Serious and positive opinions only

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#21
We got involved in a civil war and backed the loosing side.

The NA would've needed continual support. They have no support in the Pashtun tribal areas of the south and the east.
But our objective should have been to ensure that Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack the West. The assumption, beloved of liberal types everywhere and deeply flawed, was that this could only be achieved by nation building, at which point, as you rightly observe, we found ourselves in the middle of a civil war and saddled with an unachievable mission.

If we'd taken the position "Kill each other all you want but if it spills over the borders, look out', we would have got what we wanted and then got out. We wouldn't have wasted blood and treasure on such a scale and for little or no gain. There's no sustainable political settlement for Afghanistan now that wasn't available around 2005.
 
#22
But our objective should have been to ensure that Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack the West. The assumption, beloved of liberal types everywhere and deeply flawed, was that this could only be achieved by nation building, at which point, as you rightly observe, we found ourselves in the middle of a civil war and saddled with an unachievable mission.

If we'd taken the position "Kill each other all you want but if it spills over the borders, look out', we would have got what we wanted and then got out. We wouldn't have wasted blood and treasure on such a scale and for little or no gain. There's no sustainable political settlement for Afghanistan now that wasn't available around 2005.
Nation building does work. The problem is that if you're their for a 6 month tour you won't see it. By every measure of humanity AFG has improved.
 
#23
A positive outcome might be measured in terms of some of the lessons learnt.

Do not trust or put any faith in Pakistan
do not commit forces to fight against an enemy that can withdraw over a border affording that enemy some kind of protection (there must have been some serious arm bending for the Americans to get support for their drone missions)
NCOs have fairly recent experience of warfare - as do the support arms. Those support arms could be retrospectively audited to find savings but also investment - medics, loggies, engineers, MP etc.
Furthermore, faith in British generalship has rightly suffered - rightly so, so now maybe people will be less willing to follow blindingly - perhaps creating greater interrogation of senior abilities - the fiasco of the in place for 6 month Brigs and go home for medals will hopefully never be repeated again. We shall see.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#24
Nation building does work. The problem is that if you're their for a 6 month tour you won't see it. By every measure of humanity AFG has improved.
I agree entirely about six month tours but, as far as improvements in Afghanistan are concerned, they are unsustainable and have come at a hell of a price.

Also, in the process, we've destabilised Pakistan, removed one of the key strategic regional inhibitors on Iran and tied up a large chunk of the West's military capability in the back end of beyond when it could have been used to better effect in the far more important theatre of Iraq (which was another fight we should have ducked).

Liberal democratic Western states cannot do nation building in Asiatic muslim states and we should not be trying to. Our policy in these areas should be to make our point and then depart.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#25
the number of people telling us what went wrong in Af is swamping my bed, I would be interested to hear what serious minds would have done instead, apart from not going near the place, that's not an option on this post.
I have said it before, not get involved and if really pushed pay the pakistanis to deal with it!
 
#26
A positive outcome might be measured in terms of some of the lessons learnt.

Do not trust or put any faith in Pakistan
do not commit forces to fight against an enemy that can withdraw over a border affording that enemy some kind of protection (there must have been some serious arm bending for the Americans to get support for their drone missions)
NCOs have fairly recent experience of warfare - as do the support arms. Those support arms could be retrospectively audited to find savings but also investment - medics, loggies, engineers, MP etc.
Furthermore, faith in British generalship has rightly suffered - rightly so, so now maybe people will be less willing to follow blindingly - perhaps creating greater interrogation of senior abilities - the fiasco of the in place for 6 month Brigs and go home for medals will hopefully never be repeated again. We shall see.
Isn't that a quote from "Lessons learnt - Vietnam" with the word American changed for British?
 
#27
After the 2nd plane had hit the WTC i'd of asked 'What compels a man to fly an aircraft full of civilians into a sky scraper?' and then addressed the cause.
 
#28
After the 2nd plane had hit the WTC i'd of asked 'What compels a man to fly an aircraft full of civilians into a sky scraper?' and then addressed the cause.
 
#31
On the plus side we've got a lot better standard of kit as general issue when compared to 2001 when we first went in. The up and coming generation of JNCOs and young officers have miles more combat experience than most of the guys who served in the 70s, 80s and 90s and this should mean better SNCOs, WOs and senior officers in the future.

Hopefully lessons have been learned about sending in an massively insufficient and under equipped force to do a job which was based on wildly optimistic intelligence that leads to ministers coming up with dumb ass statements like "we will be happy if we leave in three years time without having fired a shot" made just before some of the most intense fighting since Korea.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
#32
On the plus side we've got a lot better standard of kit as general issue when compared to 2001 when we first went in. The up and coming generation of JNCOs and young officers have miles more combat experience than most of the guys who served in the 70s, 80s and 90s and this should mean better SNCOs, WOs and senior officers in the future.

Hopefully lessons have been learned about sending in an massively insufficient and under equipped force to do a job which was based on wildly optimistic intelligence that leads to ministers coming up with dumb ass statements like "we will be happy if we leave in three years time without having fired a shot" made just before some of the most intense fighting since Korea.
Not to take anything from the clearly gallant and devoted service our boys and girls have delivered in Afghanistan, for which they have my sincere regard, but let's not overegg the pudding, here. For entirely valid reasons, it was not deemed appropriate or desirable to fight a war and COIN very quickly - from the perspective of an uninvolved but interested observer - became a slow-moving force protection exercise, with added patrolling and a raft of horrible casualties.

Unlike Ireland, of course, this wasn't to provide some reassurance and 'theatre' while a strategic political process with a defined end state was being worked, it was being made up a it went along with oddly shifting strategic goals and desired outcomes - and after May 10, the sole desired outcome was to get the hell out as soon as humanly possible.
 
#33
Followed the plan we originally had, and not stiff Ed Butler by going into Platoon Houses?
 
#34
Afghanistan has been a wild middle eastern wasteland for the longest time. I hardly think sending in foreign troops is going to solve anything. Maybe just give them the structure to building a civilized society. It's up to the people of the country to get off there asses and start building what they want there Afghanistan to be.
 
#35
Not go near the place but since that is not an option I would suggest staying away. If you want serious options you can not discount mine.
 
#36
as a starter:

1. Undertaken a detailed analysis of the Soviet experience before starting, and recognised that the received wisdom about their approach was only half the story - they did COIN and Stabilisation, as well as destroying villages. TRied to get some lessons.
2. Not have gone to Helmand at all, instead having focussed on the more stable East or, at the very least, Kandahar, ie somewhere that actually mattered. The 'need' for some national battlespace was an absurdity.
3. Not have taken on CN at local level at all, instead focussed only on interditcting the routes
4. Not have rouled Brigades, instead having created a fixed HQ from about 2008 with trickle posting.
5. Having got embroiled in Helmand, probably not got rid of SMA, or at least only after understanding the consequences/having a realistic plan b.
6. Not have put a BG+ into Helmand, but waited until sufficient FE were available from TELIC.
7. Not have strayed from the Afghan Development Zone, no matter what Daud wanted. Left far north/deep south well alone.
8. Constrained the FoM of the 1* tactical commander, not least to prevent things like (7).
9. Ensured that military career progress depended on engagement with civ partners and v.v., rather than enshrining a 'them & us' approach that prevailed til 2008 (and persisted thereafter).
10. Not bothered mowing the grass, but instead establish secure, garrisoned communities like bits of NDA post 2010.
11. Not trusted any Afghan officials, instead having better int on all of them.
12. Not have searched for gimmickry solutions like Afghan Local Police.
13. Made 'Understand' the mandatory overarching effect on every effects schematic and resourced it appropriately.
14. Avoided intra NATO rivalry and p!ssing contests.
15. Avoided interservice rivalry and p!ssing contests.
16. Actually have enacted Op ENTIRETY, rather than OP POSTURING FOR SDSR.
17. Not killed so many civilians/broken so much stuff - avoiding CAS/IDF as much as possible. Courageous restraint was right.
18. Softer paper in wag bags.
 
#37
the number of people telling us what went wrong in Af is swamping my bed, I would be interested to hear what serious minds would have done instead, apart from not going near the place, that's not an option on this post.
Traditionally sending in the Indian Army backed up by the likes of the 13th Foot worked well half of the time.
 
#38
Should probably have looked to bolster the power of groups like the NA or form some sort of tribal council type leadership instead of good 'ol Murican democr-ra-ra-racy. As enforcing a system of government and way of life not compatible (or no longer compatible, whatever) with the nations population, was never going to succeed. The Taliban had little control outside the cities, that power lay with the warlords so it probably scuppered a centralised, formal govt system from the start.

The ANA is a joke and will crumble very quickly or, more likely, change sides. Wouldn't be very surprised if there was some form of misguided military coup at some stage. Not sure what the solution to preempt that would be any more however.
 
#39
Concentrate the people into controlled areas and provide them with a better life and positive propaganda in those controlled areas. .................We wouldn't be allowed to do it today. But it would have worked.
No it wouldn't.

Even if we had been able to do it they wouldn't have been able to provide for themselves in those controlled areas, as was possible in the Transvaal and Malaysia, because the land simply isn't good enough to support the population unless they are spread out over a large area as they are at present.
 
#40
Perhaps leaving behind a PSI and SPSI type of set-up allocation for training their units is exactly what they needed, a small comittment from UK and US along with more encouragement post training "act seriously and we''ll take you seriously"
 

Similar threads


Latest Threads

Top