Significantly, I’ve begun thinking about why I’m there and whether the whole thing is worth it. Is there any point in my being there? Do we make a difference and is Afghanistan worth it all? Frankly, right now, I answer ‘no’ to all of the above. I just can’t see the point. The country is a basket case – always has been and always will be. It seems to me the government does not have popular support, and Karzai spends more time criticising the West and ’reaching out’ to the Taliban than he does prosecuting the war. Warlords run the country and pose as significant a risk to overall stability, and to the security of my convoys, compound and men, as the Taliban. Everyone knows what will happen to this place when the west pulls out – at best, continued fighting as warlords and their factions vie for power and, at worst, all-out civil war. I’m no expert but I simply cannot imagine a scenario that includes a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
It just seems to me, right now, that it’s all a gigantic waste of time, money and lives.
I confess to thinking the same thoughts all too often, especially late at night after a long day. My own answers vary, depending on the type of day I've had.
Even the best intentions get ground away by life in this place, and all you're left with is your mission and your men. One can find temporary refuge in trying to do what's best for your people and leaving the bigger questions for later contemplation.