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People and Politics Forum 05.09.2008

"Should western nations withdraw their troops from Afghanistan?"

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More information:

Death in Afghanistan - The Bundeswehr under fire

A dead staff sergeant, civilian casualties, injured troops .. the Bundeswehr has seen mounting violence in Afghanistan in recent weeks. Amid fresh debate about the German mission, Left party politicians have renewed calls for a withdrawal of German troops - calls which have been rejected by the governing coalition partners, the CDU and the SPD. Meanwhile, experts insist that the German soldiers in Afghanistan need better training and equipment.

Our Question is:

"Should western nations withdraw their troops from Afghanistan?"

"No!" says Jürgen Ristau, writing from Canada:

"The Bundeswehr isn't exactly just a building engineering force. This is also a combat mission, and that was clear from the outset. And other nations have also suffered fatalities."

Dorothea Well, based in Ghana, outlines why she thinks the troops should stay:

"..The Afghan people have gone through terrible times over the past decades. Can the West just stand by and watch? And if the Islamists can't be stopped, how far will they advance if western troops left? Everything must be done to secure peace and stability, and rebuild the country. Western troops should be reinforced and equipped with the latest in modern weaponry, so they can operate effectively."

And René Junghans, in Brazil says:

"German troops shouldn't have been sent to Afghanistan in the first place. One can also help financially by dispatching development helpers and doctors, but not the military. First of all, it's a domestic Afghan problem, and then,secondly, it's another one of those unjustified wars unleashed by the USA. I was in Afghanistan back in 1969, and at that time it was a peaceful place and nation. Now it's like Iraq. The Americans interfered in internal matters, deposed the Taliban government accepted by the people, and what was the result? More misery than before - just like Iraq...Just imagine: Chancellor Merkel removed from office by the Americans, Germany invaded, and then a new leader installed who's favored by Washington. Admittedly, an extreme example, but that's what happebned in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm for peace, reject war,no matter the cause. Why should German soldiers die in a foreign country?"

The comment by Wilhelm Leuprecht, writing from Thailand, is short and snappy:

"Yes, at once, with no 'buts'"

Martin Burmeister, in Venezuela, elaborates:

"Despite years of western military deployment I see only little progress heralding an end to western presence. Much more pressure has to be put on the Afghan government to achieve this. A mutual binding agreement must be hammered out."

Josef Manger, another viewer in Thailand, notes:

"After World War II, the victorious allies announced clearly, accepted by the German population, that a "German soldier should never set foot again on foreign soil." We should be sticking to that unconditionally right now."

Birgid van Reeth, in Argentina agrees, and continues:

" ..it is not the case that deploying German troops makes Germany safer: the opposite is true. We are attracting hatred from other nations, as terrorists attacks show. It's just one example that could be followed by others: where will German soldiers be fighting next?"

Gerhard Seeger,in the Philippines, says why he thinks the fighting always starts:

"Conditions such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq are usually the result of foreign interference. It's been the case in the past, and US interference is usually the reason."

Charles Smyth, in Britain, sees things differently, including the role of the USA:

"Withdrawal of western troops including Germany's troops, is not a politically viable option, since the presence of western troops in Afghanistan is a component of the western policy towards Eurasia, as advocated by Zbigniew Brzezinski of the US, and is currently in play so as to secure energy resources, democratise the feuding factions of the region in order to better promote peace and stability.."

In the USA, Lee Davis disagrees and says "change this policy":

"Yes, western nation should withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. We need to set a clear policy, as to which wars are worth fighting. NATO countries are locked into a 20th century agreement that should be modified in a way that reflects conditions in the 21st century."

Helmer Helmbold, in Paraguay, says it's a case of "same old":

"When the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan, the Soviet leadership spoke of soldiers defending their own country. The same old arguments, nothing has changed, the politicians haven't learn anything either. Of course western troops should return home."

But Christiane Ullmann, in Canada, takes the exact opposite view:

"No, they should not be evacuated, they should develop different tactics like battlefield mobility, just like the Taliban - otherwise they will continue to be good targets."

The People and Politics desk reserves the right to edit and abbreviate texts.