Long fight must go on

TRAGIC news from Afghanistan over the last few days has prompted many people to ask what British troops are doing there.Why should our troops be serving in a country thousands of miles away, where the British have had serious difficulties since the north west frontier campaigns of the 19th century?The fact is that in the 21st century Afghanistan is a country that is at the heart of much of what is wrong with the world - and the world has a duty to help police it.

TRAGIC news from Afghanistan over the last few days has prompted many people to ask what British troops are doing there.

Why should our troops be serving in a country thousands of miles away, where the British have had serious difficulties since the north west frontier campaigns of the 19th century?

The fact is that in the 21st century Afghanistan is a country that is at the heart of much of what is wrong with the world - and the world has a duty to help police it.

The “enemy” in Afghanistan is the Taliban. The Taliban is not a benign group of freedom fighters trying to throw off an imperialist oppressor.

It is bunch of religious extremist thugs. It murders teachers because they educate women. It murders youngsters because they listen to music.

The Taliban offers protection to opium farmers in return for the money they earn from creating heroin which is shipped to the west, and when it was in power in Kabul it offered a safe haven to Osama Bin Laden and Al Quaida to allow them to plot terror attacks around the globe.

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Most Afghans are terrified at the prospect of the Taliban returning to power and are basically welcoming international troops - although they don't want foreigners on their soil any longer than is necessary.

Without the British and other western troops, the production of opium would be even greater.

However there is a feeling that Britain, in particular, is shouldering too much of the burden at present. Opium production does not simply affect this country and the US. There has to be more support - in the form of troops - from other European countries.

Despite last week's tragedy and sensible calls for a scaling back of Britain's commitment to Iraq, the war in Afghanistan will probably be with us for the long haul - it is a war the world cannot afford to lose.

SUFFOLK'S cricketers have done the county proud by lifting the Minor Counties' Knockout Cup during a thrilling final at Lords.

The county's first ever visit to the home of cricket proved to be the stuff that dreams are made of as they swept aside the challenge of a talented Cheshire side to bring the cup home up the A12.

Paul Grayson was the star of the show, but in fact there were 11 Suffolk stars on the pitch yesterday.

It was the kind of day that the county's sports fans will long remember.

MAYBE it's time to consider changing the name of our football club - or to petition The Queen to change the name of a certain city in the West Midlands!

Surely there must be a document somewhere proving that the name of Lady Godiva's home town should be Koventry - or failing that Ipswich Town FC should become AFC Ipswich Town.

That way the Blues of Portman Road could sit at the top of the Championship table. Then we wouldn't have to tell everyone that we are “joint top.”

And it would mean that one local broadcaster over the last few days would not have had to say: “Ipswich are second only on alphabetical order!”