The tragic deaths in Afghanistan of Australian servicemen keep coming and with every one of them our politicians keep talking us into the situation where there will be more of them.

The leaders of both Labor and the Coalition find it necessary to accompany their statements of regret at every casualty with a commitment to “see it through” and continue with the country’s involvement. They all avoid like the plague any suggestion that the loss of life might actually have been in vain.

The merest hint that war in Afghanistan will end up achieving nothing worthwhile for Australia and its allies is deemed disrespectful to those already killed. And so the war, already over 10 years long, will go on. The young men will keep dying. The politicians will keep expressing regret …

The toll of “Operation Enduring Freedom” so far as measured by

And the latest statement of “appreciation” for those efforts by the President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai demanded Tuesday that NATO refrain from airstrikes on residential compounds, marking a sharp escalation in his long-running feud with Western commanders over the issue of civilian casualties. He apparently wants veto power over specific targeting decisions made in the heat of battle.

The Afghan leader has similarly demanded, reports the LA Times, an end to night raids by Western special operations forces, which have resulted in the deaths or capture of thousands of insurgents, but those attacks have continued.

And a couple of examples of the “enduring freedom” all the fighting is to preserve as reported overnight by the BBC:

The BBC Afghan service has acquired recently-shot video evidence of a man being publicly whipped by a judge as a punishment for drinking alcohol. The lashing was carried out inside a courtroom in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan. Such punishments are legal under the Afghan constitution but are rarely implemented.

In January the authorities pledged to bring to justice a group of men who stoned a couple to death in north Afghanistan after footage of their killings came to light. The man and woman were accused of adultery in the district of Dashte Archi in Kunduz province — an area still under Taliban control — last August. Hundreds of people attended the stoning, but no-one has yet been charged over the incident.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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