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.

170 thoughts on “Losing Afghanistan

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  • Larry from St. Louis

    “Who do you think led the CIA-funded Mujahadeen against the Soviets in the 1980s?”

    Yes, the CIA supported certain factions of the muj. But not bin Laden.

    Apparently the world is far more complicated than your simplistic little mind can handle.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Avatar Singh, I repeat, those were great posts. MJ, absolutely.

    Tony, that’s terrifying. I hope it’s a blog-rumour. With so many predictions of an attack on Iran having been and passed over the last few years, I sometimes think that some of these rumours are spread by the military-political machine itself to keep up the psychological pressure on Iran. However, I think that war is what they seem to want, above all else. It is their raison d’etre, after all, those who rule us, the US corporate entities and those in the USA who make a speciality of funding all sides in all wars.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Well, check it our for yourselves. Even the BBC have made this claim about the USA and Bin Laden. Of course the CIA and associated ‘quiet Americans’ were his pals, they were all over that region during the late 1970s and 1980s. They did everything they wanted, directly, covertly and via proxies.

    The question is, whom do you believe? Those professional systemic liars, torturers and murderers at Langley and in the Pakistani ISI? Or just about everyone else?


  • Apostate

    For the latest on prospects for WW3 on the back of the recent Bilderberger check out two episodes 131 and 133 available as podcasts at the Corbett Report.

    If you’re not getting your news from sources like this you’re probably not making the most of the internet.

    Pity they’ll be shutting it down soon!


  • Steelback

    As an index of the extent of Zio-infiltration and subversion in any given country the list of states most heavily committed to the war in Afghanistan is the perfect barometer.

    Those dying in Afghanistan come from the US, Britain, Germany, and Canada to name but a few of those where Zionist domination is thoroughly entrenched.

    Zionist control of the media via corporate ownership and strategic placement of disinformationists and gate-keepers here in UK means you will probably not be allowed to read this……..

  • Anonymous

    The truth is the only thing that will set people free and heal the appalling wounds inflicted on all sides by the Afghan War.

    9/11 WAS an ‘inside job’. Quite provably.

    Failure to seriously investigate this open-and-shut case by avoiding the issue, while strongly pushing any other line means one has swallowed the camel.

    This amounts to gatekeeping, deception of genuine truthseekers, support for the big lie.

    Betrayal of truth.

  • Andy Keen

    To be fair to the government, William Hague produced a somewhat more sophisticated argument for the continued occupation:

    “I am strongly supportive of our involvement in Afghanistan. Containment is vital in order to stop the possibility of the Taliban creating a situation whereby a truly extremist Government could take over and therefore have access to nuclear weapons. The former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and others have said in the past that this containment was essential in order to stop further problems within our own communities at home. There is a bigger picture. Being somewhat familiar with the region, I believe that the key reason for our involvement is that spelt out by Henry Kissinger a couple of months ago before the surge. There is great tension on the India/Pakistan border, with hundreds of thousands of troops already deployed. India will not tolerate such a dangerous development in Pakistan, as well as being conscious of the effect that it could have on its own Muslim population and its increasing Maoist problems in the north-east and the other central Asian Muslim states in that geographical area. The possibility of a much greater conflagration in that area could suck in other major countries on their borders, with all that that would mean to world peace. For me, that clearly spells out the case for containment, and nobody could possibly say that that scenario is not of vital interest to this country.”

  • somebody

    It completely passed me by that Rory Stewart, the mystery man of the Arabian deserts and the Turquoise Mountain or whatever his Kabul enterprise is called, became a Con MP for Penrith. He has been on Newsnight saying that patience and time should be given to the question of the war in Afghanistan and whether and/or when troops should be withdrawn!!


    PS Was it not decided here that he is some sort of MI6 operative?

  • mike cobley

    William Hague says meh. Remember Chomsky’s dictum – pay attention to what they do before you pay attention to what they say.

  • glenn

    I’ll have another go at posting this, hopefully it won’t be deleted this time.

    Having heard official announcements today, very much regretting the 300th death of course, but also saying how necessary it all is, I’m pushed to see what crucial corner is about to be turned in this conflict. It’s also amazing that the term “keep us safe” was bandied around unchallenged. I’ve yet to hear anyone go near a sensible reason for _why_ our presence in Afghanistan supposedly keeps us safe, the closest was that we’re preventing “training camps” being set up.

    The “training camps” we’ve all seen on video look more like an adventure playground, and I’ve yet to hear of an incident with jihadist ninjas leaping around, crawling through tunnels and tackling obstacle courses (AK47’s to hand), in any engagement with westerners in the UK/US etc. . Yet preventing these “training camps” is now apparently what it’s all about. Any training which apparently led to previous terrorist atrocities did not take place in Afghanistan.

    Media complicity in parroting this nonsense as conventional wisdom makes _all_ reporting from the BBC and MSM suspect.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Anonymous: “9/11 WAS an ‘inside job’. Quite provably.”

    Do you realize that you just offended millions of Muslims, who are quite proud of taking down the Towers?

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Still no real evidence that connects bin Laden to the CIA. Just innuendo.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    I respect Craig’s proviso that his argument is not about Bin Laden. Myself, of course I argue that Osama is dead and I stick by that; I cannot however provide proof other than perhaps the words of Bhutto and David Cook(PBUH). I just believe them. I am however proud that Craig argues we are not fighting in Afghanistan to protect Britain from a terrorist attack, but why are we there sacrificing our young soldiers?

    You could name a dozen reasons, is it simply to maintain the war machine, exploit minerals, attack Iran or build massive bases as in Iraq? Perhaps to skew China’s influence in the region or maybe an excuse to maintain NATO? Whatever reason(s) we opt for, the official reason I believe is a lie.

    And to maintain the lie we rely on support and assistance from Pakistan’s ISI and that is backed at the highest levels of Pakistan’s civilian administration. Pakistan appears to be playing a double game of astonishing magnitude. There is thus a strong case that the ISI orchestrates, sustains and shapes the overall insurgent campaign in Afghanistan.

    The Pakistani ISI orchestrates, sustains and strongly influences the Taliban insurgency movement. According to Taliban interviews with Matt Waldman, the Afghan Taliban commanders say that the ISI gives sanctuary to both Taliban and Haqqani groups, and provides huge support in terms of training, funding, munitions, and supplies. In the words of these Afghan Taliban commanders, this is ‘as clear as the sun in the sky’.

    The ISI is said to compensate families of suicide bombers to the tune of 200,000 Pakistani rupees, claims the Waldman report. Thus US aid to bankrupt Pakistan goes directly to finance the death of UK/US/NATO soldiers in Afghanistan.

    Obvious to many, the British and Pakistani governments deny this assistance just as they deny the existence of Mullah Mohammed Omar’s ‘Quetta Shura Taliban (QST)’ in the provincial capital Quetta of Baluchistan.

    British commanders will confirm the existence of QST as the main threat to NATO missions in Afghanistan, but of course they are playing the game of ‘cognitive dissonance’ in a crucial power game of maintaining our way of life.

    The rules however have been broken, honour lost and the deception exposed; the ghosts of dead serviceman are now playing into the hearts and minds of an objective and wise’d up British public.

  • Craig

    Oh Larry, really, your pathetic attempts to raise 9/11 repeatedly are just embarassing. Now stop being silly.

  • Malcolm Pryce


    I really would like to know if you have a source for your claim that the Brown government focus-group tested the rationale for the war in Afghanistan.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    The Final Desperate Act of a Failed Deception – Changing the Political Landscape

    The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a law that bars Americans from providing support to foreign terrorist groups, rejecting arguments that it violated constitutional rights of free speech and association.


    The decision came in the first test to reach the Supreme Court after the September 11, 2001, attacks of a case pitting the right of U.S. citizens to speak and associate freely against the government’s efforts to fight terrorism.


  • Courtenay Barnett

    This brings back to mind when the US urge the Kurds to revolt against Saddam, but let Saddam use air power against them to gun them down.

    I suspect the Pashtuns are an independent minded lot, and able fighters. If the Yanks can’t easily bribe or break them, then they gravitate to the tribes that are more pliable. The US/NATO is running an oil pipeline – shedding blood for oil.

    Waiting to see one of Obama’s or Cameron’s children on the front line soon in Afghanistan.

    What a fucked up world we live in.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    “Under the pretext that the Afghan government was a Soviet puppet, which was false, the then Carter Administration authorised the covert funding of opposition tribal groups, whose traditional feudal existence had come under attack with these reforms. An initial $500 million was allocated, money used to arm and train the rebels in the art in secret camps set up specifically for the task across the border in Pakistan. This opposition came to be known as the mujaheddin, and so began a campaign of murder and terror which, six months later, resulted in the Afghan government in Kabul requesting the help of the Soviet Union, resulting in an ill-fated military intervention which ended ten years later in an ignominious retreat of Soviet military forces and the descent of Afghanistan into the abyss of religious intolerance, abject poverty, warlordism and violence that has plagued the country ever since.”

    Obama would now have the world believe that the US is not projecting power for its own sake. I actually agree ?” its for oil’s sake.

    Arms sales and the existence of a consistently funded military budgets will have to have justification, and a part of such justification is “black ops”, be it 9/11 ( cf. Bay of Tong Kin incident) or the demonisation of a faction that appeals to Western public opinion ( read ?” “Muslims”) as “the enemy”. So let’s now fight, come on Afghanistan, come on Iraq ?” and ?” God willing ?” come on Iran.

    Understand – we cannot tolerate atrocities, so we must inflict atrocities on the enemies, wherever we invade their countries, before they come over here and inflict atrocities on us.

    Remember ?” we are doing all this for humanitarian reasons ?” bombing the villagers to defend freedom, peace and democracy.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ All,

    Hague states:-

    “There is great tension on the India/Pakistan border, with hundreds of thousands of troops already deployed. India will not tolerate such a dangerous development in Pakistan, as well as being conscious of the effect that it could have on its own Muslim population and its increasing Maoist problems in the north-east and the other central Asian Muslim states in that geographical area. The possibility of a much greater conflagration in that area could suck in other major countries on their borders, with all that that would mean to world peace.”

    So – can we safely assume that since there is not a standing army being fought, but drones and other collective forms of bombardment are being deployed against the unseen “enemy” – that the conseqential killing of civilians and villagers has not already served well to radicalise the majority of the Afghan population against the invading forces?

    Probably not?

    Just another humanitarian Western “peace keeping” mission, or as Hague says “…with all that could mean to world peace.” Thus, the imposition of Western power is the great peace card being played and justified in this already lost war…hmmmm.

    PS. Like the General in Vietnam said – we bombed the village to save the people. Perfect military logic~!

  • Courtenay Barnett

    More accurately stated, it was a Major who stated, “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it”

    He wa speaking about routing Viet Cong, regardless of the civilian consequeces of such action.

    Gee – great way to win hearts and minds and win the war!

  • amk

    The simplest (and therefore most likely) explanation for continued US and NATO involvement in Afghanistan is that:

    1. A US leader who admits a military defeat is finished in politics. Military “credibility” is an obsession in the media and political circles.

    2. Other NATO allies wish to keep the US sweet.

    Why the idiot Bush went into Afghanistan is a different question. Going after Bin Laden suffices as an explanation.

  • angrysoba

    “Who do you think led the CIA-funded Mujahadeen against the Soviets in the 1980s?”

    Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Ahmed Shah Massoud, Adbur Rasal Sayaf (a very inspirational guy) Burhanuddin Rabbani, Abdul Haq, etc… and later on Ismail Khan, Dostum (when they defected).

    Also Abdullah Azzam was one of the main Arab leaders while Osama bin Laden was just some bit-part player who may have fought in one battle but spent the rest of the war handing out pistachios and chocolates to jihadis in the hospitals of Peshawar.

    And it was CIA and Saudi GID-funded, as well as ISI-directed.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Absolutely, angrysoba. It was indeed.

    Mark Golding, thanks for that explanation. Remember that I’ve been posing the question on this blog for a while now: “Who funds and supplies the Taliban?”

    It seems, from your response, that perhaps the ISI again are supplying the Taliban. Perhaps they have never stopped. Is my supposition correct?

    So, while the regular Pakistani army fights the Taliban in Pakistan, the Pakistani secret state is supplying the Taliban in Afghanistan. This is the double game to which you were alluding.

    Since the Obama Admin. canme to power, the USA has engaged in a massive overt infiltration of ‘civil society’ in Pakistan – the common perception and phraseology there right now is, “The British are out; the Americans are back in force; it’s just like the 1980s!”.

    So, are the Americans complicit in this double-game? Are they also playing a double-game? Are they complicit in relation to the supplying of their ostensible ‘enemy’, the Taliban, with weaponry, etc. to fight the own regular army and those of NATO. Or are the Americans being duped by their puppets? What’s your view? Thanks again.

  • writerman

    Put simply, the major western powers have invaded Asia, with Afghanistan functioning as a major, strategic, bridgehead, allowing for potential, future access to the continents untapped energy and mineral resources.

    Obviously such a brazen imperialist land/resource grab needs a plausible, diversionary, cover-story, and the fight against terrorism provides such a pretext, until the war itself becomes so much a part of our culture and way of life, that it becomes self-justifying.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    “and the fight against terrorism provides such a pretext,”

    What was the U.S. supposed to do after Sept. 11? Send the Taliban and al-Qaeda a nasty letter?

  • angrysoba

    “Absolutely, angrysoba. It was indeed.”

    That is to say that the warlords I mentioned before were those that were CIA-backed.

    Osama bin Laden, however, was not.

    “It seems, from your response, that perhaps the ISI again are supplying the Taliban. Perhaps they have never stopped. Is my supposition correct?”

    This has surely been well-known for some time. And former members such as Hamid Gul appears to have retained lots of contacts.

    I remember that it was alleged that a retired high-ranking member of the ISI was tipping off the Taliban a number of times and Hamid Gul was the prime suspect. He denied it by saying, “It can’t have been me. I retired a few years ago.”

    “So, are the Americans complicit in this double-game? Are they also playing a double-game? Are they complicit in relation to the supplying of their ostensible ‘enemy’, the Taliban, with weaponry, etc. to fight the own regular army and those of NATO.”

    Didn’t they invade so that they could stabilize the country, build pipelines to take all the oil[sic] before the far more honourable Chinese did and rob the country of minerals?

    If so, what can be the purpose of funding the Taliban to keep the country in a war-ravaged state? Just for the pure evilness of it all?

  • angrysoba

    Mark Golding: “Myself, of course I argue that Osama is dead and I stick by that; I cannot however provide proof other than perhaps the words of Bhutto and David Cook(PBUH).”

    David Cook? Don’t you mean Peter Cook?

  • Abe Rene

    Larry from St Louis: “What was the U.S. supposed to do after Sept. 11?”

    In my view, after 9/11 America should have

    (a) destroyed Bin Laden’s camps with tomahawk missiles *before* evacuating the US embassy in Pakistan. The latter gave UBL the clue to clear off.

    (b) *not* muscled in on British Special Forces when they actually found Bin Laden, out of an eagerness to take the prize – and UBL escaped while US generals dithered what to do next.

    (c) *not* abandoned Afghanistan to its fate, once the Taleban appeared to have been driven out

    (d) *not* invaded Iraq on the basis of myths and appallingly bad planning

    (e) *not*, after Iraq was conquered, banned all Baath party members from government jobs (never mind that refusing to join the Baath under Saddam was not a good idea) so that, unable to provide for themselves, they joined the insurgency.

    You’re now headed for another Viet Nam, unless you manage to win over the population and create a more just society in Afghanistan than the Taleban did, and that could take a small miracle. Otherwise, as Craig indicates, doing a deal with the Taleban that may lead to a somewhat more moderate regime than in the late 1990s may be the most than you can hope for.

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