By the banks of the Helmand River 2004

QUOTE: “Attacking Afghanistan is tantamount to swatting each mosquito that lands on your arm in order to eradicate malaria.”

Bob Shepherd, ex SAS soldier, security consultant and best selling author.

Helmand Province



I was part of a small media team that had unilaterally driven from Kabul to Helmand Province to cover the poppy story and what the Taliban had to say down there at that time.

I made my quote to the media team on the banks of the Helmand River south of Lashkargah frustrated by what I was seeing during my short spell in Afghanistan to that point.

I would go on to work for a total of 6 years in Afghanistan, mostly outside of any security bubble, working with the media and other International and local actors.

In my view alone, given my words in the quote…I would have preferred the International community’s military under the guidance of the USA, to have attacked selected targets in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan along with other locations in order to take out the funding, breeding and recruiting grounds of the ideology that the West was fighting against at that time…supposedly!

Published by: bobshepherdauthor

Bestselling author Bob Shepherd has spent nearly forty years operating in conflict areas around the world. A twenty year veteran of Britain’s elite 22 SAS Regiment with nearly two decades of private security work to his credit, Bob has successfully negotiated some of the most dangerous places on earth as a special forces soldier and a private citizen. Bob comments regularly on security issues and has appeared on CNN International, BBC, SKY News, and BBC Radio. He has also authored numerous articles and books including the Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller The Circuit. In addition to writing and lecturing, Bob continues to advise individuals operating in hostile environments. For more of his insights on security and geopolitics visit

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4 thoughts on “AFGHANISTAN QUOTE”

  1. Ever since the Korean War, America has has lost tens of thousands of lives because we fought with no clear purpose, no end goal and with our military commanders handcuffed because the politicians refused to allow them to find and kill the enemy, and those who supported them, wherever they might be. These same politicians have also consistently abandoned those who worked for us! No wonder we are hated around the globe!!

  2. Bob, based upon nothing more than history, I could not see any kind of a win in Afghanistan. In fact, I rather consider ( & am not alone ) that Afghanistan was UK’s Vietnam. Worse still, with no exit strategy quite what did the powers that be expect to happen. Nature abhors a vacuum as they say ( & with Pakistan just next door )!
    However, at least we ain’t bitching about Covid or post-Brexit reality. 🤣🤣
    Keep the good stuff flowing mate 👍

  3. If anyone Politicians or General Staff cared enough to ask anyone who served in iraq they would have known it was very cold there in winter. hence one famous SAS patrol would not have suffered quite so much from the the winter conditions.
    A Light Infantry Regt ( Somerset) even have Jalalabad as a Battle Honour. Nobody even looked at the history, therefore the adventure was doomed from the start. I remember reading a few years ago one Afghan greeting some soldiers by saying “we will see you lot off just like we saw your ancestors off”. Looks like he was right.

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