204 (update 235) UK troops are dead and many wounded.

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Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth says he expects that our troops will be "off the front line" within a year or so. General Sir David Richards, the incoming head of the British Army believes that we could still be 'stabilising' Afghanistan in 40 years' time. Foreign Secretary Milliband says that there are circumstances in which terrorism is ‘justifiable’. And these men are leading the war effort!

The Shia Personal Status Law, recently passed by President Karzai, allows a man to deny his wife food if she denies him conjugal sex, grants guardianship of children to fathers and grandfathers, lets rapists pay to avoid being prosecuted, and requires women to get permission from their husbands to work.

Staff Sergeant Andy McFarlane, 47, who is serving with the Territorial Army has written a poem which has been printed in the Daily Mail.

Repatriation

The leviathan of the sky does land
In England's green and pleasant land.
Its cargo more precious than gold
The body of a hero, bold.

Once the giant's engines stopped
The cargo ramp is gently dropped
Carried by six on shoulders true
The hero is saluted by the crew.

The coffin draped in Union Jack
Is slowly carried out the back.
Out of the dark and into light
Slowly down the ramp and to the right.

The six approach the hearse all black
And place the hero gently in the back.
The six then turn and march away
Their duty has been done this day.

Politicians usually have much to say
No sign of them near here this day.
They hide away and out of danger,
Much easier if the hero is a stranger.

The hearse with its precious load
Moves slowly out onto the road.
The floral tributes line the route
While comrades snap a smart salute.

At the edge of a Wiltshire town
The cortege slows its pace right down.
The streets are packed, many deep,
Some throw flowers, most just weep.

The crowd have come to say farewell,
The church bell rings a low death knell.
Regimental standards are lowered down
As the hero passed through the town.

The cortege stops and silence reigns
The townsfolk feel the family's pain.
The nations' flag lowered to half mast
Our brave hero is home at last.