The AfPak conundrum:

James Burke writes: Re. "Richard Farmer's chunky bits" (yesterday, item 9). No-one wants the war in Afghanistan to continue, but governments seem to be more aware than journalists that the war predated Coalition intervention and will continue beyond it. Doubtless many hope that after international withdrawal, a short, nasty bloodletting would be followed by a pax Talibanica, which, however totalitarian and genocidal, would at least be better than the current slow grind of American, Australian and (especially) British troops dying for a questionable cause.