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More trouble in Afghanistan

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sun 10 Feb - 7:39

10 February 2013 Last updated at 00:56
















Afghan Isaf commander John Allen sees 'road to
winning'






Gen John Allen: "We should be seeking to win this war"

Continue
reading the main story

Taliban
Conflict




  • Who are the Taliban?
  • Militant nexus
  • Afghan peace hopes
  • Security after Nato

The outgoing commander of Nato forces
in Afghanistan has said the alliance is on the road to winning the war.

Gen John Allen said troops had gone "a long way" towards creating conditions
for winning in a counter-insurgency.

The White House has said it will nominate Gen Allen as the alliance's supreme
commander in Europe.

Last month, he was cleared of misconduct by the Pentagon in a scandal that
led former CIA director David Petraeus to resign.

Gen Allen is handing over command to Marine Corps Gen Joseph
Dunford.
'Not on the table'
"Counter-insurgencies take a while and it is difficult to put a dot on a
calendar and say, 'Today, we won'," Gen Allen told the BBC.

"I think we have gone a long way to setting the conditions for what,
generally, usually, is the defining factor in winning a counter-insurgency - to
set the conditions for governance, to set the conditions for economic
opportunity.... I think we are on the road to winning."

During his 19-month tour, Gen Allen managed the transfer of security across
much of the country to the Afghan army and police.

His successor is expected to be Isaf's last commander, who will oversee the
withdrawal of most of the foreign troops in the country.

There has not been any official announcement from the White House as to how
many US troops will remain.

But Gen Allen said that the idea of no American military presence in the
country was not an option, and that he had not even been asked to look at its
feasibility.

"It's no direction that we intend to go. The president was clear talking
about the presence of US forces in this case in the post-2014 period being
orientated on training, advising and assisting so that was an indication to me,
having not been asked, that the zero option is probably not on the table."

Gen Allen's nomination to head Nato in Europe had been put on hold amid
reports that he had sent inappropriate emails to a Florida socialite, in a
scandal that brought down the head of the CIA.

But allegations of professional misconduct were dismissed and the then
Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said he had "complete confidence" in Gen Allen's
leadership.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Wed 13 Feb - 15:31

Afghanistan Nato Air Strike 'Kills Children'


Three Taliban commanders die in an air strike in
Afghanistan, but 10 civilians are also reportedly killed.



9:34am UK,
Wednesday 13 February 2013

The strike happened in a remote area of eastern
Afghanistan








  • A Nato air strike on a Taliban hideout in Afghanistan has killed
    nine women and children, local officials say.

    "Five children, four women and a man were killed in the raid," said Kunar
    provincial governor Sayed Fazulullah Wahidi.

    A spokesman for Nato forces said they were investigating the allegations.

    Three Taliban commanders, including a notorious al Qaeda-linked militant
    leader called Shahpoor, were also killed in the raid, district governor Abdul
    Zahir said.

    The air raid was in support of a ground operation by US-led coalition and
    Afghan forces in a Taliban-controlled valley in the insurgency-plagued region,
    Mr Zahir said.

    "The civilians were killed in the air raid," he said.

    It is not clear if the owner of the house targeted was a member of the
    Taliban or a civilian, but the Taliban were visiting when the home was attacked,
    Mr Zahir added.

    Four other children were wounded in the raid, Mr Wahidi said.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Fri 22 Feb - 9:35

NATO Weighs Financing Larger Afghan Security Force

A proposal to expand NATO support of Afghanistan’s forces would help sustain 352,000 troops through 2018, many more than expected, officials said

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Mon 25 Feb - 8:55

24 February 2013 Last updated at 16:37

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Karzai orders US special forces out of Afghan
province



US forces see Wardak province,
not far from Kabul, as strategically significant
Continue
reading the main story

Taliban
Conflict




  • Who are the Taliban?
  • Militant nexus
  • Afghan peace hopes
  • Security after Nato

The Afghan president has ordered US
special forces to leave Wardak province within two weeks.

The decision was being taken due to allegations of disappearances and torture
by Afghans considered to be part of US special forces, said a spokesman for
Hamid Karzai.

The strategically significant, central province of Wardak has been the recent
focus of counter-insurgency operations.

A US statement said it took all allegations of misconduct seriously.

But the US could not comment specifically on this latest development "until
we have had a chance to speak with senior government officials", the statement
by a spokesman for US special forces said.

"This is an important issue that we must discuss with our Afghan
counterparts," the statement said.

The Afghan president's office said the decision to order the
expulsion
of US special forces had been taken at a meeting of the National
Security Council.

"After a thorough discussion, it became clear that armed individuals named as
US special force[s] stationed in Wardak province engage in harassing, annoying,
torturing and even murdering innocent people," it said.


"A recent example in the province is an incident in which nine people were
disappeared in an operation by this suspicious force and in a separate incident
a student was taken away at night from his home, whose tortured body with throat
cut was found two days later under a bridge.

"However, Americans reject having conducted any such operation and any
involvement of their special force.

"The meeting strongly noted that such actions have caused local public
resentment and hatred."

The presidential statement said Afghan forces were "duty bound" to put a stop
to such behaviour, and urged local people to co-operate in bringing them to
justice.

In a hastily convened news conference, a presidential spokesman suggested
many of the allegations centred on Afghan citizens he alleged were working with
US special forces.

"There are some individuals, some Afghans, who are working within these
cells, within these [US] special forces groups" in Wardak province, said
spokesman Aimal Faizi.

"But they are part of US special forces according to our sources and
according to our local officials working in the province," he said.

He said all special forces must leave Wardak within two weeks.
Gateway
All operations by international special forces in the province have also been
ordered to stop with immediate effect.

Wardak is seen as a gateway for the Taliban to target Kabul, says the BBC's
Karen Allen in the capital.

She says this move to expel US forces has come as something of surprise for
the Americans.

There is not much clarity as to who these Afghans are, our correspondent says
- not, it seems, the local police who have come in for criticism in the
past.

The accountability of US forces and local militia working with them has been
a growing source of friction in Afghan-US relations.

A week ago, Mr Karzai banned Afghan forces from calling in foreign air
strikes on residential areas, following the deaths of 10 civilians in a night
raid in eastern Kunar province.

Mr Karzai gave a blunt statement for the reasons for the ban.

"Our forces ask for air support from foreigners and children get killed in an
air strike," he said.

The argument over accountability comes against a backdrop of long-term
negotiations over which foreign forces will remain in Afghanistan after Nato's
exit in 2014.

The bulk of Nato's 100,000 troops are due to leave by the end of that
year.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sat 16 Mar - 13:37

British soldier to receive posthumous VC for bravery in Afghanistan


A British soldier who gave his life to save his comrades is to be awarded
the Victoria Cross for his bravery in Afghanistan.









James Ashworth Photo: PA





By Rosa Silverman

6:30AM GMT 16 Mar 2013





Lance Corporal James Ashworth, 23, was on patrol with the Reconnaissance
Platoon of 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards in the Nahr-e Saraj district of
Helmand province when they were engaged in battle with Taliban fighters on June
13 last year.


Fighting inside a number of enemy-held compounds, he intentionally put
himself in the line of fire, saving the lives of others as a result.


He was said to have been at pains to ensure no civilians were at risk of
being hit, but he himself was killed by the blast from a grenade.


His award will be announced next week.


L/Cpl Ashworth was 17 when he joined the British Army in 2006.



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He quickly proved himself a fit, capable soldier, the Ministry of Defence
(MoD) said after his death.

Described as an “exceptional individual”, he was said to be a very fit and
popular young serviceman who would be remembered for his strength in the field
and “sense of fun” in the barracks.

He was also a talented footballer, representing the Battalion on the pitch as
well as playing for his local team when at home in Kettering, Northants.

The MoD said he was a professional soldier to the core who had had a bright
future ahead of him.

He left behind his mother, Kerryann, father Duane, sisters Lauren and Paige,
brothers Coran and Karl, niece Darcie and his girlfriend, Emily.

They paid tribute to him after his death, saying: “We are devastated by the
loss of our son, brother, uncle and boyfriend. He meant the world to everyone
and has left an irreplaceable hole in our hearts.”

Lieutenant Colonel James Bowder, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Grenadier
Guards, said at the time: “Lance Corporal Ashworth was an outstanding soldier
whose loss has moved us all.

“A real self-starter, he excelled in everything that he undertook. Fit,
strong and brilliant at his job, he set the bar very high. Indeed, such was his
calmness under pressure, his charisma, and his selflessness that he made an
exemplary junior leader.

“Lance Corporal Ashworth had fitted a great deal into a relatively short
time.

“Having already served with distinction in the Guards’ Parachute Platoon, The
Queen’s Company and then most recently in the Battalion’s Reconnaissance
Platoon, he was destined to go a long way in the Army.

“Lance Corporal Ashworth’s death leaves a hole in the Battalion - we have
lost one of our very best soldiers. The Battalion, and indeed the broader
Regiment, will never forget this quite exceptional man.”

Guardsman Jordan Loftus, Reconnaissance Platoon, 1st Battalion Grenadier
Guards described him as “a really good bloke and great soldier.”

He said: “Selfless, brave, courageous; words like these don’t come close to
what Ash demonstrated that day. He will be missed by all as a commander, but
most of all a good mate.

Last night Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, a former member of the SBS,
paid tribute to the soldier’s bravery.

“A Victoria Cross shows outstanding courage,” he told The Times. “My heart goes out to his family but
the award must make his regiment and all who knew him very proud.”

Only 13 VCs have been awarded since the Second World War, and only two this
century – to Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry, of 1st Battalion, Princess of
Wales’s Royal Regiment in 2005 for actions in Iraq, and posthumously to Corporal
Bryan Budd of 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment in 2006 for gallantry in
Afghanistan.

The medal has been bestowed a total of 1,356 times since it was instituted by
Queen Victoria to cover all actions since the start of the Crimean War in 1854.


==============================
How many more young Soldiers will die in this unwinnable War before The government brings them home. The Government is cutting back on troops and using territorials , will this brave soldier's death be in vain like all the others? Stop interfering in the Middle East Cameron you know it is a lose lose situation.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Mon 15 Apr - 9:40

Opium crop in Afghanistan heading for record levels


Afghanistan's opium crop is heading towards record levels a bleak forecast
warns, as the country risks becoming a narcostate despite hundreds of millions
of pounds spent to combat the drug trade.









Helmand province, where British
troops are deployed, is almost certain to retain its position as by far the
biggest opium producing region in the world Photo:
Getty Images/John Moore






By Ben Farmer, Kabul

9:24AM BST 15 Apr 2013





The United Nations' early assessment of the 2013 crop found farmers were
planning to plant more poppy than last year, marking the third annual rise in
the drug's cultivation.


UN officials predict the increase will push this
year's crop close to 2007's record level and again see Afghanistan responsible for more
than 90 per cent of the world's heroin.


The forecast is a heavy blow for the British government which has been at the
forefront of the international war on opium and heroin since the Afghan campaign
began in 2001. Helmand province, where British troops are deployed, is almost
certain to retain its position as by far the biggest opium producing region in
the world.


High opium prices, coupled with uncertainty over what will happen when
foreign combat troops leave and a faltering legal economy were all persuading
farmers to sow more of the cash crop, the survey found.


Strongmen and warlords are also expected to use this year's harvest to fund
campaign chests as they manoeuvre for next year's presidential election and a
potentially turbulent political future.



Related Articles




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    14 Dec 2012

  • Dozens killed in Afghan suicide attacks

    14 Aug 2012

  • PM warned: Afghanistan exit risks al-Qaeda
    return
    04 Aug 2012


Jean-Luc Lemahieu, director of the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime in
Afghanistan, predicted this year's crop was "getting to the same heights again
as the record years." Last year farmers grew 380,000 acres of opium, but this
year's figure was likely to be closer to the 2007 crop of 477,000 acres. Yields
are expected to be high, with so far no sign of the poor spring weather or
blight that spoiled the 2012 harvest.

He said: "A lot of it is hedging for an insecure future and a lot has to do
with the political market, which is extremely hot at this moment. The licit
economy can only provide so much when you have to buy alliances and make sure
that you have the right people on your side." Poppy growing is expected to
increase in all the main opium producing provinces and fall in only one.

Speculation in the opium market has driven prices to more than £105 ($160)
per kg and made it a highly attractive crop for poverty stricken farmers.
Uncertainty may push the prices higher yet.

Almost all the heroin on Britain's streets comes from Afghan opium, but Mr
Lemahieu said Afghanistan's neighbours rather than European countries would be
hit hardest by the burgeoning crop. Heroin is already causing havoc in
Afghanistan itself, Iran, Russia and parts of Central Asia, while the number of
heroin addicts in Britain has been falling steadily in recent years.

Mr Lemahieu said the Afghan anti-drug forces were becoming more efficient and
had raided 31 heroin labs so far this year, but they were unable to turn the
tide.

Afghanistan's opium economy makes up around 15 per cent of the country's GDP
and anti-drug officials fear the country risks becoming a narcostate if
production continues to grow as Nato troops leave.

Taliban insurgents take some of the profits from the trade, but many believe
its real damage to Afghanistan is feeding the rampant corruption which threatens
to derail any attempts to build a viable state.

The British embassy in Kabul stressed the UN forecast was only a prediction,
but acknowledged it was “disappointing”.

“Tackling the drugs trade will take time and we will continue to support the
Afghan government in their efforts,” said a spokesman. “It is to be expected
that progress will not be consistent year on year.”

A Foreign Office statement warned that the battle against opium in
Afghanistan could take decades: “It is disappointing that the report predicts
there is likely to be an increase in cultivation in Helmand and Kandahar, which
produce the majority of Afghanistan’s opium.

It added: “In comparison to successful efforts in other countries where
results have been produced over the course of generations, the counter narcotics
effort in Afghanistan is relatively new.
=========================
And to think so many British and american Soldiers have lost their lives rying to stabilise Afghanistan!!! Fly Planes over the fields and destroy all the poppies I say.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  malena stool on Mon 15 Apr - 10:08

Panda wrote:Opium crop in Afghanistan heading for record levels


Afghanistan's opium crop is heading towards record levels a bleak forecast
warns, as the country risks becoming a narcostate despite hundreds of millions
of pounds spent to combat the drug trade.









Helmand province, where British
troops are deployed, is almost certain to retain its position as by far the
biggest opium producing region in the world Photo:
Getty Images/John Moore






By Ben Farmer, Kabul

9:24AM BST 15 Apr 2013





The United Nations' early assessment of the 2013 crop found farmers were
planning to plant more poppy than last year, marking the third annual rise in
the drug's cultivation.


UN officials predict the increase will push this
year's crop close to 2007's record level and again see Afghanistan responsible for more
than 90 per cent of the world's heroin.


The forecast is a heavy blow for the British government which has been at the
forefront of the international war on opium and heroin since the Afghan campaign
began in 2001. Helmand province, where British troops are deployed, is almost
certain to retain its position as by far the biggest opium producing region in
the world.


High opium prices, coupled with uncertainty over what will happen when
foreign combat troops leave and a faltering legal economy were all persuading
farmers to sow more of the cash crop, the survey found.


Strongmen and warlords are also expected to use this year's harvest to fund
campaign chests as they manoeuvre for next year's presidential election and a
potentially turbulent political future.



Related Articles




  • Massacre on the roof of the world
    18 Jan 2013

  • Chinese governor charged over opium fuelled
    lifestyle
    14 Dec 2012

  • Dozens killed in Afghan suicide attacks

    14 Aug 2012

  • PM warned: Afghanistan exit risks al-Qaeda
    return
    04 Aug 2012


Jean-Luc Lemahieu, director of the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime in
Afghanistan, predicted this year's crop was "getting to the same heights again
as the record years." Last year farmers grew 380,000 acres of opium, but this
year's figure was likely to be closer to the 2007 crop of 477,000 acres. Yields
are expected to be high, with so far no sign of the poor spring weather or
blight that spoiled the 2012 harvest.

He said: "A lot of it is hedging for an insecure future and a lot has to do
with the political market, which is extremely hot at this moment. The licit
economy can only provide so much when you have to buy alliances and make sure
that you have the right people on your side." Poppy growing is expected to
increase in all the main opium producing provinces and fall in only one.

Speculation in the opium market has driven prices to more than £105 ($160)
per kg and made it a highly attractive crop for poverty stricken farmers.
Uncertainty may push the prices higher yet.

Almost all the heroin on Britain's streets comes from Afghan opium, but Mr
Lemahieu said Afghanistan's neighbours rather than European countries would be
hit hardest by the burgeoning crop. Heroin is already causing havoc in
Afghanistan itself, Iran, Russia and parts of Central Asia, while the number of
heroin addicts in Britain has been falling steadily in recent years.

Mr Lemahieu said the Afghan anti-drug forces were becoming more efficient and
had raided 31 heroin labs so far this year, but they were unable to turn the
tide.

Afghanistan's opium economy makes up around 15 per cent of the country's GDP
and anti-drug officials fear the country risks becoming a narcostate if
production continues to grow as Nato troops leave.

Taliban insurgents take some of the profits from the trade, but many believe
its real damage to Afghanistan is feeding the rampant corruption which threatens
to derail any attempts to build a viable state.

The British embassy in Kabul stressed the UN forecast was only a prediction,
but acknowledged it was “disappointing”.

“Tackling the drugs trade will take time and we will continue to support the
Afghan government in their efforts,” said a spokesman. “It is to be expected
that progress will not be consistent year on year.”

A Foreign Office statement warned that the battle against opium in
Afghanistan could take decades: “It is disappointing that the report predicts
there is likely to be an increase in cultivation in Helmand and Kandahar, which
produce the majority of Afghanistan’s opium.

It added: “In comparison to successful efforts in other countries where
results have been produced over the course of generations, the counter narcotics
effort in Afghanistan is relatively new.
=========================
And to think so many British and american Soldiers have lost their lives rying to stabilise Afghanistan!!! Fly Planes over the fields and destroy all the poppies I say.
I agree wholeheartedly Panda, it would be a start but the drugs will still appear on our streets at an even more inflated price from elsewhere. The sure fired way is to treat the pushers and suppliers as they are treated in the middle and far east. Bring back capital punishment and execute them, they do not re-offend nor are there 'turf wars' and they are not mollycoddled at our expense in prison waiting to come out and start again.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Mon 15 Apr - 10:54

I remember trying "wackybaky" at a Party in my younger days living in London . The result was that a guy I had been going out with for a while and liked finished with me for being so stupid and I woke up the next morning terrified I would become an addict.
I think drugs have had a serious effect on Society since those days and even the poorest somehow find money to fuel their habit. Rehab clinics seem to acheive little , as do clinics for alcohol abuse. Society is unrecognisable now from when i was younger and it's all downhill.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  malena stool on Mon 15 Apr - 16:27

Panda wrote:I remember trying "wackybaky" at a Party in my younger days living in London . The result was that a guy I had been going out with for a while and liked finished with me for being so stupid and I woke up the next morning terrified I would become an addict.
I think drugs have had a serious effect on Society since those days and even the poorest somehow find money to fuel their habit. Rehab clinics seem to acheive little , as do clinics for alcohol abuse. Society is unrecognisable now from when i was younger and it's all downhill.
I've never tried it Panda, although I've been in company of others who do smoke it. Many's the night I've 'floated' home and had nothing stronger than Senior Service and a couple of pints...

It's definitely not the same country as I grew up in... I wouldn't want to be young in today's world.......

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Mon 15 Apr - 18:06

malena stool wrote:
Panda wrote:I remember trying "wackybaky" at a Party in my younger days living in London . The result was that a guy I had been going out with for a while and liked finished with me for being so stupid and I woke up the next morning terrified I would become an addict.
I think drugs have had a serious effect on Society since those days and even the poorest somehow find money to fuel their habit. Rehab clinics seem to acheive little , as do clinics for alcohol abuse. Society is unrecognisable now from when i was younger and it's all downhill.
I've never tried it Panda, although I've been in company of others who do smoke it. Many's the night I've 'floated' home and had nothing stronger than Senior Service and a couple of pints...

It's definitely not the same country as I grew up in... I wouldn't want to be young in today's world.......
It didn't take much to get you going then malenaLike you, I really can say I'm glad I am not growing up in today's World . The jobs Iv'e had you wouldn't believe ......this one makes me laugh every time I think of it. I was living in Jersey at the time and although working part time needed a full time job. I passed a local Accountancy Firm and went in,asked if there were any full time vacancies , the Recceptionist made a phone call and I was asked to go upstairs where I would be met by one of the Partners. The conversation went like this.
Partner: "Do you speak French "(Jersey uses a Patois French , not much)
Me: "Only School French"
Partner: "Do you have accounting experience"
Me " I am currently working as a book-keeper in an Architects Office"
Partner: " Can you prepare Accounts to Trial Balance"
Me: Errr No.
Partner: " Do you know anything about investments?
Me: Err, very little
Partner: " Is there anything you would like to tell me about yourself"
Me: "I make a lovely cup of tea"

I got the job

Panda
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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  malena stool on Mon 15 Apr - 19:35

Panda wrote:
malena stool wrote:
Panda wrote:I remember trying "wackybaky" at a Party in my younger days living in London . The result was that a guy I had been going out with for a while and liked finished with me for being so stupid and I woke up the next morning terrified I would become an addict.
I think drugs have had a serious effect on Society since those days and even the poorest somehow find money to fuel their habit. Rehab clinics seem to acheive little , as do clinics for alcohol abuse. Society is unrecognisable now from when i was younger and it's all downhill.
I've never tried it Panda, although I've been in company of others who do smoke it. Many's the night I've 'floated' home and had nothing stronger than Senior Service and a couple of pints...

It's definitely not the same country as I grew up in... I wouldn't want to be young in today's world.......
It didn't take much to get you going then malenaLike you, I really can say I'm glad I am not growing up in today's World . The jobs Iv'e had you wouldn't believe ......this one makes me laugh every time I think of it. I was living in Jersey at the time and although working part time needed a full time job. I passed a local Accountancy Firm and went in,asked if there were any full time vacancies , the Recceptionist made a phone call and I was asked to go upstairs where I would be met by one of the Partners. The conversation went like this.
Partner: "Do you speak French "(Jersey uses a Patois French , not much)
Me: "Only School French"
Partner: "Do you have accounting experience"
Me " I am currently working as a book-keeper in an Architects Office"
Partner: " Can you prepare Accounts to Trial Balance"
Me: Errr No.
Partner: " Do you know anything about investments?
Me: Err, very little
Partner: " Is there anything you would like to tell me about yourself"
Me: "I make a lovely cup of tea"

I got the job
Sounds like a well organised firm... got their priorities right. A spoon for each person and one for the pot. Oh, and never, never, never scour the tea stain out the inside of the pot...

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Tue 16 Apr - 5:32

I worked there for a few years and they sent me to College once a week to improve my accounting skills .!!!

Panda
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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Tue 23 Apr - 14:42

Last of the Gurkhas arrive home from Afghanistan


Members of the last contingent of Gurkhas have arrived home from Afghanistan
to be reunited with their families.









Lcpl Kaushal Shahi of A Company
1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles is kissed by his five-year-old daughter
Anouska, as soldiers from the company arrive back at the Sir John Moore Barracks
in Folkestone, Kent, following a six month tour of duty in
Afghanistan Photo:
PA





By Agencies

11:18AM BST 23 Apr 2013




Around 80 members of A Company from 1st battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles
(1RGR) were met by friends, family and colleagues when they arrived back at
their regimental home at Sir John Moore Barracks, Folkestone, Kent.


Two 1RGR servicemen, Lieutenant Edward
Drummond-Baxter, 29, and Lance Corporal Siddhanta Kunwar, 28, died during the
six-month Afghanistan tour by the unit.


The men were shot dead at a checkpoint in Nahr-e Saraj on October 30 last
year by a man wearing an Afghan National Police uniform.


Lieutenant Colonel David Robinson, commanding officer 1RGR said: "It's great
to have the whole battalion home.


"Notwithstanding the loss of two fine comrades, the battalion had a
successful tour and made a very positive contribution to Afghanistan and now
will be looking forward to some well-earned rest."

Let's hope these brave men have automatic dual Citizenship.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sat 27 Apr - 9:13

Demo Against UK's Use Of Armed Drones


Protesters are preparing to march on RAF Waddington today
after it emerged it is being used to operate drones over Afghanistan.



7:52am UK,
Saturday 27 April 2013

Drone missions over Afghanistan from British soil began
this week



It has been revealed that pilots at RAF Waddington are
controlling the aircraft remotely during missions over Afghanistan - the first
time that has been done from British soil.

Video: Drones Operated By Remote From
UK
Enlarge










In a first national protest, anti-war demonstrators are to gather
outside an RAF base today to voice their opposition to the UK's use of armed
drones in Afghanistan.

Members of the Stop The War Coalition, CND, The Drone Campaign Network and
War on Want will march from Lincoln to nearby RAF Waddington.

The
RAF began remotely operating its Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles deployed to
Afghanistan from the Lincolnshire airbase earlier this week.


Previously operated from a US Air Force base in Nevada, the aircraft are used
to support coalition ground forces in Afghanistan.

The hi-tech Reaper drones are primarily used to gather intelligence on enemy
activity on the ground, but they also carry 500lb bombs and Hellfire missiles
for precision strikes on insurgents.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the RAF said it had commenced supporting
the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan ground troops with "armed
intelligence and surveillance missions" remotely piloted from RAF
Waddington.

The organisers of the protest march and rally are calling on the Government
to abandon the use of drones, claiming they make it easier for politicians to
launch military interventions, and have increased civilian
casualties.
Remote pilots can operate the drones and fire
missiles
Commenting ahead of the protest, War on Want senior campaigns officer Rafeef
Ziadah said: "Drones, controlled far away from conflict zones, ease politicians'
decisions to launch military strikes and order extrajudicial assassinations,
without democratic oversight or accountability to the public.

"Now is the time to ban killer drones - before it is too late."

Chris Nineham, vice-chairman of the Stop the War Coalition, claimed drones
were being used to continue the "deeply unpopular War on Terror" with no public
scrutiny.

Calling for armed drones to be banned, Mr Nineham said: "They're using them
to fight wars behind our backs."

The Ministry of Defence has defended its use of drones in Afghanistan, which
it says have saved the lives of countless military personnel and civilians.

An MoD spokesman said: "UK Reaper aircraft are piloted by highly trained
professional military pilots who adhere strictly to the same laws of armed
conflict and are bound by the same clearly defined rules of engagement which
apply to traditionally manned RAF aircraft."

Lincolnshire Police have held talks with the organisers of the protest to
minimise disruption to the local community.

The route of the march from South Common along the A15 to the peace camp site
opposite RAF Waddington will see the road closed in phases to limit
inconvenience to drivers.


  • Related Stories
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    RAF Afghan Drones Now Flown From UK

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    Drones At Risk As Virus Hits US Planes

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    Launches Investigation Into Drone Strikes


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Three British Soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Wed 1 May - 8:16

Three British Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan


The soldiers were on a routine patrol aboard a heavily
armoured Mastiff vehicle when it struck an improvised explosive device.



8:11am UK,
Wednesday 01 May 2013

The attack took place on Tuesday;



Three British soldiers have been killed in a roadside bomb attack
in Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

The soldiers from The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal
Regiment of Scotland, were killed when their vehicle struck an improvised
explosive device (IED) whilst on a routine patrol, the Ministry of Defence
said.

The attack took place on Tuesday in the Nahr-e Saraj district. The three were
evacuated by air to the military hospital at Camp Bastion but could not be
saved, the MoD said.

Their families have been informed.

Sky's Defence Correspondent Alistair Bunkall said another six have been
injured.

A spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Major Richard Morgan, said: "Their deaths
come as a great loss to all those serving in Task Force Helmand. Our thoughts
and prayers are extended to their family and friends at this difficult
time."
The soldiers were aboard a heavily-armoured
Mastiff vehicle
The deaths bring the total number of British troops killed in Afghanistan to
404 in the past 12 years, with total losses at 444.

Six have now died in 2013.

A ministry spokesman said the attack "underlines the threats faced by our
personnel as they continue to hand over security operations to their Afghan
counterparts ahead of UK combat operations concluding by the end of next
year".

"Security in Helmand, where most UK forces are based, is steadily improving
with Afghan forces already responsible for the bulk of the province - but the
environment in which our troops operate remains risky and dangerous, including
the threat of improvised explosive devices and insurgent attack.

"We will continue to do all we can to minimise these risks but they can never
be removed entirely."

The attack came on the third day of what the Taliban has called its spring
offensive. In past years, spring has marked a significant upsurge in fighting
between the Taliban and Nato forces with their local allies.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sat 4 May - 7:23

A Petition has been handed into Downing St. by Britsh Army Officers on behalf of Translators they use in Afghanistan who say their lives are in jeopardy and they want to settle in the U.K. there are 500 translators but no indication that they all want asylum , although if one person is given
While I accept they have been invaluable to the troops, is this a precedent being set and will other Translators from Countries where our Forces are
involved demand the same.?

I think Britain should stop getting involved in other Countries, Libya, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan to name a few have resulted in a massive lost of life for our Troops and achieved nothing. Russia and China never get involved and no other European Country does. Syria is being destroyed with a terrible loss of life and with so many Rebel groups involved even if they oust Assad, the Rebel groups will fight each other !!

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Mon 6 May - 8:41

Afghanistan: Five US Soldiers Killed In Blast


A patrol hit a roadside bomb in the province of Kandahar
taking the coalition death toll to 47 this year.



5:23pm UK,
Saturday 04 May 2013

The soldiers died in Kandahar











  • Five US soldiers have been killed by a roadside bomb in
    Afghanistan - capping off one of the bloodiest weeks for international forces
    this year.

    Capt. Luca Carniel of the US-led international military coalition confirmed
    the deaths in Kandahar but did not disclose the exact location of the blast.

    But, Javeed Faisal, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province, said a
    coalition patrol hit the roadside bomb in Maiwand district of the province, the
    spiritual birthplace of the Taliban.

    Nineteen US personnel have been killed in the last week in three air crashes
    and Saturday's bombing.

    Three British soldiers were also killed on Tuesday by a roadside bomb in the
    southern province of Helmand.

    The latest deaths bring the coalition death toll to 47 this year - including
    32 Americans.

    The attack underscores the dangers faced by the Nato-led International
    Security Assistance Force (Isaf), even as they hand over much of the fighting to
    the Afghans ahead of a planned departure next year.

    "This afternoon, five Isaf soldiers died when their vehicle struck an ... IED
    (improvised explosive device) in Maiwand district," the Kandahar government said
    via its official Twitter feed.

    Maiwand borders Helmand province to the west and is considered one of the
    most volatile of Kandahar's districts.

    Last month nine Afghan men working for a mine clearance organisation were
    taken captive by Taliban fighters there, though they were later released.
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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Wed 22 May - 10:43

Afghan translators can come to Britain


Afghan interpreters who risked their lives supporting British forces will be
offered the chance to settle in Britain, David Cameron has decided.









With British and Nato troops due
to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, clamour is growing to make an
across-the-board offer to interpreters. Photo:
PA






By James Kirkup, Deputy Political
Editor

10:00PM BST 21 May 2013





Around 600 Afghan translators will be offered the chance to apply for visas
to come to Britain, bringing children and elderly relatives with them.



Mr Cameron wants to recognise the service of “those who have trod the same
path as our soldiers”, sources said.


Ministers have been under political pressure to allow entry to the Afghans,
many of whom say they face persecution and danger when British forces end their
combat operations next year.


The Prime Minister’s National Security Council has drawn up a package of
offers that will be put to the translators.


Any Afghan who spent more than a year serving British forces, and who worked
outside protected British bases, will be eligible for a five-year British visa.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Mon 27 May - 17:12

Baghdad Car Bomb Attacks 'Kill Over 50'


5:07pm UK,
Monday 27 May 201




A wave of bomb attacks in Shia neighbourhoods across Baghdad have
killed more than 50 people, according to Reuters.

Iraqi officials said several parked cars packed with explosives detonated in
areas of the city, killing and wounding dozens.

Police and hospital officials reported deadly explosions in the largely Shia
neighbourhoods of Sabi al-Boor, Bayaa, Kazimiyah, Sadria and al-Maalif. Another
bombing struck the busy commercial Sadoun Street in central Baghdad.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks on Monday, but
they bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda's Iraqi arm.

Iraq has recently been hit by an unusually intense wave of bloodshed that has
killed more than 300 people in the past two weeks alone.

The latest blast came a day after a string of attacks killed at least 14
people in the country, while exactly a week ago large-scale bombings across Baghdad's Shia areas and the
southern city of Basra
left at least 34 dead.

The surge in violence, which has raised tensions between the Iraq's Sunni
minority and Shia-led government, has been reminiscent of the sectarian carnage
that pushed the country to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Thu 30 May - 10:22

Afghanistan war has cost every British household more than £2,000, new book
claims



The war in Afghanistan has cost every British household more than £2,000,
according to a new book written by a civilian adviser to the Government on the
country.









The book claims the war, which
has lasted more than a decade, has cost Britain at least £37
billion. Photo: AFP/Getty
Images






By Alice Philipson

8:22AM BST 30 May 2013





The book claims the war, which has lasted more than a decade, has cost
Britain at least £37 billion.


By 2020, Frank Ledwidge, author of Investment in Blood, estimates
Britain will have spent at least £40 billion on the Afghan campaign – a sum
equivalent to hiring 5,000 new police officers or nurses and paying for their
entire careers.


Mr Ledwidge, who has also been a civilian adviser to the British government
in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, attempts the first full audit of the campaign in
his book, which will be published next week by Yale University Press.


Britain's military presence in Helmand province has proved particularly
costly. The book estimates some £25,000 has been spent for every one of
Helmand's 1.5 million inhabitants – more than most of them can hope to earn
during their lifetimes.


Mr Ledwidge says British troops in the province have likely killed at least
500 non-combatants, with roughly half of these officially admitted. His
estimates are based on UN and NGO reports and "collateral damage" from air
strikes and gun battles.



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He writes that the region is no more stable now than when troops entered in
2006 and that opium production is once again increasing, fuelling corruption.


Mr Ledwidge told the Guardian: "Once the last British
helicopter leaves a deserted and wrecked Camp Bastion, Helmand – to which
Britain claimed it would bring 'good governance' – will be a fractious
narco-state occasionally fought over by opium barons and their cronies."

He added: "There are no new lessons here, only one rather important old
precept: before you engage in a war, understand the environment you are going
into, precisely and realistically what it is you are trying to achieve and will
it be worth the cost? In other words have a strategy."

In his audit of the campaign, which began in 2001, Mr Ledwidge includes the
long-term human and financial cost of caring for the estimated 2,6000 British
troops injured during the war and the 5,000 soldiers he calls "psychologically
injured".

According to the latest MoD figures, around 444 British troops have been
killed in the conflict.

The Government department estimates the campaign in Afghanistan has cost
about £26 billion so far.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Tue 4 Jun - 12:48

Red Cross cuts its staff in Afghanistan as Nato withdrawal fuels turmoil



An attack on a Red Cross compound in Afghanistan has forced the organisation
to withdraw a significant number of staff from the country, even as the prospect
of civil war looms.









Afghan army soldiers secure the
area around the office of the Red Cross Photo: Abdul
Mueed/EPA






By Damien McElroy, and
agencies

9:47AM BST 04 Jun 2013





The ICRC has held emergency meetings since the May 29 attack in the east of
the country in which an Afghan guard was shot dead and three people, including
one international staff member, were wounded.


Seven international staff were rescued from the compound by police as a group
of suicide bombers and gunmen went on a rampage, shooting and throwing grenades
at staff members.


Its decision to remove international staff from Afghanistan is likely to bring
significant unease to the international community in the country. There has
already been an increase in attacks on and kidnappings of foreigners as US-led
Nato forces prepare to withdraw next year.


"Throughout the country, we are removing some international staff and putting
on hold some activities as we gather information and analyse the situation,"
said Robin Waudo, ICRC Kabul spokesman, adding that the change was "temporary".



He would not stipulate how many international staff would leave, nor which
activities would be suspended, though he said the ICRC would continue to provide
orthopaedic services, support a large hospital in Kandahar and facilitate
contacts between detainees and their families.


"The ICRC is committed to assisting those affected by the conflict, but we
must weigh this against the security of its staff," Mr Waudo said.

Mr Waudo said the Jalalabad assault, the first of its kind on the famously
impartial agency since it came to Afghanistan in 1987, had "serious
implications" for the ICRC's ability to provide humanitarian assistance.

The ICRC's role in the country has grow as Kabul has taken over more
functions from the Nato-led alliance and local forces become more deeply engaged
in the battle with the Taliban. ICRC officials have said the handover of the
Parwan Detention Facility at Bagram airport to Afghan administration has added
significantly to its profile in the country.

"Under international law, any authority handing over a detainee to another
authority must ensure that they will continue to enjoy adequate conditions and
treatment, together with a fair judicial process," said Gherardo Pontrandolfi,
head of the ICRC delegation in Kabul.

Detainees at Parwan maintain contact with relatives through family visits
facilitated by the ICRC. Mr Pontrandolfi explained: "We have also introduced a
telephone system that allows families to contact relatives at Parwan. This
reduces the need for them to travel in from remote areas."

Relatives can make calls from ICRC offices in Kabul, Kandahar, Khost and
Kunduz, with offices in other provinces to introduce this facility soon.

Mr Pontrandolfi also warned that a generalised escalation of violence was
making the organisation's humanitarian work, and that of its local partner, the
Afghan Red Crescent, more difficult.

"Fighting, roadblocks, roadside bombs and a general lack of security prevent
medics and humanitarian aid from reaching the sick and wounded, just when they
need it most," he said.

"As international attention turns to other crises, there is a risk of the gap
widening between people's needs and the ability of Afghan and international
agencies to meet those needs. Many families depend on jobs with international
organisations or organisations funded by international aid. Unemployment is
already high, leaving families unable to support themselves."

Afghanistan remains the ICRC's biggest operation worldwide

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Tue 4 Jun - 14:50

Afghanistan: British Troops Abused Civilians


Two British servicemen await sentencing after admitting
abusing Afghan civilians at a court martial hearing in Germany.




1:47pm UK,
Tuesday 04 June 2013


The abuse took place while on tour in Afghanistan in
2011/12












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Two British soldiers, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have
admitted abusing Afghan civilians at a court martial hearing in Germany.

But their patrol commander was cleared of failing in his duty to deal with
the offences at the hearing in Sennelager.

One of the soldiers, known as Soldier X, admitted pulling an Afghan boy's
hand towards his crotch while saying: "Touch my special place."

He pleaded guilty to conduct to the prejudice of good order and service
discipline at the start of the court martial.

The offence took place while he was on tour in Afghanistan in December
2011.

The soldiers have been granted anonymity due to fears that naming them would
endanger their lives and that of their families.

Soldier X also admitted insulting another Afghan child between October 16,
2011, and January 6, 2012.

He was cleared of disgraceful conduct of an indecent kind and of forcing an
Afghan girl to touch him on a separate occasion.

A second soldier, referred to as Soldier Y, admitted he was involved in
having an Afghan man photographed with a sign which read "Silly Paki" between
October 16, 2011, and January 6, 2012.

The serviceman pleaded guilty to a racially aggravated offence likely to
cause harassment, alarm or distress under the Crime and Disorder Act.

He was initially charged with conduct to the prejudice of good order and
service discipline but prosecutor Lt Col Jane England accepted his guilty plea
to the separate offence.

Meanwhile, their patrol commander, referred to as Soldier Z, was cleared of
failing in his duty to deal with the offences.

Lt Col England said it would not be in the public interest or appropriate to
proceed against him in the light of the guilty pleas from Soldier X and Y.

Sky News Defence Correspondent David Bowden said the soldiers had been given
anonymity by the court judge because of fears that their names would then appear
on Jihadist websites - particularly in light of the recent brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

In ruling one of the soldiers should not be named - months before the attack
on the British serviceman took place - Assistant Judge Advocate General Alan
Large remarked: "The publicity which this case is likely to attract could easily
motivate revenge attacks.

" ... Naming the defendants would result in their names ending up on Jihadist
forums on the internet ... on the basis of the track record of Islamic militants
the threat to the first defendant should he be named publicly is very credible
and potentially imminent."

Bowden described the charges as "serious", adding that the connotations were
"very profound" given Mr Rigby's suspected attackers had claimed
that Britain was "fighting in foreign lands and abusing Muslims".

"And here we have a British soldier serving in Afghanistan who has pleaded
guilty at the very best of disrespecting customs and of course abusing an Afghan
national. In the great scheme of things this is an important case," he said.

Sentencing will be announced later todAY.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sat 8 Jun - 13:03

Afghanistan: Three US Soldiers Killed


12:57pm UK,
Saturday 08 June 2013



Three American soldiers have been killed in an apparent insider
attack in eastern Afghanistan.

Nato said a man in an Afghan army uniform turned his weapon on his
international trainers.

It is the latest attack in which infiltrators or disgruntled Afghan police or
soldiers have killed international troops working with them.

More follows..

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sat 15 Jun - 8:24

By Benedict Brogan, in Camp Bastion and James Kirkup
10:00PM BST 14 Jun 2013

War-weary Britain is experiencing its own “Vietnam phenomenon” as the Afghan mission draws to a close, the Defence Secretary told The Telegraph during a trip to Afghanistan.
His candid assessment of Britain’s appetite for future conflict comes as David Cameron and other Western leaders edge towards greater military intervention in Syria.
The Prime Minister will use next week’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland to talk to US President Barack Obama about sending sophisticated weapons to rebels fighting to topple Syria’s Bashar Assad.
Britain and its allies will “look at all the options” for Syria, Mr Hammond said.
The US this week backed British and French reports that Assad’s forces have used chemical weapons, reports that Damascus disputes.

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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

Post  Panda on Sun 16 Jun - 11:17


  1. Home»
  2. News»
  3. Politics




Philip Hammond: Afghanistan is like our Vietnam
The long war in Afghanistan has left Britain wary of more major military engagements abroad, much as Vietnam sapped America’s will to fight, Philip Hammond says today.

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560
315
TelegraphPlayer_10121753




By Benedict Brogan, in Camp Bastion and James Kirkup
10:00PM BST 14 Jun 2013

War-weary Britain is experiencing its own “Vietnam phenomenon” as the Afghan mission draws to a close, the Defence Secretary told The Telegraph during a trip to Afghanistan.
His candid assessment of Britain’s appetite for future conflict comes as David Cameron and other Western leaders edge towards greater military intervention in Syria.
The Prime Minister will use next week’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland to talk to US President Barack Obama about sending sophisticated weapons to rebels fighting to topple Syria’s Bashar Assad.
Britain and its allies will “look at all the options” for Syria, Mr Hammond said.
The US this week backed British and French reports that Assad’s forces have used chemical weapons, reports that Damascus disputes.
Related Articles

  • Philip Hammond: we will be wary of actions like this for a while
    14 Jun 2013

Mr Cameron yesterday raised the prospect of Assad’s weapons of mass destruction falling into terrorist hands. “Elements affiliated to al-Qaeda in the region have attempted to acquire chemical weapons for probable use in Syria,” the Prime Minister said.
Britain is currently providing “non-lethal” equipment to the rebels, but William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, has pushed for a European Union embargo to be lifted, allowing the delivery of weaponry.
Britain and its allies “must do more” to stop the bloodshed in Syria and put pressure on the Assad regime to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the rebels, Mr Hague said yesterday.
Mr Cameron has said that MPs will get a vote before Britain makes any move to arm the rebels. Dozens of Conservative MPs, including ministers, have doubts about military intervention in Syria.
Opponents of intervention fear that Britain and its allies could be sucked into an escalating regional conflict in the Middle East, as the Assad regime has support from Russia and Iran.
The prospect of greater Syrian engagement comes as Britain tries to wind down its mission in Afghanistan and end combat operations late next year.
Britain’s Afghan operations began in 2001 with a drive to topple the Taliban government in Kabul that sheltered those responsible for the September 11 attacks on the US.
Since then, 444 British Service personnel have died in the country, and thousands more have been seriously injured.
Britain will next year leave behind a country that remains desperately poor, plagued by political corruption and with every prospect of the Taliban returning to share power.
Mr Hammond admitted that the length and cost of the Afghan conflict has reduced Britain’s willingness to conduct major military interventions in future.
“I suspect that the British people – and not just the British people – will be wary of enduring engagements on this kind of scale for perhaps quite a long while in the future,” he said.
In a striking reference, he invoked the memory of the US intervention in Vietnam, which spanned three decades and ended in 1975 with a humiliating American retreat.
Speaking at Camp Bastion, the main British base in Helmand province, Mr Hammond said: “You might call it the Vietnam phenomenon – when an engagement turns out to be longer and more costly than originally envisaged, there is often a public reaction to that.”
But instead of ruling out all future interventions, Mr Hammond said, Britain should learn from its experiences in Afghanistan that early action can avert major crises.
If Britain and its allies had taken a role in Afghanistan earlier, he said, the prolonged war might have been avoided.
“We ourselves have learned the lesson that earlier, smaller scale intervention may often avoid the need for more massive intervention later, and if we are in a mood for beating ourselves up, perhaps we should have foreseen the consequences of what was happening in Afghanistan before 9/11,” he said. “Perhaps we should have been more forward leaning in the west collectively in intervening to try and head off what was happening here before it happened.”
Instead of planning deployments of thousands of troops to combat zones, Britain should now focus on smaller, earlier missions to “snuff out” terrorist groups and other threats, he said.
“The lesson now is that we need to be thinking three moves ahead in the chess game, and trying when we can to intervene with hundreds to build capacity, to prevent conflict, to snuff out early signs of terrorists taking hold of a piece of ground, rather than needing to do it later with massive force.”


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Re: More trouble in Afghanistan

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