American baseball legend Yogi Berra once remarked, "when you come to the fork in the road, just take it". Well Afghanistan is our fork in the road and we should just take it. The fork is the road leading away from Kabul. It's hard to justify a conflict where even our allies want us out...

Afghanistan has been governed for thousands of years by local and regional tribal coalitions. The current conflict which originated with ousting our former allies the Taliban, followed by the hunt for Bin Laden remains a political enigma. When did Afghanistan become a threat to the United States?

In a nutshell, the United States and coalition forces are in Afghanistan to go after al-Qaeda, who are in Pakistan. We're currently fighting our former allies, the Taliban, who remain in Afghanistan. After 9/11 who we are fighting and why, became very confusing.

The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to support and prop up a pro communist government. The United States invasion was to support and prop up a pro western democratic government. Neither government is popular with the Afghan people.

I support the war on terrorism. I just don't believe the military is the right tool to defeat terrorists. When rebel areas of Afghanistan are cleared of Taliban militia, they just move and set up shop somewhere else in the country. A conventional military force could spend decades clearing the Afghan countryside shifting the enemy from A to B then back to A.

If there's one thing the US forces should have learned in Vietnam is that you can't fight unconventional forces using conventional tactics. The Taliban and al-Qaeda rebel groups use hit and run guerilla tactics which are extremely effective. The Vietcong became experts at this type of warfare and it paid off - they won.

In the Vietnam conflict the NVA and Vietcong used Cambodia and Laos as safe havens. Today al-Qaeda uses Pakistan for the same purpose. Pakistan has ties to these groups and has no interest in evicting them.

The war in Afghanistan is costing the US two billion dollars a week. All Wars eventually come down to money.

Winning the hearts and minds of the people in Afghanistan by providing an infrastructure is not really a strategy. They blow up the schools, police stations and civic centres as fast as we build them.

We do have a pseudo-ally to the east, in Pakistan. A country with nuclear weapons, border regions which remain in rebel hands and an intelligence service who support the Taliban. Pakistan provides a safe haven for Bin Laden and his capture is no longer a high priority. He remains an ineffective figurehead somewhere in the tribal homelands of Pakistan's Peshawar region.

We need to capture Bin Laden like we need another Mosque at ground zero. A dead martyr would be a propaganda boon to his followers and a live prisoner would be a nightmare for any country who held him. Living out his life in a dark cave in Pakistan is enough justice for me.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have never been allies and it's not in Pakistan's interest to see a stable Afghan regime. Which is never going to happen of course. War used to be a measure of last resort, what happened?. We are embroiled in conflicts of our own choosing. Now the Soviets have gone, the opium trade is booming, political corruption remains a problem and Afghan police and the military just can't be trusted.

Well, the good news is of course, wait... there isn't any.

Leaving Iraq was a good start and we should now finish the job and leave Afghanistan.

Across the Pond