War on Taliban cannot be won, says army chief

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Oct 4, 2008.

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  1. From The Sunday Times
    October 5, 2008
    War on Taliban cannot be won, says army chief

    Christina Lamb Helmand, Afghanistan

    Britain's most senior military commander in Afghanistan has warned that the war against the Taliban cannot be won. Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said the British public should not expect a “decisive military victory” but should be prepared for a possible deal with the Taliban.

    His assessment followed the leaking of a memo from a French diplomat who claimed that Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the British ambassador in Kabul, had told him the current strategy was “doomed to fail”.

    Carleton-Smith, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, which has just completed its second tour of Afghanistan, said it was necessary to “lower our expectations”. He said: “We’re not going to win this war. It’s about reducing it to a manageable level of insurgency that’s not a strategic threat and can be managed by the Afghan army
    More on the link
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/incomingFeeds/article4882597.ece
     
  2. msr

    msr LE

    And in other news: Bear excrement found in the woods.
     
  3. In other news, it was announced that a new edition of the gospel of st. Bliar had been released stating that the Pope was in fact a jehova's witness. st. Cyclops was heard to mumble, 'bollards, he's a mormon if ever I saw one!"
     
  4. Until the Politicos start to finance the wars they have started then I must agree The War cannot be won.
    john
    30 Years plus, says the UK Labour Party.
     
  5. Surely not the same Carleton-Smith who said this?

    http://www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=98060/highlight=mark+carletonsmith.html

    4 months ago, the Taliban were 'on the brink of defeat' What has happened to so dramatically change the dynamic as far as Brigadier C-S is concerned?

    And no, we can't win until at least 3 conditions are satisfied I believe

    1. Pakistan conducts a root and branch clean out of it's security services

    2. We are in reality, fighting forces and elements of the Afghan Government at regional and national level I believe. The Government in Kabul is read the riot act and sidelined and a less partisan , corrupt organ put in it's place. Possibly even devolve power to local trusted Governors , effectively excluding Kabul from Government., and building a trusted Government from there.

    3. We change the mission to encompass and stabilise far smaller areas, centred on the poppy trade and supply routes. Stabilisation to include active NGO work under Military control , or even conducted by the Military intoto and a strong Military presence inside areas we can control. We then use the 'stabilisation effect' to 'infect' surrounding areas.

    The key to winning , and we can win in Afghanistan, is changing the mission to control the supply and distribution of Poppy. Gain control of the poppy, and finance both Military effort and reconstruction, and deny the Taliban their funding.
     
  6. PTP ,
    Confidential Time for Senior officers ?
    john
     
  7. This sounds familar, weren't the same people saying the same things about Iraq a couple years ago?
     
  8. I'd say so Jon, and very possibly a change of headshed shortly...
     
  9. PTP -"And no, we can't win until at least 3 conditions are satisfied I believe"

    Are we still of a mind that we must win? Win in Afghanistan that is. It has already as near as damn it is to swearing moved into Pakistan. The US incursions are likely to grow which will add to the spread. No Cambodia there then. We have to halt the current Islamic militancy. Just our being in Afghanistan is a serious irritant regardless of what we do other than walking about in a cloud of $1000 bills. Some sort of political result along the lines suggested would let us get out. I cannot see Taliban chasing us. AQ threat managed nearer home. We don't, in my opinion, have to win. Yes - we have lost a lot of guys and damaged a damn sight more but I do not see that a withdrawal would dishonour their sacrifices. If they were here to ask we could ask if they wanted more blokes to go the way they did. All for FA. I doubt there would be many Yes answers.
     
  10. PTP -"And no, we can't win until at least 3 conditions are satisfied I believe"

    Are we still of a mind that we must win? Win in Afghanistan that is. It has already as near as damn it is to swearing moved into Pakistan. The US incursions are likely to grow which will add to the spread. No Cambodia there then. We have to halt the current Islamic militancy. Just our being in Afghanistan is a serious irritant regardless of what we do other than walking about in a cloud of $1000 bills. Some sort of political result along the lines suggested would let us get out. I cannot see Taliban chasing us. AQ threat managed nearer home. We don't, in my opinion, have to win. Yes - we have lost a lot of guys and damaged a damn sight more but I do not see that a withdrawal would dishonour their sacrifices. If they were here to ask we could ask if they wanted more blokes to go the way they did. All for FA. I doubt there would be many Yes answers.
     
  11. Define "win" in Afghanistan. What will it look like? Surrey?
     
  12. msr

    msr LE

    Iraq?
     
  13. Iraq - indeed, all thoughts that Taleban can be 'defeated' are flawed by the fact that the Taleban is not a nation state.

    If anything is achieved in Afghanistan it will be on the basis of NATO / ISAF holding the ring whilst the conditions for a stable state are established. The Taleban will then cease to be relevant (if not then, we're completely screwed) and can then be separated from the population, or assimilated into the political process.

    That is a very tall order and will take decades. PTP raises the issue of poppy, that's one of many issues, albeit one of the most obvious, and it semes that we cannot even establish a clear international policy on that, so until we get some clear political direction (especially Afghan lead) then we have a long wait.
     
  14. msr

    msr LE

    You talk of the Taliban as one coherent body. Try reading this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0141020806/?tag=armrumser-21

    The Taliban are the population, with a number of foreign fighters thrown in.

    msr
     
  15. MSR, agreed entirely and that adds to the argument that taleban is not a coherent state that can be defeated as a nation state. Also points to the likelihood that some currently fighting as 'taleban' may, in the future, be part of the political solution.