Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Nato Withdrawal from Afghanistan: it's a Loss not a Victory

One way to have peace is to give up fighting.  And that's what the Nato countries have done in Afghanistan.  This is in no sense a victory.  It is simply giving up fighting, as others -- Britain and Russia to name two -- have done over the centuries, finding the Afghan adventure just too difficult, too complex, too tortured and victory unattainable.
There was a fellow interviewed on BBC World Service radio here in Hong Kong yesterday, who pointed out the following:
  • ONE: That when the Russians left Afghanistan  in 1985 -- losing in other words -- they left behind an Afghanistan military that was well trained, an Army with artillery, an Air Force with planes and helicopters.  They were defeated by the Mujahideen within three years.
  • TWO; That when Nato leaves Afghanistan -- losing in other words -- they will leave behind an Afghan military that is not well-trained, an Army with no artillery, and an Air Force with no planes or helicopters.  
When asked how long he gave the official Afghan military, he squirmed, but indicated "not long".
How could it be long, when waiting in the wings are the battle hardened Taliban.
A Taliban who is now part of some so-called "peace process", which Karzai said is welcome to take part in any Afghan elections.  A Taliban that is a cypher for Al-Qaeda, our putative enemies -- indeed, the only enemies on the Islamist side who Obama will identify as such.
And yet, and yet, is it any surprise that we hear only positive sounds from those who manufactured and ran the war?
Like the head of Nato, Anders Rasmussen, who waxes all gooey yesterday, talking of the "pride of all Afghans" and of "victory". What tosh! He says that by 2014 "the combat mission will be completed".  Oh really?  What combat mission would that be?  To have killed as many civilians as combatants and to have handed over devastated and newly re-narco-tized country to the Taliban?
I'm sure there is indeed pride amongst Afghans, having again seen off the best of the west.  But it can't turn out well. Not when those brutes in the Taliban take over, as they surely will.