Britain's soldiers left Helmand yesterday with their heads held high. And rightly so.
But nobody believes that what they leave behind is a nation at peace with itself. How could it be when we live in a world that isn’t at peace with itself?
That does not mean that our troops have failed. Ultimately, their task was impossible. It was a task that shifted and grew over the last 13 years. The objective, never all that clear, became ever more clouded as the world situation developed.
All this was beyond the control of our troops. They did what they were asked to do and 453 of them paid the very highest price.
Yesterday Kathryn Walker, of Washington, whose son Richard was among those 453 servicemen killed in Afghanistan, said she felt lives had been wasted.
“I honestly think we will end up back in there,” she said.
A bleak prediction. But one which may turn out to be correct.