Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown has this week voiced his concerns over our UK troops continued presence in Afghanistan. It is doubtful that his motivation is political. Mr Ashdown has a military past and will know all too well the high price many are paying for this ongoing war in Afghanistan.As other foreign troops leave the region it will make the job harder for those that remain. If the mission had been successful that may not have been the case but it has clearly failed. That is no criticism of those involved. They have given their all. They give until there is nothing left to give. You may have to conclude that Afghanistan is not a winnable war.Invading a country is always a tough decision. It should never be taken lightly. An increase in terrorism and 9/11 backed the West, and in particular the US, into a corner. We took the bait and have been paying the price ever since. Now it appears to be a case of two steps forward and three steps back.The whole Middle East region is currently "wobbling" That word seems the most fitting. There are unsafe regimes and governments, unsatisfied people, high unemployment, corruption, poverty and there is religious hatred. A terrible combination. A huge bomb of discontent wating to explode. How far the blast reaches will be down to us.Put yourself for one moment though in the shoes of an Afghan. Perhaps a yoing man aged 17. You will only remember conflict, poverty and perhaps bereavement. You will have had more than your fair share of pain.
You could have been indoctrinated from an early age. You have known your country overun by foreign forces and have experienced little freedom as we know it. You may have seen or known more horror than a person aged 100 should in a lifetime.Hardly a recipe for civil obedience. And of course obedience to what and to whom?There will be some who will want a better life and overcome all of this. For some it will not be so easy. We are all different. That is how it should be.Move away from Afghanistan and look at the families and communities of those who served in Afghanistan. They now face a different set of challenges. An increase in citizens coping with the fall out of conflict, PTSD. Some will also be physically challenged whilst there will be children who have lost a parent in this conflict. Another recipe for unhappy lives unless care is taken.Afghanistan is far from settled. Should we continue to offer hurt on all sides. We think not. We tend to agree with Mr Ashdown. According to the guardian he said, "allied forces have failed to build a sustainable state and establish a government which was untainted by corruption."He went on, "We cannot pretend there is any more to do in Afghanistan. The urgent priority is to get out. It is not worth wasting one more life in Afghanistan. All that we can achieve has now been achieved. All that we might have achieved if we had done things differently, has been lost."The only rational policy now is to leave quickly, in good order and in the company of our allies. This is the only cause for which further lives should be risked."He blamed the International community for failing to establish a functioning state with the country's leaders and neighbours. "The international community in Afghanistan needed to speak with a single voice in pursuit of a single plan with clear priorities" "Instead we have been divided, cacophonous, chaotic. We should have concentrated on winning in Afghanistan where it mattered, instead of distracting ourselves with adventures in Iraq."We should have engaged Afghanistan's neighbours, instead of going out of our way to make them enemies. Our early military strategy should have been about protecting the people instead of wasting our time chasing the enemy. "We should have made fighting corruption our first priority instead of becoming the tainted partners of a corrupt government whose writ, along with ours, has progressively collapsed as that of the Taleban in the south has progressively widened."
Mr Ashdown's article published online on Friday November 16, 2012 has been condemned by some. You need to bear in mind though that some countries have already left this war. He is not alone in thinking that it is a lost cause, is he?.You can read the full Guardian report hereCapt Barrie the latest UK death is 438 British soldier to die in Afghanistan
has been in the headlines again this week, but as usual for all the wrong reasons. With foreign forces committed to withdrawing from the country by the end of 2014 time is running out. If things do not drastically improve it will looks as if the loss of life and money spent will have been for nought. Casualty reports in the last few days have been grim reading: "KABUL, Afghanistan (Oct. 25, 2012) -- An International Security Assistance Force service member died following an insurgent attack in western Afghanistan today.MoD announcementIt is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of Corporal David O'Connor from 40 Commando Royal Marines and Corporal Channing Day from 3 Medical Regiment on Wednesday 24 October 2012 while on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province.Corporal O'Connor and Corporal Day were participating in a patrol with C Company, 40 Commando to conduct low level training with the Afghan Local Police. While en route to conduct that training, the patrol came under small arms fire near the village of Char Kutsa. As a result of the engagement Corporal O'Connor was fatally injured alongside his colleague and patrol medic, Corporal Day.Corporal O'Connor was born on 16 June 1985 and lived in Havant, Hampshire with his mother. He joined the Royal Marines on 13 May 2002. Corporal Channing Day was born in Swindon, Wiltshire on 12 March 1987. She grew up in Newtownards, County Down before joining the Army in 2005."Look online and the list od dead and injured is seemingly endless.
Too many wasted lives. Most are young people who had hardly begun to live yet. Others that bit older leaving behind families and loved ones. The US and UK death tolls now stand at 2144 and 435 respectively.Afghanistan has had yet another bloody week for civilians also.As Muslims celebrate a religious festival fanatics do not take time out. 41 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside of a Mosque in Northern Afghanistan. Afghan officials were inside the Mosque at the time.This year the deaths of foreign forces in Afghanistan are said to be slightly less. There have still been too many. Now it seems however that the insurgents are turning on their own. Afghans who are being trained to help Afghanistan in the period when coalition forces leave are a prime target.
Taliban rebels are infiltrating these groups of trainess when they can and launching attacks on the men they are working alongside.All in all a gloomy, picture which leaves you wondering what is the point of all of this? In fact what was the point if ever there was one?
With foreign troops committed to withdrawing from Afghanistan
by the end of 2014 time is running out for a peceful scenario. Much has changed for the better in Afghanistan, but by who's standards? There are also still ongoing security problems in that country.Today October 19, 2012, there have been reports of violent deaths in Afghanistan. At least 18 people on their way to a wedding in Afghanistan have been killed by a roadside bomb. The wedding was taking place in the
Dawlatabad district of Balkh province, in Northern Afghanistan. The party of wedding guests were traveling in a mini-bus when the bomb exploded. Those on board were men, women and children. That said the majority were women and children. All were civilians.The northern region of Afghanistan had previously been one of the safest areas of the country. The region were today's bombimg took place though has experienced an increase in terrorist activity.As well as those who died. some of the mini bus passengers were critically injured in today's bombing. They are receiving treatment
in hospital at Mazar-e-Sharif. As yet the authorities do not know if these wedding guests were the actual target. Also at time of writing no eor individual has come forward to accept responsibility.RIP
The death toll
for British soldiers serving in Afghanistan has risen by three in recent days. On Friday there were reports of two deaths and yesterday another. Each of these three deaths was not due to hostile action.
29-year-old Capt James Townley
of the Corps of Royal Engineers died on Friday September 21, one day before his 30th birthday. Capt Townley had returned to Afghanistan on September 5 for his third tour of duty. He had volunteered to return. It is believed that he committed suicide.38-year-old Sergeant Jonathan Eric Kups
died at Camp Bastion on September 21, in a separate incident. He leaves behind a wife and three children. His death is under investigation but was not due to hostile action.Today there has been an announcement that a British Marine died in Afghanistan yesterday, September 24, 2012. His name and personal details have not been released yet. This will gve his loved ones a brief period of time away from press intrusion. It has been reported that he died of natural causes.This year has seen an increase in green on blue attacks, that is local people in uniform turning their weapons on the ISAF members. It must be nerve wracking working alongside locals in light of this, yet it is vital to this mission, as far as military commanders and politicians think. With a deadline for all foreign troops to withdraw from Afghanistan there is little to reassure that the country is any safer than before this lengthy conflict.
Add to this the risk of death by so called "friendly fire" and Afghanistan is one country fraught with danger for foreign troops.When the conflict finally ends and the military men and women who have played an active role return to the UK, or their home countr,y how will they fit back into society?
Not easily we think.RIP and condolences
Western governments continue to maintain that their Forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan
by 2014. That is only right for those countries such as the UK
and the US who are still deploying troops in the country. After countries such as Canada and France announced a withdrawal in 2012 many claim that the mission is now complete.
Just what the mission was may fox most people. Sent in on the heels of 9/11, primarily to seek out Bin Laden, the reasons for the conflict have become muddled. Was part of the mission's aims to help the people of Afghanistan and to remove the grip of the Taliban? If it was then it is doubtful that it has been accomplished, long term.
Even now with some foreign forces remaining on the ground in Afghanistan, the Taliban are reaching out once more.
Yesterday July 23, 2012, there was news that a "British worker and two Americans were shot dead yesterday when an Afghan policeman opened fire at a training centre".
In common with other recent attacks the killer was a man dressed in a
national security force uniform.
Yesterday's murders followed a bloody weekend in Afghanistan. It has been reported that civilians died on Sunday, in bombing which hailed from Pakistan. The bombs were aimed at "insurgent" camps, or so it was believed. Five members of the NATO forces in Afghanistan have died due to roadside bombs in the last two days. Five local men working for the Afghan NATO alliance were taken hostage and subsequently killed.
All in all a bloody few days with more bad news today.
An Afghan police commander, Mirwais, and 13 junior officers are reported to have joined the Taliban in the western Afghan province of Farah, on Sunday, July 22, 2012.. This is the biggest single defection so far. They took with them weapons, radios, police cars and armoured vehicles.
This defection leaves open to question the statement that "The Taliban are finished"
We have heard of so many attacks by Afghans in security uniforms 2012 that such incidents make it hard to believe the Taliban will not simply take hold once all foreign forces leave. With this in mind you have to wonder if it is worth any of our troops remaining in Afghanistan?
Those who do stay on after armed forces withdraw will be on a training mission. The only conclusion right now is that the training mission will also fail.
Currently foreign troops put their lives at risk, and for what? Incidents such as the deaths of civilians at the hands of foreign military make for more insurgents and not less. Hatred helps build rebel armies, when all is said and done.
If Western governments have not yet realised, Afghanistan is not a winnable war. The Soviets tried under the premise that the authorities wanted them to enter the country. We have used similar statements. Whilst some inroads have been made there is a long way to go.
Is whatever the outcome of Afghanistan will be worth the time, money, effort, and loss of life on all sides? We think not.
Tags: Afghanistan, Afghan defectors, civilian deaths, War, World News, NATO Forces
Foreign troops are due to pull out of Afghanistan by 2014. There has already been an exodus of some foreign troops leaving those still in the country a difficult if not impossible task. Military deaths continue and the latest once more were at the hands of an Afghan national wearing a uniform.
Late yesterday NATO issued a statement which read, ""An individual wearing an Afghan National Civil Order Police uniform turned his weapon against International Security Assistance Force service members in southern Afghanistan today, killing three service members." The attacker was injured and detained.
Part of the mission of those foreign troops in Afghanistan is to train an effective local police force and army. The work is increasingly dangerous as insurgents it seems infiltrate training camps.
NATO officials today, July 2, 2012, have confirmed that three of its staff have been killed by a man dressed in an Afghan police uniform. As yet the nationalities of those killed has not been released.
These latest three deaths bring the total number of NATO personnel killed in this way to 20. Understandably this is proving demoralising for troops and worrying. It puts the training mission into question. It makes some people demand an instant draw down of troops whilst others believe the campaign will have to carry on much longer than 2014.
Afghanistan down the years, and with different occupying forces, has proved itself a hard nut to crack. It has so often been a case of two steps forward and three steps back for NATO forces.
In the final analysis will the cost, in hard cash and loss of life, be worth what has been achieved? Cause for concern is also will Afghanistan simply revert to its previous state once foreign troops have pulled out? RIP
July 2 update - The three soldiers have been identified as British
Tags: Afghanistan, foreign troops killed, NATO staff killed, Afghan in police unfiorm kills three, three british soliders killed
Earlier this week, on Monday, February 20, 2012, US troops in Afghanistan burned copies of the Koran.
They were burned in a garbage pit which added insult to injury as far as the Afghan people went. This sacred, holy book of people who hold the Islamic faith was a huge insult to the Afghan people. There have been conflicting reports as to why and how the Koran books were burned. It was however witnessed and went on to inflame a sensitive situation.
Yesterday, Thursday February 23, 2012, US President Obama offered a sincere apology to the Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Prior to this a senior US military official had also expressed his profound apologies.
In the days following the burnings of the Koran violence ensued. Today violent protests are still happening in Afghanistan. 4,000 people, armed with what ever means possible, mainly rocks and sticks, have stormed the military base in Kabul. A huge police and military presence has kept the area locked down. It is however Friday afternoon, a time when traditionally violence spills out onto the streets following Friday prayers.
Yesterday a man dressed in an Afghan army uniform shot and killed two US soldiers. Seven members of the Afghan population are reported to have been killed, plus many more injured, in running battles with the authorities. The skirmishes have not been confined to Kabul.
GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich has jumped on the bandwagon sensing an opportunity to perhaps appeal to the US voting public and attack Democratic President Obama. Gingrich is plainly appalled that Obama felt a need to apologise and that Obama actually went on record doing so. Of course the President will have followed the advice of others including military leaders.
So what would Gingrich have done, had he been President of the US?
He has maintained that he would have demanded an apology from Afghan President Hamid Karzi for the US military shootings.If only life were that simple.
You have to ask a few questions first such as :
-What caused this commotion?
-Who was responsible for the trouble breaking out?
-Have US troops been thoroughly trained about the culture and beliefs of the Afghan people?
-Will Obama's apology help ease the situation and protect US forces from more harm?
Gingrich said of the incident and the apology, in true electioneering style, "There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama's attention in a negative way and he is consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the president of the United States period. And, candidly, if Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, doesn't feel like apologizing then we should say good bye and good luck, we don't need to be here risking our lives and wasting our money on somebody who doesn't care."
Gingrich went on to say that President Obama was failing in his role as Commander in Chief. Expecting an outcry a White House official pre empted Gingrich saying, "It is wholly appropriate, given the sensitivities to this issue, the understandable sensitivities. His primary concern as commander in chief is the safety of the American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there. And it was absolutely the right thing to do."
Sounds to me as if it was the most sensible course of action. The US troops are in Afghanistan thanks to a Republican President. You can argue the toss about why he was forced into making the decision to go to war but the fact that it was George Bush who took the US into Afghanistan is irrefutable.Gingrich's spiel and bravado may carry weight with GOP supporters but it will not do so with all.
What would he have done if he were President? Of course all of this just shows why he is not up to that job and never will be US President.