From Chris Patten at Afghanistan is NATO’s great test. The alliance has promised to see the job through. So if it abandons the job now, leaving the country to poverty, prejudice and poppies, what will happen?

Why should anyone in Pakistan believe that the West is serious in wanting to sustain that country as a Muslim democratic state? Would such a decision help turn the tide against the Taliban? Would it encourage the middle-class professional and urban workers in Pakistan, disgusted by the excesses of the extremists, to dig in and see off fundamentalism? Would it strengthen the more moderate elements in politics and the military? You can count on us, the West would be saying, but don’t look next door to Afghanistan, where you will see that you can’t rely on us. (photo: MoD/UK)