Thursday sees ministers from all over the world gather in the UK for the London Conference on Afghanistan to talk about the country's future development. This is a very critical time, international troops are mostly withdrawing and the world will be watching to see how this will affect the country's security and development.
Conventional operations are starting to wind down in Afghanistan - we are months away from the international troops leaving. But drone strikes are likely to continue. Drones are widely assumed to be a clean, remote way of pursuing western counter-terrorism objectives there. Yet in its work on Pakistan, the Bureau has shown on countless occasions that drones are not as surgical as claimed.
As one "War on Terror," draws to an end, so starts another. The upcoming withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan should force our politicians to reflect, largely on the utter futility of combating societal and religious problems with bombs. Old habits die hard. Not having learnt that virtually every Western intrusion into the Middle East ends in disaster, parliament's acquiescence to David Cameron's demand that Britain join the fight against ISIS proves our foreign policy is created in a historical vacuum.
I didn't know Jacob nearly as well as many others and yet I've still been walking around in a fog since I heard Jacob took his life.The energy and passion Jacob lived by made it difficutl not to feel connected to him within minutes of meeting him. Twenty two veterans killing themselves a day is an abstract statistic. Until it's not, and you've lost a friend.
The Western World is aware that international assistance is required to help rebuild less developed countries... Unfortunately, there is a lack of awareness of what it takes to make these systems work in the different cultural settings. This is especially the case with Afghanistan, which is years behind in progress due to 35 years of conflict.