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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  • Abe Rene

    Make that ‘doing a deal with the Pashtun (which includes a proportion of Taleban)’, if dealing with UBL’s protectors is too much to stomach.

  • MJ

    “What was the U.S. supposed to do after Sept. 11?”

    Hold a proper investigation to determine who was responsible.

  • MJ

    “what can be the purpose of funding the Taliban to keep the country in a war-ravaged state?”

    To provide the pretext for maintaining a permanent miliary presence.

  • Redders

    @Larry from St. Louis

    withdrawing support and weapons supply from the Israelis would have been a good start. 9/11 was a reaction as was 7/7, Milan etc. These guys aren’t bombing us just for fun, as the saying goes ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’.

  • angrysoba

    “To provide the pretext for maintaining a permanent miliary presence.”

    Well, it is quite obviously a far bigger pretext for having troops brought home.

    “Investigators probing US money flow to insurgents”

    Well, the fact there is massive corruption and lots of side swapping isn’t surprising. Remember that during the Russian war whole divisions would suddenly turn and fight the government troops (Ismail Khan and Dostum, for example). Somehow I doubt the Russians were funding the “insurgents” to prolong a war to justify their military presence there.

    But are you implying that the extortion rackets on the roads are ways for the US government to launder its funding of the Taliban?

  • Malcolm Pryce

    Larry

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

    No, you could have accepted their offer to extradite bin Laden.

  • MJ

    “Well, it is quite obviously a far bigger pretext for having troops brought home”.

    I hadn’t noticed. My understanding was that troop numbers were increasing.

    “But are you implying that the extortion rackets on the roads are ways for the US government to launder its funding of the Taliban?”

    Now there’s a thought.

  • brian

    Malcolm – If bin Laden was behind 911 what motive could the US have for not accepting the offer of his extradition?

  • angrysoba

    “I hadn’t noticed. My understanding was that troop numbers were increasing.”

    It’s also been a cynical eyes-on-the-polls compromise increase. The promise was that they would leave not long after. Now Craig Murray has made the prediction that “we’ll” be gone and he clearly includes the Yanks here as he adds Karzai will be gone too and I am guessing that what he means by this is the US is propping him up. So, if you are correct, the US will renege on its promise and they will not draw down. They will stay there and Craig Murray will be wrong.

    Well, at least it is possible to verify this.

    “Now there’s a thought.”

    So, the US government are paying their Afghan go-betweens who run protection rackets along highways to give the cash to the Taliban so that they can blow things up including US and other NATO or ISAF servicemen and women so that the US has an excuse to stay in Afghanistan and get attacked and fatten its military-industrial complex budget.

    Is that a fair assessment of your theory?

  • ingo

    That ‘bit part player’ Bin Laden, angry, was the bag man for the CIA, he was not only overseeing the Tora Bora caves being fortified into ammunition dumps.

    Whatever the past facts, the future will either belong to eclectic selfcentred fools, hell bent on making money, ueber alles, regardless of relations in the world, unless we find a sufficient spanner to throw into their works.

    Craid, would it be awefully impractical to exchange/add the casualty figures in Afghanistan next to the one’s from Iraq,

    preferably under a provocative heading like, ‘those who will not come home’, or ‘wasted young lives’. Imho this would give more attention to this war. best keep an Irna slot ready as well.

    US forces are worried that the Afghans use of old Lee Enfield rifles will ruin their arms trade… Well, the Taliban is using these heavy old weapons to their advantage on thick skulls. US forces are running around in helmets made from paper mache and their casualties show this, its useless, still it must be a vogue colour, otherwise they would have complained more loudly long ago.

    Today I woke up to the report of the 301st. soldier dead, this after reading yesterdays ‘300 and counting news’carried by all the papers, so psychologically encouraging to us all.

    Mr. Cameron should not expect that the general public still believes in his patronising propaganda.

    Johnny public full well knows that our effort in Afghanistan is creating hatred, future bad relations, as well as more hardship for us all.

    Anybody knows how many MP’s spouses are serving in Afghanistan’s front line?

  • angrysoba

    “That ‘bit part player’ Bin Laden, angry, was the bag man for the CIA,”

    Evidence?

    “US forces are worried that the Afghans use of old Lee Enfield rifles will ruin their arms trade…”

    Evidence? Although, I think Taiwan should be given the heads up just in case they fancy using them to take on China.

  • Craig

    Malcolm,

    Yes I do have a source, but not one I am free to reveal. I have a great many sources within government foreign affairs circles, having worked there for two decades.

  • brian

    Craig, on the off chance that someone on here gets to ask a question on Any Questions or similar, do you know who in Labour organised the focus groups on the best way to sell the war? Somewhere there must be a dozen or two members of the public who can describe this despicable process. If nothing else it might help to keep David Milliband as far as possible from the levers of power. Are the tories using similar methods? If any Lib Dem gets involved in this practice they are finished in the party.

  • Anonymous

    January 29, 2002

    ‘What Will Be the Next Target of the Oil Coup?’

    ‘Based on the analysis presented above, we believe that the most likely targets in the “War on Terrorism” will be Iraq, Iran, Colombia, Venezuela, and possibly (though hopefully not) Russia. That there will be actions in other theatres is certain.’

    http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/01_29_02_what_next.html

    ‘U.S. plans to covertly engineer various pretexts that would justify a U.S. invasion’

    April 30, 2001

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/20010430/

  • somebody

    I was just reading yesterday’s defence debate. I can’t get all the new lot’s names.

    One caught my eye – Sheryl Murray Con Camborne who spoke of her daughter in the RN who are so excellent at protecting British citizens in international waters in the Mediterranean when their ships are being attacked by the Israelis.

    I saw the extract on last night’s review and when she said this* about her daughter, they all harrumphed and said ‘hear hear’ like a herd of animals.

    ‘I have a specific interest in the Navy because *my daughter is a serving Royal Navy officer*. I have gained first-hand knowledge of the various ways in which our senior service operates in many roles around the globe. The Royal Navy is flexible, resilient and capable, providing Government with a range of options to deal with threats and challenges facing the UK and her allies. The varied tasks undertaken include: providing support for the Department for International Development; supporting the Home Office in protecting the territorial integrity of our home waters; providing fishery protection in English, Welsh and Northern Irish waters; and supporting the Cabinet Office in co-ordinating UK maritime surveillance information.’

    and another who is a TA reservist

    Jack Lopresti Con Filton and Bradley Stoke

    ‘I believe that the one thing that will distinguish this Parliament from many of its recent predecessors is the number of us sitting here today who have served. That includes new hon. Friends from as far afield as South Dorset and Penrith and the Border, as well as many in between. My own military experience is as a serving Territorial Army soldier. I am a Gunner with 266 Commando Battery of the Royal Artillery. As a mobilised reservist,

    I had the huge honour and privilege to spend a year serving with the mighty men of 29 Commando Regiment, five months of it in Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 9.

    As a private soldier, Gunner Lopresti, I spent my tour in Helmand, where I saw at first hand what decisions made in the House of Commons can mean for the men and women on the ground. I worked with the Rifles for a bit of my tour of duty as a member of infantry force protection on the Medical Emergency Response Team, who work in the back of a Chinook helicopter. I watched some awe-inspiring young people fly in and out of danger to pick up and treat casualties, sometimes in the very worst of circumstances and sometimes successfully, sometimes not. I learnt exactly what our future decisions could mean. I also worked alongside a remarkably brave and inspirational soldier, a Lance Bombardier from 29 Commando, whose foot and lower leg were blown off by an improvised explosive device while he was driving a Land Rover with no mine protection in 2006 and who, less than two years later, was back doing a second tour of duty with his regiment as part of 3 Commando Brigade. That was just amazing.

    My experience is what will inform my thinking when the debate on the shape of our military future takes place. Our new Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence will certainly have the support of this new Member of Parliament if our Government honour their commitment to renew and strengthen the military covenant, but I will also reserve the right to be a critical friend, not only mindful of Britain’s place in the world and our international duties and obligations, but conscious above all of our duty properly to equip and care for those who put their lives on the line for our country. This country needs many culture changes; let us ensure that the ongoing welfare of our servicemen is among them.

    Making my maiden speech in this place is a truly humbling experience which I assure the House I will never forget, but nor, as we review our defence priorities, will I ever let this place forget the debt that we owe to our service personnel. As the great General George Patton once said, wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.’

    What a creep and dangerous with it too.

  • MJ

    “Is that a fair assessment of your theory?”

    I don’t have a theory. Only a couple of observations.

  • angrysoba

    “‘Based on the analysis presented above, we believe that the most likely targets in the “War on Terrorism” will be Iraq, Iran, Colombia, Venezuela, and possibly (though hopefully not) Russia. That there will be actions in other theatres is certain.'”

    So, Michael Ruppert’s website is now predicting that at some time in the future in some volatile region there will be a terrorist attack.

    Well, he is a genius, remember that not long ago he correctly predicted there would be an economic crisis.

    Let me also make a prophetic statement and say that at some point in the future a politician preaching family values and wholesomeness will be found to be a big fat lying hypocrite.

  • angrysoba

    MJ, “I don’t have a theory. Only a couple of observations.”

    Do you think the US is funding insurgents to fight against their own forces to justify their continued military presence in the region?

  • Dick Dastardly

    I did it. I organised the focus groups. Yes, it was all my own fiendish work. I love dirty dealing. Catch me if you can. Because we won. Nyah hah hah hah hah! What’s that? Muttley, you idiot, I wasn’t talking about the last race. Curses!

  • MJ

    “Do you think the US is funding insurgents to fight against their own forces to justify their continued military presence in the region?”

    I don’t know but it’s certainly a possibility on the basis of the available evidence.

  • ingo

    Angry, please do read the ‘war on Freedom’ by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, Institue for policy research& development, pg.177, quoting Rashid Ahmed’s work’ How a holy war against the Soveits turned on the US’.

    I quote ‘under contract with the CIA, he (O/Usama)and the family comapny built the multi billion dollar caves in whoich he’s been apparently hiding:

    ” He brought in enginneers from his fathers company and heavy construction equipment to build roads and warehouses for the Mujaheddin. In 1986 he helped build a CIA financed tunnel complex to serve as major arms storage depot, training facillity and medical centre for Mujaheddin, deep under the mountains close to the Pakistan border.

    For the Lee Enfield story, please read yesterdays Independent by Terri Judd @ Sharp rise in Army death from small arms fire prompts inquiry into Taliban snipers.’

    In this article Prof. Bellamy noted that the Russians had a problem with acurate Lee Enfield rifles and sniping.

    US Marines in Marjah’s operation Moshtarak found a dead insurgent with an ancient, but powerfull, Lee Enfield rifle. US forces had casualties from these snipers, at distances of 500-700 yards.

    The vast majority of oposing forces do use the AK47.

    I hope this sufices.

  • Malcolm Pryce

    Craig

    ‘Yes I do have a source, but not one I am free to reveal’

    Fair enough, mate, I understand. It’s a shame though. Using focus groups to find the best way of selling a war is a masterpiece of barrel-scraping cynicism.

  • angrysoba

    “Angry, please do read the ‘war on Freedom’ by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, Institue for policy research& development, pg.177, quoting Rashid Ahmed’s work’ How a holy war against the Soveits turned on the US’.”

    I know enough about Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed to know that I’d want to see the orginal source for his claim. The writer he seems to be quoting is Ahmed Rashid (not “Rashid Ahmed”).

    Could you tell me the name of the article and/or book and page number for this?

  • Malcolm Pryce

    US turn down Taliban offer of extradition:

    ‘The deal was that he [Osama bin Laden] would be held under house arrest in Peshawar… .Later, a US official said that ‘casting our objectives too narrowly’ risked a ‘premature collapse of the international effort if by some lucky chance Mr bin Laden was captured.”

    Daily Mirror, 16 November 2001; quoted in Nafeez Ahmed’s The War on Truth

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