I've asked this question a dozen times, not always so bluntly, to everyone ranging from the youngest tom to the CO to Civilian experts and received a wide range of answers from: "To kill terrorists innit." to "Well, its, err, really quite complex (scratches head, sighs) (pauses) Afghanistan, is...the...melting pot of radical islam and if we are to ever be safe from this threat we must involve ourselves..." to "Well, in order to answer that question we must look back to the days of the ottoman empire...." So Why are we there? According to the Nato website the reason is: Which is a description of their role not their reason. I've concluded that everyone picks their own answer which they are comfortable with which is why for a enthusiastic 19 year old out of training, the opportunity to kill taliban is more than enough reason for being there whereas an older dog might cite the special relationship and the damge we would be doing by not tagging along... I believe the terrorism argument is weak. We have homegrown terrorism now. The narcotics argument is a non-starter: Poppy harvests are bigger than ever. Any talk of the world-recession enouraging farmers to ditch poppies and grow potatoes is bs/propaganda. The security argument is daft. We do not have anywhere near enough troops to do it militarily. Security will only be brought about by accepting that you must leave the local strongmen to do their thing. Ignoring their tribal heritage by talking of voting, elections and state rule is ignorant. I personally don't think this folly is worth the life of a single British soldier. So why are we there?