Lawrence of Afghanistan’

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Mar 29, 2009.

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  1. From The Sunday Times
    March 29, 2009
    ‘Lawrence of Afghanistan’ and the lost chance to win over Taliban fighters

    British-backed efforts to woo rebels were thwarted by a duplicitous President Karzai
    Stephen Grey
    He looked like a native. He spoke the language. He wore a turban, long cotton pyjamas and a wool-len waistcoat. And he had a wild, scraggly beard. His hair was ginger, but Afghans came in many shades.

    Captain Rob Sugden of the Cold-stream Guards had not been in Afghanistan long when he first saw this strange figure at a “reconciliation” meeting between two former Taliban leaders and a delegation of British and Afghan officials.

    Sugden was in for a surprise. The “native” was not Afghan. He was Irish. His name was Michael Semple.

    One of the ex-Taliban at the meeting, it transpired later, had just two business cards in his wallet: that of Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the British ambassador in Kabul – and Semple’s. It was an accurate measure of this mysterious figure’s significance.

    Semple, employed by the European Union, was a “political officer”, a title that evokes romantic figures such as Lawrence of Arabia, with a special knack of winning the trust of the tribes.

    He struck Sugden as very laid back and “not fazed by rank or anything like that . . . he was very at ease, a calm guy. He didn’t so much lead the proceedings, but it was quite obvious that he was central to them
    More on the link
  2. Thanks for that. Interesting angle. When is the book coming out, I wonder?
  3. At the risk of a wah, this is at the bottom of the article which I believe answers your question: Extracted from Operation Snakebite, to be published by Viking on April 2 at £16.99. Copies can be ordered for £15.29, including postage, from The Sunday Times BooksFirst on on 0845 271 2135.
  4. Nice to know I was right finally :)

    We know Karzai and his coterie is the problem, what happens come the elections?