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Forum LockedThird Anglo-Afghan War

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Gharanai View Drop Down
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    Posted: 23-May-2006 at 12:30
I just read following article and a question came to my mind that "Are we going to see the third Anglo-Afghan war?"
I just would like to know the current situation and decision of the British regarding the deployment of its troops once again (for the 3rd time in history) in Southern Afghanistan.
  1. The last two times it say its worst nightmare, so what will happen this time ?
  2. Will Iran really help Afghans to stand against the westerners as they are getting close to Iran as well ?
  3. Are we going to see a third defeat of British army in the region or finaly a success ?
These are just questions that I am asking and wish it don't just start a flame war.
 
The topic that I read:
 
 
Originally posted by BBC BBC wrote:

Afghan history's warning to UK troops
 

British soldier and Afghan man in Helmand
British troops start the battle for hearts and minds in Helmand

The British have made some disastrous decisions in Afghanistan - one led to one of the worst massacres in the UK's military history.

Next month the British army will make its biggest deployment in southern Afghanistan in more than a century.

The plan is to help the newly-formed Afghan National Army (ANA) fight the increasingly violent militant groups based around the Pakistan border and curb the drugs trade that funds them.

More than 3,000 British troops will be based in the southern province of Helmand which alone produces nearly 20% of the world's opium.

Tough job

Their ancestors packed up and left southern Afghanistan in 1881 after two disastrous wars.

Map of Afghanistan

The Afghan militants today don't outwardly look much different from their forefathers who picked off the British troops struggling down the snowbound passes after the first Anglo-Afghan war.

But today's British soldier is almost unrecognisable. Their leadership has been a lot more thoughtful about this new deployment than some of their predecessors.

The British troops will face a tough job patrolling southern Afghanistan.

The government in Kabul is grateful for international assistance. But it believes a lot more could and should have been done by now to stabilise Helmand and other provinces in the south which have always been the most troubled parts of the country.

Iraq diversion

Five years after being kicked out of Kabul, the fact that the Taleban aren't consigned to the dustbin of history is, critics say, an indictment of the failures of the international community.

Afghans believe the war in Iraq is the biggest reason.

The Taleban in Helmand have been promising the locals protection for their poppy fields against eradication in return for support with their attacks against western troops

The American resources that could have transformed Afghanistan and secured the whole country from a Taleban resurgence were instead diverted into toppling Saddam Hussein and then trying to deal with the terrible mess that followed.

Only a couple of hundred US troops were left in places like Helmand and they were focused on catching one man, Osama Bin Laden.

Special forces are trained to kill, and that's about it. In the south, what one Afghan described to me as their 'Shoot first and don't bother with the questions' approach alienated the local population.

British officials acknowledge privately that the Americans did little more than carry out raiding parties against the Taleban and al-Qaeda.

They left the locals to fend for themselves in one of the most lawless parts of the country.

The British troops are deploying in much larger numbers and with much more interest in winning hearts and minds.

And their political masters have already made what many see as a good start by refusing to move into Helmand until the worst examples of mis-governance in the province - by people like the former Governor Mullah Shermohammad Akhund - were ended.

Small groups

The newly-appointed governor of Helmand, Eng Daoud, is considered to be clean and against the drug trade.

The Taleban in Helmand have been promising the locals protection for their poppy fields against the poppy eradication programmes - in return for support for their attacks against Western troops.

British tank by poppy field
British forces by a Helmand poppy field

They are being led by a former Taleban education minister, Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi.

They operate in small groups of 10 to 20 although they can collect up to 70 fighters for bigger attacks.

Maiwand district near the provincial border between Kandahar and Helmand is currently the stronghold of the insurgents.

Back in 1880, it was the place the British suffered their worst defeat of the second Anglo-Afghan war.

Today there are said to be between 300 to 500 militant fighters based there, including Pakistanis and Arabs.

They are headed by one Mullah Ghafar who is from the neighbouring Greshak district. He has his own force of up to 35 men.

He is allegedly in regular contact with the Iranian secret service via an Iranian-Baloch tribal family which is heavily involved in the opium trade.

Mr Ghafar is likely to be a threat to the British as they support Afghan troops eradicating the poppy crops.

Headaches

There are also reports that Iranian-made heavy machine guns and rocket launchers have been delivered to militants in the region.

US forces in Helmand
The main US base in Helmand's capital was recently attacked by a suicide bomber

The Afghan government, though, says that the majority of the weapons the Taleban use are not from Iran but smuggled across the border from Pakistan.

Islamabad says it's doing all it can to try to pacify the area. But trying to tackle the rebellious armed factions living in the mountainous border has been a problem for generations of generals, Afghan, Pakistani and Western.

Even though Kabul accuses Pakistan of controlling the militant groups there's no doubt that these men are also causing all sorts of uncontrollable headaches for the Pakistani government.

And all sides are finding history to be the best teacher when it comes to today's conflicts.

In March 2004, several dozen Pakistani paramilitaries soldiers were killed in an ambush in South Waziristan, where Islamabad is trying to deal with its own insurgent groups.

Afterwards, a British diplomat politely suggested to the Pakistani military that they get a copy of old military manuals such as Report on Waziristan and its Tribes, left over from the days of the Empire.

Written at the end of the 19th century, they described how British army commanders lost men in exactly the same place, in exactly the same way, in attacks by exactly the same tribe.

The manuals then outline what the British did next time around to outwit the raiders and get their convoys through.

In many ways it's the mistakes and the lessons the British learnt over the centuries in this region that will, they hope, make the new deployment of UK troops better equipped than any other international force to deal with what follows.



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Dampier View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dampier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-May-2006 at 16:12
From my side of the table this is being outed as "anti drugs" more than anti Taliban. Basicly British government wants out of Iraq, only went in for political reasons and too much backlash at home. Going to Afghanistan lets British forces operate without Americans, with less news/backlash while maintaining the political statement. plus it can be justified as anti drugs rather than war on terror. So seems not low profile but not too high either.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote malizai_ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2006 at 12:23
If the war is not on terror then bring our troops back home and if it is on drugs then they should ask the taliban to take charge.Lamp
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gharanai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2006 at 13:33
Originally posted by malizai_ malizai_ wrote:

If the war is not on terror then bring our troops back home and if it is on drugs then they should ask the taliban to take charge.Lamp
I guess it is very intellegently said by dear malizai !!! Hug


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gharanai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2006 at 15:25
Quote  From my side of the table this is being outed as "anti drugs" more than anti Taliban. Basicly British government wants out of Iraq, only went in for political reasons and too much backlash at home. Going to Afghanistan lets British forces operate without Americans, with less news/backlash while maintaining the political statement. plus it can be justified as anti drugs rather than war on terror. So seems not low profile but not too high either.  
Dear Dampier,
I guess you had a very good guess but for further more information and the real task of British forces, you may check this link.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dampier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2006 at 08:38
Thanks for the link Gharani!
Notice however he only says they "may be" used, hence the seling to British public. Its that fine line between pleasing the Americans and pleasing the public.
As for handing back to Taliban for drugs, nope, I'm not exactly a "fan" of the Taliban and would like to see them stay out of power. Whats needed is to find something that will legally employ the farmers or a crop that will earn them more with the same ease. Most of them seel the drugs crops (from what I can make out) over money not as part of a criminal grouping. Unfortunately finding them something else to do for the same wages will be hard.
Also remember that the UK has a "drugs problem" so busting up drugs in Afghanistan looks  good for the peeps back home.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote malizai_ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-May-2006 at 12:53
dampier
 
Point is u dont c military intervention in one country by another for the sake of drug eradication, that is y we have HM customs. Also the handing back to the taliban comment was a hint at the elimination of drugs under the taliban. i.e if drug elimination was the reason then that was not a problem under the taliban and would have stayed solved without the intervention. If fighting al-qaeda was the reason then why are they pussyfooting around the problem and lying to the public and placing soldiers in harms way.
It is the constant deception that i find antagonizing.
 
However let me throw u a lifeline for the anti-drug drive.  The main source of income for the procurement of arms by the taliban is raw opium considered to be worth $2.4 billion /yr. However i dont think that the elder statesmen at Whitehall are going to pursue this with any real effort either. They are totally out of sync with the events on the ground.  If they try to do that now they would have bitten more than they can chew.


Edited by malizai_ - 25-May-2006 at 12:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dampier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-May-2006 at 06:52
No true, very true (instead you just pay one group already existing in the country to stop drug production *cough Columbia cough*). My comment was meant though that most Brits wont be thinking "we shouldnt be in there for drugs" but "we are there and we are getting rid of drus, I can sympathise with that". Of course its balls but most goverment policy in foreign fields like this is covered with layers of smoke, bullsh*t and lies. Its how things work. (because of course we arent raiding Iran and they arent sending and training insurgents).
 
The deception is agonising but unfortunately thats how government works.Always reminds me of "Yes Minister" the show (nearly became a Civil Servant to follow in Humphreys footsteps...Wink).
 
And yes you can justify the anti drug war as anti Taliban..but only to a degree. I'm still disgusted with Labour Government and would prefer the Tories but am sceptical about how well they will do.
 
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