No End To Afghan War 22

A friend still in a senior position in the FCO has informed me there will be no substantive British withdrawal from Afghanistan until 2015 at the earliest. According to a strategy paper classified Secret, carried out for the Cabinet overseas and defence committee, it is essential to retain Karzai in power until his term in office ends, to restore stability to the country. While that is official paper speak, my friend (who is not enamoured of this policy) says that the real thinking is that if Karzai falls from power after our withdrawal, we will be seen to have “Lost” the war, while the overriding aim in Whitehall and in Washington is to get out in circumstances in which we can claim victory.

The official judgement is that the loyalty of Afghan government forces is at best dubious, while they remain riven by ethnic dissension and still contain a huge over-representation of Tajiks and Uzbeks, especially at officer level. In the FCO’s view, Karzai would not last for days if NATO forces withdrew and indeed would flee very quickly rather than try to retain power. He is just not interested in being in Afghanistan without a US army to sustain his looting. That rather knocks on the head the various efforts we have made for a negotiated settlement, for which we regard Karzai remaining in power as an essential outcome.

Karzai’s predecessors as modern Afghan rulers installed by foreign invaders – Shah Shujah by the British and Dr Najibullah by the Soviets – were both murdered once their sponsors left.

The coalition government in the UK apparently believes that the sharp reduction in the casualty rate among UK forces has removed public pressure for an earlier withdrawal. The Obama administration has give firm assurances to Karzai that a high level US and NATO military occupation will remain in place until after the end of his term of office.

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22 thoughts on “No End To Afghan War

  • Tom Welsh

    So let me see if I understand this. The official UK government position is that:

    1. We cannot leave until Karzai is firmly entrenched as president.

    2. Karzai cannot hope to survive unless we stay.


  • Paul Johnston

    Why do you think our casualties are reducing, are we just not going out anymore and staying in military bases? If main losses are due to IEDs that could account for it.

  • mark_golding

    The Afghanistan war does not arouse the same passions as Iraq, Gates has reminded us he will not withdraw his forces as a ‘political gesture’ and he is unable in my opinion to even comprehend a humanitarian expression to end war. Instead Mr Gates has asked for a $1 billion/year contribution to the efforts, that of destroying a once useful mujahideen, a secondary function to that of establishing permanent bases, such as the notorious torture infused Bagram, to enhance the security infrastructure that would protect the transport of gas energy from Turkmenistan, a complex geopolitical chess-game of competing interests in lucrative supplies that becomes crystal clear if we take time to reveal and examine the facts of the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India Pipeline in contention with the US backed TAPI pipeline or late 90’s Unocal project of Bush fame.

    In May 2009, Iran and Pakistan went ahead and signed an initial agreement, without India for the IPI pipeline feeding Pakistan India and Iran. Russia’s Gazprom expressed willingness to help build the line, most recently in January 2010. The same month, US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke met with Pakistan’s petroleum minister Syed Naveed Qamar, and, according to a Pakistani newspaper, he offered incentives to Pakistan to abandon the Iranian project. Subsequently, the petroleum minister told journalists that Pakistan and Iran would sign a technical agreement soon; he had met with the US ambassador and officials of US Overseas Private Investment Corporation who had expressed ‘no objection’ to the project.

    In 2008, Iran and Pakistan proposed that China join the project. The foreign minister of China, Yong Jiechi, informed Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, that China was seriously studying this proposal. Iran’s foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, affirmed in February 2010 that China is keen to join the project.

    The demand for energy imports is strong and the stakes are high. Moves by various countries to gain access or control are closely watched – The Grand Chessboard, as Zbigniew Brzezinski called it. The TAPI route is insecure; the America administration hampered by an increasing sensitivity from its public on combat casualties *pays* (CIA black funds) the mujahadeen (Taliban or Pashtun tribes) hoping for peace, while NATO vacillates on the role of protecting pipelines. A recent backward realisation by Gates that the Afghan people are NOT willing to have foreign troops in their country in perpetuity prompted the second death of Bin Laden, a push to sustain the fighting members of the Asian Development bank that sponsors the TAPI project. Such a dramatic deception will prove useless and self-defeating when the bottom line dictates development cannot take place at the end of a gun.

  • Anon

    They may use the worsening financial situation as a pretext/excuse for leaving ?.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    If any question why we died
    Tell them, because our fathers lied.

    — Kipling.

  • Dick the Prick


    Sorry for being an err…dick but the ‘overriding aim in Whitehall and in Washington is to get out in circumstances in which we can claim victory’. To whom? To whom would they be claiming victory? And what picture of ‘claim’ would that be?

    I think everyone appreciates that it’s costing a FFFffffortune to hang about in Dodge city but the payments can start reducing. If Karzai is just on stooge business for another few years because regional forces are so unstable then errr….I think i’ve answered my own question. Harruummpphh – seems a bit bloody optimistic but Oil & Smack are sooo profitable, I guess it’s all tediously inevitable.

    Now would be a good time to fuck off though, it would seem.

    Cheers as always


  • Clark

    Well that rules out my theory on an earlier thread that the US claimed to have killed Osama bin Laden so they could withdraw from that region. My second guess now applies, that the US wish to escalate the conflict in Pakistan.

  • Andy

    The war is costing about £4 – 5 billion a year.

    When old mum or dad can’t get a little help from the social services you can say to them, – thank God your taxes have been spent – many billions on wars fighting something or other in a place called Afghanistan that our PM has said is a good thing because it keeps our streets safe from angry ”terrorists”.

  • Dick the Prick

    Archbishop Cranmer blog holds comedy value. It is fair enough to say that the CoE is a great invention. The monarchy have provided celebration but the FCO seems to be a bit observant. If Shengen can’t be lifted at whim, they why arbitrary French application?

  • DRE

    Pakistan’s asynchronous war machine was severely degraded by the flooding last year. NATO casualties dropped off almost straight away.

  • spectral

    NATO and US haven’t spend 3 trillion to win and get out or to get OBL. Colonialism isn’t something that client-regimes can negotiate about, especially if that country is close to Iran, China and Russia; colonialists doesn’t need a partner they need puppets.
    Secondly, colonizers aren’t there to win – they are well aware the war against domestic population isn’t winnable (read Gen. Frank Kitson) and that is why they are playing that sectarian card, fanning inter-comunal animosities. Typical politician of client regime is a warlord or “assets” who work for security service or NGO of some NATO’s country, who won on “free local election”.
    NATO as a military arm of the Western world is there (to try) to stay, from the same reason they wage the war against Libya, after they suffered fiasco in Tunisia, Egypt and earlier in Lebanon. By the same token they support monarchical-apartheid-tyrannical regimes in Western Asia and Africa. After all, US military never won any war, if we do not take into account Granada or Panama and the like. Those kind of countries – multi-ethnic ones, are the favorite target of hyena-pack-mentality armies of NATO countries.

  • JimmyGiro

    I believe the aim is to maintain a military presence for the strategic significance that Afghanistan as “ground of intersecting highways” possesses, as Sun Tzu would put it.
    The excuses for being there in the first place were fairly dubious, and even the expression “War on terror” is officially not used any more. Yet the military advantages of a permanent army there are supreme:
    (1) Future contingency, if/when Russia, China, or India, become problematic, and threaten western supplies, such as the middle east.
    (2) Combat experience for NATO troops.
    (3) Somewhere to send ‘naughty’ boys if they misbehave.
    This would imply that NATO’s future prognosis of international relations are not stable enough to risk peaceful diplomacy.
    If I’m right, then Osama Bin Laden would have been invented if he did not exist. But since he did exist, he was always useful to the cause of perpetuity… unless he made a silly move towards peace, or even giving himself up?

  • spectral

    Official history portrayed Winston Churchill as one of the most significant person of 20th century. If there weren’t WWII, he would be (probably) remembered as obscure Victorian era Conquistador, among many others.
    For those with modicum of knowledge from history, and for me, he is top villain (political animal if you will) and unrivaled racist; and he was not shy to show it. He is cause of numerous death and carnages such as Gallipoli battle, which was fought on his initiation and insistence. Former hegemons celebrate its past and dressing it in romantic narrative of “spreading civilization”, as it is now “democracy and human right”.
    This article is illustrous:
    The role of imperial power(s) remain the same. As we are more and more into multi-polar world a “former” are making alliances again (expeditionary western forces against China) for better poll-position in race to mineral wealth and other resources of “weak” nations. Nazi called this kind of politics: Lebensraum.

  • Clark

    Dick the Prick, sorry, I don’t understand your question. I thought maybe budget constraints and the desire to deploy more forces elsewhere may have been why the US claimed to have killed Osama bin Laden, so they could say “job done” and withdraw. But Craig says they’re staying. So now I expect a US claim that Pakistan were sheltering him, so they can say “we need to intervene more in Pakistan”.

  • Dick the Prick

    Dear Clark

    No, I just meant that hitting Bin Laden was a good shot which seems to have been outside of political managerialism and to strategize about it could be problematic. He’s dead – hang out the bunting. May be we could have a decent conversation now about what the fuckety fuck it’s all about.

    I genuinely don’t think it can be chucked through normal political matrices – far too important for that. Utter, utter wanka!


  • DRE

    They (the U.S.) are already involved in Pakistan. They’ve been bankrolling it for at least 20 years. The Af/ Pak MIC was persuaded to give Bin Laden up for the usual inducement – billions of U.S. taxpayers dollars.

  • ingo

    I also believe that the war in Afghanistan will continue, as Mark pointed the Grand Chess board, it represents a springboard to Iran and even if Karzai would be in control of more territory that his own bog, the US would not leave, they are busy building bases at its borders.
    And then there is the multi billion dollar drugs budgets of the sitting Government to take care of.

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