The Afghan perception of security, rather than the Western view, is what matters. An independent poll of the Helmandi population in April last year showed that security was their second-highest concern. However, a recent poll showed that security had fallen to fifth and that 90 per cent of respondents believe that security is now “good” or “very good”. They say that education is their top priority – a fact I find profoundly satisfying.

Brigadier Doug Chalmers, Commander of Task Force Helmand, says we shouldn’t measure our Afghan success in numbers of bodies


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