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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  • brian

    “The notion that 9/11 could only have been planned from Afghanistan is self-evidently nonsense” – where then?

  • Redders

    Once again, it’s inevitable that a well armed, well trained, modern militarised force will get kicked out of Afghanistan with its tail between its legs because of incompetent, morally bankrupt, corrupt politicians.

    Who needs terrorism, all the Afghans need to do is invite everyone in for a punch up and then laugh as we retreat to lick our wounds. Humiliated and cowed by a bunch of tribal, ill educated, brutal women haters who obviously have enough courage to defend their lands to the last man.

    Our soldiers (and I mean that collectively) are complete heroes, used as puppets to cow tow to the good ole’ US of A’s morally reprehensible government, for quite what means I still fail to understand.

    Terrorism? Not really, as Craig points out, 7/7 and Madrid weren’t stopped and I suspect any that were had probably been detected by intelligence. So why not use the Billions poured into Afghanistan to beef up our intelligence services?

    Drugs? Hardly, drug production has increased since the war hasn’t it?

    Oil? Possibly and as far as the Americans are concerned, very likely.

    Minerals? Ah! now, this is interesting as the area is immensely rich in minerals and our mobile phones (how many do you have tucked away?) suck up a huge amount of rare minerals as do PC’s, LCD TV’s and anything else relying on Printed Circuit Boards.

    But surely it would be more sensible to negotiate with the Afghans rather than try to obliterate them. But of course, the Afghan’s aren’t really interested in financial wealth, they are more interested in maintaining their culture, traditions and religions which makes them difficult to deal with. So difficult, in fact, that it’s obviously considered worth it to annihilate the population whilst supporting a corrupt ‘government’ to do its bidding.

    I’m beginning to wish that Saddam had kicked NATO out of Iraq. Had he done so none of this would have been likely to have happened.

  • MJ

    “The notion that 9/11 could only have been planned from Afghanistan is self-evidently nonsense”

    “- where then?”

    Wise up brian.

  • Redders


    anywhere else in the world including the USA. 7/7 wasn’t planned in Afghanistan. Why do you imaging Afghanistan is the only place in the world with the intellectual wherewithal to plan terrorism? The IRA didn’t need Afghanistan.

  • Abe Rene

    Here is David Cameron answering the question ‘Why are we in Afghanistan?’ in the Commons:


    He says that the Afghans are yet strong enough to prevent Al-Qaeda returning, but also that he doesn’t want British troops to remain longer than is necessary to achieve this objective.

  • Redders


    anywhere else in the world including the USA. 7/7 wasn’t planned in Afghanistan. Why do you imaging Afghanistan is the only place in the world with the intellectual wherewithal to plan terrorism? The IRA didn’t need Afghanistan.

  • ingo

    brian, from the brains of the likes of Mr. Zbigniev Brezynski and fellow Sraussians in the US Government, with the helping hand of policy/history skewers, such Bernhard lewis and Robert Gates.

    Every time we nudge up another hundred useless death, the media gets jittery and asks ‘waht are we still doing there’.

    Still, the geopolitical strategy mongers in lieu with their military vested interest supporters are commanding the media with their ridiculous boistering up of lost causes, still they are talking of being able to afford this and future new wars, whilst the taxpayer is bleeding money, has to take cuts in services and is being taken the p…s out of, with lies of regulating the City and offshore havens.

    The Netherlands got it right, they are out of there in August.

    This war is seriously challenging global relationships, not just in East Asia, but also between NATO countries, who seemingly ignore the NATO doctrine and walk all over it, the outright refusal of Italy Holland and the US to condemn an attack on a fellow NATO countries sovereignity at sea, ahs shown this clearly. NATO’s insides are rotten to the core, not many members agree in supporting the global hegemony of a Leviathan US/UK cabal, hence their stepping back.

    Karzai might be gone before this year is out.

  • Redders


    anywhere else in the world including the USA. 7/7 wasn’t planned in Afghanistan. Why do you imaging Afghanistan is the only place in the world with the intellectual wherewithal to plan terrorism? The IRA didn’t need Afghanistan.

  • Redders


    anywhere else in the world including the USA. 7/7 wasn’t planned in Afghanistan. Why do you imaging Afghanistan is the only place in the world with the intellectual wherewithal to plan terrorism? The IRA didn’t need Afghanistan.

  • Clark

    Losing? Because we’ve lost 300 soldiers in almost a decade? Piffle. The US, who are on OUR side, could wipe out that many in three airstrikes if it wasn’t for bleeding-heart liberals whining on and on:


    I think that it’s high time we used our Independent Nuclear Detergent, and cleaned up this mess once and for all. We could make the whole country uninhabitable for years. After all, this tin-pot country has nothing we want, it’s just full of terrorists.

  • Anonymous

    ‘In at most five years time, we will be gone’

    This is all about control of global resources. Remember: President George W. Bush, “If you’re not with us, you’re against us”. The UK will tow the line, there’s too much at stake not to. So much greed in this world, sadly, mankind knows no other way.

    Politicians are just a reflection of the people who vote for them.

  • Ed

    “Meet the Afghan Army,Is It a Figment of Washington’s Imagination?” By Ann Jones

    ” When I was teaching in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2006, I knew men who repeatedly went through ANA training to get the promised Kalashnikov and the pay. Then they went home for a while and often returned some weeks later to enlist again under a different name.

    “In a country where 40% of men are unemployed, joining the ANA for 10 weeks is the best game in town. It relieves the poverty of many families every time the man of the family goes back to basic training, but it’s a needlessly complicated way to unintentionally deliver such minimal humanitarian aid. Some of these circulating soldiers are aging former mujahidin — the Islamist fundamentalists the U.S. once paid to fight the Soviets — and many are undoubtedly Taliban.”


  • Craig


    your 1.03 pm comment. Nobody has said that on this thread except you. As usual, the neo-con answer is ti try to derail the thread rather than tackle the arguments.

  • Richard Robinson

    Perhaps a more useful question would be “Did the planning of 9/11 require any particular facilities or rsources that were only available in Afghanistan” ?

  • somebody

    Ms Caroline Wyatt of the BBC aka spokeswoman for the MoD has just said ‘they will not be forgotten’ as a montage of the faces of the 300 dead faded into the background to the accompaniment of the Last Post.

    Followed by the well fed face of Cameroon mouthing similar platitudes.

    Total propaganda and hypocrisy.

  • Ishmael

    Cameron is a clueless clown. Nato are already beaten. Them leaving is maybe down to the logistics involved. Once that is done bye bye imperialist dogs. The crimes committed against the Pashtun will not be forgotten for a very long time. They are very good fighters and determined. They know they have won. I’m going to say it again for those who hope for change. U.K & U.S foreign policy is determined by persistence and continuity. It cannot ever change, ever. Those actors will keep doing it, until other countries refuse to buy their debt, and their respective countries collapse.

  • Redders


    there are many places on earth at least as safe as Afghanistan for plotting terrorism. The plotting of it is merely having the intellectual desire and ability to plan an activity. The perpetration of the act requires explosives, weapons, chemical or nuclear hardware. Do you imagine the people who undertook the 9/11 hijacking brought all the stuff they needed from Afghanistan? Of course not, they bought what they needed in the USA so the whole thing could have been ‘planned’ in a Manhattan penthouse for all we know. If Bin Ladin was involved it may have been just to say “Lets find something really big to blow up, off you go boys and think about it, get back to me when you’ve come up with something, here’s my satellite phone number, you can reach me anywhere in the world on it.”

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    “7/7 wasn’t planned in Afghanistan.”

    The planning for the London bombings went badly wrong because a crucial train was cancelled.


    To all the accounts collated so well by Rory-Duffett, this extra one may be added, which only appeared in July of 2008. Were two or three ‘terrorists’ shot at 10.30 am on July 7th at Canary Wharf? Witnesses recall how this was announced once on a news broadcast that morning, then never repeated.

    The original report on Danish news – nyhederne-dyn.tv2.dk/article.php/id-2585568.html – was timed and dated at 5 pm on 7/7/05.

    A rather broken English translation –

    davidicke.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1093691&postcount=457 –

    appeared on the 4th anniversary of the event which said:

    TV 2/news has just spoken with Marianne Member, who is employed in Access Flooring Company in London. Through employees in its firm she has been told, that at Canary Wharf two were shot and presumed killed.

    “They have telephoned to one of our Presidents and told him that they have attended two men be shot dead ?” deliberately, by the police or soldiers,” tells Marianne Member to TV 2/news. The police rejected at a press briefing, that they had received information that any had been shot.

    There was a Radio interview –


    – with Dr Ridley-Duff, see: on Xmas day with Jim Fetzer, ‘7/7 London Attacks, Fact or Fiction?’

    Please note you may have to format my links correctly to reach the sites.

    I would urge all concerned including British Muslims to urgently become interesting in the knowledge you will gain from this post.

    The 5th anniversary is due shortly and it is time the bereaved families learned the hidden truth behind this atrocity.

  • Abe Rene

    Correction: David Cameron says that the Afghans are *not* yet strong enough to prevent Al-Qaeda returning. 🙁

  • Clark


    Craig’s post originally appeared twice, I don’t know why. Your comment appeared under the copy that got deleted. I was trying to comment there myself, but the page must have been removed while I was typing, as I got an error like “object X does not exist” when I clicked “Post”.

  • Iain Orr

    The 300th death is a reason to support the proposal for a memorial to the soldiers who have died in Afghanistan (and those yet to die there) which can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery. Steve McQueen’s “Queen and Country” makes photographs of each soldier who has been killed into a sheet of postage stamps.

    This is one of the most public ways we have of marking significant events. The convention that stamps should not bear the likeness of anyone living (except the monarch) adds a touch of philatelic irony: only deaths make this memorial to the 21st century Afghan War possible.

    Two conditions must, however, be met. The Royal Mail needs to approve the project: add your voice at http://www.artfund.org/queenandcountry. And the war must end. Please send that message to the newly elected Chairs of the following Commons Select Committees:

    Defence ?” James Arbuthnot MP Con N E Hampshire [email protected] Tel 020-7219-4649

    Foreign Affairs ?” Richard Ottaway MP Con Croydon South [email protected] Tel 020-7219-6392

    International Development ?” Malcolm Bruce MP LibDem Gordon [email protected] Tel 020-7219-6233

    Treasury ?” Andrew Tyrie MP Con Chichester [email protected] Tel 020-7219-6371

    Policy and budgeting for the rest of the war in Afghanistan should be the subject of reports by all these committees. Ideally their reports will be coordinated, with evidence taken from ministers and officials in all the key departments.

    Those who have phoned or emailed any of these four committee chairs can let me know they have done so by emailing me at [email protected] . That would help me and others trying to apply pressure on these committees.

    When we know the membership of each committee (still to be voted on by MPs) that will provide further MPs to target with reasoned and non-abusive letters, emails or telephone calls.

  • Craig

    I have deleted a large number of comments related to Brian’s attempt to derail this onto a 9/11 discussion and those who rose to it. I may also have deleted a few innocent ons at the same time.

    The posting does not argue that Osama did not plan 9/11. It argues that terrorists can plan such things irrespective of whether Afghanistan is available to them or not.

  • brian

    Apologies for “derailing” the discussion, given that 911 is effectively the excuse for our troops to be in Afghanistan I thought my comments were relevant.

  • R4 SDHC

    The amount of civilian casualties is incredibly worrying, and I wonder why this is. Are many Afghan resistance fighters using civilians to hide themselves, or are most of these genuine errors on the allies’ part?

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