Fighting for our soldiers

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NEXT week will mark the 10th anniversary of the fall of Kabul, that historic moment when Northern Alliance and Nato forces overran the Afghan capital just weeks after the invasion of that country had begun.

Those scenes of joy and triumph can be readily recalled 10 years on – along with a hopeful but badly-mistaken sense that this may just have turned out to be a straightforward and relatively painless conflict.

How long ago such sentiments seem now.

A full decade on, the litany of errors and the dreadfully wrong assumptions are painfully clear to see, most presciently, of course, in the very fact that 10 years of fighting have not brought an end to this gruelling conflict.

The impact on ordinary Afghans; the drain on public resources; the geopolitical ramifications – all will be picked over for many years to come.

Here in Yorkshire, the impact of this terrible war of attrition is felt nowhere more keenly than among the servicemen and women who have served and continue to serve on that far-away front line.

The impact upon these brave sons and daughters of Yorkshire, putting their lives on the line day after day, cannot and must not be underestimated.

The stress of living and working in such unimaginably perilous conditions, of seeing friends and colleagues killed or injured week after week, month after month, is almost impossible to comprehend.

The casualty figures make for grim and desperately sad reading, of course – but for many more, the mental strain is only now beginning to take its toll.

Today the Yorkshire Post launches its Christmas campaign in aid of ABF The Soldier’s Charity, asking readers to support those who have fought and continue to fight on our behalf each day.

The timing could not have been more prescient – not since the Second World War will this region have seen every one of its battalions deployed simultaneously in a foreign conflict.

We know that times are tough, and that for many, spare money is hard to find.

But with our Armed Forces suffering deep spending cuts at the very time they become so stretched, it is clear they now need all the support we can offer.

Please dig deep and help our soldiers in their own hour of need.