Max Hastings on Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by armchair_jihad, Sep 11, 2006.

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  1. Max Hastings has just returned from Afghanistan

    'The Taliban think they've had a pretty good summer," said an American officer in Afghanistan last week. The western sponsors of President Karzai's government, by contrast, have had a rotten one.

    ...predicted sorry consequences from dispatching a small British force, ill-equipped with ground and air mobility, to Helmand province. Nothing has happened since May to discredit such forecasts.

    Other big Nato members, such as Germany, France and Italy, have behaved far worse than Blair. They have sent troops to Afghanistan not to fight, but to play out a charade of solidarity. It is widely said that the Afghan deployment is a key test of whether Nato can remain a serious organisation. The omens are not auspicious.

    Yet the Americans, who have been in eastern Afghanistan much longer than other Nato contingents, believe that the pool of Taliban fighters is almost unlimited. They no longer expect military victory. They are pinning their hopes on lavish civil reconstruction efforts, together with quickly "deepening the Afghan footprint" - an extension of authority by the Kabul government and its embryo army. "If you gave me a choice between having two more battalions of troops here, or another $50m for building roads, I'd take the money," says a senior US officer.

    If the west fails, a heavy responsibility will rest with Germany, France and Italy, which pretended to be willing to contribute yet refused to act with conviction.

    If the Karzai regime cannot be sustained, unspeakably barbaric Islamist fascists will regain power in Kabul. This would be a triumph for al-Qaida, a disaster for the global struggle against terrorism, and consign the Afghan people once more to the dark ages.

    Our disgust towards Bush and Blair should not blind us to the fact that not all their purposes are dishonourable.

    Article in full,,1869296,00.html
  2. A-J, that article is such a coincidence after what we've been discussing elsewhere. Thank you for posting it.

    Someone else mentioned in another thread too that none of this bodes well for the proposed Euro force.
  3. Thank you very much for sharing this. Though the author disagrees, I personally think alot of the same could be said for Iraq.

    Unfortunately, I don't know if it's going to be possible to pull off a successful mission in BOTH countries. I really hope so. I dunno...
  4. Personally Cheif I think Afghanistan is more important in the long run than Iraq, Iraq was always fundamentally broken from the creation of the Country onwards. The Afghanistan mission enjoys International consensus, the Taliban were and are a canker on the face of Humanity; stone age scum that must be denied a future anywhere. Western forces in Iraq I am afraid, are there on false pretenses, for dogmatic, political fanatics like Cheney and Wolfowitz testing third grade theories. The guys in Afghanistan however, are attempting to save millions of future Afghans from unspeakable horror, and so doing are Champions of Humanity and should be treated as such.
  5. I watched the Paras in their forward outpost, on The BEEB last week. I was struck by their fire discipline. No Blazing away, short burst of GPMG fire and all very professional a credit to their battalion and training.
    High quality troops who will fight and do their duty must be a God send to any politician, even the Brit government who pay them almost nothing and neglect the status of the ordinary fighting man.

    British soldiers risk death for les then minimum wage.
  6. Germany has several dozen large CH53G helicopters and Italy a fair number of CH47's, either of which would be a Godsend for NATO troops in Helmand.
  7. Neither country will risk their aircraft in Helmand. The biggest problem with NATO is that many of these countries wont risk their troops in combat.
    So what good are they ?

  8. This is right on the money, having spent six months in Kabul and been run off the road (twice) by over-armoured speeding German convoys, I'd have to say that the large part of contingents supplied by our NATO allies spend there day moving from coffee shop to dining room to coffee shop to supermarket to bar, of which there are a multitude within the two European controlled locations. I'm absolutely certain that most of them have not operated outside there base since they got here.
  9. Well I hear the Taleban planted a couple of hundred sun loungers in the German compound. The germans arrived in the early hours in convoy, saw the loungers then deployed their towels.

    They then refused combat in case the brits pinched their sun loungers.

    It's true I tell ya!
  10. I think Hastings has hit it on the head. The Turban heads know they can't win militarily, they're just hoping now for some sort of concessions.

    Much the same as happened with the 'RA in NI.
  11. I am sure the families of the nine French soldiers KIA in A-stan would beg to differ about "They have sent troops to Afghanistan not to fight, but to play out a charade of solidarity".

    Not to mention the disabled and maimed.

    The last two KIAs were:

    CPO Frederic Pare, age 34, Marine Commandos, French Navy, from Larmor Plage, France. One of two French commandos killed when a roadside bomb exploded during a combat patrol in Afghanistan's eastern Laghman province on August 25, 2006; with him died Sr. Cpl. Sebastien Planelles, 10th Air Force Commandos, French Air Force. several others were wounded during the ensuing firefight with the Taleban.
  12. I think the Paras have been brilliant in this campaign. Under equipped (as usual) and against a fierce enemy, they have fought hard, as one would expect from the Parachute Regiment, but in a disciplined way as the post above states. Credit to the regiment and the British army definately.
  13. spike7451

    spike7451 RIP

    Max Hastings & Simon Jenkins are the only media that are on the side of the Squaddie.Their reporting is unbiased & forthright.So why does'nt the British Public & bLair take note?
  14. Because when it starts to dominate headlines, something else happens by great good fortune.

    Like the leadership non-row.
  15. Surely you are not suggesting "Smoke and Mirrors" PTP? :)