Are we doomed to failure in Afghanistan? History says, yes

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jumpinjarhead, Sep 23, 2009.

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  1. As many of us have predicted on these forums, here is one of the voices calling for a reduction in force levels in Afghanistan as the correct response to the request of the military to increase force levels. I wonder what our enemies are thinking as they watch all this?

  2. I believe our enemy is thinking, that our governments do not have the will to fight, to win this war.

    And I believe it too.
  3. I agree--sadly my question was rhetorical. I would also add that without leadership our respective citizenries do not have the staying power either, which makes it a bit of a chicken/egg conundrum.
  4. history keeps telling us - so they keep telling us, although when this is put under scrutiny, it isn't quite so. I believe the difference this time though, is that we're directly threatened, and the threat doesn't stop if we pull out.
  5. Read Kipling & George McDonald Fraser it will tell you all you need to know about this part of the world. Afghanistan is not a nation but a collection of tribes.
  6. So history tells us we can beat Nazi Germany, but not an insurrection in a fifth world country?

    Twice in the last century, UK fielded armed forces of c.5 million. Now we don't even retain the capability to make the components of something as basic as rifle rounds....

    Its purely down to the will of the governments involved.
  7. And three times we got our arrse kicked out of Afghanistan, the only way to win is to kill them all, and that ain't going to happen
  8. So why did the great collection of minds who do "nation building" insist on trying to rule Afg from the centre in Kabul?

    Schoolboy error, wishful thinking, or laziness?
  9. Taken from a letter to the Telegraph a few months ago:

  10. Yes all the above,

    Remember Doctor Brydon

    Attached Files:

  11. It should also be remembered when a superpower like Britain in the 19th century is involved in Afghanistan then Afghanistan's neighbours like Russia stir up the hornets nest by arming and supplying Afghan tribes . When the USSR was invoved in the country they literally had the whole world against them

    With the exception of tribesmen in Pakistan there's little support from Afghanistan's neighbours for the Taliban hence using history as an indicator shouldn't be used as a yardstick now
  12. Where does Rob Johnson think the political will is coming from? New Labour? He rather shoots himself in the foot with his own arguments. Gordon Brown has already turned down requests for more troops from his most senior generals, on grounds of cost!!! It would also appear that it matters not who wins the initial skirmish, it is what follows that counts.

    "Afghan wars become serious only when they are over"

    Sir Olaf Caroe — a legendary figure of the Raj, ethnographer of the Pashtuns and last administrator of the North-West Frontier of British India — wrote in 1958 that ‘unlike other wars, Afghan wars become serious only when they are over; in British times at least they were apt to produce an after-crop of tribal unrest [and] constant intrigue among the border tribes.’ Western leaders would have been wise to consider his words after the ‘stunning defeat’ of the Taleban, whose ramshackle theocratic tyranny crumbled in less than ten weeks’ fighting after 9/11. .........
  13. I doubt the Dr believes the political will for sustained military activity will come from Labour and our beloved comrade leader Brown. Perhaps he believes, like a large number of British citizens, that Labour will be out of office in a years time (it can't come soon enough!) and that the Tories will be in instead.

    The Tories might be more willing to spend money on our under-funded armed forces: William Hague says that a under a Tory government, resources will match commitments; yet no defence spending ring-fencing has been promised by Cameron, as it has for the bureacrats in the NHS and African dictators through overseas aid.

    My guess is the Dr would agree with your earlier post, that "nation-building" a group of disparate tribes together is unlikely to work.
  14. It should also be remembered that Alexander the Great didn't lose his war there. He pretty much stormed through Afghanistan, declared victory after taking the capital with relative ease. An insurgency began to pop up and after a few years Alexander decided that maintaining order in a hostile desert wasteland was not in his interests.

    It should also be remembered the russians started to face a strong backlash at home to the war. In their final year the commanders decided they would have to pour more troops into Afghanistan which would mean Afghanistan was effectively under Russian occupation or pull out. The russian public were still very bitter about the millions they lost in World war 2 so the war in Afghanistan had strong public opinion from the onset - unlike now where strong opposition has only begun to crop up.They chose to pull out because the reality of the Soviet invasion was that they were after Afghanistans natural resources.

    I think instead of doing a troop surge a better idea would be send our own group of special forces up into the mountains and have them pick off the most influential leaders. Once the leaders of tribes are taken out we could start cutting deals with the tribes to keep al qaieda out. Forget elections in that hell hole...with Iraq most people have a basic mobile phone and an internet connection. In afghan most afgans csn't even write their own name.
  15. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    "So history tells us..." yawn. How many hundreds of articles and pundits have said/written the same thing since 2001?

    The key debate now is:
    Do more troops help us defeat the Taliban?
    Or do they simply intensify the fighting, thereby creating (as a side-effect) more Taliban?

    I don't have the answer to this question, but we certainly are not winning, and I don't know anyone in the UK armed forces who is NOT asking for more troops and resources.

    OTOH, the most successful part of the Afghan War was in 2001 when small special units overthrew the Taliban government while laying down a very minimal foreign footprint.

    There WAS a time when the British Army was full of enterprising chaps who specialized in unconventional warfare, raising private armies of tribesman on far frontiers, and leading them into successful battle against the enemies of empire. However, such chaps seem to have died out with TE Lawrence.

    Still, such an approach has various advantages:
    Minimal foreign footprint
    Minimal foreign soldiers' blood shed
    Leverages local expertise to the max.