Sinking Deeper Into The Afghan Morass

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THE talk by the commander of the British forces in Afghanistan, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, that ‘missions by special forces and air strikes by unmanned drones have “decapitated” the Taleban and brought the war in Afghanistan to a “tipping point”’ is an example of the kind of self-delusion that fuelled Hitler’s ill-fated invasion of Russia.

If unmanned drones and a few special forces can do the job, why can’t the mass of British forces be withdrawn now, along with the mass of the other 53,000 NATO troops that are serving in Afghanistan?

Carleton-Smith went on to declare that the Taleban had failed, that they were now being beaten and were on the brink of defeat.

In fact the opposite is the case, as yesterday’s speech by the outgoing US commander of all of the NATO forces in Afghanistan has made clear.

With President Karzai standing by his side US General Dan McNeill said that the war against the Taleban is ‘under-resourced’, and that more manpower and equipment was needed.

He added: ‘This is an under-resourced war and it needs more manoeuvre units, it needs more flying machines, it needs more intelligence, surveillance and recognisance apparatus.’

He continued: ‘I’m not just focused on the US sector, I’m talking about across the country.’

He suggested that if their counter-insurgency guidelines were strictly followed, 400,000 troops would be needed in Afghanistan, some 350,000 more than there are at present.

President Karzai told the assembled ambassadors and dignitaries and the new commander, General McKiernan, that his task would not be easy and that more lives would be lost before Afghanistan could stand on its own feet.

In fact Karzai’s appearance must have been a nerve-racking affair for him, since on the last occasion he took part in a major parade in the capital, an attempt was made to assassinate him.

The truth about the current situation is that the Taleban are now running the greater part of Afghanistan, and its power has spread since the 8,000 British troops and their massive firepower were sent to Afghanistan.

President Karzai’s writ does not run outside the presidential palace in Kabul, while whole areas of the capital are no-go areas to non-Afghans since they are controlled by the Taleban.

For the first time since the US invasion of Afghanistan removed the Taleban from power, Taleban insurgents are now active in all parts of the country, where they are using land mines and improvised explosive devices, following the example of the Iraqi insurgents, with great success.

Clearly the Taleban are not on the brink of defeat and they are not being defeated.

It is the British forces that are taking the unacceptable number of casualties, both killed and wounded.

It is Brigadier Carleton-Smith who is being forced by the strategic defeat that NATO is suffering to try and prepare for the furore that the deaths of over 100 British soldiers in Afghanistan will cause in the UK, by making his outlandish and fictional propaganda claims.

In fact, as we all know, the British army has been strained to breaking point with its military command admitting that the UK military did not have the capacity to fight two wars at the same time.

We are now being told that the British army is once again patrolling in Basra, and that thousands of troops, not counting special forces active in central and northern Iraq, will be remaining in Iraq.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are being lost, and the British army is being demoralised by the fact that in Afghanistan its massive firepower has not brought it victory.

It is Britain that is on the brink of defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and no amount of army propaganda can disguise this situation.

British workers must demand the immediate withdrawal of all UK forces from Iraq and Afghanistan so that the Iraqi and Afghan people are able to decide what kind of government they want without imperialist interference.