The unpopular Afghan war

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The war in Iraq has gravely damaged Blair’s standing. But the war in Afghanistan is also increasingly unpopular, as British casualties mount: 14 British servicemen were killed in a plane crash over the weekend and the fighting with the Taliban is fierce and increasingly deadly.

Many of the criticisms made about Iraq are now being echoed about the Afghan war: that British troops are over-stretched and ill-equipped and that the mission is ill-considered and apparently open-ended. The veteran defence correspondent, Robert Fox, made a particularly swingeing criticism this week.

Disillusionment with the Afghan venture is by no means confined to Britain. Canada has suffered heavy losses and the leader of the leftwing NDP party has already called for Canadian withdrawal. The Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper is under growing political pressure, as the Toronto Globe and Mail makes clear.

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