Are the Conservatives aiming for early exit from Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Jul 18, 2009.

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  1. Are the Conservatives aiming for an early exit from Afghanistan?

    If the belief that Barack Obama doesn't have an appetite for a long war in Afghanistan is correct, might an incoming Tory government also develop a new approach?

    The Tories seem to be opening up an interesting new front in the political battle over Afghanistan, with what looks like a significant new emphasis on finding an exit strategy allowing British troops to come home sooner.

    I've just finished writing something for tomorrow's Observer about last week's defence spending battles and am struck by what Gerald Howarth, the shadow defence minister, told me about the need for a more tightly defined mission focused on basic military objectives rather than on humanitarian goals like ensuring Afghan girls get an education.

    He said while public opinion was currently more or less equally divided on the war:

    "there is a risk that level of public support could fall so I do think we have to be clear with the public actually what the nature of the mission is. If you place the bar to the exit too high we will be there forever and a day, but if you place the bar at a reasonable level I think there is a prospect that we might be able to get out sooner."
    More on the link
  2. I think they may be looking for flexibility over the deployment and the end-states. Most people will agree this intervention is necessary, and most of those who agree will not really think beyond this knee-jerk response.,

    What is the intervention for? Is it to pacify and rebuild the entire nation of Afghanistan (250,000 sq miles) by destroying the Taliban? That would not seem entirely sensible. Is it to secure and hold Kabul and other key strongpoints and to let the rest of the country do what it likes? That would not seem sensible either.

    NATO (the US) need to look at what the mission aim is. Perhaps there are easier options - like buying off the less unruly Taliban elements and only fighting those who it is necessary to fight. A bit more realism about the poppy crop would help as well....why not just buy the stuff and convert it to medicinal use?
  3. Well, what is the current plan? Wait for the Taliban to run out of fight (good luck with that one) or to train and develop the Afghan nation to be able to defend itself? If it's such a struggle for Isaf to sort the cris in in Afghanistan, how the hell could Afghanistan be able to without us, developed army or no. Our plan should (though probably can't) be to sort out the Afghan government into a non-corrupt functioning government body.
  4. Nothing positive will emerge from the struggle in Afghastlystan until the aid agencies coordinate with the military in establishing and supporting national institutions and governance of areas cleared by the military of "insurgents". By aid agencies I mean DFID, the EC etc. However DFID is now so firmly *********** of MI5 that any activity undertaken in respect of institutional and other development is likely to be myopic in the extreme.
  5. Well Said Mr PVRd
    "Perhaps there are easier options - like buying off the less unruly Taliban elements and only fighting those who it is necessary to fight."

    Great believer in Bribery, far cheaper in the long run in both terms of Money and Troops Life's and Limbs.
    Also a swage of gold placed in the right hands might convert some of our present enemies into hunters who would track down and eliminate there now current friends.
  6. Neither New Labour nor the Conservatives have an 'Afghanistan Policy' of their own. UK policy/strategy towards Afghanistan is merely and extension of Washington (US) and New York (UN) policy/strategy.

    Both New Labour and Conservative will follow the lead from Washington. If Washington says time to go, irrespective of situation, then the UK will go. If Washington says time to move on (Pakistan), irrespective of situation, then the UK will move on. All the time that Washington stays, the UK stays.
  7. That will be the same DFID that provided the park for women then.


    Perhaps if DFID provided decent roads for the local farmers to get their produce to a decent market, they might just get a reasonable price for their goods, and be tempted away from growing opium poppies.
  8. The Tories are just using Afghanistan for political capital against the government so will make any vague promise they think will be popular and that they can't be held to. They are likely to be more jingoistic than Labour, but at least they can scapegoat Brown & Blair if they do pull the troops out. That will get harder the longer they are in office though I'm not sure they'd have the balls to make an early call especially a unilateral one.

    Sensible policy: we'd be better off winning in part of the country than losing all of it. The war isn't over territory it's over the attitudes and minds of those yet to join the jihadist cause. The opium is irrelevent, the Taliban are after controlling the farmers, the poppies are only the means, extortion would suit them just as well & a narcotics industry is easier to follow to identify who the bad guys are.
  9. 'war is politics by other means' Von clausewitz
    unfortunately it works both ways. as soon as it becomes politically expedient to leave, troops will be withdrawn. lets be honest the supposed equal divide in public opinion for and against the war is only going to swing towards the latter as the general population get increasingly tired of a war they see as stagnating and mismanaged
    fcuking liberal media
  10. The sooner TOM is puled out and the Afghanistani people are allowed to revert to their normal way of slaughter of any iriot daft enough to enter their territory the better.
    Military is not what the game is about, the folks who think giving education to young girls should really think up a more sensible way to do it then by having TOM do the biz.
  11. If neither the US of A, or us, are preparing for a long battle, why in particular are the US pouring so much money into KAF to strengthen it for the next 20 years, and why are we pouring money into builidng long-term hard accommodation and facilities. Given the current economic situation, if there were plans to scale down the conflict sooner rather than later, would not the economic hawks encourage holding off the many millions planned. ?
  12. The US built/financed Kandahar Airport in the first place back in the 1960s. They didn't stay around long then to enjoy the 'benefits' of their new creation, so what gives you the impression it will be any different now?

    'Our' continued mission in Afghanistan is based around credibility not sound foreign policy or prudent financial planning. How many times have you heard the refrain from the political class that, 'we have to win, we can't afford to fail.'

  13. Gerald Howarth’s comment about “reasonable level”, poses such questions as: What is “reasonable” and who decides? Is the latter us or the people who we set out to help?

    As for defining the mission more tightly on basic military objectives, I was under the impression that it is axiomatic that success in such campaigns depends on a strategy which combines both military and civil objectives.

    Finally, regarding an early withdrawal, well, that seems more like a policy of “cut and run”, but at least it has the merit of eliminating the need for the forthcoming Defence Review to consider similar interventions in the future.