Afghanistan Chaos

morningstar667

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jan 25, 2006
Messages
274
Likes
4
Points
34
#1
Top soldier quits as blundering campaign turns into 'pointless' war
Christina Lamb
THE former aide-de-camp to the commander of the British taskforce in southern Afghanistan has described the campaign in Helmand province as “a textbook case of how to screw up a counter-insurgency”.

“Having a big old fight is pointless and just making things worse,” said Captain Leo Docherty, of the Scots Guards, who became so disillusioned that he quit the army last month.

“All those people whose homes have been destroyed and sons killed are going to turn against the British,” he said. “It’s a pretty clear equation — if people are losing homes and poppy fields, they will go and fight. I certainly would.

We’ve been grotesquely clumsy — we’ve said we’ll be different to the Americans who were bombing and strafing villages, then behaved exactly like them.”

Docherty’s criticisms, the first from an officer who has served in Helmand, came during the worst week so far for British troops in Afghanistan, with the loss of 18 men.

They reflected growing concern that forces have been left exposed in small northern outposts of Helmand such as Sangin, Musa Qala and Nawzad. Pinned down by daily Taliban attacks, many have run short of food and water and have been forced to rely on air support and artillery.

“We’ve deviated spectacularly from the original plan,” said Docherty, who was aide-de-camp to Colonel Charlie Knaggs, the commander in Helmand.

“The plan was to secure the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, initiate development projects and enable governance . . . During this time, the insecure northern part of Helmand would be contained: troops would not be ‘sucked in’ to a problem unsolvable by military means alone.”

According to Docherty, the planning “fell by the wayside” because of pressure from the governor of Helmand, who feared the Taliban were toppling his district chiefs in northern towns.

Docherty traces the start of the problems to the British capture of Sangin on May 25, in which he took part. He says troops were sent to seize this notorious centre of Taliban and narcotics activity without night-vision goggles and with so few vehicles they had to borrow a pick-up truck.

More damningly, once they had established a base in the town, the mission failed to capitalise on their presence. Sangin has no paved roads, running water or electricity, but because of a lack of support his men were unable to carry out any development, throwing away any opportunity to win over townspeople.

“The military is just one side of the triangle,” he said. “Where were the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office? “The window was briefly open for our message to be spread, for the civilian population to be informed of our intent and realise that we weren’t there simply to destroy the poppy fields and their livelihoods. I felt at this stage that the Taliban were sitting back and observing us, deciding in their own time how to most effectively hit us.”

Eventually the Taliban attacked on June 11, when Captain Jim Philippson became the first British soldier to be killed in Helmand. British troops have since been holed up in their compound with attacks coming at least once a day. Seven British soldiers have died in the Sangin area.

“Now the ground has been lost and all we’re doing in places like Sangin is surviving,” said Docherty. “It’s completely barking mad.

“We’re now scattered in a shallow meaningless way across northern towns where the only way for the troops to survive is to increase the level of violence so more people get killed. It’s pretty shocking and not something I want to be part of.”
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2350795,00.html
Looks like our military have never heard of Dien Bien Phu
 

Yithian

Parish Watch
Staff member
Joined
Oct 29, 2002
Messages
23,136
Likes
19,824
Points
309
Location
East of Suez
#2
morningstar667 said:
Looks like our military have never heard of Dien Bien Phu
Good article, bad analogy. British positions would be evacuated if there was significant risk of them being overrun. The numbers involved makes this viable. A far better comparison in Khe Sahn, Vietnam.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Khe_Sanh
 

morningstar667

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jan 25, 2006
Messages
274
Likes
4
Points
34
#3
theyithian said:
Good article, bad analogy.
Well it's a bit early in the morning to be childishly picky about the vietnam war.Surrounded and stuck with low supplies is my point. How about the Alamo instead? :lol:
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,452
Likes
8,842
Points
284
Location
Under the moon
#4
Another fine mess Tony has gotten us into.... :evil:

There's a good opinion piece in the WMN by Neil Young, titled "Don't let him leave quietly", where he suggests that the more humiliating Blair's exit from No.10, the better for British (and world) politics in years to come, in that future PMs will have to think long and hard about foreign adventures.

(Not available online, it seems.)
 

Yithian

Parish Watch
Staff member
Joined
Oct 29, 2002
Messages
23,136
Likes
19,824
Points
309
Location
East of Suez
#5
Sorry. It's late afternoon in my time-zone so i can be picky. ;) So, while the battle of Dien Bien Phu was fought in Vietnam it certainly wasn't part of The Vietnam War.

The big diffence i saw is that while the Brits are being tied down they are unlikely to be overun like the French were.

Either way, it's certainly a mess.
 

crunchy5

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Aug 24, 2005
Messages
1,756
Likes
9
Points
54
#6
DBP was a strategy of presenting a beautiful target that the enemy could not resist attacking on the assumption that the French would win, an arrogant and presumptive idea. Reading the reports of the fighting in Afghanistan I get the Idea that we might be using a similar tactic though on a much smaller scale relying on the improved communications and transport to save the day. Perhaps it's perceived as a clever way of winning the war of the flea. If I am right in this assumption this could fall apart disastrously if conditions preclude flying and the enemy manage to concentrate force correctly. I await the winter with interest.
 

dreeness

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Dec 8, 2004
Messages
982
Likes
14
Points
34
#7
Toronto Star
Friday September 8 2006
Page A1

'We can't eliminate Taliban'

Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor shifts position on Canada's mission in Afghanistan

Bill Schiller in Toronto
Bruce Campion-Smith in Ottawa

With Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan locked down in one of this country's biggest battles in modern times, Ottawa's top military officials conceded yesterday the Taliban cannot be eliminated by force.
The revelations -- first by Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor in an interview from Australia, and later confirmed by Chief of the Defence Staff Gen Rick Hillier in Ottawa -- are certain to stun Canadians who are increasingly concerned about the rising number of Canadian casualties in Afghanistan.
Thirty-two soldiers have died since Canada deployed troops there in 2002. Sixteen have died in the past three months alone.
The comments came on a day when NATO's supreme commander, US Gen James Jones, called for reinforcements from member nations for the embattled southern region, where Canadians, Americans, Dutch and British are leading the fight.
"We cannot eliminate the Taliban," O'Connor told a Reuters reporter in Australia, "not militarily anyway. We've got to get them back to some sort of acceptable level..."
O'Connor's candour was a clear shift from just more than three months ago when he told a Commons' committee he welcomed large-scale Taliban attacks because it gave Canadian soldiers the opportunity to kill them in large numbers.
"If they concentrate against our military then we can defeat them, and lately they have been concentrating against our militaries," he said confidently on May 30.

(more at http://www.thestar.com )
 

crunchy5

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Aug 24, 2005
Messages
1,756
Likes
9
Points
54
#8
I wonder if the Canadian attitude is mirrored in the refusal of several NATO member states to deploy more troops to Afghanistan when directly asked to by the US administration. I note how he welcomes the attacks on nato bases as a way of getting the enemy concentrated and thus killed.
 

dreeness

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Dec 8, 2004
Messages
982
Likes
14
Points
34
#9
And also, this is coming fom the most ultra-conservative government that Canada has ever had.

(Without going too much into boring Canadian stuff that even Canadians can't be bothered to talk about, our old "Progressive Conservative Party" was eventually replaced by a new hard-right "Conservative Party", which happens to be in a minority government situation at the moment.)
 

Mike_Pratt33

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Messages
624
Likes
3
Points
49
#11
Jerry_B said:
An area which borders Afghanistan has been ceeded to the Taliban:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/5320692.stm
Waziristan has always been like that. I have just been reading a book about it in the 1930's when it was part of the British Empire but even then it couldn't be said to be under British control. It was dealt with by a method of carrot and stick - payments to tribal leaders if they behaved, sending in the army if they didn't.

At one point the army was sent to capture a troublesome leader hiding in a cave. They never found him and he was still causing trouble 20 years later when the government had passed to the Pakistanis
 

crunchy5

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Aug 24, 2005
Messages
1,756
Likes
9
Points
54
#12
Kipling had this to say about the war in Afgahnistan all those years ago.

A scrimmage in a Border Station
A canter down some dark defile
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail
The Crammer’s boast, the Squadron’s pride,
Shot like a rabbit in a ride!
 

morningstar667

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jan 25, 2006
Messages
274
Likes
4
Points
34
#13
The Times September 14, 2006

Nato chiefs fail to win additional 2,500 troops
By David Charter in Brussels and Michael Evans, Defence Editor
NATO failed yesterday to find the urgent reinforcements that its top generals have demanded to strengthen operations against the Taleban in Afghanistan.

Despite the recent pressure on Nato governments to reinforce alliance troops fighting in the south of the country, officials admitted that there had been no formal offers in response to an appeal from the alliance’s military and political chiefs to produce another 2,500 troops, as well as helicopters and transport aircraft.

Chiefs of the 26-member alliance must now wait until a defence ministers’ meeting in Slovenia on September 28 to discover whether there has been any change of heart. Nato foreign ministers will also meet in the margins of next Thursday’s United Nations General Assembly in New York.

British defence sources said that although nothing had materialised so far, there was still “a glimmer of hope” that one or two nations would step forward with the necessary troops.

Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, was speaking with his Nato counterparts to explore the possibilities. “But we are not talking about sending more British troops,” one defence source said.

One senior Nato official said that the alliance was looking for a “framework nation” that would agree to form and lead a mobile reserve force.

After a meeting of Nato ambassadors in Brussels, an alliance spokesman said that there had been “positive informal indications”.

James Appathurai, the chief spokesman for Nato, tried to put a brave face on the slow reaction yesterday. He said that the failure to find the extra troops needed for southern Afghanistan had not affected Operation Medusa, the Canadian-led offensive against the Taleban in Kandahar province.

Mr Appathurai said that two thirds of the territory was now under Nato control and had been cleared of improvised explosive devices and boobytraps. “It’s just that during this operation [which has lasted 12 days], commanders on the ground realised that with more troops and aircraft giving close air support the operation could have been carried out more quickly and with less risk,” he said.

Asked whether the additional 2,500 soldiers needed could be deployed to southern Afghanistan before the snows came, the spokesman replied that “everyone is moving as fast as possible”.

He said that Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the Nato Secretary-General, “expects and hopes that allies will continue to demonstrate solidarity and come forward to meet the shortfalls”.

Nato’s mission, he added, did not extend to pacifying the country, simply to creating the conditions for reconstruction and training Afghan forces.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2356883,00.html
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,452
Likes
8,842
Points
284
Location
Under the moon
#14
Another angle on war and its results:
Injured troops put into mixed civilian wards
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent

(Filed: 17/09/2006)

Soldiers injured on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq are being treated alongside civilian patients on mixed wards in National Health Service hospitals, it can be revealed.

The Ministry of Defence's policy of treating wounded soldiers in designated military wards has been officially declared "unsustainable" because of the growing number of troops being injured in combat and a lack of military medical staff.

The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that severely injured troops with bullet wounds and amputated limbs are being treated on open wards in beds next to civilian patients, including pensioners and mentally ill patients, at the Selly Oak NHS hospital in Birmingham. Senior officers and MPs have branded this a "disgrace" and want the Government to reinstate the special military wards immediately. They are concerned that it is detrimental to the treatment and recovery not only of the troops but also the civilian patients.

It can also be revealed that Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, visited the hospital last month following complaints by senior officers. He has admitted that the treatment of injured soldiers needs improving and has ordered an investigation.

This newspaper is exposing the scandal as part of its "Fair Deal For Our Troops" campaign. The Sunday Telegraph is seeking better pay and conditions for soldiers, including tax breaks while on combat operations, It follows our revelations that troops fighting in Afghanistan are earning in effect just £1.50 per hour after tax. Nineteen soldiers are being treated on three wards at Selly Oak, with more expected over the weekend. Five were injured in Iraq and 14 in Afghanistan.

More than 600 soldiers have been flown back to Britain after being injured on operations abroad since March 2003.

Selly Oak hospital is the main casualty reception centre for soldiers who have been injured on operations, and the location of the headquarters of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine. But the troops are all treated at the NHS hospital on civilian wards, each of which contains 32 beds.

Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, called the crisis a "shocking indictment of the Government's attitude to its Armed Forces".

One soldier recovering from a gunshot wound has described how he spent three weeks in a bed next to a mentally handicapped man who was unable to care for or clean himself.

Another soldier at the hospital recalled one of his comrades who had lost a leg screaming in agony because the morphine had worn off. The pain was so intense that the soldier fainted twice during the 45 minutes he had to wait before a doctor could be found to administer more morphine.

The soldier said that civilians on the ward, many of them pensioners, had been deeply upset.

It is also understood that servicemen traumatised by seeing comrades killed in action have waited up to five weeks before they being offered any form of psychiatric counselling.

One soldier said: "When I was evacuated from Afghanistan I was assured I would be treated on a military ward, every soldier here was told the same. The circumstances at Selly Oak are degrading for civilian patients and soldiers alike. Every senior officer who has visited us has told me that the situation is disgraceful and has apologised."

Before the strategic defence review that followed the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, there were seven military hospitals. But under a programme entitled "Defence Cost Study 15" in 1994, all but one were closed. Royal Hospital Haslar, in Portsmouth, survived but is now being mothballed and is due to close next year when the site will be sold to a developer.

After the closure of the service hospitals, special military wards were created in a number of NHS hospitals which were manned by Forces medical staff. But the MoD has confirmed that this policy has been abandoned because staff shortages and the so-called high tempo of operations made them "unsustainable".

Dr Fox called for changes to be made immediately, and said: "Those who are injured on active service deserve to recover, not only from their injuries but the trauma that they have endured, in security and dignity."

And Patrick Mercer, the shadow minister for homeland security and a former infantry commander, said: "Soldiers need their own military wards when they are recovering from war wounds. Anything less is a betrayal."

An MoD spokesman said: "The Secretary of State believes that improvements could and should be made to the overall healthcare package currently on offer to troops who are wounded while on operations. His view is that, where possible, military-managed wards within NHS hospitals offer an ideal environment…Therefore he has asked officials to look into this and further details will be announced in due course."
http://tinyurl.com/zgmd2
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,452
Likes
8,842
Points
284
Location
Under the moon
#15
Meanwhile, back at the front, it's damned if you do, damned if you don't:
Hold fire at Taliban fighters: they are attending a funeral
By Philip Sherwell in New York

(Filed: 17/09/2006)

The American intelligence officers monitoring the satellite feed from an unmanned spy plane at their base in Afghanistan could hardly believe their eyes.

An estimated 190 Taliban fighters were lined up in tightly packed formation, captured in the crosshairs of a gun sight — as the picture shows.

[The Predator drone traps 190 men in its sights before they disperse ]

Rarely in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan are so many Taliban fighters gathered together on open land. The target was too tempting to ignore: all it required was authorisation for the Predator drone to launch an air strike.

"We were so excited. I came rushing in with the picture," an army officer told an NBC television journalist who obtained the grainy black-and-white photograph taken in July. But then, to his frustration, they were told that the United States military's rules of engagement made an attack impossible because the men were attending a funeral in a cemetery.

The officers then watched the satellite footage of the fighters splintering into small groups — not big enough for the drone to target — and heading back to their mountain redoubts. They were convinced that prominent Taliban leaders had been present.

At a time when British-led Nato forces are incurring heavy casualties as the resurgent Taliban pursues a guerrilla war on several fronts, the decision has caused amazement in America and been criticised by relatives of US troops killed in Afghanistan.

For many, it also brought back memories of the decision not to order an air strike when a Predator drone tracked Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader and Osama bin Laden ally, as he left Kabul in a convoy in late 2001 and took cover in a building with 100 fighters.

The disbelief was heightened as the picture of the assembled Taliban fighters appeared on an NBC news blog just two days after a suicide bomber killed six people at the funeral of the governor of Paktia province, who was assassinated by the Taliban.

The US military did not give a reason for the decision and does not discuss its rules of engagement. But it noted in a statement that while the Taliban had killed civilians during a funeral, coalition forces "hold themselves to a higher moral and ethical standard than their enemies".

The intelligence officers monitoring the footage were in no doubt that the men were Taliban fighters. Nonetheless, the military remains extremely wary of hitting culturally sensitive targets, even with apparently credible information, as was the case when US aircraft mistakenly bombed a wedding party in Afghanistan in 2002, killing several dozen civilians.

But American caution has also proved expensive at times. When Mullah Omar was located in 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency requested permission from Central Command in Florida to destroy the building. The response from Gen Tommy R Franks, the military commander, was that his legal officer "doesn't like this, so we're not going to fire". The mullah escaped unscathed.
http://tinyurl.com/pwz8k
 

morningstar667

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jan 25, 2006
Messages
274
Likes
4
Points
34
#16
It just goes on and on.......

Nato convoy hit in Afghanistan

Sunday 17 September 2006, 9:45 Makka Time, 6:45 GMT

A car-bomber has attacked a Nato convoy in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, killing himself and a passer-by, a police officer said.

No Nato troops were hurt in Sunday's blast, the officer said.

On Saturday, Afghan and US-led forces launched a large military operation against the Taliban in five Afghan provinces, the US military said.

About 4,000 Afghan police and 3,000 US-led soldiers were involved in the operation, a statement from the US military said.

The statement said the goal of the operation, named Mountain Fury, was also to assist with economic growth and community development.

The announcement came as 10 people died in two attacks in Afghanistan on Saturday.

Around 60 Taliban fighters attacked a police checkpoint in the south of the country, sparking a battle that left four fighters and three security guards at the checkpoint dead, police said.

Three Afghan security contractors were also killed when a remote controlled bomb exploded on a road south of Kabul, police said.

Nato operation

The 7,000 troops will concentrate their fight on the central and eastern provinces of Paktia, Khost, Ghazni, Paktya and Logar, the US military statement said.

The operation comes as Nato-led troops in the south press ahead with their own anti-Taliban push, which they claim has killed hundreds of militants in the last two weeks.

"Mountain Fury has been ongoing for several weeks in 'shaping operations' designed to improve security for the Afghan people and separate Taliban extremists from the population," according to the statement.

The US military did not say when exactly the operation started, but said the "manoeuvre stage" was launched early on Saturday.
http://tinyurl.com/f6y2f
 

morningstar667

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jan 25, 2006
Messages
274
Likes
4
Points
34
#17
When I read the 1st bit it was a WTF moment....


The Sunday Times September 17, 2006

UK troops 'to spend 10 years' in Afghanistan
Michael Smith, Kandahar
THE commander of the British taskforce in southern Afghanistan said last week that UK troops could be in the country for as long as 10 years.

In his first interview since arriving in Afghanistan, Brigadier Ed Butler said: “I don’t think there’s any doubt we will be here for a considerable time. There will need to be training teams and embedded officers for 10 years or so.”


Butler, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, took full responsibility for setting up the “platoon houses” at Sangin and Musa Qala, where 15 British soldiers have died. But he said the decision to send troops into the frontline bases, described by many of his men as “hellholes”, was made “under not inconsiderable pressure” from Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president.

When British troops began arriving in April to take charge of Helmand province, they met immediate Taliban resistance, Butler said. Baghran district centre had been overrun by the Taliban.

“The governor [of Helmand] was concerned, and the Afghan government was concerned, that northern Helmand was about to fall to the Taliban,” said Butler.

British troops had shown immense bravery in intense combat. “They have been in almost constant engagement with the enemy. Some of these guys are barely out of school. Killing someone is a very difficult thing to do,” Butler said. “People think: ‘Well, that’s what soldiers are paid to do’, but it still takes raw courage to go out and do it.”
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2361496,00.html
 

crunchy5

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Aug 24, 2005
Messages
1,756
Likes
9
Points
54
#19
Come on guys think of the upside, shares in big oil have gone through the roof closely followed by arms manufacturers, if only I had been clever enough to get on the inside in the build up to war then I could've shared in the wealth like Carlyle bliar.
 

crunchy5

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Aug 24, 2005
Messages
1,756
Likes
9
Points
54
#20
Here's an intelligent informative view of the war at the moment.


http://www.ericmargolis.com/

The respected European think-tank, Senlis Council, which focuses on Afghanistan, just reported the Taliban movement is `taking back Afghanistan’ and now controls that nation’s southern half.

This is an amazing departure from claims by the US and its NATO allies that they are steadily winning the war in Afghanistan. Or, more precisely, winning it again, since the Bush Administration claimed to have won total victory in Afghanistan in 2001. At the time, this column predicted that victory was an illusion and the war would resume in force in 4-5 years.

According to the Senlis Council, southern Afghanistan is suffering `a humanitarian crisis of starvation and poverty…caused by `US-British military policies.’

Deflating optimistic western reports, Senlis investigators found, `US policies in Afghanistan have re-created the safe haven for terrorism that the 2001 invasion aimed to destroy.’ This is a bombshell.

The US and NATO have been insisting any withdrawal of their forces from Afghanistan - or from Iraq - will leave a void certain to be filled by extremists. These claims are nonsense, given that half of Afghanistan and a third of Iraq are already largely controlled by anti-western resistance forces.

Were it not for omnipotent US airpower, American and NATO forces would be quickly driven from Afghanistan and Iraq. If Afghan and Iraqi resistance forces ever manage to obtain effective man-portable anti-aircraft weapons, such as the US Stinger or Russian SA-18, the US-led occupation of those nations may become untenable. The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980’s was doomed once mujahidin forces obtained American Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

Last week, Canadian and British commanders boasted they were about to annihilate Taliban forces `surrounded’ around Panjwai and Zahri. They crowed an `estimated 500 Taliban,’ had already been killed.

A storm of bombing and shelling did kill many Afghans, but most of the dead `suspected Taliban militants’ turned out, as usual, to be civilians. NATO failed to show bodies of dead enemy fighters to back up its absurd claims.

When NATO forces entered Panjwai after weeks of air strikes and shelling, the supposedly `surrounded’ Taliban had vanished. Embarrassed British and Canadian commanders admitted `we were surprised the enemy had fled.’ Surprised?

Doesn’t anyone remember the Vietnam War’s fruitless search and destroy missions and inflated body counts? Don’t NATO commanders know their every move is telegraphed in advance to Taliban forces? Don’t they see what’s going on now in Iraq?

Did Canadian officers making such fanciful claims really believe Taliban’s veteran guerillas would be stupid enough to sit still and be destroyed by US air power?

Now, Canadian-led NATO forces are crowing about having finally occupied Panjewi. `Taliban has fled!’ they proudly announced. Don’t they understand that guerilla forces don’t hang on to fixed positions? Occupying ground is meaningless in guerilla warfare.

Seemingly immune to history or common sense, Canada is sending a few hundred more troops and a handful of obsolete tanks to Afghanistan. Poland, which will send troops anywhere for the right price, is adding 1,000 more soldiers next year.

US, British and Canadian politicians say they are surprised by intensifying Taliban resistance. They have only their own ignorance to blame.

Attacking Pashtuns, renowned for xenophobia, warlike spirits, and love of independence is a fool’s mission. Pashtuns are Afghanistan’s ethnic majority. Taliban is an offshoot of the Pushtun people. Long-term national stability is impossible without their representation and cooperation.

What the west calls `Taliban’ is actually a growing coalition of veteran Taliban fighters led by Mullah Dadullah, other clans of Pashtun tribal warriors, and nationalist resistance forces led by Jalalladin Hakkani and former prime minister, Gulbadin Hekmatyar, whom the CIA has repeatedly tried to assassinate.

Many are former mujahidin once hailed `freedom fighters’ by the west, and branded `terrorists’ by the Soviets. They represent national resistance to foreign occupation. In fact, what the US and its NATO allies are doing in Afghanistan today uncannily mirrors the brutal Soviet occupation during the 1980’s.

The UN’s anti-narcotic agency reports Afghanistan now supplies 92% of the world’s heroin. Production has surged 40% last year alone. Who is responsible? The US and NATO. They now own narco-state Afghanistan.
 

morningstar667

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jan 25, 2006
Messages
274
Likes
4
Points
34
#21
Report: Soldier says British military casualties in Afghanistan underreported
The Associated Press

Published: September 21, 2006
LONDON A British army officer claimed that Britain is sustaining higher casualties in Afghanistan than official figures suggest, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported Thursday.

Maj. Jon Swift, who is currently serving in Afghanistan, also said the British operation in Afghanistan is "politically" driven, the BBC said.

His comments were briefly posted on the Web site of his Royal Regiment of Fusiliers infantry battalion before being removed, according to the BBC.

British soldiers often have been treated for wounds and sent back out to fight in Afghanistan without their injuries being recorded, the network quoted Swift as saying.

"The scale of casualties has not been properly reported and shows no sign of reducing," Swift's letter on the Web site was quoted as saying. "Political, and not military, imperatives are being followed in the campaign."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense denied the accuracy of Swift's comments, which, he said, the BBC apparently had quoted correctly.

The spokesman said the ministry had not ordered that Swift's comments be removed from the Web site, which is maintained and controlled by an independent, private regimental association based in England. A phone call to the association on Thursday night was not immediately returned.

Speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with the Ministry of Defense's rules, the spokesman said all serious casualties suffered by British soldiers in Afghanistan are routinely recorded on the Ministry of Defense's Web site.

"We publish all serious injuries. We don't include relatively minor injuries, cuts, bruises, but all significant gunshot wounds, shrapnel wounds, amputations are fully reported on," the spokesman said.

He said the deployment of British troops in violent Afghan provinces such as Helmand in the south was not "politically motivated," but came at the request of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,452
Likes
8,842
Points
284
Location
Under the moon
#22
Major calls RAF support 'useless'

The RAF are "utterly, utterly useless" in protecting troops on the ground in Afghanistan, a major with the main UK battle group said in a leaked e-mail.
Major James Loden of 3 Para, based in the north of the southern province of Helmand, said more troops and helicopters were desperately needed.

There had been "plenty of tears" following casualties in the intense fighting with the Taleban, he added.

The MoD said the RAF played a "critical role" in supporting ground troops.

The ministry confirmed the contents of the e-mail as accurate.

The "tears" Maj Loden refers to were "not tears of exhaustion or frustration", a spokesman said.

"This is a reflection of the fact these men are under daily attack and sadly there are often daily casualties."

Describing Maj Loden's e-mail as "moving" and "humbling", the spokesman said it "reflects both how intense the fighting can occasionally be, and the enormous courage, dedication and skill of the British troops" in Helmand.

Some were "working to the limits of endurance, but their morale is high and they are winning the fight", he added.

Maj Loden's comments about the RAF "do not reflect the view of the vast majority of soldiers", the spokesman said.

It had "performed brilliantly in defending coalition forces", he added.

BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood said Maj Loden's comments reflected what officers were saying privately, but their tone and emphasis were at odds with the MoD's official statements.

Other Parachute Regiment officers had told him they prefer to call in American A-10 Tankbusters for air support when under fire because of what they see as the RAF's ineffectiveness, he added.

'Disturbing comments'

However, in a statement released by the MoD, 3 Para operations officer in Afghanistan Capt Matt Taylor said the RAF had "played a critical part in ensuring the security of the lads on the ground".

"They could not have asked for better support during some very difficult times," he added.

British spokesman in Southern Afghanistan Lt Col Dave Reynolds added the RAF was an "enormously effective", "invaluable" and "absolutely essential part of the operations in Afghanistan".

Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Nick Harvey called on the government to "provide an urgent statement" in response to Maj Loden's "disturbing comments".

His e-mail showed "the need for a reassessment of the full range of capabilities required to accomplish the Nato mission" in Afghanistan, Mr Harvey added.

Concern over UK casualties

"As our troops face increasing violence, we need to see a clear and achievable strategy and an honest assessment of the challenges ahead."

The e-mail, which has been sent to British Army head Sir Richard Dannatt, comes a day after another British commander in Afghanistan said the Army there was sustaining higher casualties than official figures suggested.

Writing in the Fusiliers' newsletter, Major John Swift said some had argued many casualties had been treated in the field and, therefore, had been omitted from the official statistics for wounded in action.

Casualty numbers were very significant and showed no signs of reducing, he added.

Maj Swift also said political rather than military imperatives were driving the operation.

He was referring to the Afghan government's demand for British troops to move to isolated fire bases in northern Helmand where they are now under siege by the Taleban.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/5371392.stm
This sounds like a right disaster waiting to happen. The sooner we get out the better. This kind of guerilla war can go on for ever, and the locals have the advantage - they're always there.
 

dreeness

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Dec 8, 2004
Messages
982
Likes
14
Points
34
#23
Canada readies fighter jets

Toronto Star
Friday September 22 2006
Bruce Campion-Smith
Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA -- While publicly touting redevelopment efforts in Afghanistan, the federal government has quietly laid the groundwork to deploy CF-18s, its front-line fighter jet, to support Canadian troops battling insurgents, documents show.
Ottawa has awarded the US government a $1.9 million contract for "deployment support" for the CF-18s, according to a list of contracts from Public Works and Government Services.

more at:

http://www.thestar.com
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
12,047
Likes
127
Points
114
#24
There'll be a lot of Russian Veterans, ex-Soviet politbureau types and apparatchicks who will just be glad it isn't them heading up the Khyber, this time. :(
 

morningstar667

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jan 25, 2006
Messages
274
Likes
4
Points
34
#25
The Sunday Times October 01, 2006

British troops in secret truce with the Taliban
Michael Smith
BRITISH troops battling the Taliban are to withdraw from one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan after agreeing a secret deal with the local people.

Over the past two months British soldiers have come under sustained attack defending a remote mud-walled government outpost in the town of Musa Qala in southern Afghanistan. Eight have been killed there.

It has now been agreed the troops will quietly pull out of Musa Qala in return for the Taliban doing the same. The compound is one of four district government offices in the Helmand province that are being guarded by British troops.

Although soldiers on the ground may welcome the agreement, it is likely to raise new questions about troop deployment. Last month Sir Richard Dannatt, the new head of the British Army, warned that soldiers in Afghanistan were fighting at the limit of their capacity and could only “just” cope with the demands.

When British troops were first sent to Afghanistan it was hoped they would help kick-start the country’s reconstruction. But under pressure from President Hamid Karzai they were forced to defend Afghan government “district centres” at Musa Qala, Sangin, Nowzad and Kajaki.

The move — opposed by Lieutenant-General David Richards, the Nato commander in Afghanistan — turned the four remote British bases into what Richards called “magnets” for the Taliban. All 16 of the British soldiers killed in action in southern Afghanistan have died at Musa Qala, Sangin or Nowzad.

The soldiers risk sniper fire and full-scale assaults from experienced Taliban fighters who can then blend into the local population after each attack.

The peace deal in Musa Qala was first mooted by representatives of the town’s 2,000-strong population. About 400 people living in the immediate area of the district centre compound have been forced to evacuate their homes, most of which have been destroyed in the fighting.

Brigadier Ed Butler, the commander of the British taskforce, flew into Musa Qala 18 days ago, guarded only by his military police close-protection team, to attend a shura, or council of town elders, to negotiate a withdrawal.

Butler was taken in a convoy to the shura in the desert southeast of Musa Qala where the carefully formulated proposals were made. The British commander said that he was prepared to back a “cessation of fighting” if they could guarantee that the Taliban would also leave.

The deal — and the avoidance of the word ceasefire — allows both sides to disengage without losing face, an important aspect in the Afghan psyche. Polls suggest that 70% of the population are waiting to see whether Nato or the Taliban emerge as the dominant force before they decide which to back.

Fighting in Afghanistan traditionally takes place in the summer and there are concerns that the Taliban could simply use the “cessation of fighting” to regroup and attack again next year. But there are clear signs of the commitment of the people of Musa Qala to the deal, with one Talib who stood out against it reportedly lynched by angry locals.

“There is always a risk,” one officer said. “But if it works, it will provide a good template for the rest of Helmand. The people of Sangin are already saying they want a similar deal.”

There is frustration among many British troops that they have been unable to help on reconstruction projects because they have been involved in intense fighting. An e-mail from one officer published this weekend said: “We are not having an effect on the average Afghan.

“At the moment we are no better than the Taliban in their eyes, as all they can see is us moving into an area, blowing things up and leaving, which is very sad.”

The Ministry of Defence announced this weekend that 10 British soldiers had been seriously injured in fighting in the last few days of August, bringing the total number of troops seriously injured in the country this year to 23.

A total of 29 British servicemen have lost their lives in southern Afghanistan in the past two months, including 14 who died when their Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft crashed on September 2.

A new poll published last week revealed a lack of public confidence over the deployment of troops in Afghanistan. According to the BBC poll, 53% of people opposed the use of British troops in the region.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2383232,00.html
 

crunchy5

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Aug 24, 2005
Messages
1,756
Likes
9
Points
54
#26
What a monumental waste of time, money and effort if this turns out to be correct, not to mention the lives lost or destroyed on both sides of the conflict.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061008/ap_ ... fghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan -
NATO's top commander in
Afghanistan warned on Sunday that a majority of Afghans would likely switch their allegiance to resurgent Taliban militants if their lives show no visible improvements in the next six months.
Click to learn more...

Gen. David Richards, a British officer who commands NATO's 32,000 troops here, told The Associated Press that he would like to have about 2,500 additional troops to form a reserve battalion to help speed up reconstruction and development efforts.

He said the south of the country, where NATO troops have fought their most intense battles this year, has been "broadly stabilized," which gives the alliance an opportunity to launch projects there. If it doesn't, he estimates about 70 percent of Afghans could switch their allegiance from NATO to the Taliban.

"They will say, 'We do not want the Taliban but then we would rather have that austere and unpleasant life that that might involve than another five years of fighting,'" Richards said in an interview.

"We have created an opportunity," following the intense fighting that left over 500 militants dead in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, he said. "If we do not take advantage of this, then you can pour an additional 10,000 troops next year and we would not succeed because we would have lost by then the consent of the people."

NATO extended its security mission last week to all of Afghanistan, taking command of 12,000 U.S. troops in the war-battered country's east. The mission is the biggest ground combat operation in NATO history and gives Richards command of the largest number of U.S. troops under a foreign leader since World War II.

Some 8,000 U.S. troops will continue to function outside NATO, tracking al-Qaida terrorists, helping train Afghan security forces and doing reconstruction work.

Afghanistan is going through its worst bout of violence since the U.S.-led invasion removed the former Taliban regime from power five years ago. The Taliban has made a comeback in the south and east of the country and is seriously threatening Western attempts to stabilize the country after almost three decades of war.

Taliban militants have acknowledged adopting the suicide attacks commonly used by insurgents in
Iraq, launching 78 suicide bombings across Afghanistan this year which have killed close to 200 people, NATO said Sunday.

There were only two suicide attacks in 2003 and six in 2004, according to Seth Jones, an analyst for the U.S.-based RAND Corp. He said there were 21 in 2005.
 

zarathustraspake

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
339
Likes
0
Points
32
#28
Finally, a bit of positive news. A ceasefire brokered by town elders between the British troops and the Taliban.

UK troops pull out of Afghan town

British troops have pulled out of an Afghan town which has been a centre of Taleban insurgency in recent months.

The change in tactics at Musa Qala, a district centre in southern Helmand province, follows a ceasefire brokered by tribal elders with Taleban fighters.

The elders will install their own police to maintain security in return for the Taleban also leaving the town.

Meanwhile, Nato says US-led forces have killed a Taleban commander and 15 other militants in Uruzgan province.

Nato said an American aircraft dropped three bombs on a compound in the Khod Valley, killing militants who it said had previously conducted ambush attacks on Afghan and Nato forces. It did not name the commander.

Hundreds of people have been killed, mainly in the south and east of Afghanistan, as violence has worsened between insurgents and Nato-led and Afghan forces this year.

The area around Musa Qala has seen some of the most intense fighting over the summer

Of 29 British soldiers who have died in Helmand province over the past two months, eight were killed in Musa Qala.

The BBC's Alastair Leithead in Helmand province says the decision to deploy British soldiers to remote town centres to defend small government compounds has stretched resources.

He says soldiers have been besieged by determined and fearless Taleban fighters and commanders have been looking for a face-saving way to redeploy troops almost ever since they discovered an enemy stronger than they expected.

British military commanders are not using the term "ceasefire" in connection with the deal at Musa Qala.

But Lt Col Andy Price said the move was a "seed of hope" which the army would "like to build on".

"We certainly won't do anything in order to disrupt what we hope is an enduring Afghan solution. If it works we'll be very pleased," he said, in his role as UK taskforce spokesman.

He said it was hoped that similar deals could be made elsewhere.


The provincial police chief of Helmand, Gen Mohammad Nabi Malakhel, told the BBC the Afghan government's writ still ran in the Musa Qala area.

He pointed out that the district's police chief and administrative head were still in place and the Afghan flag was flying above government buildings in the district.

Gen Malakhel said Nato troops could be called back into the area within 30 minutes.

One resident of Musa Qala, Haji Sarfaraz, told the BBC's Pashto Service that life was now returning to normal there.

"There was no business activity before, everything was in ruins, the locals were fed up, some were forced to flee," he said.

"Now they are again being given the opportunity to get on with their business. There is no fighting any more and calm has returned." Our correspondent says the withdrawal of British troops is a "significant step".

But it remains to be seen if the elders are strong enough to maintain security in the town and whether the change in tactics represents a major breakthrough, he adds.
 

morningstar667

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jan 25, 2006
Messages
274
Likes
4
Points
34
#29
Nato's role under fire after death toll mounts
From Anthony Loyd in Kandahar

“WHAT do you foreigners think you are doing?” an angry doctor demanded of me as three boys, all wounded by shrapnel, were wheeled into Mirawais hospital in Kandahar. One had his right eye blown out and the other two had abdominal injuries. “You bomb civilians, then come in to talk to them? Better if you leave.”

The hospital’s registration book showed that ten civilian casualties, including six children aged 8 to 12, had been admitted on Wednesday morning. There were many more casualties, survivors said. But they claimed that the roads were sealed by Nato troops and that the wounded had escaped across the fields.

Last night one official claimed that as many as 85 civilians had been killed in airstrikes and mortar bombardments around the settlement of Zangawat, in the Panjwayi district of the city. If confirmed, it would be the highest civilian death toll in an operation involving Western forces since the US-led invasion in 2001.

Nato said that a preliminary review by its forces had found the bodies of 12 civilians. The Interior Ministry claimed that 40 civilians and 20 Taleban fighters had died. The accuracy of those figures was impossible to substantiate, and the scene at Mirawais hospital did little to clear the confusion.

“We were under bombardment and airstrike from midnight onwards,” said Toor, 25, an Afghan farmer, lying dust-covered and bloody in a stretcher. “We couldn’t move, there was fire everywhere. Then I was hit in the leg. I crawled out with my wife and three brothers. All of us were wounded. We saw dead and wounded lying everywhere as we escaped: men, women and children.” Before The Times was ejected from the hospital, a second doctor said that 18 civilians had arrived for treatment after being wounded in three villages bombed by Nato.

Relatives of the wounded had only harsh words for their leaders in Kabul, whom they accuse of being bankrupt of courage and integrity.

“I’ve just called President Karzai and he switched off the phone,” said Haji Shah Mohammed, a senior member of the province’s council. “Three of my nephews are dead and three more of my family are wounded. I called the Governor but he switched off his phone too. Who will hear us?”

Afghan officials who travelled from Kandahar to assess the casualties in the Zangawat area said that they could not get close because of Taleban fighters there. “We couldn’t get access to the place we wanted as there were still Taleban in the area,” one official said.

Officials in Kandahar and Kabul claimed that 60 to 85 civilians had died in the attacks, a figure backed by locals. Nato had already said that an estimated 48 militants were killed in three incidents in Panjawi between late Tuesday morning and early Wednesday. The Nato statement made no mention of civilian casualties. Yesterday they increased the claim to suggest that 70 Taleban had been killed in Panjwayi, and admitted that “there may have been civilian casualties”.

It is clear that Nato used airpower and, in at least one incident, mortars, in response to Taleban attacks on government and Nato forces. It is also clear that Taleban fighters are still infiltrating Panjwayi. Nato and Afghan forces remain vulnerable to attack, security is minimal, civilians are dying and local anger towards foreign troops and the Kabul Government is growing by the day.

CIVILIAN TOLL CLAIMS

December 2001: US aircraft attack a convoy transporting tribal leaders to inaugauration of new Afghan government. About 60 killed, US claims al-Qaeda leaders among them

July 2002: 46 die, many from the same family, when a wedding party in Uruzgan province is bombed in error

22 May 2006: Governor of Kandahar province says 16 civilians killed in bombing on suspected Taleban hideout

18 October 2006: Afghan officials claim Nato airstrikes killed nine civilians in the village of Ashogho, Kandahar

There is no official record of civilian fatalities in Afghanistan
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2423956,00.html
 

crunchy5

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Aug 24, 2005
Messages
1,756
Likes
9
Points
54
#30
Oh dear the gamble hasn't paid off, the generals are revolting.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/ ... 82,00.html

Tony Blair's most trusted military commander yesterday branded as 'cuckoo' the way Britain's overstretched army was sent into Afghanistan.

The remarkable rebuke by General the Lord Guthrie came in an Observer interview, his first since quitting as Chief of the Defence Staff five years ago, in which he made an impassioned plea for more troops, new equipment and more funds for a 'very, very' over-committed army.

The decision by Guthrie, an experienced Whitehall insider and Blair confidant, to go public is likely to alarm Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence more than the recent public criticism by the current army chief Sir Richard Dannatt. 'Anyone who thought this was going to be a picnic in Afghanistan - anyone who had read any history, anyone who knew the Afghans, or had seen the terrain, anyone who had thought about the Taliban resurgence, anyone who understood what was going on across the border in Baluchistan and Waziristan [should have known] - to launch the British army in with the numbers there are, while we're still going on in Iraq is cuckoo,' Guthrie said.

In a unprecedented show of scepticism towards Blair, he said the Prime Minister's promise to give the army 'anything it wants' was unrealistic. 'I'm sure he meant what he said. He is not dishonest. But there is no way you can magic up trained Royal Air Force crews, or trained soldiers, quickly. You can't magic up helicopters, because there aren't any helicopters,' said Guthrie, promoted from chief of army staff to become overall head of the military for Blair's first term of office.

Guthrie said Britain was 'reaping the whirlwind' for assuming too great a 'peace dividend' after the Cold War and risks being ill-equipped for a whole new set of dangers.

He also cast doubt on suggestions of an early pullout from Iraq, saying that Britain could not afford to leave a 'bloodbath' behind.

Guthrie's comments will be given even further weight with the publication of a report on Friday by the National Audit Office that is expected to warn that the armed forces are failing to recruit and retain sufficient numbers to deliver the 'required military capability'. The report will echo Guthrie's warning that the armed forces are likely to remain seriously stretched 'for the foreseeable future'.

Guthrie voiced concern that ministers, civil servants and even some in the military were assuming that 'Afghanistan and Iraq are something we're going to muddle through for another couple of years and then we'll be able to go back' to a period of relative calm. 'I don't see that happening. I think we're in an extremely volatile, dangerous world,' he said. 'It's no good governments saying we're going to keep out of these things. They don't always have the luxury of choice. The type of crisis is actually quite difficult to forecast. But sure enough, we are going to have crises. There is absolutely no reason to suppose that the world is going to settle down in the foreseeable future. We're not going to be allowed to graze in Elysian fields with the sun on our backs.'

What was needed, he argued, was a fundamental new look at the needs of the British military in the 21st century - as the last strategic defence review, in 1998, had been geared to a dramatically different world. 'What are we actually going to be faced with?' he said. 'A lot has changed and we do actually need more soldiers to actually do the tasks - and new equipment. And we are saddled with some things that it doesn't look awfully likely we're going to use.'

In Iraq, he said, there were three possible scenarios for British forces. The first would be an immediate pullout and the prospect of civil war. The second was to partition the country, but that would risk the slaughter of minority communities in each of the new states. 'We would have to live with it for ever if we left and they were put to the sword,' he said.

That left the hope of somehow creating a more loosely 'federated' Iraq - a 'last chance saloon' option, but one which Guthrie felt might still be workable. 'We have to stick with Iraq not least because in international terms the price of failure is far greater than in Afghanistan'. Iraq could cause problems in the region for years, he said, with implications for Jordan and Turkey, as well as for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.
 
Top