John Wight is a writer and commentator specializing in geopolitics, UK domestic politics, culture and sport.
As British military forces finally leave Afghanistan after 13 years of conflict, which left 453 British troops dead and 3,000 wounded, the curtain comes down on one of the most futile, incompetent, and inglorious conflicts fought in recent history.
The balance sheet shows that far from helping the transition of Afghanistan from backward state plagued by violence and warlordism into a beacon of liberty and democracy, the British and US military presence failed to prevent it being labelled one of the three most corrupt countries in the world in 2013, along with North Korea and Somalia. It also failed to stem the upsurge in heroin production, which has risen to the point where three quarters of the entire world’s production of the drug now takes place in Afghanistan.
The common depiction of Afghanistan in the West is of a barbarous, primitive and backward country, irredeemably corrupt with a largely illiterate population. It was this characterization which allowed the Afghan people to be so easily dehumanized as part of the process of gaining the support and acquiescence of public opinion in the West for the war that was unleashed against them in the wake of 9/11.
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