The two latest deaths of British occupation forces in Afghanistan are tragedies for their families and badges of shame for the politicians who sent them.
Tony Blair's Labour government that held tightly to Washington's coat-tails in joining the 2001 invasion and David Cameron's Tories who echoed Blair's bellicosity are both guilty of waging war without valid reason.
Former US president George W Bush, who took the decision to invade, claimed to have done so because the Taliban government had refused to hand over Osama bin Laden, the supposed architect of the September 2001 terrorist attacks against the US.
In fact, the Taliban simply requested proof that bin Laden had been involved, to which Bush replied: "There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty."
On that basis, a massive invasion drove out the Taliban government, inserting US stooge Hamid Karzai. The subsequent occupation has witnessed thousands of deaths suffered by Nato troops and countless casualties among the Afghan civilian population.
The conflict has spilled over into neighbouring Pakistan, where an unarmed bin Laden was eventually killed by a US military assassination squad.
Civilians again bear the brunt of insurgent attacks and of grisly drone attacks personally authorised by US President Barack Obama, which target "militants" but frequently wipe out innocent citizens.
Critics of the invasion of Afghanistan cited US priorities of regional military hegemony and security of oil and gas pipelines, which were denied by Washington and its Nato member state surrogates.
Aware that hanging a conflict in which casualties mounted daily on the fate of a single man might appear obsessive, Nato invented "humanitarian" justifications.
These included nation building, bringing democracy and improving the lives of Afghan women, especially by increasing the number of girls attending school.
It is noteworthy that these were priorities for the reforming government of Mohammed Najibullah, which was overthrown in 1992, with Nato assistance, by the so-called mojahedin, renowned then and still for their obscurantism, corruption and benighted attitudes to women.
Commons international development committee chairman Sir Malcolm Bruce now says it may be "questionable whether DfID [Department for International Development] has the capacity to build a viable state" in Afghanistan.
Neither should it. The job of building a viable state belongs to the Afghan people who are as capable of doing so as any other, were it not for the regular succession of invasions and punitive expeditions suffered over two centuries.
His committee notes that talk about women's rights in Afghanistan has not been followed by "practical action."
How could this be a surprise to anyone? Advancement of women's rights is not a priority for the puppet government in Kabul, which is most intent on getting its hands on international aid for self-enrichment and bribery.
This is not a specific Afghan trait. Many of the "contractors" from Nato countries have milked aid budgets in Afghanistan as they have in Iraq.
The work of Western non-governmental organisations in promoting aid programmes supportive of women is not assisted by the NGOs being seen as another wing of the occupation regime.
The original invasion was justified on a false premise. The ongoing occupation is similarly illegitimate. It must be ended without delay.
Only when foreign troops leave Afghanistan will the people be able to concentrate on rebuilding their country when they will need substantial humanitarian aid to do so.
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