state?
The truth is on the day of its second “democratic” election, after yeans of pain and more than 200 British deaths, we are no closer to any of these objectives.