Will Clegg now change his position?

Afghanistan’s election has collapsed into a complete and utter shambles. Hamid Karzai has been declared the ‘winner’ of a non-contest following the withdrawal of Abdullah Abdullah; Karzai’s only challenger. Abdullah withdrew because;

almost all his demands for changes to the IEC and the suspension of government ministers – which he said would have reduced the risk of major fraud in the next round of voting – were rejected.

Who can blame Abdullah when there were widespread reports that Karzai was already busy trying to fix the second round? No doubt Western leaders will now scramble to endorse the position of Hillary Clinton that Abdullah’s withdrawal does nothing to challenge the legitimacy of the Karzai government. Of course, to most people this will be a completely amazing position; that the candidate who committed widespread fraud not only escapes a run-off but is crowned as the ‘legitimate’ president of Afghanistan. For Western governments Karzai’s coronation seems to be the most expeditious option but I doubt it will turn out that way; now, along with the Taliban and their support you can add the supporters of Abdullah to those alienated from the government. Not only will Taliban propaganda increase in effectiveness but also, in time, the seeds of a another possible rebellion have been sown.

It is not unfair or wrong to say, once again, that every British troop (or any other nationalities) that dies is doing so defending a illegitimate, crooked and corrupt government. So, with this in mind, what will Nick Clegg say? Up to this point he has taken every position possible except the logical and correct one; to call for immediate British withdrawal. However, it is totally legitimate to ask how many ‘last chances’ the Afghan mission and British presence actually gets.  It is long past the time when Clegg should have shown some boldness and called for the above (and squarely told Brown that British troops dying for this was wrong) so, we wait for Wednesday’s PMQ’s with interest and in hope more than expectation….


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8 responses to “Will Clegg now change his position?”

  1. Painfully liberal says :

    I absolutely agree. In his speech at conference, Nick said:
    “I know some of you believe we should call for British troops to withdraw now. If things continue on the present disastrous course, then sooner or later that is a judgement which we may need to make.”
    Surely now is the time to make that judgement. There’s no doubt now that we’re bleeding lives Western and Afghani, to support a corrupt Government with absoultely no legitimate mandate. Poeple complain about the shortages of equipment and itis indeed a serious issue, but even with the best kit available we’ll never resolve the situation in Afghanistan the way things are going. Nick should use this week’s PMQs to list the many strategic and political failings that blight the campaign in Afghanistan and call for withdrawal.


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Painfully Liberal,

    What else can I say but ‘Hear, Hear’? 🙂


  3. Joe Otten says :

    Ultimately the troops are there to defend us, not the Karzai government. Anything good about the Afghan government is just a bonus.


  4. darrellgoodliffe says :


    I find that argument totally spurious and threadbare and incidentally it is something that Clegg sometimes rightly grapples with.


  5. Joe Otten says :

    Oh. So why do you think our troops are there?


    • darrellgoodliffe says :

      Because people are naive and think that they can pull a stable and democratic Afghanistan out of a magical hat and that this will somehow make Britain safer; as if the 7/7 bombers weren’t all British and perfectly capable of terrorism with or without Al Quaeda.


      • Joe Otten says :

        I don’t think you have to be that naive to see the links between Afghanistan and insurgents in Pakistan, or to fear what might happen if the insurgents took over Pakistan.

        Now I agree that doesn’t justify keeping troops in Afghanistan without clear objectives or the resources to achieve those objectives, and that withdrawal would be better than this.


  6. darrellgoodliffe says :


    But the point is that our actions in Afghanistan are actively encouraging this outcome.

    I agree it doesnt justify keeping our troops there at all because unless you broaden the objectives to include Pakistan then the only impact our presence in Afghanistan is going to have on that country is negative.


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