Lashkar Gah 'about to fall to Taliban'

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Chipzanfishki won't get that one....but he can tell you who shot Rasputin.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
There's one Arrser whose opinion I'd really like to hear on this.

After all, everything was going so well when he was there . . . If only he had stayed, think how much better things would be today . .
Hello. You called?

If only WE had stayed. Plural. This has happened, to the surprise of nobody, because we left too early with the job half done.
 
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Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Hello. You called?

If only WE had stayed. Plural. This has happened, to the surprise of nobody, because we left too early with the job half done.
We left after 13 years of blood and treasure had been dribbled into the Afghan dust.

I gave hearty approval when I heard the last British soldier had left Helmand ( though not Afghanistan )

UK to increase troops in Afghanistan from 450 to 500


Op Herrick will be seen as an object lesson in avoiding open ended commitments .

Would you prefer repatriation flights through till 2027?
 
Hello. You called?

If only WE had stayed. Plural. This has happened, to the surprise of nobody, because we left too early with the job half done.
I haven't read any of your PMs.

Least of all your latest.

Don't let that stop you sending them

One day, when I have time to spare, I may read them and publish extracts from them.

You are pi££ing into the wind.
 
We left after 13 years of blood and treasure had been dribbled into the Afghan dust.
Worth reflecting just now, on the duration of The Troubles, the scale of the commitment, the fact that it was not optional, that the cultural/linguistic/ historical divide between troops and civpop was small, that the campaign was conducted in a democracy (however flawed) with a pedigree over centuries . .

A few troops, in Afghanistan for a few years, with an open border to Pakistan, a corrupt central government . . . and suddenly we were halfway to success?

FFS, in the UK there's still disagreement about the Good Friday deal and its downstream consequences.
 
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Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Worth reflecting just now, on the duration of The Troubles, the scale of the commitment, the fact that it was not optional, that the cultural/linguistic/ historical divide between troops and civpop was small, that the campaign was conducted in a democracy (however flawed) with a pedigree over centuries . .

A few troops, in Afghanistan for a few years, with an open border to Pakistan, a corrupt central government . . . and suddenly we were halfway to success?

FFS, I'm the UK there's still disagreement about the Good Friday deal and its downstream consequences.
Well, 'half' was a figure of speech rather than an accurate assessment of time required but we were certainly on the front foot and making progress. I'd guesstimate another 10 years would have been required at least, but the situation was so fluid that a precise time is impossible to say.

NI took 38 years, but that's mostly because it was a CT/internal policing action for the bulk of the operation. If the purpose of COIN is to achieve a reduction to an acceptable level of violence, then NI is a poor example because the acceptable level of violence is very low indeed. Arguably the COIN phase of BANNER was over relatively quickly before it transitioned to a very long policing action. The Malayan emergency, on the other hand, was finished in 12 years (so less time than it took us to get halfway there in Helmand) because we were willing to accept a higher level of violence at the conclusion of our operation. The Malayan emergency is almost universally considered a COIN success yet the insurgency didn't actually finish until 1989.

The point of COIN operations isn't to end the violence altogether; that would be near impossible in almost all situations. If that's your standard for Helmand then it's both unrealistic and a misunderstanding of what we were working towards.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
working towards . . . with our single battle group, and our western refusal to acknowledge the scale and nature of the challenge?

Much less to contemplate (thankfully) the prospect of endless, inconclusive fighting.

Grow up. FFS.
It was a brigade, not a battle group. By the end there was relatively little fighting occurring, and that which was taking place was mostly outside the population centres and the green zone. This was allowing us to work towards something sustainable.

You believe that Afghanistan was/is 'winnable'

At the same time you believe you are not stoopid?

Impressive.
That depends on how you define winnable. If you define it as providing GIRoA a decent chance of survival in the long term and giving them sustainable mechanisms to do so then I think it was definitely winnable. The military gains made against the Taliban up to 2012 or so allowed that process to start in earnest; sadly we didn't give it long enough to take hold in Helmand, although it has been more successful elsewhere. If you define it, as you seem to, as the total defeat of the Taliban and the complete cessation of violence then I doubt there is anyone alive who thinks it was winnable.

You seem very forthright about this though. As I asked on another thread a while ago, can you please indicate where you're getting your view of the situation in Helmand after 2011? Only it seems very different to reality and almost like you're guessing. My view, however stupid you consider it, has the benefit of being based on personal experience and evidence. It's unclear what your view is based on.

Why do you think Afghanistan wasn't winnable had we stayed for longer? What specific factors about the situation in Helmand when we started withdrawing in 2014 do you think indicated that success was impossible in the long run?
 
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No.4 Mk.1

On ROPS
On ROPs
Op Herrick will be seen as an object lesson in... what happens when you kick a hornets nest
My edit

22 SAS CO's reconnaissance advice in late 2005 was

"There isn't an insurgency in Helmand. But we can give you one."
Upon receiving this advice we immediately sacked provincial governor who was the most powerful man in Helmand, and President Karzai's best mate. Then we wait 6 months, whilst a bumper crop of opium was harvested and just as fighting season proper had started, we occupied the former governor's home town Musa Qala with Paras. Then effectively abandoned them.

And from the same article

British generals were “arrogant, needy and slow” to act during the “messy” 10-year occupation of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan that cost hundreds of British lives, according to an internal report.

Acquired by the Times newspaper following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to the Ministry of Defence, the Operation Herrick Campaign Study blasts senior military officers over their conduct during the war in Helmand.
https://www.rt.com/uk/329322-mod-report-afghanistan-generals/
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
. .. . You Weren't There Maaaaan

Wasn't valid 40 years ago. It was hugely popular back then.

That you resort to it as a line of 'reasoning' now is very entertaining. :)
You seem to be deliberately misunderstanding me to avoid having to answer the question. This isn't a case of my saying that you can't comment if you weren't there. I am saying that you must have some form of evidence on which to base your opinion for it to be valid. I'm citing personal experience as the evidence to support my view. As you don't have first hand experience (often a pretty weak form of evidence anyway), presumably you have a more reliable source of information. What is it? Care to share? Only at the moment it looks rather like your opinion is completely unsubstantiated.

I'll repeat the question that you're trying to avoid. What about the situation in Helmand in 2014 leads you to believe that Afghanistan was unwinnable?
 
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I read recently that the US campaign in Afghanistan cost around 850 Million dollars, the So called "Taliban" (aka armed Farmers) campaign cost less, around 20 million dollars!
If you are quoting the entire US campaign, then I seriously doubt your figure.
The cost would more likely be billion, not million.
 
Yes, if ultimately required to finish the job we started.

That doesn't mean I think we should have started it in the first place though.
If we'd finished the job what do you think Afghanistan looks like?

I'm assuming once we leave the west are still pouring huge amounts of money in there to sustain the governments security requirements?

What do we get?


I know we're on different sides of the argument but winning seemed to mean different things to whoever you spoke to.
 
If you are quoting the entire US campaign, then I seriously doubt your figure.
The cost would more likely be billion, not million.
Afghan war costs US $1 trillion, hastening retreat

The True Cost of the Afghanistan War May Surprise You

You are of course correct. There seems to be no complete agreement in cost for the US taxpayer but its generally agreed it has been almost ruinous and has helped the effective bankruptcy of the west. Ledwidge estimates it actually cost the Taliban 16 million dollars.

I also recall reading that it cost the US around $400 a gallon of fuel by the time it reached the troops in the field and that it cost about fifty million $ for every "Taliban" killed.

It apparently cost the UK around £30 billion, so who really knows the over all cost of every nation involved?.

But one thing is certain, there has been no positive return for that money.
 
I said years ago this is what would happen when we leave. It`s going to end just like Vietnam. We can drag it out for a couple of years by providing air support but once we stop that it will go tits up within months. anyone know where Karsai is with his millions of aid Money ?
Not just Vietnam. Think about Aden - we spent millions on irrigation, roads, dams, hearts & minds, etc. Many British lives were lost, and it went to rats in very short order after we withdrew in 1967. And any number of other colonial sh!tholes where roads, hospitals and other infrastructure paid for by the British Taxpayer have been trashed as soon as the troops left.
 
Latest interview with the Taliban:
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
If we'd finished the job what do you think Afghanistan looks like?

I'm assuming once we leave the west are still pouring huge amounts of money in there to sustain the governments security requirements?

What do we get?


I know we're on different sides of the argument but winning seemed to mean different things to whoever you spoke to.
I think winning was a GIRoA with a very good chance of survival (accepting that you can never really guarantee the survival of a government in a corrupt country) and the means to ensure that this happened, including the necessary security and political apparatus. This would still require us to provide aid, as we do now.

What would we have got if we'd stayed? The first benefit is that we wouldn't have suffered vast reputational damage from leaving a country in a mess having caused most of the mess in the first place.

The second thing we would have gained is a stable, mostly pro-western state in an otherwise extremely unstable region.

The third, and most important gain, is the basic humanity of helping Afghans improve their lives and not leaving them to be suppressed and murdered by the Taleban.

None of that says that we should have gone in the first place, which is a different argument altogether. However, cutting and running from Afghanistan before even coming close to finishing the job is a shameful act which is beaten only by our complete failure to do anything about Syria.
 
I think winning was a GIRoA with a very good chance of survival (accepting that you can never really guarantee the survival of a government in a corrupt country) and the means to ensure that this happened, including the necessary security and political apparatus. This would still require us to provide aid, as we do now.

What would we have got if we'd stayed? The first benefit is that we wouldn't have suffered vast reputational damage from leaving a country in a mess having caused most of the mess in the first place.

The second thing we would have gained is a stable, mostly pro-western state in an otherwise extremely unstable region.

The third, and most important gain, is the basic humanity of helping Afghans improve their lives and not leaving them to be suppressed and murdered by the Taleban.

None of that says that we should have gone in the first place, which is a different argument altogether. However, cutting and running from Afghanistan before even coming close to finishing the job is a shameful act which is beaten only by our complete failure to do anything about Syria.

i think we've agreed to disagree on this previously but addressing your points in turn i dont believe another 200-400 UK lives and £30B would be enough to repair the reputational damage we suffered from the UK's handling of its operations in Iraq or its handling of Helmand in the early years. I think that the reputation you speak of will take years to recover but even if it couldve been won back for a couple of hundred more UK lives and several billion more pounds i believe there are better things we could invest these in. defence couldnt find something better to do with this money?

i'd argue that Afghanistan was in worse shape around the turn of the century which led to a situation where enemies of the west found themselves able to operate and plot against us unhindered. the invasion offered an opportunity to attack this head on but i'm not sure securing the country was ever really worthwhile. the west is now capable of targeting terrorist threats throughout the globe, often in countries where they have little or no presence so there are different ways we can now handle that particular fight and as far as the region goes there have been long periods where Afghanistan has been a basket case and the UK has remained unaffected so i dont see the need for a pro-western government in a country which itself holds little sway over its neighbors.

to your third and final points i agree with the sentiment but as i'm dubious of the outcome it's not enough for me. i'm now of the belief that for a war to end you need all sides to become exhausted and sick of fighting or for there to be a single, unequivocal winner and i just dont see it here. if we cant win we can only drag it out and escalate the conflict, and if that's the case there's no point in prolonging the inevitable as it just means more people die (doesnt really matter what side they're on). maybe my hearts just a little blacker.
 
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