It is at least six years late, but finally a senior political figure has found the courage to call for an immediate withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan. Lord Ashdown pulled few punches in his impassioned plea in The Times, criticising Britain’s early military strategy and accusing the government of becoming distracted by adventures in Iraq when it should have been focused on Afghanistan.
All true, but while Ashdown called out the government for its political failings, he neglected to mention the string of lies senior ministers have perpetuated about Afghanistan, or point the finger at senior military figures who’ve been more than willing to support that deceit. How any politician can say with a straight face that we are in Afghanistan to keep the streets of Britain safe is beyond me, when everyone knows our involvement has fuelled the flames of home grown terrorism. Then there’s the lie of the moment—that Afghan troops can somehow be vetted to stop ‘rogue’ recruits from turning their weapons on their NATO mentors. As I argued on BBC Radio 5 Live earlier this week, nothing can be done to stop green on blue attacks because an element of the men we’re trying to train up have viewed us as the enemy since we entered Afghanistan back in 2001.
I’ve been screaming it from the rafters since I started this blog and I’ll scream it again. AFGHANISTAN IS NOT AN INSURGENCY. IT’S A CIVIL WAR AND WE’VE TAKEN ONE SIDE IN IT. Since 2006 when British troops entered Helmand Province, they’ve been trying to win over the people on the other side of that conflict—a futile, senseless task presided over by sloping shouldered generals and senior military brass who care more about pleasing politicians than they do the lives of their troops. These senior officers know who they are, and they should hang their heads in shame. I really don’t know how they or their chums in government can sleep at night knowing how many brave British troops they have and continue to put in harm’s way for no other reason than to justify past mistakes.
Why is it taking our government so long to act in the best interest of our troops when our Canadian, Dutch and French NATO allies have found the political will to bring their forces home? There is no justification for Britain’s continued presence in Afghanistan. None. Continue reading