Afghanistan: Don’t Let Radicals Hijack the Debate

A controversial Islamic group, Islam4UK, reportedly said it would abandon its abhorrent plan to demonstrate in Wootton Bassett if Prime Minister Gordon Brown or his ministers agree to debate the war on Afghanistan with them.  How disgraceful it has come to this. The need for our political leaders to thoughtfully and fearlessly debate UK policy on Afghanistan has been apparent for some time, but it’s taken a shameless publicity stunt by a group which seeks to subvert the very values which make this country great to focus attention on the issue.

First, some background:  Islam4UK is affiliated with the banned Islamic extremist organisation, Al Muhajiroun.  Its objectives include turning Britain into a Muslim state and introducing Sharia law.  The group recently announced it would stage an anti-war march in Wootton Bassett; an English town that has won the respect and gratitude of the nation by honouring fallen British soldiers repatriated through their streets. The people of Wootton Bassett do not do what they do for political reasons.  They and those who join them only wish to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives to serve this country.  The Wiltshire town has become hallowed ground for Brits of all races and creeds. Islam4UK’s plan to parade through it with empty coffins symbolizing Muslims killed in Afghanistan was condemned by many – including moderate Muslims.

If it were up to me, Islam4UK would be outlawed and all its non-British born members deported to their countries of origin.  It should not be given a platform, let alone share one with the Prime Minister.  There is a real risk however that the group’s attempt to hold the government to ransom could end up stifling a long overdue debate by tarring everyone against the war with the same brush.

As this blog has often demonstrated you can be against the war yet still support our troops and honour our fallen heroes.  To prevent the likes of Islam4UK from hijacking the debate, British politicians must discuss our Afghan policies boldly, candidly and without concern for poll ratings.

Remaining in Afghanistan has not been a light decision for government but politically speaking, it’s easier to maintain the status quo than to admit the war can’t be won and withdraw.  Such a policy would invite severe criticism, not only from domestic opponents but from the United States as well.  Perhaps it explains why the three major British political parties’ Afghan policies all seem to be cut from the same cloth.  It would take a political leader with foresight, integrity and nerves of steel to bring our troops home from Afghanistan sooner rather than later. I hope one emerges in time for the general election.

Published by: bobshepherdauthor

Bestselling author Bob Shepherd has spent nearly forty years operating in conflict areas around the world. A twenty year veteran of Britain’s elite 22 SAS Regiment with nearly two decades of private security work to his credit, Bob has successfully negotiated some of the most dangerous places on earth as a special forces soldier and a private citizen. Bob comments regularly on security issues and has appeared on CNN International, BBC, SKY News, and BBC Radio. He has also authored numerous articles and books including the Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller The Circuit. In addition to writing and lecturing, Bob continues to advise individuals operating in hostile environments. For more of his insights on security and geopolitics visit

Categories AfghanistanTags, , , , 1 Comment

One thought on “Afghanistan: Don’t Let Radicals Hijack the Debate”

  1. As you say – one can be against the war, or at least the way it is conducted, and still support our troops. `the failing of both the right and the left in the UK is that they have failed to realise this simple equation

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