Letter sent to The Herald on 3rd of April 2010.
As the joint national spokesman of the Scottish Socialist Party campaigning across the country every week against Britain's military occupation of Afghanistan, I often meet people under the impression 'we are there to stop the evil Taliban returning to power'. This belief is entirely understandable as Labour MPs repeatedly make this claim.
Leaving aside the violation of international law such actions implies - as the Chilcott enquiry most recently made clear 'regime change' is an unlawful motive for military invasion - the BBC's 'Analysis' programme on Radio Four last week provided substantial 'inside' information debunking this myth. Presenter Edward Stourton interviewed senior diplomats, government advisers and informed academics - who pointed out that British Government officials are open to negotiations with Taliban leaders over their phased return to power. Indeed the prospect of Taliban leader Mullah Omar emerging as the next President of Afghanistan was the strong conclusion of Stourton's programme.
Despite the claims of Labour MPs who really ought to know better, Britain and the US are not in Afghanistan to stop 'the evil Taliban' and never have been. Bill Clinton for example was more than happy to entertain his Taliban guests in Washington between 1992 and 2000 as negotiations took place over US oil giant UNOCOL's plan for a lucrative gas pipeline across Afghanistan. The invasion in 2001 was both naked revenge for 9/11 [despite the fact not a single Afghan was involved] and about staking a claim on an area of huge strategic significance bordering Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Iran. Now that the Taliban have popular support again and are embedded militarily in the countryside talks have taken place about returning them to the presidential palaces of Kabul in return for certain assurances. Top of those assurances is a promise to hand over Osama Bin Laden to the US for trial on charges that he masterminded 9/11. Since the Taliban have made this offer three times before it is not considered a 'deal breaker'.
The question plainly arises then why should any more innocent Afghan civilians [50,000 killed since 2001] or British soldiers  perish with such a deal in the pipeline? Could it be that, as is often the case, the lives of ordinary citizens and junior soldiers are lesser considerations to securing oil and gas supplies for multinationals and political/military advantages for Western imperialism?