Dear Editor,

l WHILST I often enjoy Ray Fleming's articles in the Daily Bulletin I must respond to his comments regarding British troops in Afghanistan, (Looking Around, Tuesday). The photos in question were of British soldiers who were engaged in the training of Afghan police and army personnel. The beards in question belonged to the Afghan trainees. Queens regulations forbid the growing of beards amongst Army and Royal Air Force personnel, even whislt on active duty. The only exception to this regulation is when personnel are engaged in covert or undercover operations ( e.g. Northern Ireland Det ). This week I have been fortunate to have met with soldiers who have returned from Afghanistan and are on R&R in Majorca and I can assure Ray that the standards set in the past by British troops are still maintained, but then again, who cares if a bit of facial hair gets the job done!!

John Maclean, The Highlander Bar, Alcudia

Dear Sir,
I am sorry that Dr.Giri (letters, Wednesday) is puzzled by by my letter on Tuesday, it seemed fairly simple, but for some reason Dr. Giri has extended its parameters to include his father's eye practice, Castro in Cuba, Saudis, Jews and Palestinians, et al, to Plato, which covers about two and a half thousand years. Phew! Not a job for me.

I will just mention one or two of Dr.Giri's comments. He says that because the Afghans are growing poppies (that becomes the killing drug heroine and derivatives), they will not embrace democracy. But the whole point of the American and British, PLUS United Nations forces is to combat the Taliban who are encouraging this practice, against a Government that has been DEMOCRATICALLY elected, as in Iraq. This Afghan Government is not yet ready to withstand on its own, these Taliban extremists who also wish to plunge the country back into the horrors of a regime that banned women from any sort of employment; a religious intolerance; and hatred of foreigners unparalleled in a modern state, moves are being made to eradicate poppy growing, encouraged by subsidy and other measures, the incentives to grow other crops that existed long before the cultivation of the former. Finally, Dr.Giri says that Israel is preventing Palestinians from voting or have their own members of Parliament. Without going too far into the contentious issues this raises, I will merely say that the Palestinians have elected a Hamas government that WILL NOT recognise the State of Israel, and calls for its total destruction. Can one negotiate with such people. I think not yet, but it will happen when Hamas realises that its stance is totally inimical to a settlement between Jews and Palestinians.

Phil Green, Nova Santa Ponsa

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