THE Afghan war saga continues.
First of all it was the tour of duty that would last for three years, with Labour Defence Minister John Reid confident that the soldiers would not have to fire a shot.
Thus far the paratroopers on their own are estimated to have fired almost 500,000 shots along with up to 4,000 mortar shells and hundreds of grenades.
The army once in Helmand province, threw off the ‘reconstruction’ disguise and began boasting about what it would do to the Taleban, with its vastly superior armament, air support, and firepower.
The army was then directed by Blair and President Karzai to take control of outposts in central and northern Helmand, such as Musa Qala and Sangin. The idea was that these outposts would become the killing fields to destroy the Taleban.
To their dismay the army discovered that the Taleban was ready, willing and determined to exterminate it.
The cry went up for massive reinforcement, before the troops were overrun.
When reinforcement arrived the tune again changed. It was said that the paratroopers were on top in some of the heaviest fighting seen since the Korean War. Hundreds of Taleban were being slaughtered and their villages were being bombed and destroyed, by both US and UK forces. The hearts and minds of the Afghans were forgotten in favour of body counts of dead Talebs.
We were told that fistfulls of VCs were being readied to reward the victorious troops.
Meanwhile, the casualty rate rocketed with 31 British troops killed since Britain took charge of the NATO operation. The numbers of wounded, for reasons of morale at home, were suppressed.
Then yesterday we heard the news that the much vaunted British army has followed the advice of President Musharraf and found an ‘Afghan solution’ much resembling the peace deal that the Pakistani army has made with the Wazirs just over the border. It was either this or within a short space of time run for it.
The army approached the village elders in the area around the besieged Musa Qala and offered the Taleban a deal, in fact a truce, a cease-fire and a withdrawal of British forces if the Talebs pledged not to occupy the area that is to be evacuated.
The terrorists that ‘we’ would never deal with or negotiate with were treated to both. The mission to take Helmand province by storm has been stopped in its tracks.
The withdrawal of the British forces confirms that the Taleban have won the struggle for Musa Qala, and that the British army will shortly have to retreat under the flag of truce from the whole of Afghanistan, with its retreat covered by as much spin as the spin doctors can muster.
Any shreds of credibility that the British government retained despite the Iraqi debacle have now been dissipated and lost entirely.
The British armed forces have been humbled, its TA reserve shattered, and its officer corps reduced to fighting amongst itself, as to which service is to blame, with some accusing the RAF of being ‘utterly, utterly useless’.
The Taleban have delivered a major blow to British imperialism, and there is no doubt that their leader Mullah Omar must qualify as the politician of the year for his stalwart leadership of the Taleban forces in the face of the massive firepower of its enemies.
There is also no doubt that sections of the officer corps will seek to bring their poisonous disposition back to Britain with them and enter politics joining Colonel Collins and the Met Chief of Police Blair in suggesting that they can do better than parliament.
However, there is not the slightest doubt that the British working class will complete the job that the Iraqi and Afghan workers have begun, destroying British imperialism with a socialist revolution at home that will bring in a workers government that will disband the armed forces, the police and all of the reactionary armed bodies of men of the capitalist state.