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The Aimless War: Why Are We in Afghanistan?

#1
The Aimless War: Why Are We in Afghanistan?

By JOE KLEIN Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008

"Things have gotten a bit hairy," admitted British Lieut. Colonel Graeme Armour as we sat in a dusty, bunkered NATO fortress just outside the city of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, a deadly piece of turf along Afghanistan's southern border with Pakistan. A day earlier, two Danish soldiers had been killed and two Brits seriously wounded by roadside bombs. The casualties were coming almost daily now.

And then there were the daily frustrations of Armour's job: training Afghan police officers. Almost all the recruits were illiterate. "They've had no experience at learning," Armour said. "You sit them in a room and try to teach them about police procedures — they start gabbing and knocking about. You talk to them about the rights of women, and they just laugh." A week earlier, five Afghan police officers trained by Armour were murdered in their beds while defending a nearby checkpoint — possibly by other police officers. Their weapons and ammunition were stolen. "We're not sure of the motivation," Armour said. "They may have gone to join the Taliban or sold the guns in the market." (See pictures of Afghanistan's police force in training.)

The war in Afghanistan — the war that President-elect Barack Obama pledged to fight and win — has become an aimless absurdity. It began with a specific target. Afghanistan was where Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda lived, harbored by the Islamic extremist Taliban government. But the enemy escaped into Pakistan, and for the past seven years, Afghanistan has been a slow bleed against an array of mostly indigenous narco-jihadi-tribal guerrilla forces that we continue to call the "Taliban." These ragtag bands are funded by opium profits and led by assorted religious extremists and druglords, many of whom have safe havens in Pakistan.
More on the link
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1865730,00.html?xid=rss-klein
 
#2
To misquote an old soldier, "We're there because we're there".
 
#5
parapauk said:
The awful truth is that if we leave now, we'll be back within ten years because something else will have happened sourced from there.
And the even more worrying truth, is that if we stay, we'll still be there in 10 years time doing exactly the same thing - except the butcher's bill will be so much higher - and "something else will have happened sourced from there" or somewhere else closer to home.

Remember, other than the original Op Jacana and offshoots, we did NOT deploy troops to Afghanistan in a counter-terrorist operation; we sent troops on a reconstruction and development mission.
 
#6
parapauk said:
The awful truth is that if we leave now, we'll be back within ten years because something else will have happened sourced from there.
I don't give it nearly that long. It will be as long as it takes Taleban to get established and AQ to get their training camps back up and running.
 

Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
parapauk said:
The awful truth is that if we leave now, we'll be back within ten years because something else will have happened sourced from there.
I tried explaining this to a colleague at work last week. Don't think I could have got the concept through her skull if I had used 10Kg rotary hammer...
 
#8
Sven said:
parapauk said:
The awful truth is that if we leave now, we'll be back within ten years because something else will have happened sourced from there.
I don't give it nearly that long. It will be as long as it takes Taleban to get established and AQ to get their training camps back up and running.
Where? In Skipton? They could start tomorrow.
 
#9
whitecity said:
Sven said:
parapauk said:
The awful truth is that if we leave now, we'll be back within ten years because something else will have happened sourced from there.
I don't give it nearly that long. It will be as long as it takes Taleban to get established and AQ to get their training camps back up and running.
Where? In Skipton? They could start tomorrow.
They started a while ago. The fact is that there is a far greater chance of another terrorist attack on the UK mainland being perpetrated by British citizens, which is planned and organised in this country, than there will be of an attack on the UK planned and organised by AQ in Afghanistan - even if we left that theatre today, and the TB took over tomorrow (which they wouldn't).

Now, Pakistan - that would be a different matter. That country is far more important than Afghanistan in the CT context.
 
#10
whitecity said:
Sven said:
parapauk said:
The awful truth is that if we leave now, we'll be back within ten years because something else will have happened sourced from there.
I don't give it nearly that long. It will be as long as it takes Taleban to get established and AQ to get their training camps back up and running.
Where? In Skipton? They could start tomorrow.
We've seen the difference between professionally trained terrorists (7/7) and the domestic idiots who use like bulbs and gas cans. The latter lot had several PhD's between them and they still fluffed it - what chance does an angry semi-literate muppet have unless he's been on an extended 'holiday'.
 
#11
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
Sven said:
parapauk said:
The awful truth is that if we leave now, we'll be back within ten years because something else will have happened sourced from there.
I don't give it nearly that long. It will be as long as it takes Taleban to get established and AQ to get their training camps back up and running.
Where? In Skipton? They could start tomorrow.
We've seen the difference between professionally trained terrorists (7/7) and the domestic idiots who use like bulbs and gas cans. The latter lot had several PhD's between them and they still fluffed it - what chance does an angry semi-literate muppet have unless he's been on an extended 'holiday'.
That 'holiday' would be in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. Whether we are in Afghanistan or not.

And I wouldn't dismiss the idea that someone might mount an effective attack without the benefit of said 'holiday'. It was 'domestic idiots' who mounted the 7 Jul and 21 Jul attacks, and we won't speculate on exactly how much 'training' they received in Pakistan v. what they received in the UK.
 
#12
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
Sven said:
parapauk said:
The awful truth is that if we leave now, we'll be back within ten years because something else will have happened sourced from there.
I don't give it nearly that long. It will be as long as it takes Taleban to get established and AQ to get their training camps back up and running.
Where? In Skipton? They could start tomorrow.
We've seen the difference between professionally trained terrorists (7/7) and the domestic idiots who use like bulbs and gas cans. The latter lot had several PhD's between them and they still fluffed it - what chance does an angry semi-literate muppet have unless he's been on an extended 'holiday'.
And who says that extended holiday will be in Afghanistan? There are 190 other recognised states in the world where this "extended holiday" could take place - and then there is the homefront too.
 
#13
To quote Zulu:

Pte Cole: "Why? Why us?"

CSgt Bourne: "Because we're here, and nobody else." :wink:
 
#14
whitecity said:
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
Sven said:
parapauk said:
The awful truth is that if we leave now, we'll be back within ten years because something else will have happened sourced from there.
I don't give it nearly that long. It will be as long as it takes Taleban to get established and AQ to get their training camps back up and running.
Where? In Skipton? They could start tomorrow.
We've seen the difference between professionally trained terrorists (7/7) and the domestic idiots who use like bulbs and gas cans. The latter lot had several PhD's between them and they still fluffed it - what chance does an angry semi-literate muppet have unless he's been on an extended 'holiday'.
Are you saying that the plans to nuke the place are notr going to work?


And who says that extended holiday will be in Afghanistan? There are 190 other recognised states in the world where this "extended holiday" could take place - and then there is the homefront too.
 
#15
whitecity said:
parapauk said:
whitecity said:
Sven said:
parapauk said:
The awful truth is that if we leave now, we'll be back within ten years because something else will have happened sourced from there.
I don't give it nearly that long. It will be as long as it takes Taleban to get established and AQ to get their training camps back up and running.
Where? In Skipton? They could start tomorrow.
We've seen the difference between professionally trained terrorists (7/7) and the domestic idiots who use like bulbs and gas cans. The latter lot had several PhD's between them and they still fluffed it - what chance does an angry semi-literate muppet have unless he's been on an extended 'holiday'.
And who says that extended holiday will be in Afghanistan? There are 190 other recognised states in the world where this "extended holiday" could take place - and then there is the homefront too.
Deny them Afghanistan and keep the pressure up through UAV strikes in N.W. Pakistan and you've vastly reduced there room for maneuver. Withdraw and you've multiplied the area your have to corden off and control via death from above by ten. One of the reasons I supported the Iraq war is because it isn't fair to do that to 20 million people for years or decades on end just because it isn't politically convenient to deal with the problem once and for all.
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#16
I think we're in AFG to kill AQ. Pretty sure that's the deal. I don't care too much about TB personally. Though I note that the TB tend to be the bad guys now so perhaps I should but AQ is the target, once every single one of them is dead, we should leave.

I should add this is written from the luxury of a big fat arm chair.
 
#17
Lesleycape said:
To quote Zulu:

Pte Cole: "Why? Why us?"

CSgt Bourne: "Because we're here, and nobody else." :wink:
YER but this is the FORTH time, and in the first three Afghan wars we got our arrse kicked. remember Surgion William Brydon

Fort Ali Magid photo taken from 17/21Lancers land rover 1977
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#18
I didn't but wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Brydon

William Brydon CB (10 October 1811 – 20 March 1873) was an assistant surgeon in the British East India Company Army during the First Anglo-Afghan War and is famous for being the only European of an army of 4,500 men to reach safety in Jalalabad after the long retreat from Kabul.

He was born in London of Scottish descent. He studied medicine at University College London and at the University of Edinburgh.

The British Army began its retreat from Kabul in January 1842 following the killing of the two British representatives there. The nearest British garrison was in Jalalabad, 90 miles (140 km) away, and the army would need to go through mountain passes with the January snow hindering them.

4,500 military personnel under the command of Major-General William George Keith Elphinstone, and over 10,000 civilian camp followers, including wives and children, set out for Jalalabad on 6 January with the understanding that they had been offered safe passage. Afghan tribesmen intercepted them and proceeded to massacre them during the next seven days. In minor action, band of about 40 survivors of the 44th (East Essex)Regiment of Foot made a last stand at Gundamuk, of which Brydon was one of two who escaped. Of the main contingent, a small number of prisoners were taken; these were freed by the British at a later date. Many of the Indian soldiers and camp followers captured were enslaved and only few found their way home again.

On 13 January, Dr. Brydon rode, alone, up to the gates of Jalalabad. He became famous for being the only European survivor of the entire contingent to have escaped the Afghan guerrillas.[1] Part of his skull had been sheared off by an Afghan sword. In fact, he survived only because he had stuffed a copy of Blackwood's Magazine into his hat to fight the intense cold weather. The magazine took most of the blow, saving the doctor's life.[2]

The episode was made the subject of a famous painting by the Victorian artist, Lady Butler, who portrayed Dr. Brydon hobbling to the gates of the Jalalabad fort perched on his dying horse (which dropped dead upon arrival in the city).[3] The painting is titled Remnants of an Army.

He fought in the Burma War of 1852, when Rangoon was taken.[4]

In 1857, he was a regimental doctor at Lucknow and, along with his wife and children, survived his second siege, that of the Lucknow residency (June – November 1857), being badly wounded in the thigh at one stage. He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in November 1858.[5] His wife published a memoir of the siege. He died in Scotland.[4]
 
#19
I knew tha co I read Byron Farwell's book "Queen Victoria's Little Wars"a very interesting read.
 
#20
parapauk said:
PHP:
Deny them Afghanistan and keep the pressure up through UAV strikes in N.W. Pakistan and you've vastly reduced there room for maneuver. Withdraw and you've multiplied the area your have to corden off and control via death from above by ten. One of the reasons I supported the Iraq war is because it isn't fair to do that to 20 million people for years or decades on end just because it isn't politically convenient to deal with the problem once and for all.[/quote]

Who are 'we' fighting in Afghanistan and why?

a) Are 'we' fighting the local Afghan citizenry unhappy with the foreign presence?
b) A particular element of Afghan citizenry, the Taleban, who are seeking to return to power in their own country? 
c) An international terrorist organisation that threatens UK national security from the other side of the globe?

I suspect its a bit of all of the above.  But to what degree each has in the total is difficult to determine, but I suspect the former has a far greater element that the official 'propaganda' would have us believe.

My response is thus:
1) What right have 'we' to occupy these people against their will?  Remaining in Afghanistan is part of the problem, not the solution.

2) What right have 'we' to determine who governs Afghanistan?  Remaining in Afghanistan is part of the problem, not the solution.  And, I don't care whether the Taleban are hard-core Islamists or not. 

3) The entire globe is available to them as a base.  'Our' efforts so far in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have had little effect on their capability to confront 'us'.  It seems they are choosing the battlespace, not 'us'.  Only the support of the local population seems to have any effect on them; Iraq being an example of this - having first found sanctuary and then been expelled.
 

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