Afghanistan - What did we actually gain?

Don't forget to include David Cameron in that list, but for sensible people he would have got involved and had his own little middle eastern side show. It seems that Maggie and her Falklands win was the blue print for all failed/aspirant politicians as a proverbial re-election ticket.
Another show brought to you by our so called security experts and the media pushing the 'something must be done' line, all having undue influence over democracy. As you say, they're could only go so far and Syria was another proposed mess to throw ourselves into but met a solid wall of resistance from the public.
 
Don't forget to include David Cameron in that list, but for sensible people he would have got involved and had his own little middle eastern side show. It seems that Maggie and her Falklands win was the blue print for all failed/aspirant politicians as a proverbial re-election ticket.

It shouldn't take the brains of a rocket surgeon or brain scientist to work out that although the Falklands war was an enormously difficult plan to execute, the aims and objectives were crystal clear.

Selection and maintenance of the aim has been an oft overlooked principle in subsequent ventures.
 
Best thing would be to get all the major powers together and nuke Afghanistan into a sheet of glass.

Either that or build a huge wall around the place and leave them to it.

Yes, tongue in cheek, but Afghanistan is a place that is more trouble than it is worth. Britain has been in & out since 1839 [first Anglo-Afghan War] to no great effect, ditto the US and Russians.

Fence it in an leave them to it. Cut off sales of heroin and no outside "assistance".
Actually we’ve f*cked up the two things that could’ve really helped Afghanistan.

we didn’t promote the nationalisation of the Aynak Copper mine. The Chinese bought it. (Oh how I laughed when our American cousins thought that nationalising the largest copper deposit in the world was a bad idea…..I know I’m not a big fan of nationalised industry, but you just know when the Chinese begin the extract from it they’ll use their own people.)

we also thought it wasn’t a good idea to allow Afghans to grow poppies to address the world wide opiate shortage. Fun fact for you kids. There are 12 country’s that are allowed by international treaties to grow poppies for opium production. 1 is India. The other 11 were ISAF member states.

For me the third biggest mistake was not putting the king back in charge because we had to push democracy. Hell, why wouldn’t you put a guy in charge who had all of the Pashtuns tribes loyal to him to begin with.

Lots of ifs and buts and could’ves. As I said many many years ago. We used to be able to sort places like that over by sending the Army in with a man from the foreign office who spoke the language, knew the culture and was able to dish cash out on his own initiative without an ever growing number of f**kyatds sat in numerous rear and home based head quarters interfering.

I suspect we’ll see a bit of blood spilled and some revenge taken, but generally, things will settle down again.

I know the TB were demonised for wanting to live in the Stone Age, but other than attacks on schools, they didn’t really target infrastructure builds like power supply, road construction etc etc etc.

many think the military had it bad. Some of the worst excesses of violence however were from the poppy eradication production. Those nasty TB fighting to keep their drugs safe. Or the other viewpoint is the farmer not wanting to see his crops destroyed because the local warlord still wants paying for the harvest even if it’s not delivered.
 
I saw that in the Balkans a lot, when the civvy aid agencies were handing out relief supplies.

One earnest young thing nearly started a riot by refusing to hand out the packages unless the women and elderly came to get them.

Thankfully, one of her more experienced/worldly-wise colleagues stepped in and asked, "How long do you think the women and elderly would keep the packages?"

The young, military age males are also the most economically useful in a foreign land and less likely to be enslaved or have their earnings nicked.
Was this the same Balkans that UN aid agencies used to help ethnically cleanse as they wouldn’t get funding if their refugee centres fell below a certain number?
 
Was this the same Balkans that UN aid agencies used to help ethnically cleanse as they wouldn’t get funding if their refugee centres fell below a certain number?
Not that I'm aware of. I wouldn't put it past some of the individuals I met but I don't think it was policy and in any case they had so little power to influence events on the ground that they couldn't have organised it even if they'd wanted to.

No, for my money the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the locals and their ability to make NI seem progressive and forward-looking.
 
Was this the same Balkans that UN aid agencies used to help ethnically cleanse as they wouldn’t get funding if their refugee centres fell below a certain number?
Some may have noticed I despise two things in life:-
1. Charity - apart from MSF. The rest are a dumping ground for upper middle class graduates getting their cards marked as virtuous before they're return home and a nice sinecure sorted out by daddy. And, some very dubious types recruited from the developing world who see the charity industry as easy money.
2. All Journalists, but particularly the broadcast variety. I think they've started more wars than godwins laws favourite dictator.

The amount of money spent in Iraq and later Afghanistan, I doubt all that much filtered down to the humble plebs and probably fuelled a UAE boom from GW1 through to now.
 
Hedging his bets.

'The Taliban appear to have “strategic momentum” in the fight for control of Afghanistan as they put increasing pressure on key cities, setting the stage for a decisive period in coming weeks as American forces complete their withdrawal, the top US military officer said Wednesday. “This is going to be a test now of the will and leadership of the Afghan people — the Afghan security forces and the government of Afghanistan,” Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon press conference.

'The Pentagon says the US withdrawal is 95% finished and will be completed by Aug. 31. And while the Biden administration has vowed to continue financial assistance and logistical support for Afghan forces after August, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the focus of US military efforts there will be countering terrorist threats, not the Taliban. Speaking alongside Milley, Austin said the US will “keep an eye on” al-Qaida, the extremist network whose use of Afghanistan as a haven for planning the 9/11 attacks on the United States was the reason US forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

“Our major focus going forward is to make sure that violence, terrorism, cannot be exported from Afghanistan to our homeland, and so we’ll maintain the capability to be able to not only observe that but also address that if it does emerge,” Austin said, adding that the Taliban pledged in 2020 to not provide a sanctuary for al-Qaida in the future. “We expect for them to meet that commitment. If they want legitimacy going forward, I think that’s something they’ll have to consider. That’s one way to earn it, so we’ll see what happens.” He reiterated his view that there is a “medium risk” of al-Qaida regaining within about two years of the US departure the capability to launch attacks against the West. “But, again, there are a number of things that could happen to speed that up a bit or slow it down,” he added.

'Milley said the Taliban now control about half of the 419 district centers in Afghanistan, and while they have yet to capture any of the country’s 34 provincial capitals, they are pressuring about half of them. As the Taliban seize more territory, the Afghan security forces are consolidating their positions to protect key population centers, including Kabul, he said. “A significant amount of territory has been seized over the course of six, eight, 10 months by the Taliban, so momentum appears to be — strategic momentum appears to be — sort of with the Taliban,” Milley said.

'Milley said that while the Taliban are attempting to create the impression that their victory over the US-backed Kabul government is inevitable, he believes the Afghan military and police have the training and equipment to prevail. He said he would not rule out a negotiated political settlement with the Taliban, nor would he exclude “a complete Taliban takeover. I don’t think the end game is yet written,” he said.'


Gen. Milley says Taliban appear to have 'strategic momentum'
 
Hedging his bets.

'The Taliban appear to have “strategic momentum” in the fight for control of Afghanistan as they put increasing pressure on key cities, setting the stage for a decisive period in coming weeks as American forces complete their withdrawal, the top US military officer said Wednesday. “This is going to be a test now of the will and leadership of the Afghan people — the Afghan security forces and the government of Afghanistan,” Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon press conference.

'The Pentagon says the US withdrawal is 95% finished and will be completed by Aug. 31. And while the Biden administration has vowed to continue financial assistance and logistical support for Afghan forces after August, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the focus of US military efforts there will be countering terrorist threats, not the Taliban. Speaking alongside Milley, Austin said the US will “keep an eye on” al-Qaida, the extremist network whose use of Afghanistan as a haven for planning the 9/11 attacks on the United States was the reason US forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

“Our major focus going forward is to make sure that violence, terrorism, cannot be exported from Afghanistan to our homeland, and so we’ll maintain the capability to be able to not only observe that but also address that if it does emerge,” Austin said, adding that the Taliban pledged in 2020 to not provide a sanctuary for al-Qaida in the future. “We expect for them to meet that commitment. If they want legitimacy going forward, I think that’s something they’ll have to consider. That’s one way to earn it, so we’ll see what happens.” He reiterated his view that there is a “medium risk” of al-Qaida regaining within about two years of the US departure the capability to launch attacks against the West. “But, again, there are a number of things that could happen to speed that up a bit or slow it down,” he added.

'Milley said the Taliban now control about half of the 419 district centers in Afghanistan, and while they have yet to capture any of the country’s 34 provincial capitals, they are pressuring about half of them. As the Taliban seize more territory, the Afghan security forces are consolidating their positions to protect key population centers, including Kabul, he said. “A significant amount of territory has been seized over the course of six, eight, 10 months by the Taliban, so momentum appears to be — strategic momentum appears to be — sort of with the Taliban,” Milley said.

'Milley said that while the Taliban are attempting to create the impression that their victory over the US-backed Kabul government is inevitable, he believes the Afghan military and police have the training and equipment to prevail. He said he would not rule out a negotiated political settlement with the Taliban, nor would he exclude “a complete Taliban takeover. I don’t think the end game is yet written,” he said.'


Gen. Milley says Taliban appear to have 'strategic momentum'
Afghan Government forces were spanking the mujahideen in the late 80s.
The tables only turned after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the money stream.

ANA units can fight surprisingly well when they need to.
 
Much the same applies to Kurds, Berbers, and similar " tribes" across north Africa. Loyalty is to family, clan, tribe long before any notional nation.
I found the same up North.... Bloody Lancastrians and Yorkshire types!
 
Afghan Government forces were spanking the mujahideen in the late 80s.
The tables only turned after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the money stream.

ANA units can fight surprisingly well when they need to.
Then they started using heroin
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
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The concept of an Afghan Nation is very real.

It is also very real that they will not submit to another Countries idea of Nation.

Too many so called leaders fail to grasp the concept that not all Countries in the World want to be run like a Western democracy.

These are just some thoughts that I haven't fully fleshed out yet but

  1. The Afghans weren't always Muslim because Islam wasn't even a thing until around 700 AD and probably reached them a century or more after. Before that they were as far as anyone knows Buddhist. So a wholesale replacement of Afghan culture is possible if you have a sufficiently compelling message
  2. The West, partly by policy and partly just implicitly, has for the last few decades repackaged an idealised form of our culture as light entertainment and beamed it around the world. Sometimes this works well, such as the Soviets couldn't get enough of blue jeans and Coca Cola and rock'n'roll and Baywatch.
  3. The Afghans fought the Soviets not only because of abstract concepts of territorial integrity but because of ideology and identity: the Soviet system was explicitly atheist and wanted to impose that on Afghanistan
  4. Thought experiment: let's say Western culture had been stuck in the 1950s and all our media, which the Afghans and everyone else, has full access to, showed that. Blue jeans and Coca-cola and rock'n'roll but also the man at the head of the household with a modest, dutiful wife at home, living in a nice house in the suburbs and driving a big car and going to Church on Sundays (insert religion of choice). Would that have been a pitch that would have worked on both the Soviets and the Afghans?
  5. To what extent does the average devout Afghan look at present-day Western media, perhaps it's a guilty pleasure, and think: I actually would rather die than see my children turn into this, and I'll take as many infidels with me as I can?
 
These are just some thoughts that I haven't fully fleshed out yet but

  1. The Afghans weren't always Muslim because Islam wasn't even a thing until around 700 AD and probably reached them a century or more after. Before that they were as far as anyone knows Buddhist. So a wholesale replacement of Afghan culture is possible if you have a sufficiently compelling message
  2. The West, partly by policy and partly just implicitly, has for the last few decades repackaged an idealised form of our culture as light entertainment and beamed it around the world. Sometimes this works well, such as the Soviets couldn't get enough of blue jeans and Coca Cola and rock'n'roll and Baywatch.
  3. The Afghans fought the Soviets not only because of abstract concepts of territorial integrity but because of ideology and identity: the Soviet system was explicitly atheist and wanted to impose that on Afghanistan
  4. Thought experiment: let's say Western culture had been stuck in the 1950s and all our media, which the Afghans and everyone else, has full access to, showed that. Blue jeans and Coca-cola and rock'n'roll but also the man at the head of the household with a modest, dutiful wife at home, living in a nice house in the suburbs and driving a big car and going to Church on Sundays (insert religion of choice). Would that have been a pitch that would have worked on both the Soviets and the Afghans?
  5. To what extent does the average devout Afghan look at present-day Western media, perhaps it's a guilty pleasure, and think: I actually would rather die than see my children turn into this, and I'll take as many infidels with me as I can?
Islam only dominates where brainwashing from birth, supported by frequent violence against anyone disagreeing, is allowed to continue.
Add in the Afghan cultural niceties like raping boys, disfiguring women, and general stone age mentality, and things aren't likely to improve any time soon.
Then add the malevolent support from ISI and fellow nutjobs in Pakistan.
 
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The Afghans weren't always Muslim because Islam wasn't even a thing until around 700 AD and probably reached them a century or more after. Before that they were as far as anyone knows Buddhist. So a wholesale replacement of Afghan culture is possible if you have a sufficiently compelling message

That would depend entirely on whether you buy into the notion that the aim of Islam will takeover the world, no matter how long it takes.

If you accept that notion then there is not a pups chance in hell of predominantly Muslim Countries changing.

The West, partly by policy and partly just implicitly, has for the last few decades repackaged an idealised form of our culture as light entertainment and beamed it around the world. Sometimes this works well, such as the Soviets couldn't get enough of blue jeans and Coca Cola and rock'n'roll and Baywatch.

The West just needs to accept that not every Country in the world wants to adopt Western culture or democracy.

To what extent does the average devout Afghan look at present-day Western media, perhaps it's a guilty pleasure, and think: I actually would rather die than see my children turn into this, and I'll take as many infidels with me as I can?

No idea - But I can fully understand why people would take up arms and die than have it foisted upon them.
 
That would depend entirely on whether you buy into the notion that the aim of Islam will takeover the world, no matter how long it takes.

If you accept that notion then there is not a pups chance in hell of predominantly Muslim Countries changing.



The West just needs to accept that not every Country in the world wants to adopt Western culture or democracy.



No idea - But I can fully understand why people would take up arms and die than have it foisted upon them.
Democracy, human rights, gender equality, Lgbtxyz equality, modern Western ( spit) technology, medecine and healthcare, etc etc, rather than mysogynistic theology about a foreign, arab, moon god, no contest
 
That would depend entirely on whether you buy into the notion that the aim of Islam will takeover the world, no matter how long it takes.

If you accept that notion then there is not a pups chance in hell of predominantly Muslim Countries changing.

Yes, that is the aim of Islam (Christianity has a subtly different aim which is that everyone in the world has to hear the message whether or not they actually convert). But I think that any religion can just fade away, just as Christianity has largely done in the West, a country can be notionally religion X but with few actual adherents and little influence from that religion on daily life. It's not impossible that this could happen in presently Muslim countries - just very unlikely in the foreseeable future.


The West just needs to accept that not every Country in the world wants to adopt Western culture or democracy.


You can imagine a hypothetical conversation that goes something like:

Westerner: We are here to bring you freedom, democracy and capitalism​
Third Worlder: We've seen your media, you don't even believe in these things yourselves. You are ashamed of your history, your culture and your accomplishments. You have rising problems of crime and ethnic strife. Whereas we already have a system that is confident that it knows right from wrong, that we are proud of, that offers social cohesion and stability, we are out-reproducing you, our people are settling in your territory, in fact many of your people are even converting to our system. Why should we listen to you?​

It's pointless for the West to go on ideological expeditions until we have an answer for that.
 

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