Time to admit Afghanistan is a lost cause?

Discussion in 'Afghanistan' started by msr, Sep 15, 2010.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

    The British commander of 30,000 foreign troops in Kandahar has today warned that he expects a surge in violence by Taliban-led insurgents as Saturday's Afghan parliamentary elections approaches.

    "We have already seen a pattern of intimidation," Major General Nick Carter said, speaking by video link from the Taliban's heartland to journalists in London. "There will be a good deal of violence because the insurgency will want to prevent people from voting," he added.

    He said that though the number of US troops and Afghan national army and police forces had increased significantly over the past few months, "our sense is that it is too early to predict which way this will go".

    Carter added: "I am not, and never have been from my time in Afghanistan, optimistic. The reality is that the insurgency will have a go on election day. I just hope they don't do as well as they did last year"

    Afghan elections: British commander predicts surge in Taliban violence | World news | The Guardian

  2. NOPE = Not Our Problem, Ever. Time to get out was the moment some politico's pen hit paper to sign us in.
  3. I do think it's time someone told the troops just what the aim is.
    I seem to remember it was throwing the Taliban out of power now ?

  4. I am not convinced that 'Afghanistan' was ever a 'found' cause let alone a 'lost cause'.

    The First, Second and even the Third Afghan Wars were largely understood by those directing them and by those fighting them.

    The current fiasco, the result of a whim by the vacuous and facile grinning 'spiv' Blair and his desire to parade, prance and preen on the world's stage as an 'important figure', was a disaster from the word go - this despite the gallantry shown by the Service personnel involved. It was a military misadventure more sure of failure than any similar that I can recall. To compound the stupidity of the invasion, the growling misfit occupying No. 11 Downing Street refused properly to fund the military.

    Blair's action, together with his illegal invasion of Iraq, is worthy of consideration for a charge of criminality that would see him arraigned at The Hague. His only defence that occurs to me would be one of: diminished responsibility.

    Brown's spiteful and traitorous action leaves him responsible for the death of many Service personnel and he should be held to account.
  5. Absolutely in my eyes. Basrah summed up just perfectly how such campaigns will end in future. Swiftly as soon as it becomes to costly in cash or lives to remain.

    We cannot win when we are not "At War" and we cannot wage a winnable war on criminals.
  6. It took the Ruskies ten years to realise it was never going to happen for them.
  7. Why should anyone in a localised, tribal society wish to vote for a flaccid, corrupt, central state kept in place by foreign troops whom everyone knows may be gone in a few months and don't want to be there to start with?

    For a centralised state to work it must "project" power efficiently into local communities. The first thing the Normans did when they invaded Britain was build castles up and down the land. They put their people in them, painted them white so local peasants could see them from a distance, and set about projecting power. Anyone who raised two fingers at the castles had their hands chopped off.

    The same principle is applied today with US aircraft carriers. Their job is to project power. Military planners know all this surely? But in vast areas of Afghanistan the central government has no writ. It's like a sink housing estate where the police have lost control.

    I've an Afghan relative. He's gentle, slow to anger, not that interested in politics, but if anyone threatened his family he'd pursue them to the ends of the earth. He's from a culture which simply doesn't lose wars. Again, the military planners knew this. They still teach military history at Sandhurst, yes?

    It's all down to idiot Bush and lunatic British politicians and military commanders who followed his lead. Including the Conservative front bench who voted for war and still support it.

    After 9/11 Bush had a choice. Either get to grips with the root cause of Al-Qaeda terrorism - Israel, funded by the US, being vile to Palestinians - or kill a mess of brown people to satisfy enraged US public opinion.

    Bush, being an idiot, naturally picked the wrong option and the wrong brown people.

    There used to be talk on ARRSE of a non-strike trade union to help defend the interests of ordinary British servicemen. Given the catastrophic, schoolboy, lethal failures of British politicians and top brass in relation to Afghanistan, it's needed now more than ever.

    British top people have shown, again and again, they're incapable of acting in the national interest when it comes to military adventures. They're wildly unpatriotic. Time for those on the receiving end of their mistakes to act.

    There was simply no need for the British establishment to follow idiot Bush into the Afghan meat grinder. During the Vietnam war, the Yanks were desperate to get the British involved and applied considerable pressure to Harold Wilson to commit forces. To his credit he resisted and left the Yanks to their silly games.

    Blair, Brown, Cameron, and all the other little echoes, could have done the same.
  8. What is needed and is (very slowly) happening is investment in the Afghani infrastructure (although most Western countries are up to their eyeballs in debt). Once Abdul has his TV, running water, air-con etc etc he will be less inclined to like the views of the Taliban who would take it all away from him.
  9. Just give running clean water that would be a start.

    What ever happened to the generator that went to Kajaki in 2008, is it up and running yet.
  10. Sept 2008 Op Oqab Tsuka

    Attached Files:

  11. Rayc

    Rayc RIP

    Afghanistan is an interesting issue.

    What is the ISAF doing there and why did they go there? Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

    The US went into Afghanistan and they were justified since WTC was masterminded from Afghanistan or so we learn. ISAF had to go in because of treaty obligation or so I presume.

    Justified that it was, it was also prompted by cheerleaders within the US who wanted possibly to regain the lost military honour tarnished to some extent by the Vietnam War. There were good reasons too! The US, at that time, was actually on the march to global supremacy since it was their strategy after the Cold War by which democracies emerged in Eastern Europe, Russia was encircled and Russian sphere of influence pushed back, and even militarily there was success in the western intervention in Bosnia etc. The US was on the March! This charged the imagination of the US leaders; and who does not want to be successful in establishing supremacy wherein the world listens to them?

    Even Fareed Zakaria argues that American intervention was warranted only to secure interests in the world's "core": Western Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East. And which country does not protect its interests?

    Thus came Iraq and followed by Afghanistan. However, military history seemed to have been lost sight of. The same error was done by Hitler in Op Barbarossa where Maintenance of Aim was abandoned because of some quick success! In the bargain, both Iraq and Afghanistan has demoralised all to believe that these operations were adventures not worth taking since both are in the doldrums and with the US quitting Iraq, a bloody mess is being left behind to ‘save face’!

    But was Afghansitan a cry in the wilderness?

    Gordon Brown and even Cameron have opined that terrorism that is striking at the world is manufactured in these regions. So, could it be that if these regions are brought to heel, then maybe there will less of our unarmed folks killed by bombs and the like? If so, then Afghanistan is justified. It is debatable if Saddam was positively supporting terrorism. He was a megalomaniac who in fact kept fundamentalist Islam in check.

    Afghanistan can be ‘tackled’. It cannot be done if the troops are only to be in urban centres or employed mere in a fire fighting role. The border has to be ‘sealed’, there has to be forces for Rear Area Security and for the urban centres. One should have studied Kashmir to realise what it involves. If the West was not ready for that, then there was no ground to subject hapless and patriotic men into the jaws of Hell.

    However, the core has to be addressed and the ‘core’ of the Taliban, who find protected sanctuary, is in the badlands of NWFP. If it is not addressed forcefully, then it is a lost cause. But then there is a problem. It would not be acceptable to Pakistan and if not then the sole logistic supply line would be unavailable. Catch 22. The only other land route is through Iran from the Chahbahar port on the highway that goes through Afghanistan to the CAR. But then, no one is on talking terms with that mercurial man embodying Iran!! Therefore, everything is but a Mess.

    There appears to be no answer, except doing some political ‘face saving’ and leave Afghanistan.

    It will embolden the Taliban and the terrorists since they would have defeated one superpower and another with all its friends.

    The world will be more dangerous than now.

    If that is acceptable, then quitting is the answer.

    I am reminded of "Cry 'God for Harry, England and St George' "!
  12. I agree. The best way to stop militancy is to give people what British residents of, say, Basingstoke, enjoy. Once they have clean water, electricity, a full fridge, a widescreen, they'll tell Osama/the Taliban to go spin.

    But delivery of those desirable elements of Western consumer-democracy depend on a strong central state efficiently projecting power throughout its territory, so we're back to point zero. Consumer societies are highly vulnerable to civil unrest. They require peace - and a strong central state enforcing the peace - to operate. Just a few people can kill engineers, mine bridges, cut the ears off schoolgirls attending school, and everything goes to hell.

    So infrastructure projects in Afghanistan are completely arse about tit. State-building's needed first. And state-building means security - the projection of state power - into every corner of Afghanistan. Exactly as the Normans did in Britain.

    What's daft about Afghanistan is the West is highly experienced in nation building. We fought each other in Europe for years until we discovered how to do it. Yet policy makers forgot, or chose to ignore, those lessons in the Afghan adventure. Which suggests to me we're there for some other purpose, e.g. to satisfy US public opinion following 9/11.
  13. Rayc

    Rayc RIP

    Indeed these thing would help, if there was sanity.

    However, when fundamentalists take a grip of one's mind, these things don't matter.

    Religion and imagined or actual sleight for certain sections of society can make the advent of civilisation immaterial!

    Been there, seen it!

    The UK has clean water etc etc, then how come second generation all British chaps went about bombing the Underground or Tube?

    One has to catch the bull by the horn.
  14. msr

    msr LE

  15. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    The US invaded, ISAF is merely an alliance in the same way theat IFOR and KFOR existed. You can withdraw or add to these alliances depending upon the national will as we have seen with our allies. ISAF didnt exist until the US went in beyond planning. It couldnt exist as its there as an international security and assistance force. Without Central Afghan Govt support it has no legal right to remain and would have to disband and its forces leave or stay on as occupiers!
    Time for out I say!