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Afganistan, what are our gains and their losses?

I'm getting a bit miffed by the news coverage coming out of Afg ATM. After watching a BBC news report last night (which was excellent), what is getting me down though is the constant reference to our casualties without mentioning any levels of Taliban\insurgent casualties or prisoners taken. As a member of the public now I can appreciate that this kind of thing went out of favour after Vietnam where a fixation with enemy casualty statistics began to skew the mission, but Joe Public here simply don't get to see the gains, whether it is ground taken or the amount of and overcome. It almost seems like we are the only ones taking casualties. Would it be better if we knew what gains we have, how many enemy overcome? Or would it just fuel recruiting for them? Or is there another reason that the media does not cover, or even mention this?
I think you touched on it when you mentioned Vietnam. War is not a football match and bodycounts, on either side, are not the measure of a successful campaign.
Even in a war of attrition ground and equipment denial are a better measure than bodycount. I don't like bodycounts because they trivialise our own dead to a certain extent. It starts becoming like a cricket match. "At close of play today Britain stood at 1 for 112 with three injured".
Pacifying an area and neutralising enemy activity within that area are far more important than bodycounts alone although I agree that you need to know that you are accounting for yourselves.
I know, it's unfortunate, but the general public simply are not being informed of any kind of positive info as regards to operations over there. I have a suspicion that it actually may lead to a lot more negative emotions about the entire shooting match not knowing. When a politician says our losses are justified they still won't give a reason why! It's a little baffling to be honest.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
All very pertinent remarks, which agree with. The question is how do we measure success? And how it correlates to our stated or percieved mission.

1. Ground held and cleared?
2. Stabilisation & reconstruction - schools, clinics, infrastructure numbers reached by dev. work?
3. Other dev. indexes:- child mortality, education, income, new land brought into agri. production, land cleared of ordinance etc etc etc.

An analysis has be based on a variety of factors like those mentioned above. The seperate org.s and militaries in the region need to coordinate more on these issues it can often appear to those outside the they are working at cross purposes.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
I realise that this is a very deleicate area and there are sensibilities to be taken into account - on both sides.

At the moment we are getting fairly sensational stories as each death is announced. It is beginning to look more and more like we are the only ones taking casualties and the perception is that we are not doing too well. I think more has to be put in by MoD using the media to explain what is happening in a way that the man on the street can understand. At the moment it sounds like we can't drive down any street or road in Afghanistan without casualties. There should be some news items which detail the operations - without giving away any OPSEC - explaining what is happening. To say merely that troops are engaged in the largest operation does not put across the work our guys are doing and the reason why casualties are continuing to happen.

If they continue to show repatriation of bodies with no background to operations then public perception will be that we are losing and calls for immediate withdrawal will only increase. They can't continue to show a one sided viewpoint of the war.
Auld-Yin said:
If they continue to show repatriation of bodies with no background to operations then public perception will be that we are losing and calls for immediate withdrawal will only increase. They can't continue to show a one sided viewpoint of the war.
I totally agree , but would the media broadcast any gains made anyway ? There is does seem to be a ridiculous need for the media to portray the war in Afghanistan as a new Vietnam . For instance I watch a sickening spectacle on BBC News 24 where war correspondant Robert Fox was smugly saying NATO numbers in Afghanistan are now approaching the number the Soviet Union had in the 1980s . He could have mentioned that the Soviets had an entirely different agenda , that the Muj were different from the Taliban , that the Soviets in ten years lost 15,000 men and the Afgahn war dead was 1,000,000 but didn't mention of this . The tosser

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