Dear Editor, None of the politicians, including our own, can answer the simplest of questions about Afghanistan.

Ask them how long it will take, how success can be measured, how much it will cost, if it will entirely destabilise Pakistan, if the heroin traffic can be halted, if the farmers can be persuaded to grow less profitable crops, or where Bin Laden is, or if he is even still alive, and all you will hear is embarassed coughing.

Yet they tell us the criteria are such that an open-ended occupation is warranted, and this after years and years of failure and waste, with British military planners only last week laying out special forces strategies for many more years there.

There is in fact only one true clarity over the occupation which is that it is a complete failure, self-defeating and stems only from our perceived special friendship with the USA which is there for its own reasons.

These are facts which all Britain’s main political parties choose to ignore and thus, not having been consulted, the British people has no democratic alternative to a policy which by any study or analysis continues to be utterly reckless, profligately expensive and an entirely unwarranted endangerment of our brave men and women posted there.

Bill Haymes

Norfolk Street