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The British have made matters worse, says Afghan President

#1
From The Times, January 25, 2008

The British have made matters worse, says Afghan President

Britain and Afghanistan fell out in spectacular fashion yesterday after President Karzai accused his British allies of bungling the military operation in Helmand and setting back prospects for the area by 18 months.

Mr Karzai, Britain’s key ally in Afghanistan, had little praise for the efforts of the 7,800 British troops deployed in his country. Most are in the restless southern Helmand province, where Britain has invested billions of pounds in trying to defeat the Taleban, bolster central government authority and begin reconstruction.

But Mr Karzai said that they had failed in the task, particularly the initial military mission launched nearly two years ago by 16 Air Assault Brigade — a unit that is returning for its second tour this year.

“There was one part of the country where we suffered after the arrival of the British forces,” Mr Karzai told a group of journalists at the Davos Economic Forum. “Before that we were fully in charge of Helmand. When our governor was there, we were fully in charge. They came and said, ‘Your governor is no good’. I said ‘All right, do we have a replacement for this governor; do you have enough forces?’. Both the American and the British forces guaranteed to me they knew what they were doing and I made the mistake of listening to them. And when they came in, the Taleban came.”

Asked if he was blaming British failure for the return of the Taleban, he added: “I just described the situation of mistakes we made. The mistake was that we removed a local arrangement without having a replacement. We removed the police force. That was not good. The security forces were not in sufficient numbers or information about the province. That is why the Taleban came in. It took us a year and a half to take back Musa Qala. This was not failure but a mistake.”

Britain had no immediate comment to the criticism. But senior military commanders and diplomats in Afghanistan have bemoaned privately the lack of co-operation with the Karzai administration and its controversial appointments of key provincial posts to the police and local government in Helmand. So far they have refrained from public criticism of President Karzai, who remains the West’s only credible figurehead.

The same is not true of the Americans, however. David Satterfield, the US Co-ordinator on Iraq, told The Times this week that Iraq would turn out to be America’s “good” war while Afghanistan was going “bad”. “In many ways Iraq may be seen to be the success story with all reservations and cautions that are appropriate. And Afghanistan the much more threatening, bad picture.”

Mr Satterfield added that Afghanistan’s problems went beyond differences with Nato and the lawlessness across the border in Pakistan’s tribal areas, where al-Qaeda and other militants are openly helping the Taleban.

“It is the nature of Afghanistan. Afghanistan has many deficits not present in Iraq. Iraq is a wealthy country, it has resources — badly used — but it is rich. Iraq for all its difficulty in unifying politically has many quasi-democratic recognisable political forces. Afghanistan has warlords.”

Mr Karzai angrily rejected that when it was put to him by The Times and denied that his country was suffering from a rise of extremism. He also rejected responsibility for appointing inappropriate representatives in Helmand. But British Forces believe that, in many respects, their Afghan allies pose more of a challenge to their mission than the Taleban, which was defeated in the key town of Musa Qala last month and has since failed to launch a single attack in the area. It is the Afghan Government that is now proving more of an obstacle to stability in an area where a mixture of official corruption, ineptitude and paranoia are stymying British efforts.

In Musa Qala itself, Mr Karzai’s assessment must seem ironic. The Afghan President lambasted Britain for encouraging him to remove Sher Muhammad Akhunzada as Helmand governor in 2006, a move which he claimed undermined the security situation. Mr Akhunzada was a fierce fighter against the Soviet occupation and is seen as staunchly anti-Taleban.

However, he was also accused of being a prominent figure in the drug trade and embroiled in numerous personal vendettas. He was removed after British officials told President Karzai that their troops would struggle to bring peace to Helmand if the governor remained in power, he has retained a strong background influence and is angling to be reinstated.

Mr Akhunzada told The Times this week: “I’m not against the British in Helmand but they should listen to President Karzai on matters of structuring local government.”

Now a senator, he and Mr Karzai are old friends, their relationship cemented during the years of fighting in the mujahideen against the Soviet occupation. The British, however, regard him as such a destabilising influence that Gordon Brown is reported to have tried to exact a promise from Mr Karzai to keep the former governor on the sidelines.

Mr Karzai also accused the British of forcing him to remove key police officials, such as Abdul Wali Khan, also known as “Koka”. who was notorious for his human rights abuses and so disgusted local people that they allowed the Taleban into Musa Qala as a favourable alternative to government authority.

Yet now his reinstatement, along with a hundred of his fighters, is being considered as a serious option by the Karzai Government, despite top-level requests from Nato commanders and diplomats to block the appointment.

“The UK does not want Koka here,” one British commander in Musa Qala said. “All our good work could be undermined by the baggage he brings with him.” Afghan civilians in the bazaar agreed. Wali Mahmoud, a village elder, said: “He was like a king here, doing whatever he wanted. He killed more people than I could count.”
Words really do just fail me right about now.
 
#4
Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you, is there? :crazy:
 
#5
Problem being the current British political culture of giving everything to anyone who asks providing they are not British is extended to these fronts now and they know that the spinless UK governemnt in place at the moment havent the tezzers to front them about it.

They could walk up to El Gordo and call him a Cnut in front of the UN and he would still smile and sign away our dosh.
 
#6
Trouble is, he has got a little bit of a point. Our scum-sucking politicians sent us in there with insufficient men and equipment to do the job properly. I seem to recall the Liarbour minister of the time saying something along the lines of " we are not expecting to have to do any fighting".
 
#7
I bet the politicians will now back-track and say that they mean't no political fighting like the lying two-faced bunch they are.
 
#8
Well, when it rains... From today's Telegraph. This thread is in a way a continuation of last week's Gate's comments, albeit more blunt and in my opinion, highly disengenuous. Who the fcuk does Karzi think he is?!!


Third of Army helicopters fit for the front-line
By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:54am GMT 25/01/2008



Only a third of military helicopters are fit for front-line duty, seriously hampering operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, figures have shown.

Full Coverage: Our troops on the front-line
The lives of soldiers, reliant on helicopters for medical evacuation in Helmand province, are being further put at risk by a 10 per cent shortfall in air crews.

advertisementThe Tories, who obtained the figures from the Ministry of Defence, blamed Gordon Brown for the problems because he presided over a £1.4 billion cut in spending on helicopters when he was Chancellor.

Dozens of helicopters have had to be cannibalised in order to keep frontline aircraft flying.

The figures show out of a fleet of 40 Chinook transporters, only 17 are "fit for purpose", while 20 out of 60 new Merlin work properly and only 25 Apache attack helicopters are functioning - almost a third of the total.

Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, said the shortage was sure to impact on capabilities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"When I visited troops in Helmand Province, in November, it became clear there was a shortage of Apaches and Chinooks to support troops on the ground," he added.

Col Bob Stewart, the former British commander in Bosnia, said the lack of basic equipment "translates into greater casualties".

"If you cannot move people by air it means they have to travel by road which leads to a proportionate increase in the dangers faced," he added.

The MoD said commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan had enough helicopters to do "key tasks" although "with more they could do more".
 
#9
you have to wonder what the fcuk we are doing in that shithole country if this is the thanks we get. Let the fcukwit stand on his own two feet if he thinks we are causing the problems.
 
#10
eveyoz said:
Right lads, down tools. All out!

Vote of no confidence in President "not a puppet" Karzai.
Bang on....and why not? Really, whats the worst that could happen? Taliban regain power? Hopefully, they would just have a civil war amongst themselves and forget about foriegn "infidel" targets.

I can see Karzai`s strings from here :x
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
I'm sure he'd be happy to stand on his own two feet, until he was removed by a resurgent Taliban/AQ.

Problem is, we need control Afghan to keep egg off faces after supporting anti-Soviet forces and getting them knocked out. Also the egg on face scenario of 'losing' Afghanistan to the Talibs and AQ, and thus allowing new AQ bases and operations to run from there doesn't bear thinking about.

Whatever the outcome of this spat with stupid b0llocks, we aren't leaving anytime soon.
 
#13
Biped said:
I'm sure he'd be happy to stand on his own two feet, until he was removed by a resurgent Taliban/AQ.

Problem is, we need control Afghan to keep egg off faces after supporting anti-Soviet forces and getting them knocked out. Also the egg on face scenario of 'losing' Afghanistan to the Talibs and AQ, and thus allowing new AQ bases and operations to run from there doesn't bear thinking about.

Whatever the outcome of this spat with stupid b0llocks, we aren't leaving anytime soon.
No, whatever is said, the Brits wont be leaving. But it would be nice to see the look on Karzi`s face when shown the timetable (knocked up that morning) for withdrawal.

"Oh....errr......Mr Karzi....just how good are the Afghan National Army?"......
 
#14
Biped said:
I'm sure he'd be happy to stand on his own two feet, until he was removed by a resurgent Taliban/AQ.

Problem is, we need control Afghan to keep egg off faces after supporting anti-Soviet forces and getting them knocked out. Also the egg on face scenario of 'losing' Afghanistan to the Talibs and AQ, and thus allowing new AQ bases and operations to run from there doesn't bear thinking about.

Whatever the outcome of this spat with stupid b0llocks, we aren't leaving anytime soon.
I agree to a point but if we did leave the place to the taliban I think they would be warey of providing safe havens for AQ after what happened last time.

Pull out and let the fcukers kill each other, they don't want our help it seems.
 
#15
Yeeeeessss.... (as the great Paxo is wont to say).

This would be the self-same Karzai who owes his position and continued existence as other than a grease-stain on the palace wall to American support? The same Americans who've recently been blaming the Brits for lack of success in AFG? Well, well. A small dog licking a big dog's arrse, who'd ha' thunk it?
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
Biped said:
I'm sure he'd be happy to stand on his own two feet, .
If we go he won't be standing anywhere his two feet will be three feet off the ground as he swings gently from which ever tree Terry Taliban has strung him and his mates up in
The minute we pull out he will be out of Afghanistan as quick as he can to here or the US

He is saying what he thinks the septics want to hear

As for the Septics if we are doing such a bad job in Iraq and Afghanistan please say the word and go it on your own anytime you want
 
#17
the_boy_syrup said:
Biped said:
I'm sure he'd be happy to stand on his own two feet, .
If we go he won't be standing anywhere his two feet will be three feet off the ground as he swings gently from which ever tree Terry Taliban has strung him and his mates up in
The minute we pull out he will be out of Afghanistan as quick as he can to here or the US

He is saying what he thinks the septics want to hear

As for the Septics if we are doing such a bad job in Iraq and Afghanistan please say the word and go it on your own anytime you want
I'm starting to think the same. Ungreafull tossers.
 
#18
Brick said:
From The Times, January 25, 2008

The British have made matters worse, says Afghan President

Britain and Afghanistan fell out in spectacular fashion yesterday after President Karzai accused his British allies of bungling the military operation in Helmand and setting back prospects for the area by 18 months.

Mr Karzai, Britain’s key ally in Afghanistan, had little praise for the efforts of the 7,800 British troops deployed in his country. Most are in the restless southern Helmand province, where Britain has invested billions of pounds in trying to defeat the Taleban, bolster central government authority and begin reconstruction.

But Mr Karzai said that they had failed in the task, particularly the initial military mission launched nearly two years ago by 16 Air Assault Brigade — a unit that is returning for its second tour this year.

“There was one part of the country where we suffered after the arrival of the British forces,” Mr Karzai told a group of journalists at the Davos Economic Forum. “Before that we were fully in charge of Helmand. When our governor was there, we were fully in charge. They came and said, ‘Your governor is no good’. I said ‘All right, do we have a replacement for this governor; do you have enough forces?’. Both the American and the British forces guaranteed to me they knew what they were doing and I made the mistake of listening to them. And when they came in, the Taleban came.”

Asked if he was blaming British failure for the return of the Taleban, he added: “I just described the situation of mistakes we made. The mistake was that we removed a local arrangement without having a replacement. We removed the police force. That was not good. The security forces were not in sufficient numbers or information about the province. That is why the Taleban came in. It took us a year and a half to take back Musa Qala. This was not failure but a mistake.”

Britain had no immediate comment to the criticism. But senior military commanders and diplomats in Afghanistan have bemoaned privately the lack of co-operation with the Karzai administration and its controversial appointments of key provincial posts to the police and local government in Helmand. So far they have refrained from public criticism of President Karzai, who remains the West’s only credible figurehead.

The same is not true of the Americans, however. David Satterfield, the US Co-ordinator on Iraq, told The Times this week that Iraq would turn out to be America’s “good” war while Afghanistan was going “bad”. “In many ways Iraq may be seen to be the success story with all reservations and cautions that are appropriate. And Afghanistan the much more threatening, bad picture.”

Mr Satterfield added that Afghanistan’s problems went beyond differences with Nato and the lawlessness across the border in Pakistan’s tribal areas, where al-Qaeda and other militants are openly helping the Taleban.

“It is the nature of Afghanistan. Afghanistan has many deficits not present in Iraq. Iraq is a wealthy country, it has resources — badly used — but it is rich. Iraq for all its difficulty in unifying politically has many quasi-democratic recognisable political forces. Afghanistan has warlords.”

Mr Karzai angrily rejected that when it was put to him by The Times and denied that his country was suffering from a rise of extremism. He also rejected responsibility for appointing inappropriate representatives in Helmand. But British Forces believe that, in many respects, their Afghan allies pose more of a challenge to their mission than the Taleban, which was defeated in the key town of Musa Qala last month and has since failed to launch a single attack in the area. It is the Afghan Government that is now proving more of an obstacle to stability in an area where a mixture of official corruption, ineptitude and paranoia are stymying British efforts.

In Musa Qala itself, Mr Karzai’s assessment must seem ironic. The Afghan President lambasted Britain for encouraging him to remove Sher Muhammad Akhunzada as Helmand governor in 2006, a move which he claimed undermined the security situation. Mr Akhunzada was a fierce fighter against the Soviet occupation and is seen as staunchly anti-Taleban.

However, he was also accused of being a prominent figure in the drug trade and embroiled in numerous personal vendettas. He was removed after British officials told President Karzai that their troops would struggle to bring peace to Helmand if the governor remained in power, he has retained a strong background influence and is angling to be reinstated.

Mr Akhunzada told The Times this week: “I’m not against the British in Helmand but they should listen to President Karzai on matters of structuring local government.”

Now a senator, he and Mr Karzai are old friends, their relationship cemented during the years of fighting in the mujahideen against the Soviet occupation. The British, however, regard him as such a destabilising influence that Gordon Brown is reported to have tried to exact a promise from Mr Karzai to keep the former governor on the sidelines.

Mr Karzai also accused the British of forcing him to remove key police officials, such as Abdul Wali Khan, also known as “Koka”. who was notorious for his human rights abuses and so disgusted local people that they allowed the Taleban into Musa Qala as a favourable alternative to government authority.

Yet now his reinstatement, along with a hundred of his fighters, is being considered as a serious option by the Karzai Government, despite top-level requests from Nato commanders and diplomats to block the appointment.

“The UK does not want Koka here,” one British commander in Musa Qala said. “All our good work could be undermined by the baggage he brings with him.” Afghan civilians in the bazaar agreed. Wali Mahmoud, a village elder, said: “He was like a king here, doing whatever he wanted. He killed more people than I could count.”
Words really do just fail me right about now.
My bold. The reason he was 'in charge' - (Doud ?) was because the thieving gypo was on the take from the drug smugglers and paying off the Talibs to stay quiet. Appeasement - always works apparantly. When we got rid of him it went wrong and thats our fault. Great logic.
 
#19
"Thieving gypo"? I say, a bit strong, that, sc_obvious. Mind you, word from Vauxhall is that the best plan would be to get rid of Karzai altogether and to do something about the extent to which the heroin trade funds the lifestyles of half the loya jirga.

We may be fighting a war against the drugs trade, but a lot of the cash generated by it is funding the Afghan government and, by proxy, the war against the Nasties.

Ironic, that.
 

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