Does the war in Afghanistan still matter? The conflict from the Blair-Bush war on terror might be receding in the public consciousness, but as the occupation of Afghanistan enters its 10th year, the war touches almost everyone in British life - not least, of course, the families waiting for coffins at Wootton Bassett or preparing for life looking after a maimed relative returned from the battlefield. The slump and the cuts are bringing back economic conscription with a vengeance. While a few years ago, the Ministry of Defence was struggling to recruit, now senior officers boast of being able to pick and choose who to send off to mutilation or death in Afghanistan from an abundance of applicants. So that will be one consequence of the Con-Dem programme. Young men and women from shattered communities being sent to sustain a corrupt government in Kabul, which is in turn shipping the heroin that will increasingly flood the streets of their home towns if the experience of the 1980s is any guide. Then there is the absurdity of the 5bn or so being spent every year on a conflict that almost every serious observer in London or Washington now regards as all but hopeless. This is where the student fees and the slashed child benefit is going. And there is the rise of the far-right on Britains streets. The English Defence League draws nourishment both from the economic crisis and from the war, with its scapegoating of Muslims as the root of the worlds problems. It is all too easy to present the enemy abroad as the enemy within at a time of social stress. This may be a legacy conflict for David Cameron, but doubtless his government of inherited wealth can make political use of an inherited war. Perhaps this would all seem a price worth paying were it a war that had a purpose commanding support. But few can now credit the argument that the Taliban need to be fought in Helmand lest they overrun Hampshire. Not a single terrorist plot launched against this country - nor one thwarted or even alleged - has had any roots in Afghanistan. Nor does the idea that the occupation is needed to prevent instability find any takers. The war has created a Pakistani Taliban threatening the integrity of that nuclear-armed state, fuelled by every disastrous cross-border killing of Pakistani civilians. No - the blood and treasure now being wasted in Afghanistan is an investment in nothing more worthy than saving Natos face. If the myth of Anglo-US military invincibility were to be punctured in Afghanistan, one of the worlds least developed countries, where would the world order be? That may seem scary. But then it is the same world order that gave us the crash of 2008. Poverty, unemployment and eye-watering cuts are the down-payment the British people are being asked to pay for its maintenance. Afghan and Pakistani civilians are paying a still higher price. So we shouldnt wait for the 2015 WikiLeaks spectacular to reveal the truth about a further four years of futile war. The time to bring our troops home is now.