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Leading article: A sobering reminder of the truth about our Afghan 'legacy'


The video of the Taliban executing a woman in the street, only miles from Kabul, is a sobering reminder of dismally disappointing legacy of foreign intervention in that hopelessly divided country from which Western countries are now hurrying to disengage themselves.

The video surfaced as Afghan and world leaders gathered in Tokyo to discuss pumping in another $16bn in aid and as both sides traded polite words on curbing corruption. Speaking in Kabul on her way to Tokyo, Hillary Clinton said Afghans need not feel "abandoned" after Nato pulls out in 2014, announcing that the US had just awarded Afghanistan the status of "Major Ally", which will ease the supply of weapons.

The US Secretary of State said that this all formed part of a "plan for transition" for Afghanistan. Fine words, but empty ones, if the Taliban can execute women with impunity on the very outskirts of the capital.