Last of the British and Australian troops have, reportedly, left Iraq on August 31. Australia's military commander, General Mark Kelly said the last 12 Australian soldiers embedded with US units were also flown out of Baghdad. Kelley's command was the largest of Australian soldiers even though it had only 12 soldiers. The 'Coalition of the Willing' in Iraq, thus, stands undone. Only the most willing, and hapless, US troops remain. A similar coalition named ISAF in Afghanistan is also about to unravel since the operation Panther's Claw in Helmand recently had 22 UK soldiers killed and sent back home in coffins. Facing an outraged public, the British politicians have begun to criticise US policy in Afghanistan. To stem the tide, top US troubleshooters have quietly landed in London to make efforts to keep the coalition intact. UK faces a hard choice: stay under the US protective umbrella while sacrificing its soldiers or get out of the shadow and lose international influence. The Johnnies dying in Afghanistan, being below-the-stairs types, may be expendable but only up to a point. -MEHRAN LEGHARI, Lahore, via e-mail, August 3.