Britain ended their 13-year war in Afghanistan at the weekend, bringing to a close a controversial military involvement in the Middle Eastern country.
The British flag was lowered and Camp Bastion was handed over to Afghan troops as all British soldiers left the camp.
Britain’s involvement in the war has been a contentious issue compounded by the tragedy of losing 453 British lives.
Following the long awaited end to this devastating and much debated war MM took to the streets to ask Manchester the following question:
Were Britain right to deploy troops to Afghanistan?
Much like the war itself, the result of MM’s poll proved to be somewhat divisive, though 68% believed the UK government was wrong to deploy troops in Afghanistan.
Katie Blake a 37-year-old occupational therapist from Preston, believes we were mislead about why the troops were sent to war, and expressed her concern over how much it actually cost the British public.
“I think that obviously there were some ethical reasons against going to Afghanistan in the first place,” she said.
“There were a lot of moral issues, I supported the troops when they were there but the reasons behind going weren’t what we thought they would be.
“Also as a tax payer I am quite concerned about how much the war cost and I wonder how much it has achieved with all the wars still going on around in that area.”
However, retiree Arthur Picton, 79, from Manchester, believes it was right to help the people of Afghanistan, but he never thought we were going to win.
DISASTER: Chris Morley says nothing good came from the war
He said: “I believe it was right to go there in the first place to help but we were never going to win the war. Yes the Taliban is retreating but they won’t go away for good.
“It is an impossible task and we were never going to stop them completely.”
Heloise Parbar, 26, a teacher originally from Besancon, France, also believes it was a good thing because we needed to help the people who couldn’t help themselves.
She said: “It’s two sided as obviously people would say that it is intruding on another countries problems.
“But I believe that Britain was right to go there because they needed to help the people of Afghanistan from the conflict they faced as they couldn’t solve the problems themselves.”
Chris Morley, 62, a former HIV Policy worker from Manchester, disagreed with sending troops to Afghanistan and spoke of the many times we have fought in the Middle East with no positive outcomes.
“We shouldn’t have gone in. It’s not our problem to sort out,” he said.
“It cost an enormous amount of lives, also the money was a waste but the main thing is the loss of lives.
“We’ve been to fight in that area so many times and it’s been a disaster.”
John Butler, 52, a Manchester submarine pilot based in Spain believes it was not our business to get involved and brought up the issue of the millions spent on the war.
He said: “No, we shouldn’t have been there in the first place, we were interfering in their personal and private issues.
“We spent millions on basically sending people out there, to lose their lives, and bring them back.”
TWO SIDES: Heloise Parbar believes we had no choice but to help Afghanistan
Sam Ellis, 18, a student in the city from Leeds, thinks that it is best to not get involved in other countries’ problems and focus more on our own.
“We shouldn’t have gone there, we should be looking after our own country instead of someone else’s,” he said.
“It depends on the situation. In the end it can just be best to leave it alone.
“We tend to cause more problems when we go to help countries than if we don’t.”
Marketer Abigail Cotton, 23, from Herefordshire, believes that although there may have come a point where we needed to help, we should have looked at the amount of British lives that were affected in the process.
She said: “I don’t think we should have gone there, war is never the right answer.
“There is an element of it that it isn’t our fight, but then there is a point where if it got so bad we should have got involved.
“But you have to weigh up the amount British lives that were lost and severely affected as a result of fighting there and with that amount lost, I don’t think it was worth it.”
Tim Bradley, 17, a student from Wiltshire, believes we shouldn’t have gone there and the money spent on the war should have gone to the UK instead of it being used to help other countries.
“To be honest I don’t think we should have gone in,” he said.
“It caused so many casualties and it cost millions, which could have been spent on improving the infrastructure of the UK.”
COSTLY: John Butler says too much money was spent and too many lives were lost in the war
However Manchester resident and American John Nerstad, 63, who is now retired, believes it was necessary to help out in order to prevent the Taliban from taking control of the country.
“It’s a difficult question because if we didn’t do anything then we would allow the Taliban to take over the country and have a centre for terrorism,” he said.
“How we handled it, we could always look at it in retrospective and find fault, but something had to be done.”
Lorraine Johnson, 45, an administrator from Stoke-On-Trent, thought we did a good job and we had to help them in order for the country to be as safe as it is now.
She said: “I think we should have sent in the troops, we did a good job.
“Somebody had to go and help, ultimately we are now handing it back in a better state than what it was when we got there.
“Hopefully the people of Afghanistan can continue to maintain that state and it wouldn’t have happened unless we went and helped.”
Image courtesy of Isafmedia, with thanks.