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Ben Chu: Are foreign troops really the 'problem' in Afghanistan?

Posted by Eagle Eye
  • Thursday, 19 November 2009 at 01:18 pm
It's often asserted, here for instance, that the presence of US and Nato troops in Afghanistan is stoking violence in Afghanistan, giving the Taliban an opponent against which to organise nationalist resistance, and that the best way to help the local population is to pull those forces out.

But a new survey from Oxfam paints a rather more complex picture:

Graph showing what Afghans believe is the cause of conflict

The proportion who belief that the presence of foreign troops is driving the conflict (18 per cent) is almost equal to the proportion who think the problem is that the international community is not doing enough in Afghanistan (17 per cent).

I don't argue that the data necessarily supports the case for either withdrawal or troop surge. But I think it does imply that the situation is considerably more nuanced than many in this debate seem willing to admit.

graphic: BBC


Poor Afghans
bob_idle wrote:
Thursday, 19 November 2009 at 07:47 pm (UTC)
It's believable that ordinary Afghans are more worried about poverty and unemployment than anything else. They just want to get enough money and food to survive from day to day. Probably they are in more danger of starving or freezing to death or catching some killer disease (with lack of medical care) than they are of being killed in conflict. Statistics suggest that between 75% and 90% of Afghans are illiterate including those in the Afghan police and army.

Where blame for the conflict lies
reinertorheit wrote:
Thursday, 19 November 2009 at 10:18 pm (UTC)
I have an alternative graphic:


PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH: ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

TONY BLAIR: |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

9/11: |