When John Key was in Afghanistan he flew a kite about extending the SAS mission there beyond the middle of next year. He’d be wise to can the idea, judging by a poll reported in yesterday’s
. It shows that 40 percent wanted complete withdrawal and another 37 percent partial withdrawal, with only 10 percent wanting them all to remain.
There is rightly not much enthusiasm for our soldiers risking their lives for the Hamid Karzai regime. In April the UN Commissioner for Human Rights said that patronage, corruption and impunity have contributed to
. One third of the population lives in ‘absolute poverty’ and only 23% have access to safe drinking water. Aid is being diverted by ‘power-holders…to increase their personal gain and wealth.’ Province governors appointed by Karzai ‘rarely enjoy the support of their constituents.’
The sooner our SAS soldiers are home the better.