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Thread: The best thing we can do is leave

  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default The best thing we can do is leave

    The title is taken from a hard Q&A with Ben Anderson, a British TV journalist who has made several superb documentaries in southern Afghanistan - which appeared on SWJ Blog as Afghanistan: Its Just Damage Limitation Now:

    The title's words appear in the last paragraph, which is full is:
    Paradoxically, the withdrawal gives me a tiny bit of hope that the insurgents in the south will stop fighting and laying IEDs once were no longer providing them with targets. But its a damning indictment of our efforts if the best thing we can do is leave.
    Link to interview:

    What is the books bottom line?

    Despite the incredible hard work, bravery and suffering of our troops, despite the massive Afghan civilian casualties, despite the hundreds of billions spent, we have not achieved our goals in Afghanistan.

    Essentially, were supposed to be clearing an area of insurgents and then persuading locals to chose us and our Afghan allies over the Taliban. Most areas where we are based have not been cleared of the Taliban and even if they had been, were fighting to introduce a largely unwelcome government.

    The Afghan army cannot provide security on its own, the Afghan government is spectacularly corrupt and the police are feared and hated, for good reason.

    So even if the military part of the strategy goes perfectly to plan (and it never does) the locals dont want what we are offering.

    Its a hard pill to swallow, but Ive been told countless times that locals prefer the Taliban to foreign forces and the Afghan government, particularly the police. I should point out that Ive spent most of time in Afghanistan in Helmand and Kandahar, where the war has always been fiercest.
    Worth reading the entire interview and yes he has not been there in 2012. Warning it contains painful passages, nay reality IMHO.

  2. #2
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008


    Maybe it's time to honour those who had the brain and balls to say it years ago?
    I remember some British ambassador and lots of other people calling the war stupid, a failure, lost or similar.

    They should be remembered.

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