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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  • Richard Robinson

    Malcolm Pryce – Yes, I remember it being reported on radio4, too, briefly. But at that point, I think it would have taken a much, much better leader than Bush to make it happen.

  • Mark Gobell

    Redders asked:

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

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

    When they were asked in 2006 why OBL wasn’t on the FBI’s Most Wanted list in connection with 9/11, Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI replied:

    “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”

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

    Feel free to share it with us won’t you.


  • Abe Rene

    ‘somebody’, I have never served in the Armed Forces, but I take exception to your calling someone who has actually put his life at risk for his country (Jack Lopresti) a creep, even if I disagree with the decisions of politicians, and even if I am not a Tory supporter myself.

  • Shring

    Tony Blair’s Weak Document

    The task of providing such proof was taken up by Bush’s chief ally in the “war on terror,” British Prime Minister Tony Blair. On October 4, 2001, Blair made public a document entitled: “Responsibility for the Terrorist Atrocities in the United States.” Listing “clear conclusions reached by the government,” it stated: “Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, the terrorist network which he heads, planned and carried out the atrocities on 11 September 2001.” Blair’s report, however, began by saying:

    “This document does not purport to provide a prosecutable case against Osama Bin Laden in a court of law.”

    Although the case was not good enough to go to court, Blair seemed to be saying, it was good enough to go to war.

    The weakness in Blair’s report, in any event, was noted the next day by the BBC, which said: “There is no direct evidence in the public domain linking Osama Bin Laden to the 11 September attacks. At best the evidence is circumstantial.”


  • somebody

    @Abu Rene

    He is a creep. He has wrapped himself in the Union flag (which he has used to good effect in his successful electioneering) but he is NOT defending this country. We are NOT under attack. He and the rest of them are engaged in an illegal war that kills civilians including children and sends bombs down by remote control from pilotless drones.

    I am sick of the pro patria mori mantra.

    This CO said yesterday of a dead soldier – Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lt Col James Carr-Smith, said: “He had been improving the lives of local Afghans and helping to protect them from the insurgency. He died a marine.” What nonsense and to think people are still falling for it.

  • Malcolm Pryce


    The Washington Post article you link to is hardly a stinging refutation of the point being made is it? Rex Tomb doesn’t deny that he said the FBI had no hard evidence linking Osama bin Laden to 9/11, he just says they could put him down as a suspect if they wanted to.

    As for the Washington Post’s claim that

    ‘exhaustive government and independent investigations have concluded otherwise’ [that OBL was responsible]

    All I can say is, er, no they haven’t. If they have, where are they?

    And as for

    ‘bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders have proudly taken responsibility for the hijackings’

    Er, no, OBL denied it.


    I’ve just checked the FBI page. Still no mention of 9/11 on OBL’s personal most wanted page. After nine years and two wars.

    You don’t have to be a dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy theorist to think something is not right there.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    So, angrysoba, if what Mark Golding alleges is true, why are the Americans allowing it to happen? Are they so weak, they cannot even control their puppet, Pakistan? I am aware that the ISI is a tentacled organisation. But I mean, as I’ve written before, to supply an army to fight a guerilla war against superpower, you need serious amounts of ordnance. We’re talking truckloads-upon-truckloads, trundling along roads, or planeloads. Easily bombable/ shootable-downable no? What really is going on in this quagmire – the quagmire some of us predicted it would be, way back in 2001. Do you know, or even have a theory? I mean, it would be like the South Vietnam regime supplying the Viet Cong with weapons for nine years to fight the Americans. So, can you – or indeed Mark, or indeed anyone – share your views on the matter with us, please? Thanks.

  • Apostate

    Conspiracy theorist?

    And what’s worse we’re talking dyed-in- the-wool conspiracist?

    God forbid!

    I mean what could possibly be worse?

    You’re not seriously suggesting we start to question official versions about what has happened in the world since the French Revolution are you?

    I mean start doing our own research?

    You’ll be questioning the “Holocaust”, 911, 7/7 and talking about Zionist bankers next!

    And if you do any of those things you’ll be DELETED.

    They’re all VERBOTEN!

    This is the only truth you need to know:

    (1) 6m Jews died in the “Holocaust” (that was invented in the 1960s).

    (2) Woodrow Wilson and FDR were saintly men who saved the world during two World Wars from Germany and all the other nasty countries in the world like Japan.

    (3)The Arabs carried out 911 because..well they’re like that aren’t they? And…er…there’s no way any other explanation could be kept secret from us!

    (4)The elites who run the world might make mistakes sometimes but because they’re the most intelligent and the richest people in the world they should be left to run it.

    (5) The trillions in debt in which we now find ourselves can only be paid for by us-we were too greedy and we need to pay increased taxes and slash and burn now to get ourselves out of trouble.

    (6) Depressions and wars (SHIT) happen (s) sometimes. It’s called cock-up theory and it’s the only show in town!

    (7) Our soldiers in Afghanistan are the best in the world and if they seem to be losing to a rag-tag bunch of Islamists on motorbikes with AK-47s and copies of the Koran then that’s simply because we’ve got some selfish politicians who won’t spend the money on the right equipment for our boys.

    If you don’t acknowledge these self-evident truths you’re a full-blown conspiracy theorist!

    If you disbelieve any of these official truths……………well,you want yer bloody head examined!

    LOL-you saps!

  • Freeborn

    There’s only one thing worse than a conspiracy theorist-that’s a bloody sarcastic one!

    Apostate should be deleted forthwith. He’s taking the piss!

    Hasbarat shills and cock-up theorists are welcome here!

    If you’ve done your own research and come to conclusions that differ markedly from what you were told then-you’re a racist, a gay-basher, an anti-semite, a…..I hesitate to say this because it’s one of the worse things anyone can be-isn’t it?

    You’re a bloody conspiracy theorist!

    I’m just getting down to Malcolm Pryce’s site just to get well away from these conspiricists!

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thank you again (?), anonymous poster. That’s a great link.

    It’s been my suspicion for a long time, both in relation to Afghanistan and wrt the long game wrt China/ Russia.

  • avatar-singh

    another news flash-the angloamericans have been bribing the taliban to let the nato goods and trucks pass through.

    I know that the british ahve bene bribing the taliban for not attacking the british troops- sort of protection money being given to taliban by the briitsh.

    I wonder if england would pay some money toslovakia not to play so well and allow england get away with one goal wo=in int he world cup last match? it fits with their usual strategy. attack; if not successful then bribe.

    they have bnever been the one to fight like man.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Ha! Now that would be quite something!

    So, who ends-up with the stones? The modern-day version of the Koh-i-noor. the riches of the dust. The bright, shiny baubles. The golden ants of Alexander.

  • Malcolm Pryce

    I’m not sure what the outbursts about conspiracy theory are supposed to mean.

    I said you don’t have to be a dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy theorist to find the OBL-FBI issue odd.

    I, however, do happen to be a dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy theorist.

    So there.

  • Abe Rene


    My first name is not Abu. The soldier who obeys his orders is exercising patriotic virtue, which deserves respect. I wonder whether you have ever put your life at risk for others, as he has. Lt Col James Carr-Smith’s words were a fitting and well-deserved eulogy for someone who died serving his country. No way will I agree to despise someone like that, even if I don’t agree with the decisions of politicians or a particular political party that sent him there. On the contrary, I salute him; may he rest in peace and know happiness in the world beyond our time and space, and be rewarded for his virtue.

  • amk

    “The soldier who obeys his orders is exercising patriotic virtue”

    Patriotism isn’t a virtue. Patriotism is in-group bias with membership in the in-group predicated on perceived national identity.

    Prettified definitions of patriotism (“the true patriot wishes his country to be better”) as nothing more than rationalisations.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Malcolm, this is easy. Please pay attention, and perhaps you’ll get it.

    1) The U.S. did not indict bin Laden for 911 because he was already indicted for other acts of terrorism, and was already on the Top 10 List. Spending hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars to get an indictment for 911 would be superfluous.

    2) You can’t seriously believe that the U.S. government pulled off 911, with the thousands of necessary parties, but is too timid to indict bin Laden for 911, because the FBI knows that the U.S. government did it.

    3) You can’t seriously be claiming that the FBI took part in 911.

    4) The FBI and other professional agencies do not operate at the direction of conspiraloons. Thus, they’re not going to take the unnecessary step of indicting bin Laden because right-wing nuts in the States and left-wing nuts in Britain keep calling attention to this silly issue. We all know you people will just move one to the next illusory issue.

    Now I know that won’t clear that up, as you’ve self-identified as a conspiracy theorist. No doubt that means you think the moon landings were faked, etc. etc.

    Congratulations on being manipulated by the American right wing.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles on ‘extended leave’ [code well known to Craig] for suggesting peace talks with the Taliban [the ‘enemy’].

    301 young soldiers have died fighting the ‘war’ in Afghanistan…

    ‘We will remember them’


  • Malcolm Pryce

    Hi Larry

    Thanks for taking the time to help me grope my way towards the light. I did as you requested and paid attention to what you had to say but found, alas, that you hadn’t paid attention to what I said.

    I didn’t make any of the claims you ‘rebut’ . In questioning why the FBI had not got an indictment for OBL the implication was not that ‘the FBI took part in 9/11’ but that they probably don’t have any hard evidence linking OBL to it. That is, after all, what FBI spokesman Rex Tomb said.

    Your suggestion that they haven’t indicted him because it would be too expensive certainly brightened my day. Maybe they should hold what I think you people call a bake sale.

  • Larry from St. Louis


    Congratulations on:

    1. Being able to take a quote out of context, and not being able to consider, outside of your out-of-context quote, both (i) logic and (ii) evidence;

    2. Being manipulated by the American right-wing Tim McVeigh types;

    3. Your presumed continued search for Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster.

    With you British nutjobs, I’ve been wondering for some time why you think Obama and his chief of staff don’t uncover this vast 911 conspiracy and render the Republican Party a matter of history (after successfully executing all the 911 conspirators). For the right-wing nuts in America, who are the driving force for the generation of the dumbass claims that you believe in, this is not a problem – they simply claim that Obama is likewise part of the New World Order. But I don’t understand how British left-wing nutjobs (like you) reconcile this.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    “Maybe they should hold what I think you people call a bake sale.”

    Like most of what the British say when addressing Americans, that’s just silly nothingness.

  • Anonymous

    So far, in talking about (and only talking about Osama Bin Laden) the person who say’s he is ‘Larry from St. Louis’ has moved the debate to…


    Lizard people

    moon landings


    Loch Ness monster

    New World Order

    ‘Larry from St. Louis’ it is YOU that is the ‘nutjob’.

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