I'm no expert, but when I was in Afghanistan in 2004/2005, everything was relatively quiet. The Taliban had been removed from all the major cities, and were hated by the public, who's opinion was overwhelmingly in our favour. Hearts and minds had been won. Companies were investing in the cities, and the economy was doing well. The Taliban had been forced up into the hills, and we were training the Afghan Army.
It seems to me that the situation could have been sustained as it was - Holding every major city, with public opinion on our side, and developing a strong army over a few years.
Not giving ground back because of a shortage of equipment and troops would be a start. Held ground receiving sufficient commercial and gobment investment for infrastructure rather than using a limited MOD budget to do little things with REME would be another. Thorough infiltration/hearts and minds of the local leaders to KEEP them onside. Overwhelming force-of-arms assaults with follow-on when attacked by the enemy - ie: follow them, surround them, destroy them, rather than sitting back when they sneek off.
Just my thoughts of course, and I;m not an expert by any means.
No its not. Its completly the wrong answer. More firepower would only result in more deaths of them but drive the others into the arms of the insurgents and hasten the ultimate loss of the war.
Its probably far too late now. But the immediate cessation of CAS dependent operations would have been a good start. If an operation can't be carried out without CAS then don't fcuking do it.
The advantage gained may often last only hours. But the rage on their part can last for years.
If, and its a big one, if a war needed to be fought in Afghanistan and there to have been any chance of it being won - the war had to be fought slowly.
Soft ground and communities needed to be taken with as light a touch as possible first. Consolidate then in collaboration with the natives develop regeneration schemes. As this was being done nearby lands and people could have been ushered and seduced into joining the fold by seeing the benefits unfold. And when I say nearby I mean nearby. Only as far as you can see. Never mind about time. Never mind about territory size. Get the small right and hopefully the large would follow. But golden rule - no hurrying.
So all the while you do NOT look at the clock.
This is fcuking Afghan we are talking about not fcuking Wall Street.
But no. White boy as usual was in a hurry. Everything had to be done yesterday and meaningless productivity targets met. So as a consequence its all been one step forward two steps back. Soon the situation will become more dicy than anytime since the original invasion.
The insurgents had an invaluable advantage. They had no airforce. As a consequence they developed a form of warfare not dependent on it.
All the while the over liberal use of air strikes on our part was masking the flaws and weaknesses in our own tactics and strategies.
Bearing in mind who the Def. Sec is I'm surprised that no one saw that you had to 'treat the Afghan war just like you would a beautiful woman.'
Going nice and slow only giving her what she wanted when she needed it.
With each unit taking a pride in how few rounds they had needed to use in order to acheive their objectives.
As for that general talking about being there for 35 years! What's he on about? Whats the point in running hard like some harassed commuters for the next 35 years trying to acheive goals that keep disappearing into the distance?
How about walking slowly and completing the journey in ten?
Never occurred to anyone. Would have to the Chinese though. But they have been around longer than us. Instead this war and the Iraq one have been started and run as if by devious angry toddlers throwing their Tonka toys around when they don't get their own way.
Stupid, stupid, makes me ashamed to be a white man.
Its well presumptious of me to express such opinions from the comfort of an armchair in Britain. But I wouldn't mind betting there are a few more well informed folk in theatre who think along the same lines.