There are many reasons given for the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan
. Most are flimsy. One was to limit the production of opium
in Afghanistan, a drug which was flooding the west. It seems after inital successes this is yet another mission western forces have failed to complete successfully.News this week reports that for a successive third year
opium poppy cultivation has increased. Afghanistan also has a growing problem, or maybe long standing one, with addicts. A U.N. report confirmed the situation Monday. In the south of Afghanistan, allegedly a Taliban stronghold, the poppy crops are booming. This is in an area now abandoned by foreign trrops or where forces are gradually leaving. Many pundits had predicted the Taliban would simply gain ground when foreign forces finally left Afghanistan but it seems some are not waiting for their total withdrawal. It was expected that these groups of insurgents would take some hold on Afghanistan but it was hoped it would be a minor role.Now it seems that will not be the case. The increase in opium poppy is a double negative whammie.With a crippled economy Afghans may see poppy fields as a way to generate income. Opium prices are high around the world, especially in the west and the demand for the drug is as strong as ever.CBS reports,
Crop sales mostly fund local power brokers and criminal gangs in Afghanistan and to a lesser degree the Taliban, Western experts believe. This makes it difficult for the Afghan government to establish control in areas where the economy is driven by black-market opium sales, despite a small but effective counternarcotics force.
"As we have predicted, opium will go up for a third year in a row," said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime in Afghanistan, which prepared the report along with the Afghan Counternarcotics Ministry. "We are looking at a record high cultivation."
The Afghanistan Opium Winter Risk Assessment 2013 issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime was conducted in two phases. One from December to January for central, eastern, southern and western Afghanistan, where opium was sown in the fall of 2012, and another in February and March that covered northern and northeastern Afghanistan, where opium is usually planted in the spring.
The exact figure for 2013 is still unclear, but the U.N. said that indications are it will surpass the 154,000 hectares planted in 2012, and the 131,000 in 2011
A pointless war from start to finish. A war of vengeance for the 9/11 bombings which hit many innocent civilains. A war which also hit many civilians. A war that was doomed to fail no matter what effort it was given. Yes, many inurgents were killed but so were many members of the foreign forces and Afghan civilians.
A new breed of insurgent was created out of hate for the foreign invaders and more. Now there is also the increase in opium poppy to concern us all.
Last weekend the Pentagon announced that an American soldier had died after sustaining injuries in combat. They reported that he was attacked by enemy forces but the latest reports paint a very different picture.
There are reports that the American soldier killed last week in Afghanistan, died when a local teenager stabbed him in the neck.Sgt. Michael Cable, 26, was on guard duty when the teen struck.
He was guarding Afghan and US officials meeting in a province near the border with Pakistan. According to the New York Post
"The Afghan and American dignitaries were attending the swearing-in ceremony of Afghan Local Police in Shinwar district in Nangarhar province, senior district official Zalmai Khan said. Afghan Local Police, or ALP, recruits are drawn from villages and backed by the US military".
Once soldiers guarding the meeting had secured the area, Sgt Cable was playing with children, when the teen attacked him from behind. The teen stabbed him in the neck with a large knife.
Officials have said they do not believe the attack was a green on blue attack, that is the young man was not wearing an Afghan uniform. The incident happened Wednesday March 27 but a week later what really happened has leaked out. An investigation is underway and details remain sketchy. There has been little publicity surrounding the killing and those now speaking to reporters are doing so with the promise of anonymity.
The teenager fled the scene after killing Sgt Cable and has since joined the Islamic militant movement known as the Taliban. A spokesperson for the Taliban said the teen acted independently when he killed Sgt Cable but he is now part of their organisation. Opinion:
It is spring in Afghanistan and the Taliban have begun their annual spring offensive. Attacks against foreign forces increase at this time of year casting doubt over any future peace in Afghanistan. In March 2013 14 US soldiers died in Afghanistan, an increase on previous months.
Foreign forces have worked hard to secure peace in Afghanistan but their efforts have failed. There is no reason to believe that peace is possible when foreign forces withdraw in 2014.
The reality is that insurgents who fled the country are biding their time across the border in Pakistan and will flood back into the country in due course. The long war in Afghanistan has bred a new generation of disgruntled Afghans who also have an axe to grind.
The murder of Sgt Cable is one more incident that proves this is the reality. Source: New York Post
After such sad news of late time to lighten the mood. Christmas is around the corner and many people will be raising money for charity. In Afghanistan
a group of soldiers have made a parody video of Gangnam Style and called it Afghan style. There are have been others but this British version is the latest and it is all for a good cause.In the past we have had parodies from Afghanistan of Peter Kay's Amarillo and this la
test effort is up there with the best. In fact the main players almost look familiar. Here is the info that accompanies the video on youtube:
Published on 17 Dec 2012
The Headquarters Squadron of 21 Engineer Regiment, currently deployed on operations in Afghanistan have produced a video parody of Psy's Gangnam Style to raise money for a local charity.
Over the past three months, during periods of downtime and after work, soldiers from 7 Headquarters and Support Squadron (HQ & Sp Sqn) have produced the video, launched this week.
Their aim is to raise the profile for the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team (SMRT), a local charity with whom they have strong links to.
The video was filmed & produced by the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) in Afghanistan.
At time of writing the Just Giving page has 101 donations which have raised £1,025.00 With a little help that could soon swell. Claire Squires who died during the London marathon, had a just giving page when tragedy struck and to date it has raised £940,958.50 from 80,863 donations.
In spite of austerity British people remain generous.Enjoy the video and please give generously at www.justgiving.com/raise-the-fleet
Ten young girls in Afghanistan have been killed by a landmine. They were reportedly gathering firewood at the time. The incident happened in the eastern Afghanistan Nangarhar province. One of the girls unwittingly chopped into the bomb with an axe. Ten young lives gone in the blink of an eye. Families left bereaved and grief stricken. According to sources the girls were aged between 9 and 13
. Apart from those who died two girls received serious, possibly life threatening, injuries. The landmine was a long standing death trap waiting to happen, left over from the Afghan conflict with Russia. Perhaps it should be mentioned here that some countries in the West were keen to supply the people Arms during that conflict. Certain Afghans waged a Jihad against the Russians and we colluded. According to wikipedia " The mujahideen received wide military and financial support from Pakistan, also receiving direct and indirect support by the United States and China.
"Now those same people, the Mujahideen, are enemies classed as insurgents and terrorists, the Taliban. And so on it goes.SkyNews reportsb that "In the first six months of 2012, 1,145 Afghan civilians were killed and around 2,000 wounded, mostly by roadside bombs. Women and children account for about 30% of this year's casualties."The country is so heavily mined after recent conflicts that it will be nigh on impossible to ever make safe. Work goes on to try and make it as safe as possible.
The UN claims that thousands of mines and explosives have been destroyed but there are so many more hidden unseen just waiting for a person to come close.One thing that instantly sprang to this blogger's mind was that it was young girls doing this work and not boys nor men. Yes it appears that the lot of females in Afghanistan has changed little.RIPUpdates to follow as available
........The latest news is that it was nine girls who were killed and three injured. That of course could still change. Locals claim it was an old Jihad bomb whilst some officials have said it is a recent Taliban bomb. Whoever was responsible suffice to say there are many such bombs scattered around Afghanistan, potentially killing any person or persons who encounters them
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
Australia has suffered its worst military losses for almost 50 years. Early today in the UK there were reports that five Australian soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan
, in separate incidents.In the first, three soldiers were killed in what is often called a "green on blue" attack. These are when the killer or attacker is a local person in uniform and the victim a member of the foreign forces in the country. As the three men relaxed, at their base in
the southern Uruzgan province, an Afghan in uniform opened fire. The Afghan soldier turned his gun on them killing all three. Two more soliders were injured in the attack, in which an automatic weapon was used at close range. Other miltary personnel who were at the scene opened fire on the Afghan soldier but he escaped. A manhunt is underway. Hours later two Australian soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in Helmand province. Australia provides a large military presence in Afghanistan.
These forces are outside of the NATO alliance of countries and so forgotten by many in the media. Australia has 1,550 troops on the ground in Afghanistan.The bloody antics of insurgents in Afghanistan has increased this year. Thy appear to be targetting the "training" mission by launching a series of "insider" attacks. These "green on blue" killings undermine the training of Afghan military personnel and reduce confidence.Top ranking military personnel in the US claim that the war in Afghanistan is being won but it does not seem that way when you view the incresing number of attacks by disillusioned, angry or rebel Afghans. Early in 2012 there were incidents such as the burning of the Koran by US military personnel and the murder of 17 civilians allegedly by a rogue US sodlier. Green on blue attacks have increased since then.
Obviously a war lasting more than ten years will have many more incidents, on all sides.To date, so far in 2012, 45 soldiers have been killed in insider attacks This figure is much higher than for all of 2011
If you believe that the ISAF mission in Afghanistan has been successful perhaps you need to have a re-think. While it may have achieved part of its aims Afghanistan remains as volatile as ever. A bloody period in the country has resulted in many deaths including civilians, and soldiers of different nationalities.
The latest news, in a BBC report, reinforces the belief that Afghanistan is far from a settled country. 17 local people in the Kajaki district have been beheaded. The killers are not known. The victims were two women and fifteen men. The village had been used by both insurgents and foreign troops. The incident is being investigated.
10 Afghan soldiers were also killed in in the same region when their checkpoint was attacked by insurgents. Details of this attack are sketchy with claims that this attack was yet another case of an "inside" job. There are reports that another five soldiers opted to join the insurgents and took their weapons with them. Either that or they were kidnapped. 42 members of the ISAF have been killed so far this year. There are early reports of two more ISAF deaths today.
What have been called "green on blue attacks" have been on the increase in Afghanistan this year. Currently there are 130,000 ("blue") NATO troops in Afghanistan working alongside 350,000 ("green") Afghan personnel.
Opinion: This protracted war is becoming a killing fields. Local people will be embittered after being an occupied country for such a long time. Incidents such as that in which SSG Bales allegedly killed 17 civilians will have helped breed a new generation of insurgents.
Most people in countries that have troops involved in Afghanistan want their soldiers out of Afghanistan and home. They are gradually being withdrawn but the fear is that they will leave a hotbed of insurgency when they have left. It does look as if that is what will happen, whether the troops are withdrawn tomorrow or in ten years.
The West has not learned any lessons though. It is still keen to become embroiled in the Syrian civil war, with further action possible in the Lebanon and Iran.
Update: The latest information is that the 17 civilians who were killed had been party goers. Their bodies were all found at the side of a road. All had either had their throats cut or had been beheaded