Losing Afghanistan 170

The 300th British soldier killed n the Afghan War died today. The poor fellow survived for eight days before giving up in a Birmingham hospital. His injuries must have been appalling and that should remind us of the thousands of British soldiers maimed who did not die, some of whom sometimes wish they had.

Afghan casualties are, of course, very many times higher, with the additional horror that at least six Afghan civilians have been killed for every Afghan fighter.

We immediately have David Cameron and Liam Fox spewing out the standard propaganda about the occupation of Afghanistan making the world a safer place. This is quite simply a ludicrous proposition, and one to which the security, military and diplomatic establishments do not subscribe.

Listen to Richard Barrett, former head of counter-terrorism at MI6 and now UN co-ordinator on international terrorism:

Mr Barrett, who formerly headed counter-terrorism for the Secret Intelligence Service, dismissed the argument advanced by British ministers that the presence of 9,500 British troops in Afghanistan would reduce the threat to the UK.

“That’s complete rubbish. I’ve never heard such nonsense,” he said, warning that the presence of foreign troops risked inflaming anti-western sentiment among British Muslim communities.

“I’m quite sure if there were no foreign toops in Afghanistan, there’d be less agitation in Leeds, or wherever, about Pakistanis extremely upset and suspicious about what Western intentions are in Afghanistan and Pakistan”

Financial Times June 14 2010

That is self-evidently true. The notion that 9/11 could only have been planned from Afghanistan is self-evidently nonsense. Our occupation of Afghanistan did not stop 7/7 or Madrid or Bali. The danger of Kyrgyzstan just to the north becoming another totally failed state is apparently not even worth the expense of a tiny Embassy to see what is happening; compare the incredible sums poured into Afghanistan. And it is plainly and demonstrably true that our occupation of Afghanistan stokes anti-Western feeling in Islamic communities.

At least, with the electoral fraudster and corrupt drug dealer Karzai and his mob being propped up by us as a puppet government, British ministers have stopped even claiming we have brought democracy to Afghanistan.

The key question is whether Cameron and Fox actually believe this nonsense about propping up Karzai to keep us safe at home. It was promonted in Brown’s No 10 as a cynical propaganda line following focus group testing of what argument would best “sell” the war. Has Cameron, like Blair, reached the level of political mountebank where mendacity and self-delusion become indivisible?

We are only one 12 months away from the date Obama set to start drawing down troop numbers. McChrystal’s “surge” has done the opposite of awe the resistance – according to the UN, attacks are up 94% on their 2009 levels. The coming disaster of the attack on Jalalabad – McChrystal’s “strategy” – keeps being postponed as the stupidity of it becomes increasingly clear in the detail.

The Danes and Canadians are both withdrawing troops in 2011. The Polish Prime Minister last week called for NATO withdrawal. Those are the three major fighting contingents apart from the UK and US. The Danes have even worse casualty rates than us. By 2011 defeat will look very close.

This is a tribal war. The laughably named “Afghan National Army” we are supporting is 75% Tajik and Uzbek. The Afghan fighters against us are 75% Pashtun. We simply took sides in the civil war – the losing side. The Pashtun (whom Western commentators almost universally and completely wrongly label as all Taliban – less than25% of Afghan fighters would call themselves Talib) know that they will win again when we are gone.

In at most five years time, we will be gone, Karzai will be gone. Those we made our enemies – the vast majority of whom, including most of the Taliban leadership, had never had wished harm to the UK until we occupied them – will be in power.

If our aim is genuinely to avoid harm to the UK, we should start negotiating with them now our orderly but swift departure from the country, and what peaceful development support we will be able to offer to their government.

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170 thoughts on “Losing Afghanistan

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  • somebody

    @Abe Rene Apologies for misspelling your name. You are actually repeating yourself.

    This is the sort of thing that is going on in the country that ‘our brave boys’ are restoring to a democracy as Cameroon and before him Broon and Bliar maintain. What a nonsense. Get the troops out NOW.


    US criminal investigators are examining allegations that Afghan mercenaries have been extorting as much as $4 million (£2.7m) a week from contractors paid with US cash and then funnelling the spoils to militants and bent officials….

  • Malcolm Pryce


    ‘For the right-wing nuts in America, who are the driving force for the generation of the dumbass claims that you believe in… ‘

    The problem is, mate, I haven’t made any claims, apart from the one in which I opine that Angrysoba’s Washington Post article was toothless.

    Everything else you impute to me – Lizards, moon landings, Loch Ness monster etc – you have invented.

  • angrysoba

    Well, Malcolm Pryce, the claim being made was that according to the FBI, Osama bin Laden WASN’T behind the 9/11 attacks. Here’s the quote again:

    “Redders asked:

    “So Osama Bin Laden wasn’t behind 911 then?” ”

    Mark Gobell says:

    “Well, not according to the FBI he wasn’t.”

    So, Malcolm Pryce, are you saying that according to the FBI Osama bin Laden WASN’T behind 9/11? The article I linked to DOES NOT SAY the FBI DON’T THINK Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks. You have provided NO EVIDENCE for saying that the FBI DOES NOT BELIEVE Osama bin Laden was behind 9/11.

    What you probably don’t know is that the FBI were investigators for the embassy bombings in which they went to Kenya and Tanzania. That is why those attacks are on the list of the FBI’s most wanted page.

    Whereas, controversially, the attacks on 9/11 were deemed acts of war.

    Anyway, the State Department has its own wanted list on which Osama bin Laden features and on which he is blamed for the 9/11 attacks:


  • Abe Rene


    I did not repeat my earlier statement. Patriotism involves the sacrifice of self for others, and that is why it is virtuous.

    The Morning Star is Communist propaganda, but its allegations, if true, indicate that the Americans haven’t worked hard enough to stamp out corruption which was one of the causes of the Taleban gaining popularity in the first place, and could therefore bring all their efforts to nothing once they leave.

    None of this takes away from the personal merit of soldiers who serve their country. The people criticising them have not actually put himself at risk for others, as they have, and therefore do not merit the same respect.

  • Anonymous

    ‘Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI. When asked why there is no mention of 9/11 on Bin Laden’s Most Wanted web page, Tomb said, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”‘

    ‘Surprised by the ease in which this FBI spokesman made such an astonishing statement, I asked, “How this was possible?” Tomb continued, “Bin Laden has not been formally charged in connection to 9/11.” I asked, “How does that work?” Tomb continued, “The FBI gathers evidence. Once evidence is gathered, it is turned over to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice than decides whether it has enough evidence to present to a federal grand jury. In the case of the 1998 United States Embassies being bombed, Bin Laden has been formally indicted and charged by a grand jury. He has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connected Bin Laden to 9/11.”‘


  • Anonymous

    “Two days after the Twin Towers fell, George W. Bush stated:

    “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.” (Washington, D.C., Sept. 13, 2001.)

    Yet, incredibly: “Two dozen members of Osama bin Laden’s family were urgently evacuated from the United States in the first days following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington”, CBS reported.

    The Bush and bin Laden family had, of course, been partners in the giant Carlyle Group (arms, construction) for years.

    “Even though American airspace had been shut down … the Bush Administration allowed a jet to fly around the US., picking up family members from 10 cities, including Los Angeles, Washington DC, Boston and Houston.”

    “The skies over America in the days following 9/11 were in lock-down mode, yet the entire family of America’s number one enemy is released … not a single American citizen could fly … yet … the family of the evil mastermind who allegedly used commercial jets (to destroy buildings, departs on) commercial jets! This sort of irrational behavior … makes it look as if the Bush Administration knew that Osama bin Laden was not responsible for the attacks … ” (1)

    Just five months later, George W. Bush was asked:

    “But don’t you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won’t truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?”

    The President: ” …. I ?” I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him …” (transcript from Press Conference.)”


  • Malcolm Pryce

    Hi Angry

    No, I’m not claiming the FBI don’t believe OBL was behind 9/11, I was responding to your comment where you said

    ‘… Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI replied…blah blah blah… ‘ following which you linked the Washington Post article (with the cry of ‘not a-fucking-gain!’)

    I inferred from this that you were citing the article as some sort of rebuttal to the claim about Rex Tomb. As such, I said it wasn’t much of a rebuttal.

  • Malcolm Pryce

    Hey Larry

    I’ve just read your 9/11 myths link about the family flights. Wow that was one hell of a grilling the FBI gave those people. They asked them if they’d had any recent contact with OBL or knew anything about terrorist activity.

    And guess what they said.

    No, go on, guess.

    That’s right, they all said, ‘No.’

    OK guys, have a nice holiday, sorry to have kept you!

    What a shame they didn’t call in that Andy Sipowicz from NYPD Blue. He was much better at getting the perps to incriminate themselves.

  • Larry from St. Louis


    They had not committed a crime.

    Nowadays in Western Civilization we generally don’t hold a person criminally liable for the actions of one of his or her relatives.

    That’s a real big family there. I actually met one of them through work a while back.

    Yes, fictional TV characters are sometimes able to extract confessions. But since those people didn’t actually commit any crime, I’m not sure that we should have assigned a fictional TV character to the task.

  • angrysoba

    No Malcolm, the claim made was that the FBI don’t think OBL did 9/11. That is the only possible interpretation of this exchange:

    ” A: “So Osama Bin Laden wasn’t behind 911 then?”

    B: “Well, not according to the FBI he wasn’t.”

    Then there was “Rex Tomb of the FBI blah blah blah blah…”

    The link doesn’t show that “according to the FBI” Osama bin Laden WASN’T behind the 9/11 attacks”.

    It’s a distinction of course from saying they haven’t indicted him and maybe you think I am being pedantic but if you’re argument rests on pedantry then don’t be surprised if it is dismissed with pedantry.

    “The Washington Post article you link to is hardly a stinging refutation of the point being made is it?”

    Yes, it is. It completely root-and-branch refutes the claims being made that the FBI don’t think Osama bin Laden done it because it even speaks to the very source of your claim.

    Oh, and check out the State Department website which utterly refutes this:

    “So, Redders, do you know something that the US Government doesn’t ?”

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “That’s a real big family there. I actually met one of them through work a while back.” Larry

    Really? Now that is very interesting, if not downright tantalising. Can you tell us more, Larry? Was this in DC? On K Street, or J street, or one of those?

    I have an old glossy magazine from the 1980s, entitled, ‘Arts and the Islamic World’. It ran for only a few editions, I think. It was really very well-produced, very substantial. On the back cover, there is a full-page illustrated advert for ‘The Bin Laden Group’. Of course, at the time it meant nothing, but glancing at it now that even the name has become somewhat iconic, it’s a different matter. I wouldn’t want to carry it around on the underground, say. It would freak everyone out. It’s an enormous family – a multi-everything business concern, really.

    From your earlier comments (on another thread) on Karimov’s lawyers in the USA and from this brief allusion to someone from the Bin Laden family, are we to assume that you work in the field of corporate law?

  • Malcolm Pryce


    Fine, you’re a lawyer and know more about that than me. So just to be clear :

    We have a mass terrorist outrage that kills 3,000 people.

    The chief suspect is one Osama bin Laden.

    Twenty members of his family make hurried plans to leave the country.

    Are you saying that, in such a situation, the authorities are powerless to prevent them leaving, even if they suspect the family members may have information that would be useful to their inquiry?

  • Malcolm Pryce


    Re-reading the whole thing it seems I owe you an apology.

    My position was not that the FBI actively think OBL didn’t do it, just that they have no hard evidence for the claim that he did.

    As such, when I saw you you add blah blah to the Rex Tomb quote and link to the Washington Post article I assumed (mistakenly) you were challenging the oft-cited claim that they have no evidence.

    In fact, you were challenging a point made not in your post but in a previous one, which I missed because it was hidden in a triple negative:

    So Osama Bin Laden wasn’t behind 911 then?

    Well, not according to the FBI he wasn’t.

  • angrysoba

    Well, that’s okay Malcolm.

    My position is that the FBI do not dismiss the idea that Osama bin Laden was behind 9/11.

    It is an oft-used sleight of hand by certain conspiracy theorists (and I don’t necessarily include you here) that they go from the propostion “no evidence of X” to “evidence of no X” very easily. This isn’t so terrible, from what I hear a lot of doctors do the same thing (I was reading Black Swans by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in which he pointed out the frequency with which this kind of mental sidestep happens even with statisticians and doctors despite their training).

    Now, it can also be said that certain debunkers might make the same logical shuffle (and I am sure they do) in saying because there is no evidence for X, X did not happen.

    However, I will now step outside the parameters of that discussion to say I do believe the FBI really think Osama bin Laden WAS responsible for 9/11 and many other government branches do too.

    Did you hear about John O’Neil by the way, who was an FBI agent killed in the World Trade Center?

  • Malcolm Pryce

    Thanks Angry

    I did read about John O’Neil many moons ago; I don’t know much about him, though, other than the basic facts in the public domain.

  • Anonymous

    ‘However, I will now step outside the parameters of that discussion to say I do believe the FBI really think Osama bin Laden WAS responsible for 9/11 and many other government branches do too.’

    No hard evidence to back that up.

    angrysoba sounds like a conspiracy loon to me, the above is what angrysoba accuses other people who can’t produce “hard evidence” when they say things like….”However, I will now step outside the parameters of that discussion to say I do believe”….LOL.

    angrysoba, go look up the

    word “hypocrite”

  • angrysoba

    “angrysoba sounds like a conspiracy loon to me, the above is what angrysoba accuses other people who can’t produce “hard evidence” when they say things like….”However, I will now step outside the parameters of that discussion to say I do believe”….LOL.”

    I was being ironic. Look it up.

    Of course, the idea that the FBI don’t think Osama bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks is so stupid that only a conspiraloon could believe it.

  • Anonymous

    “Of course, the idea that the FBI don’t think Osama bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks is so stupid that only a conspiraloon could believe it.”

    As YOU so often say to others angrysoba, where is your evidence to support your statement. Until you can give us hard evidence to back that up, you go into the conspiraloon bag of this blog.


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