Guardsman Christopher Davies, a 22 year old father of one, who was alive this time last week, has achieved an unenviable distinction. Last Wednesday, he became the 100th British soldier to die in Afghanistan this year and the latest of 645 NATO troops to suffer death in battle in 2010. His family and his comrades speak highly of him. He leaves a young daughter, Lucy. His 21 year old brother, John, is serving in the same regiment - the Irish Guards.Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, has said that Guardsman Davies' sacrifice will not be forgotten. Well, there's a comfort.
This tragic event comes at a time when NATO is debating when (and how) to quit Afghanistan. No-one is making the mistake that George Bush made in Iraq - boasting "Mission accomplished!". Everyone knows that it isn't. From what I have read, it seems that the Taliban controls about half of the country. While NATO troops are tied down in the South, the Taliban are active in the North of Afghanistan. Unlike the NATO commanders, they have not forgotten the teachings of Sun Tzu and Mao-Tse Tung.
Another forgotten fact is that, after 9/11, we would not have invaded Afghanistan had the Taliban handed over Osama Bin Laden. So much for our honourable crusade. If they had delivered Bin Laden, "The Talibs" would have been left alone to rule Afghanistan in their own inimitable fashion. Anyway, NATO leaders are thrashing out an exit strategy. The Taliban, of course, have their own exit strategy - death or victory. It remains to be seen which of the two exit strategies is the more successful.