It is unsurprising that the Afghan presidential spokesman’s saying that the NATO war on terror was unwise and aimless. It may appear a response to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, when he rejected Kabul’s allegations that NATO was collaborating with the Taliban to prolong its stay. The Afghan government has been a faithful ally for over a decade now, with Afghan President Hamid Karzai having been a loyal protégé of the USA and its allies ever since he was selected in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. This is one more sign that President Karzai is preparing for life after the withdrawal foreign forces from Afghanistan in 2014. It is also an implicit acknowledgement that the occupation has been unpopular, and President Karzai, whose own term as President also expires, finds that the only way to be politically effective is to appear anti-occupation.

It seems that this conclusion has not been reached by a British Defence Ministry spokesman who described the war in Afghanistan as unwinnable. The reason given is that the UK troops are part of an occupation force trying to impose a foreign ideology on Afghanistan, something which cannot succeed. A British think-tank has also said that the allied forces had failed to provide security to the ordinary citizens from Taliban depredations. It should have also mentioned the allies’ own actions, which have gone so far to make the allies unpopular, and which have forced the Karzai regime to take notice of, as it did by banning US Special Forces from Wardak province, and by forbidding local forces from calling in US air support. It does not seem that Mr Karzai is destined for a much better fate than that of any nominee of a foreign occupier. His attempts to play the patriot are not likely to erase memories of how he was installed, but also kept on a short leash and accused of corruption when it was suitable.

The next government in Pakistan will have to deal with the consequences of the allies’ failure in Afghanistan, and it should use British support in pressing the USA to wind up its presence in Afghanistan, which is not only destabilizing for the whole region, but cannot stop even protégés like President Karzai from criticizing it.