Why Are British Troops in Afghanistan?

Laurence Vance, July 16, 2009

So, more British soldiers have now been killed in Afghanistan than in Iraq. Why are British troops in Afghanistan? We know why American forces are in Afghanistan–to fight the Taliban terrorists “over there” so we don’t have to fight them “over here,” to find Osama bin Laden, to avenge the 9/11 attacks, and to defend our freedoms, or at least these are things that many Americans think. But why are British troops in Afghanistan? Britain had no 9/11. But Britain is our ally. Well, Israel is our ally. Japan is our ally. Germany is our ally (in this war). How many soldiers from Israel, Japan, and Germany are in Afghanistan? I wonder how many Americans would support U.S. troops in Afghanistan if things were just the opposite and it was Britain that was waging a war on terror because of a 9/11 attack? If I lived in Britain, I would be even more outraged than I am as an American because of American troops in Afghanistan.




69 Responses to “Why Are British Troops in Afghanistan?”

  1. Actually, the UK did have a 9-11 equivalent, the London Underground bombings. But probably the real reason they are there is that the US wants it.

    Lester Ness

  2. They are there because Israel has ordered it's bitch the US to promise them a piece of the
    pipeline routes planned for Afghanistan. Which is, of course the real reason for attacking them
    in the first place. Israel wants to create chaos in the middle east to prevent any possibility of
    political stability so they can go on stealing Palestinian land. The US needs to try and seize
    as much geo strategic control of the hydro carbon resources in the middle east and Caspian
    basin to maintain hegemony for the US dollar as a global reserve currency. Iraq and Iran
    are for the fields while Afghanistan is for the pipeline routes. Destabilizing Pakistan is to
    destroy any possible political solidarity with the Palestinian issue. You didn't actually think this was
    about "terrorists" did you? The real terrorists are in Washington and Tel Aviv anyway…

  3. I think the real reason is "post-imperial reflex". The old habits die hard.

  4. Truer words were never spoken.

  5. I would also ask why Canadian troops are there? What does Afghanistan have to do with Canada? You don't see any Mexican troops there do you?

  6. "But why are British troops in Afghanistan? Britain had no 9/11. But Britain is our ally. Well, Israel is our ally. Japan is our ally. Germany is our ally (in this war). How many soldiers from Israel, Japan, and Germany are in Afghanistan?"

    Your point in the above excerpt is well taken, however…

    …if you think Israel is our faithful and trustworthy ally, I believe you are badly mistaken. Secondly, I thought Germany did have a relatively small contingent of troops in Afghanistan…supposedly for some sort of noncombatant (ie, for general "humanitarian" or maybe "peacekeeping" purposes) role.

  7. If Her Majesty's Government has any sense at all, it'll get the hell out of Afghanistan toot sweet. There's no reason for ANYONE to be in Afghanistan–except, of course, the Afghans!

  8. Canadian stormtroopers are there to dig wells and provide healthy drinking water.

  9. I would add an even more "sick" reason for America being in Afghanistan – like Iraq, it provides a proving grounds for our weapons development using real targets.

  10. Here is the real reason—North sea oil is drying up. Europe needs oil.America is the paid thug. Brits are broke.__America imports most of it's oil from Canada and South America. Canada has enough oil to last America 10,000 years.

  11. No…..they are all there because it is, together with iran the stronghold of islam….and the spreader of a dangerous heresy againts western fundamentalism which can not stand the "no football"…."no tv"…."grow beard" of talibans…it is anathema for them…….It is just the tanga againts the burka…..taliban represents the end of "western values"..the end of capitalism…the end of economy and social values based on consumism….and of course there are the "oil and mineral" extras that make the whole thing more attractive……Britons, beside, could have some extra reasons…..1st : vengeance..afghans have defeated them twice…and they never forgets….they maintain their imperial illusions..and the 2nd:opium….they love opium….they have been notoriuos opium traders…¿remember hong kong?…..the helmand province opium business flourished under british control and now they have obtained from their us accomplices " no prosecution" of opium dealers in helmand……that is really the "helmand cartel"……and just for the record: opium grow ended….was finished, during talibán rule..as it was recognized by the ONU .

  12. [...] Why are British Troops in Afghanistan? [...]

  13. Why are British troops in Afghanistan? That's a no-brainer Mr. Vance. You could ask the same question concerning Iraq. Have you ever heard of the world's two biggest crime syndicates known as the Council on Foreign Relations (the U.S.) and the Bildebergers (Europe)? Just follow the oil money, sir. Just follow the money. Attention Iran: you had better learn to follow orders or you will be next.

  14. If the Afghan war had anything to do with the terrorism or 9/11 revenge that reason ended when the Taliban were forced out and AlQaeda as an organization (if it ever was one) was finished. Why the troops are still there? Is the real pupropse to create a clash of civilization? After all that is what the neocons (and now, neo-liberals after Obama's win) want.

  15. With an "ally" like Israel, who needs a foe?

  16. Precisely.

  17. Post imperial reflex is certainly part of the problem but there's more. Anglo-American capitalism has a mutual interest in ensuring that one or the other continues to hegemonize the world. The British empire was subsumed by the de facto US Empire and Anglo-American interests remain the same.

    British foreign policy was modelled on Halford Mackinder's Eurasian Heartlands theory, ie he who controls the Eurasian Heartlands controls the world. It is the same theory that Kissinger adopted in his worldview and that was incorporated by the neocons in their Blueprint for a New American Century and adopted by the Bush II regime.

    Tony Blair was an enthusiastic Bushite and dragged Britain into Afghanistan and Iraq to protect oil and gas pipelines. AfPak is not a war in the conventional sense it is admitted. What is not admitted is that's because it's not a war to be won but a long-term occupation of two or three decades in order to keep natural resources under long-term USUK control. This is the reality to which our public hasn't yet woken up to.

  18. Post imperial reflex is certainly part of the problem but there's more. Anglo-American capitalism has a mutual interest in ensuring that one or the other continues to hegemonize the world. The British empire was subsumed by the de facto US Empire and Anglo-American interests remain the same.

    British foreign policy was modelled on Halford Mackinder's Eurasian Heartlands theory, ie he who controls the Eurasian Heartlands controls the world. It is the same theory that Kissinger adopted in his worldview and that was incorporated by the neocons in their Blueprint for a New American Century and adopted by the Bush II regime.

    Tony Blair was an enthusiastic Bushite and dragged Britain into Afghanistan and Iraq to protect oil and gas pipelines. AfPak is not a war in the conventional sense it is admitted. What is not admitted is that's because it's not a war to be won but a long-term occupation of two or three decades in order to keep natural resources under long-term USUK control. This is the reality to which our public hasn't yet woken up to.

  19. Why Are British Troops in Afghanistan or why do the British people put up with their troops being in Afghanistan? It's really two seperate questions. The people put up with it because they are as brainwashed as the people of the US. Why Are British Troops in Afghanistan? That one's real simple as well. Because the corporate elite say so, that's why. That leads us to why does the corporate elite say so. That has many answers many of which have been hit upon by earlier posts. But mainly it's greed and power with a little religious posturing thrown in for good measure.

    Peace!

  20. what evers its all aload bollocks to me how i see it 9/11 was attack on U.S.A and we are in NATO so there and let us remeber the inocent people that died that day. IT start from then O.K.

  21. You are all assuming there's a rational excuse, when there isn't. Bush thought he was playing king of the hill, and his playmate Tony just played along. Ditto the others. Bush was the ape with the biggest reddest arse, and the other apes wanted to play along.

    Probably ouija boards, Pentecostals prophets, fantasies about Gog and Magog and the End of Days were involved too.

  22. British troops are in afghanistan to support the US because the US, as ever, is entirely incapable of dealing with afghanistan themselves and requires our help (AGAIN) – if only to prevent the US troops from killing each other in "friendly fire".

  23. I have a question – slightly off topic but im keen for your reactions.

    Do you think that British troops are brainwashed?

    e.g. why do they not seem to question the causes they are sent to fight for?
    e.g. why do they all seem to idolise the monarchy?
    e.g. why has every troop i have ever met had narrow views on every aspect of life and not been able to think for themselves?

    comments please.

  24. Interesting… I just lol'ed pretty hard.

    I love the connection of dots from A to B then what the fuck is C? It's great… Everyone has their own little theory about what how the world works, all figured out from a couple of shoddy wikipedia articles and their own gut instinct… Did I mention their ingenuity?(JOKE!!!)

    Look: Britain has troops in Afghanistan because they are part of NATO. Japan is in Asia; Israel is in the Middle East; NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Now, while it has expanded to encompass more nations than before, that does not mean Asian countries like Japan or countries in the Middle East like Israel are going to hop on board when the allied force of NATO is fundamentally a European/North American force.

  25. America was attacked on 9/11. There wasn't a goddamn, sensible soul in this country that wasn't calling for blood… And once the Taliban refused to hand over those responsible, there was only one rational choice: Invade Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and dismantle Al Qaida. Fellow Western nations flung their support behind America in the endeavour, partially because of NATO but also to show their solidarity. And so, nations like the Netherlands, Canada, Britain, Spain(until they pussied out) and so forth joined America in overthrowing the Taliban and establishing a free government in Kabul. But–partly because of the ineptitude of the Bush administration and their decision to go to war with Iraq but also because of the corruption and weakness of the Afghan Central Government–the war only became more and more violent as the Taliban and AQ found sanctuary in border regions with Pakistan and recruited, trained, re-armed, tested and learned tactics and so on and so forth.

  26. Now 8 years after the war, the Taliban threat in the south is as dangerous as ever… The Taliban is not "destroyed" as some silly soul claimed, it is stronger than it was in 2002 and has developed complex and intelligent tactics. While AQ's structure has been crippled, it is very much existent in the country… And if the possibility of a renewed Taliban regime were to come true, AQ would no doubt receive sanctuary.

  27. The 7/7 attack hadnt happened when the tropps first went into Afghanistan in 2001 …

  28. i support the british troops out there giving there lives for there contry ,stop slagging them off ive seen the bodys coming back in coffins and hearing people who know nothing criticize its sickening

  29. America and Britain are at war with Afghanistan to secure an oil pipe line from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to meet up with an existing pipeline through Pakistan and then India.
    This is the most economic route.
    The Americans have agreements with Turkmenistan to sell its gas and Pakistan to buy it.
    TAPI Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India
    The terrorism threat is a smoke screen.
    The American oil company 'Unocal' requires a single administration in Afghanistan that will be compliant to their agenda.

  30. Why dont you all just read the british army website it tells you why the army is in afgan so stop coming up with loads of random things. nobodys brainwashed we can believe what we want to and if people dont like it then dont join the armed forces, its as simple as that.

  31. i think you are a very clever person
    Julie x

  32. uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

  33. Yes and the TOOTER the SWEETER !!!!

  34. These countries just want to steal the recourses end of.

  35. No offence mate but bollocks. I'm in the process of joining the royal marines and this war's a load of shit. I just want to serve my country and am hoping we do something good after this because there's no good that can come of Afghan whatsoever now.

  36. In politics and war, nothing is ever clear cut. There are truths and there are unclarities. One thing that is for sure, is that the opposing sides need to come together and talk and negotiate and reason.
    How else are we gonna stop the bloodshed? Leaders take note. More diplomacy and talks. Break barriers. Forge new reasonings. This can work, unless…….there are motives which are not so obvious, which brings me back to the opening lines….We can do it…….

  37. Great Britain is a close, strong ally of the U.S. and also a NATO charter country. As long as Pakistan has nukes and close ties to the Taliban and other Arab terrorists they're not leaving anytime soon. And there are troops from other countries there as well, but more British than any other ally of the U.S..And if it had been Great Britain in same position you can guarantee the Americans would be the first to arrive in their support and the last to leave. Most people think they know why the U.S. and Britain and Canada and most other countries are there when the truth is they really have no clue because they believe what the media tells them.

  38. The Brits are free to leave anytime they want. They're usually just in the way most of the time anyhow. Other than the SAS and RAF we don't need them. I'd rather have 100 Aussie troops than 1,000 brits fightiing with me – same goes for the french and pretty much all European countries.. And if you've never been in battle and never had the "pleasure" of fighting agaisnt an enemy that hates you because you're a Westerner (which you are, btw if your British) you don't have the right to discuss or even mention why or how the the U.S. fights . Stop believing everything you read in the papers, you nitwit. When the taliban floats across the English channel with a nuke they acquired from Pakistan and decide to launch it at London from a private yacht don't come running to the U.S. for help. We'll be too busy keeping them from reaching OUR own country.

  39. You are an absolute genius. Maybe you should run the world seeing as how your arrogance rivals everyone else's.

  40. What about the London underground bombings? What about the 347 thwarted attemts of terrorist activity in the British Isles? What about the fact that the British have been in occupation of the Middle East far longer than the U.S. and have more financial ties to Arabian oil than anyone in the world? What about the simple fact that the British are just as "Western" as any other country this side of Israel and therefore is hated by the Taliban and the radical Muslim Extremists?

  41. What about the 347 thwarted terrorist attempts on British soil and citizens? The British are there for the same reason the U.S. is there – to keep the Terroists there. As long as Pakistan has nukes and close ties to the Taliban and radical Muslim extremists, no one is going anywhere because as soon as we all leave you can bet a private yacht will float into the Englsh channel and launch a missile right at London just as they would New York. Love peace all you want but the west has not started any wars with the Middle East. You make it sound like a crusade or something which makes sense because that's the British have done before in the middle east. And where in the world would Great Britain get oil their oil from it not the middle east? Russia maybe? hahahaha!

  42. I'm an ex British soldier and its becoming harder and harder to see why we are in Afghanistan, we went into Iraq, no matter what anybody says, for the oil I don’t have a problem with that if we didn’t get it someone else would have. The Russians couldn’t beat the Taliban and they did not follow the rules of war like we do, so how are we supposed to beat them. It’s hard to fight a guerrilla war, 40 years of fighting the PIRA and who won that one, nobody knows and diff people have diff outlooks on it. The US went into Afghanistan to get Osama Bin Laden because after 9/11 the US president had to show he was doing something, I don’t even blame George Bush, although he is corrupt, he would have been under pressure to show the US public he was doing something. Naturally, as their natural allies, we had to go in with them but now Osama is dead why we are still there.

  43. The Taliban is a generation thing like the IRA; young people are being brought up with their beliefs and no matter how many members of the Taliban we wipe out there will still be up and coming members to take their place so it’s impossible for us to win. It’s like Vietnam we are committed now, if we pull out it will seem as if we are defeated and give the Taliban the moral boost to carry on. If we stay it will drag on for years and many more of our boys will die. If we stay we are damned if we leave we are damned. But the real truth about it is sooner or later we will not be able to afford the cost, in both lives and monetary cost, and we will have to pull out and the Taliban will still be there. This means we won’t have won and our brave lads who have given their life will have done it for nothing. We owe it to our boys; bring them out before we lose anymore. It leaves us weak else ware as well, if I was in charge of Argentina I would invade the Falklands right now because we would not have the resources to defend it (apart from having to ask France if we can use the aircraft carrier that week).

  44. I'm a patriot I served my country in three conflicts but I believe this time we have got it very wrong. I'm no fan of David Cameron but I can’t help but think he is left cleaning up Blaire’s mess, Blaire who indecently is now flying round the Middle East earning an absolute fortune from large industry by selling it to the Arabs. Cameron save our country now before too much of it is lost down the pan. We are fighting a war that is slowly bankrupting us, it must be at least one of the reasons we are so deep in recession almost a decade into this war and yes our boys have gained ground and won battles. As always the British army has shown it’s the best trained and the most professional in the world but the Taliban will always be there, the same as the insurgence in Iraq. After 40 years of conflict in Ulster, after a large portion of the Army has withdrawn, the IRA are still there with their decommissioning consisting of their weapons locked in bunkers that only they know the location and have access too.

  45. Blaire has a lot to answer for; Afghanistan is his mess he should be put on trial. Bring our boys home now while we can, there is no retreat with honour when fighting terrorists, our army is not a police force, and they will never be dis-honourable in my eyes they are heroes every one clearing up a governments mess. I'll stop my rant now but sometimes you just need to get it of your chest somewhere.

  46. Well said my friend, I'm an ex British soldier i fought in three conflicts, people seem to think the British forces agree with this war which is total bollocks, they are the guys on the ground, they will fight as ordered but they wont agree that they should be there. They have done well and served their country and acted on the governments mistakes but now its time to come home so we are strong enough to defend our own country like we are paid to do, not be a police force.

  47. Somebody who is against the war in Afghanistan isnt against the troops themselves, completely the opposite the british troops are brave and professional and they are held in the utmost regard. The problem is they are the pawn being missused by a govt that should look after its own country and get its own affairs in order rather than getting involved somewhere else.

  48. British troops are not brainwashed, they follow orders and maintain discipline without it an army is nothing.
    If you’re ordered to go somewhere, even if you don’t agree with it, you obey the order and go. The vast amounts of soldiers don’t want to go to war but that is what they are trained to do. Again you don’t question orders it’s the military’s backbone.
    You do not idolise the monarchy as a sovereign nation you respect it. Every British serviceman/women, when they join, pledge their allegiance to the Queen, she is our head of state and historically it is the monarchs forces hence the reason many regiments have the Royal name and warrant. This is the way it has been for hundreds of years.
    A soldier does have views, believe me I know a British soldier is not shy at speaking his mind, but he is also a trained professional which means he has things he prioritises more his mates, his unit and doing his job that’s what keeps him and his buddy’s alive.
    I’m not having a go it’s just hard sometimes for people from a different country to understand.

  49. Well said man

  50. Exactly, Israel are the biggest tyrants out there but if anybody questions them they throw up how badly treated and down trodden they are.

  51. Thats the problem though….. Her Majesty's government has no sense

  52. We realised long ago that the British Empire was gone, had to go we couldnt afford it. As for vengence i dont think so because the govt dont make anything out of vengence. As for us getting defeated of course we did its happened to us lots in history, remember the US defeated us in the war of independence but we havent gone to war with them.

  53. The British people arnt brain washed at this stage not a lot of them would agree with the war or the troops being over there but since when was the voice of the masses listened to by the politicions. Their support is for the troops not the war, nobody sane wants war. Just cause the people vote a man into government it doesnt mean he is going to do what they want or even listen to them. I would have thought the US would have understood that more than anyone

  54. Not saying why they went there, the US went in and as they are our natural allies we had to go in. The question is why they are still there. Both the US and the UK forces are doing an amazing job as they always do but they will never wipe out these terrorists its deep bred into them over generations, Jesus the Russians tried and failed and I don’t think they used the Geneva Convention. Staying in now because we have got to a catch 22 situation that it’s hard to walk away from and of course yeah to support the politician’s underhanded dodgy dealings off course.

  55. I think your comments about the British soldier are a bit below the belt. When i was in i was attached to the US army many times and i could not say a wrong word about them. As a civilian EOD instructor i was in Iraq for 3 years in an adivsory role to the US EOD again i could not say a bad thing about them. They where taking instruction from an ex British soldier. Soldiers who are allies should respect one another no matter what the flag after all when the shot is fired or the explosion goes of they all bleed the same.

  56. Totally agree with you buddy id just add Politics, War, Religion and Money it all seems to go hand in hand these days

  57. ****

  58. haha you are so dumb 10000 years the whole planet barely has enough for 50 years you moron

  59. British troops are there because Tony Blair (twat) insisted on being best friends with America no matter what the cost

  60. Im disgusted, there are all sorts of reasons on why British troops are in Afghanistan, and really this is what our 'heroic' army does then? Pick on the weaker less developed countries? Wrecks them? Trashes them? Causes heartbreaks as people's loved ones are brutally killed? And even after this they complain when a British soilder is killed there? Is this what a army does now? Im ashamed. Best of British? What IS the best thing about being British? Having a Tyrant army? Trashing other less developed countries? Killing innocent people? Oh yes, im so proud of my country not …

  61. that is why we are training afghan troops to fight the taliban

  62. I'm not from a different country. I'm a mother who knows too well how the British army can change influence impressionable and ambitious young boys.

  63. It sickens me that you use the word solidarity in this context. More like bullying, blackmail and the so-called 'special relationship'. Its all so black and white for you. Do you really believe that 9/11 was unprovoked?

  64. And what makes young men sign up to the army? Is it really because they are passionate about 'giving their lives for their country'? Wouldn't that be suicidal?So maybe they are passionate about fighting in these conflicts? Can any one men really profess to understand the complexities of the Afghanistan war? Of course not. And of course they don't. Young men with few other appealing opportunities are enticed by decent pay, social support and an exciting and active lifestyle. And who could help but romanticise the whole affair…

  65. So you disagree with the war in Afghanistan but you fight anyway because you got your orders? How is that thinking for yourself?

  66. the underground bombings were in 2005 if england hadnt joined the war it would never have happened for example nowbodys bombing switzerland and australia

  67. lol

  68. You know when your girlfriend gets a wide-on over Ryan Gosling when youre watching a movie and then you mention so and so looked pretty on the bus and get a slap for it from said girlfriend? What do they call that… ah yeas, double standards.
    Seems to me UK/US hold these standards. Going around the world (yet again, and after stopping the Nazi party) to claim at as their own telling almost everyother country AND cultures within how to act is at best elitist if not fascist. "Youre not allowed nukes but we'll sell our old nukes to our pals yeah?" "Follow how we live or be INVADED" "Won't lend us any capital? OK We'll steal it" And yet the UK has the most professional army? We even have a charity in the UK to pay for rehab of soldiers that we already pay wages for through tax, so now our army is beggin off us? It doesn't deffend the nation it attacks the world sniffing its own farts.
    We haven't seen a legitimate war since the 40's, somehwere out there is a very heavy straw the camel won't handle.

  69. I think, this will be for safety purpose.It's good to know more information about the troops and solves many issue by the help of unity.