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July 05, 2009


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Kay Tie

Adam, the only phrase one can reach for is "what a bloody mess."

I sometimes wonder if we'd have been better off with Sid James running things in the style of Carry On Up The Khyber..


This report by the ICOS looks at some of the factors which are driving the insurgency.


It finds that the misguided policies of the international community have been the cause of what it describes as a grassroots resistance to NATO.

According to this report there are basically two kinds of insurgent, a core jihadist element, and a grassroots insurgency which is being driven by extreme poverty.

Furthermore, the report looks at some of the legitimate grievances that need to be addressed if any progress is to be made. Unfortunately the situation has been going downhill since this report was published in 2007 because the grievances have not been fixed.

A recent poll conducted by the BBC looked at public opinion throughout Afghanistan as a whole.


It found that only 4% wanted the Taliban back and that 90% are opposed.

However, another ICOS report (focusing on how to defeat the Taliban) found that more than a quarter of people supported the Taliban. In any case there is a sizeable minority driven by economic necessity or through legitimate grievances to fight NATO.


Going back to the BBC poll, although it says that only 4% support the Taliban throughout Afghanistan, 25% said that attacks on NATO forces can be justified whereas 64% say they cannot, this has deteriorated from 2007 when the figures were 17% and 74%.

Are there other anti-government/ NATO forces who they support then? For example the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and his militia have been blamed for a number of attacks in and around Kabul recently. Hekmatyar founded a political party, ‘an offshoot of which remains a popular party in the Afghan parliament.’ Half of the party has remained in government, whilst the rest led by Hekmatyar have joined the insurgency.


Kay Tie

Huw, let's be careful with definitions. I don't like the word "capitalism" because it's poorly defined: Labour's corporatism is a form of capitalism, one as repugnant to me as you, I suspect. I'd rather talk about free markets, where people are free to decide what to accept. It removes all argument about what "decent" pay is like: decent pay is what people freely choose to give up their time in exchange for.


KayTie, KJ referred to Paul's opinions as being progressive, "radical and progressive" even.

Not that KJ or anyone else couldn't, shouldn't or wouldn't rightly refer to "progressive socialism";
but the fact is they didn't use the term.

BTW capitalism can only be even presented as being about freedom of choice, if capitalism has been firmly bound down with legislation and been contained. When left to its own devices, it is a system which grants very little choice to the vast majority of people and it grants them no rights at all when left unfettered.
Education, decent pay, working age restrictions, decent working conditions, medical care, none of these need to be even gestured towards by capitalism.
We have moved away from unfettered capitalism for so long that perhaps you simply forgot that there were damn good reasons why we did so.

Kay Tie

KJ, you can't have your definition of equality with capitalism. Capitalism is at heart freedom of choice, and people don't choose to be levelled down. The harder you tighten the grip on people the more they slip through your fingers.

Oh, and stop using "progressive" to describe socialism. It's not progressive except in the sense "the state takes progressively more and more of your wealth and freedom".


Yes, the MI6 boss story is pathetic. If the family details of the MI6 boss have to be secret, then it would only be possible for security service insiders to become the boss. And after the stories of MI6 questions to rendition detainees, I think now is a good time for an outsider to become boss.

The next boss is currently a very public diplomat to the UN, so it is inevitable that a lot about his background will be public. Do we want only insiders to become the boss?

Call me suspicious, but I would not be surprised if this story was given legs by security service insiders who did not like the selection outcome, and want to support the case for insider promotions.


I am a Labour supporter and will continue to be so (despite the post 1997 disappointments with New Labour – Iraq , PFI and education policy (faith schools), to name but a few).

I have recently discovered your blog and it is a joy to read, informed, instructive and illuminating.

It appears that your opinions are radical (drug reform) and progressive. Perhaps in modern politics, where differences between parties often appears nuanced rather than real, these views can only be expressed from the back-benches.

I yearn for a time when Labour rediscovers a left of centre philosophy that merges social justice (less inequality) to capitalism – am I hoping for too much (rhetorical) ?

Keep up the good blogging.

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