Editorial: Our troops must come home now

By Andrew Austin


Bring our troops back from Afghanistan now, John Key.

The deployment is a failure, we have lost too many soldiers and it is not our war.

The nation woke up yesterday to hear the distressing news that three more soldiers had been killed in Bamiyan province, Afghanistan.

It comes a fortnight after Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone were killed during a gunfight in the same province. The latest soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been named as Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, Private Richard Harris, 21, and Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31.

The Prime Minister, however, still thinks we need to stay in Afghanistan and says our troops will not be pulled out ahead of schedule. The plan is to withdraw the troops next year, but Mr Key has indicated it will be earlier rather than later in the year.

Mr Key is probably the most populist National Prime Minister we have had and I would be surprised if the public pressure to withdraw the troops does not start building. Let's hope he listens to the mood of the nation and changes his mind. He has done it before - remember the class size debate? He could very well do it again.

And it would not be a moment too soon, in my opinion.

Sure, we want to have a good relationship with the United States and we want to do our bit in the War on Terror, but for a small country to have lost 10 soldiers is a lot. The time to prove that we are worthy members of the Coalition of the Good is over. It is now time to leave.

This is not our war and, with all due respect to our troops, we are probably not making that much of a difference in the fight against the Taleban and its allies.

It seems we are exposing our soldiers to unnecessary harm and there is absolutely no benefit to New Zealand.

I know it is not a scientific poll, but everyone I have spoken to is of the same opinion - the soldiers need to come home.

Listening to the radio and watching television, you get the sense that there is a groundswell of opinion building on this.

Who knows how long John Key can hold out on this one, but I get the feeling that he will find himself very unpopular if we have any more deaths over there.

Now is the time to act.

Bring the soldiers back now.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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