The Afghanistan Comedy

Today (28/12/2014) the NATO presence in Afghanistan has finally come to an end with some outrageous claims being made during the low-key ceremony held in Kabul.

General John Campbell, the U.S. NATO commander

General John Campbell, the U.S. NATO commander

General John Campbell, the U.S. NATO commander, said in his speech, “Together we have lifted the Afghan people out of the darkness of despair and given them hope for the future. I hope you take great pride in the positive impact you’ve made and will continue to make upon the Afghan people,” He told the gathered troops, “You’ve made Afghanistan stronger and our countries safer.” Seldom have I heard such a load of sanctimonious bullshit!

The event itself was even held in secret for fear of a Taliban attack on the ceremony, so how the hell can they have “made Afghanistan stronger?”

American Casualties

American Casualties

Ever since the war started in 2001 the ISAF has suffered 3,485 deaths, and that’s just the Americans! The British have also lost 453. Additionally, there have been 93 fatalities among troops from the non-NATO contributors to the coalition, Georgia, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, Finland, Jordan, South Korea and Albania.

Afghan Caualties

Afghan Casualties

The biggest casualties are among the Afghan people, for the war has cost an estimated 174,000 civilian deaths. The annual figures rose to a new high during 2014, with a total of 3,188 deaths in the first ten months of the year. The Afghan Police too suffered heavily in the last year with an estimated 4,600 deaths over the same period.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid said, “The US and NATO mission was an absolute failure as today’s ceremony shows. They are fleeing from Afghanistan. They have not reached their goals in defeating the Afghan mujahideen, but they are keeping some forces here to reach their vicious aims.”

Taliban

Taliban

Admittedly, since ISAF went into Afghanistan the Taliban have had their wings clipped, but after 13 years of war they are still a potent fighting force that in my view, may well end up controlling the country again within a couple of years.

At the ceremony, control was officially handed over to the Afghan Forces which number around 350,000, but as we have seen in Iraq, numbers don’t say very much. Who is to say we will not see the Afghan soldiers running away every time the Taliban attack?

So far as the NATO Forces involvement is concerned, the whole exercise has basically been for nothing, for not much has really changed in Afghanistan.

British Soldiers On the Battlefront

British Soldiers On the Battlefront

Had ISAF gone into the country in 2001 with the express purpose of destroying the Taliban totally, the war would have been over in half the time and the Afghan people would now be safe. As it is, not a lot has been achieved.

I believe the commanders made half-hearted, uncoördinated attacks against the Taliban which in effect achieved very little, for they are still a strong and effective force within the country. Now they are just waiting for the bulk of the foreign forces to leave before making their attempt to take over again.

The Afghan Army is in my view not a force that can be relied on, which does not bode well for the country’s future. But I hope I am wrong, for the sake of the Afghan people.

Pakistani Troops Fight The Taliban In The NW Province

Pakistani Troops Fight The Taliban In The NW Province

When the Americans and British made their sweep of the southern provinces a couple of years back in an effort to wipe out the Taliban forces, they were stupid enough to leave the back door open i.e. the border with Pakistan. As you would expect, the militants just crossed over until the troops left and then came back. Some months later the Pakistan Army made a half-hearted attempt to clear their North-West Provinces on the border and the reverse happened.

It makes basic common sense to me that if the two attacks had been coordinated to occur at the same time, the Taliban would have had nowhere to hide and the whole action could have resulted in a major victory. As it is, the whole exercise was a waste of time.

Afghan Army - We Have Yet To See if They Can Fight

Afghan Army – We Have Yet To See if They Can Fight

What saddens me the most is that all the casualties incurred during the war were basically for nothing, because little has been achieved. Now the troops are coming home, leaving a few behind to act as instructors to the Afghan Army. An Army which has yet to prove it has the guts to fight and win against the Taliban.

Roy.

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