Battle rages over our tragic failure in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, May 2, 2009.

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  1. Battle rages over our tragic failure in Afghanistan

    There is a fierce conflict between the MoD, determined to conceal how far its strategy is failing in Afghanistan, and other Government players who realise our policy must be completely rethought, says Christopher Booker.

    By Christopher Booker
    Last Updated: 5:38PM BST 02 May 2009
    Comments 0 | Comment on this article

    Mission impossible? British troops in Afghanistan Photo: PA
    In recent days, while the penny has been dropping as to what a tragic mess our politicians and senior generals made of our occupation of southern Iraq, there have been two remarkable twists to the story of our commitment in Afghanistan. One of these is highly alarming, the other possibly more hopeful.
    Almost wholly unreported until yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, there has been a dramatic change in Taliban tactics in Helmand, where some 8,500 British troops are stationed, with their headquarters in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital. On four occasions since April 21, including three in the past week, US air power has had to be called in to take out heavy machine guns, ZPU-1s and ZPU-2s, that the Taliban were installing around the town. Their purpose, as the British in Lashkar Gah are painfully aware, was all too obvious – to bring down the Chinook helicopters on which the British rely for transport and re-supply
    More on the link
  2. I've just finished Operation Snake Bite by Stephen Grey and it gives a very uncomfortable account of how things go in Afghanistan. Add the dodgy medals bit in (locked I know) and there is a danger that Joe Public will reduce even further his support for what the guys are doing out there.
  3. The fizz has gone regarding Afghanistan, and that is a danger alarm sounding :!: It means that the majority of the public at home have no interest in whats going on out there whatsoever. On the battlefield, as a direct result, moral is going to be low, eyes will be off the ball, resulting in more casualties. It is the responsibility of the government to STOP this downward spirel, or this whole operation will go pear shape, and end in disaster :!: ----- To those in charge, GET A FUNKING GRIP :!:
  4. Surely before we can have a military strategy for Afg, the politicians need to decide, at the level of national or grand strategy, just what it is they want the military to do there?

    I don't think 'Taliban seek to shoot down helicopters, US fast jets bomb Talib HMGs' is that shocking - it's only to be expected really. The Armed Forces seem to be doing a good job out there at the tactical and operational levels, but if this isn't harnessed to achieve a worthwhile strategic aim, then unfortunately it will probably be in vain.

    What is needed is political direction, addressing not only what we want to achieve there, but also allowing the Forces to do so ref combatting an insurgency which is going to have considerable support from the Pashtun majority of the country, and from over the Durand line.
  5. What worries me is, if we start taking the numbers out of Afghanistan, will those that remain not be even more vulnerable if/when Pakistan finally implodes?
  6. My bold

    It's not that the General Public have no interest in what's going on in Afghanistan. Scour the newspapers every day, and there is absolutley no mention what so ever about what the Troops are doing over there. Every couple of days there will be a report about soldiers killed or repatriated, and that's it. No mention of any operation they were on, what their objectives were or what they hope to achieve by the end of their six month tour.
    A few days ago there was a report in the papers about some split arrse with The RMC who managed to blat off a few rounds in anger. Fair play to her, it's something I never managed to do, but it's not really News. The RMC have been back in the UK for some time now.
    OPSEC is no excuse. Anyone who is really interested in what is going on can use the internet. If you look at the national papers of other countries, they at least report about what is going on in Afghanistan. ie

    From our own msm, nothing. Although I've not been on The MOD's website for a few months, I would have more trust in the banking sector than I would have in the spin merchants on that site.(tony blair would be spinning in his grave if he ever found out people coud actually outspin him and his team)(Obviously if he was dead)
    I think the general public have a great interest in what's going on, but with no regular reporting of what is actually happening, and only seeing reports of dead young men and women, and I would say by now, most towns in Britain have turned out to funerals of Our Finest, there has to be a point where people ask if it's worth it. Do we still have aims or objectives? I refuse to believe we are there as Americas lapdog/poodle. I believe we have objectives. It would be nice to here them reported by the msm though.
    I don't need any one on here to tell me our objectives. :D
  7. At the moment AFG is low on the Press radar as they can smell blood in the water from this "Dead Man Walking " Government. A scoop that edges this shuffling zombie of a PM closer to the edge is worth lots of points. And points make prizes.

    That's all the press is, by and large, interested in.
  8. Spot on, it aint interesting to the papers at the moment, forget were all behind you, they are when its a boost in sales.

  9. And there is supposed to be something new about this?? The rather sleepy Mr Booker is only about three years behind the times. Taliban having been trying to do this for as long as there have been Chinooks out there to shoot at. Fortunately we have not lost one yet - though I think a US Chinook was shot down in Helmand in 2007?
    It pains me to be too polite about the RAF, but the fact is that those Chinook crews have balls of steel and are doing a pretty dangerous job. Rather them than me.
  10. It is nothing but pure luck that we have not lost any SH yet, the way we run our heli moves are wrong, pre-empting each arrival with apache, unfortunatly as with everything in the British military on current OPs, (new equipment,up-armor for vehicles,tax back money,awards,accomodation, body armour etc etc the list is long) nothing will be done about the current problem until a british serviceman has lost his life as a result of the problem itself.

    So rest assured the problem regarding taliban trying to shoot down SH will surely be fixed by our gallant MOD/government, after a Chinook is shot down.
  11. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    At the moment AFG is low on the Press radar as they can smell blood in the water from this "Dead Man Walking " Government. A scoop that edges this shuffling zombie of a PM closer to the edge is worth lots of points. And points make prizes.

    That's all the press is, by and large, interested in.

    Easy to criticize the press and the government (ARSSE specializes in this) but the military also has a role in defining strategy, does it not?

    There is a lot of good literature out in the market at present on Afghan - almost exclusively focussing on tactical-level battle, as far as I can see - but read through it and find out how many sections of said literature contain infromation on:
    Operational objectives;
    Achievement (or otherwise) of said.

    Right now, the public is clearly more interested in reading "Contact front! Incoooooming!" type books and articles, but as we move on, more analytical accounts will appear.

    Media on the ground are on the front line of history, but as more information becomes available, historical analyses follow This is already happening in the US - see Thomas Ricks' "Fiasco" (about early cockups in Iraq) and "The Gamble" (Petraus and the surge).

    An early entrant from the UK will appear in June and I predict it will generate considerable controversy in the media and society in general:
    "Ministry of Defeat: The British in Iraq" by Richard North