As British forces handed over control of Sangin, Afghanistan to US forces in September 2010, the British Prime Minister David Cameron noted that:
“Our troops have performed magnificently in Sangin and I pay tribute to the thousands who have served, to the over 100 who've given their lives and to the many who have been wounded. They did not die in vain, they made Afghanistan a safer place and they have made Britain a safer place and they will never be forgotten.” (‘UK troops in Sangin did not die in vain, says Cameron’, 20 September 2010, BBC News, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11376603)
The problem for Cameron and all those British forces who served and died in Sangin, is that a recent poll conducted by the International Council on Security and Development of around 1400 military aged males in Afghanistan strongly suggests they did indeed die in vain.
Here are the results of those polled in Sangin:
- 99% of interviewees think NATO military operations are bad for the Afghan people.
- 46% of interviewees oppose military operations in Sangin.
- 99% of interviewees think working with the foreigners is wrong.
- 51% of interviewees believe foreign forces do not protect the local population.
- 72% of interviewees are more negative about the foreign forces than the year before.
- 99% of interviewees think foreigners disrespect the religion and traditions.
(‘Afghanistan Transition: The Death of Bin Laden and Local Dynamics’, International Council on Security and Development, May 2011, http://www.icosgroup.net/static/reports/bin-laden-local-dynamics.pdf)