If you believe that the ISAF mission in Afghanistan has been successful perhaps you need to have a re-think. While it may have achieved part of its aims Afghanistan remains as volatile as ever. A bloody period in the country has resulted in many deaths including civilians, and soldiers of different nationalities.
The latest news, in a BBC report, reinforces the belief that Afghanistan is far from a settled country. 17 local people in the Kajaki district have been beheaded. The killers are not known. The victims were two women and fifteen men. The village had been used by both insurgents and foreign troops. The incident is being investigated.
10 Afghan soldiers were also killed in in the same region when their checkpoint was attacked by insurgents. Details of this attack are sketchy with claims that this attack was yet another case of an "inside" job. There are reports that another five soldiers opted to join the insurgents and took their weapons with them. Either that or they were kidnapped. 42 members of the ISAF have been killed so far this year. There are early reports of two more ISAF deaths today.
What have been called "green on blue attacks" have been on the increase in Afghanistan this year. Currently there are 130,000 ("blue") NATO troops in Afghanistan working alongside 350,000 ("green") Afghan personnel.
Opinion: This protracted war is becoming a killing fields. Local people will be embittered after being an occupied country for such a long time. Incidents such as that in which SSG Bales allegedly killed 17 civilians will have helped breed a new generation of insurgents.
Most people in countries that have troops involved in Afghanistan want their soldiers out of Afghanistan and home. They are gradually being withdrawn but the fear is that they will leave a hotbed of insurgency when they have left. It does look as if that is what will happen, whether the troops are withdrawn tomorrow or in ten years.
The West has not learned any lessons though. It is still keen to become embroiled in the Syrian civil war, with further action possible in the Lebanon and Iran.
Update: The latest information is that the 17 civilians who were killed had been party goers. Their bodies were all found at the side of a road. All had either had their throats cut or had been beheaded