Battle of Barbaji: A fight for hearts and minds in Afghanistan, but none are to be found | UK news | The Guardian
"[...] The wide street, lined on each side with garage-like concrete alcoves that serve for shops, was strewn with rubbish and, the Jocks discovered, eight separate IEDs. The only people in the shops were youthful members of A Company, who spent their time frying up some of the potatoes the traders left behind. ... His company finally found two local people to engage with on the fourth day [...] The first was a teenage boy caught foraging for stale bread in an empty compound [...] The second was a grey-bearded old man the British found sitting under a tree, outside a tiny mud-brick home the size of two telephone boxes – the only inhabitant of an otherwise entirely deserted village to have stayed behind. Only his bad legs, and the trouble he has walking, had prevented him joining the exodus. ... No fewer than three British officers set about trying to extract information and to deliver their key messages. [...] The old man wasn't having any of it: "Last year a big British bomb in Nowzad killed 600 people," he said. "Another 170 were killed at a wedding party."
Meanwhile, John Bercow and the government are fiddling while Afghanistan burns.
Update 26/6/2009: Obama must call off this folly before Afghanistan becomes his Vietnam: Senseless slaughter and anti-western hysteria are all America and Britain's billions have paid for in a counterproductive war (Simon Jenkins)