Britain must continue Afghanistan mission

Britain must continue Afghanistan mission
By Julian Glover /London
There is a low shelf deep in the stacks of the London Library that holds the sad story of Britain’s engagement with Afghanistan. Its dusty contents come alive in the claims of those who say the British campaign in Helmand was doomed by history from the start: just another imperial expedition in a place we do not understand and in which we are always defeated. Pull out now, this argument runs; Britain comes to no good here. The records of Victorian campaigners show it.
Browsing the library’s shelves last week in search of something to read on a flight to Kabul, I pulled down a red volume, published by John Murray in 1843. The Military Operations at Cabul, Which Ended in the Retreat and Destruction of the British Army tells at first hand the story of one of the great national disasters of the 19th century.
In January 1842 the British garrison in Kabul, under siege, decided to retreat. Of the 16,000 men and women who fled, only one, a surgeon named William Brydon, made it alive to Jellalabad to tell the tale.
In the cavernous hold of an RAF C17 jet last week, I showed the book to the UK’s foreign secretary, perched nearby on a ministerial red box - the crimson briefcases for official papers - on the aircraft’s steel floor. I spared David Miliband the page that records “the treacherous assassination of Sir William Macnaughten, our envoy and minister”, but my implication was obvious.
More than a century and a half after that terrible retreat, an army of similar size is again looking for a way out of Afghanistan. The parallels are easy; unfold a faded map from the book and you see that the boundaries of the British cantonment in Kabul in 1842 match quite neatly the site of today’s Nato ISAF headquarters in the city


Rubbish, 1- We can not win.
2- We can not leave.
So what's the funking point??
Dont say "pride" because that will not wash in this case.
By winning it depends on what your definition of winning is?

If it's the total & utter anialation of the Taliban, then the formation of a government which will make afghan into a mini version of Britain or America then I agree.

However, if it's to fight the Taliban to a point where they realise participating in a productive government and that times have changed, so perhaps democracy & McDonalds aren't too bad for some peace & quiet then I be disagreeing.

The current problem is there is a continual shift in strategy reflecting the polititians continually changing their minds about what they want to achieve. A clear goal needs to ne decided upon, a strategy built around that to achieve it & then stick to it! This would be a win!
As 81cufc states, if the primary objectives of the British involvement were categorically outlined then there may be a definitive way forward. However, we see the objectives change frequently and naturally one can only think that they will change again and further times. The current strategy is going no where and is just going to lead to longer involvement and more and more deaths. The UK should define its objectives and carry them out or leave but most of all, stop listening to the yanks.
Glover may be an idiot but he's not wrong in this:
Faced with that, British defeatists lapse into a pernicious argument: that America will keep fighting for Afghans, even if we quit. But the paradox in this little Englander case is never admitted: that in the search for a smaller national foreign policy, they want to take the boldest foreign step of all: to break with America. It is the break with America under Obama that the pull out now brigade must confess to engineering.
We are largely in Afghanistan in support of the US. The US went there in a just reaction to 9-11.

This should have been a simple punitive mission. It should not have stalled at the Durand line in 02, Lahore should have been told to stand aside, the enemy should have been pursued into FATA and destroyed. It has been botched due to taking on a major strategic impediment in Iraq, inattention and dreadful leadership. It has drifted into nation building. It's unintended consequences are now manifesting in Pakistan and we are ill prepared to deal with them.

As was the case in Iraq in 04 this is increasingly becoming a war about avoiding a major regional collapse. I'm getting the impression DC's attention is slowly turning away from Kabul and towards maintaining the status quo in Pakistan, shoring up the dodgiest of its allies the Pak military while still at war with groups led by men who fought the Soviets have secure basing in FATA and are old friends of the brass in Lahore.

You can see this in the hostile attitude to Karzai's government. The bewailing of its manifest corruption though dirt power, war racked, Afghanistan is not much worse in this respect than oily Iraq according too the CPI, the 5th most corrupt country in the world.

And then there is the cooling US relationship with India. It's driven partly by a heavily indebted DC's dependency relationship with India's regional rivals especially Beijing. It's also desperation. Bush's air headed, spendthrift Wilsonianism has run slap bang into the reality of overstretched and fading US power.

Barry is not running the sort of fear spreading information operations needed to keep the US voter on side. Disturbingly, he has said the US troops will quit Afghanistan by 2017, a date obviously picked for US electoral reasons. On these timescales I doubt the DC has much choice but capitulating to Lahore's largely malign regional interests. Leaving precipitously risks worsening the dire situation South of the Durand. So does any heavy handed attempt to push the Taliban back into their bases in FATA. And let's be frank, if the wrong bit of the Pak army seizes power basing in Afghanistan will be handy as WWIII kicks off.

I think Barry is stuck in Afghanistan. It's a geopolitical mess. With Iraq still weighing them down the Septics do need our help. The Canadians are going to walk away. A nation not much loved by its Continental allies that is not prepared to adequately fund its own defense and that has had to be rescued by DC before should not leave this one lightly.

Latest Threads