anchor 13:46 19 Aug 2009

I know this is a controversial subject, but you may be interested to read some personal observations.

My granddaughters partner has returned from the notorious Helmand Province of Afghanistan. He is a senior NCO in the TA, and spent a 6 month tour of duty there. During this period his commander was bitten by a poisonous spider, and he had to take command of the unit when the officer was transferred to hospital. I was interested to hear his comments some of which are below.

He is strongly of the opinion that the war cannot, and never will be won. This type of hit and run guerrilla fighting is almost impossible to combat effectively. In conventional warfare one has some idea who & where the enemy is; not so in Afghanistan. The locals, with very few exceptions, are not friendly to our troops, and silently seem to resent their presence. The only dealings they had with them was to buy some local bread.

The question of material support is often raised; the main thing he mentioned was food. Apparently the main food provided to his group was emergency rations, which are most unpalatable. Very occasionally, they were able to shoot an animal, which they had to prepare and cook themselves. During his time there he lost almost a stone in weight. The only good meal he had was on the 4th July, when they went to an American base.

As regards additional troops, he fails to see how this could solve the problem; only on the odd occasion do you know where the enemy is to launch an attack. Most times they find you!. More troops can mean more targets.

Comments have been made by senior officers that it will decades to win the war. He is of the opinion that the war will only end when, or if, the enemy decide they have had enough. This is most unlikely, as many of them are fanatics and determined to remove the allied forces from the country. The enemy seem to be a mixture of both Afghans and some Pakistanis, united by Islam in the struggle.

I stress this is only ones mans opinion, but it`s interesting to hear it from someone who has actually been there.

  Clapton is God 14:22 19 Aug 2009

Interesting comments - and not dissimilar to some I heard recently from someone who also lived to tell the tale.

I've thought for a long time now that Afghanistan is turning into Britain's Vietnam.

  lofty29 14:37 19 Aug 2009

I have long been of the opinion that this is a unwinnable situation for the UK, it is a pointless excersize, a country out of the middle ages, which will revert sooner or later back to its lawless primitive roots as soon as the foreign troops leave. It has been said on the bbc that this current election is both frruadulent and corrupt, as is the government over there. Some people say that it is vital that democracy takes root in the country, I do not think that the people over there are really interested in such a concept, it is a tribal society and such places are not really interested in such ideas, and they certainly do not want women to have much in the way of rights. Our government are wasting our valuable soldiers lives and what little wealth the UK has in this conflict.

  rickf 14:47 19 Aug 2009

Vietnam, heard of it?

  GANDALF <|:-)> 15:44 19 Aug 2009

None of this comes as any surprise to me as should be apparent from my contributions to an earlier thread on Pipelineistan...oooops sorry....Afghanistan. The country is so third world that, no matter how much money is lobbed at it. there is never going to be economic prosperity.


  Cymro. 16:18 19 Aug 2009

"I've thought for a long time now that Afghanistan is turning into Britain's Vietnam".

Yes indeed and I quite agree, but surely it is more of an American Vietnam than ours. We only went in on the American coat tails and should never have done so. It should at least be easier for us to pullout than it is for them the Americans to do so.

  Bingalau 17:16 19 Aug 2009

Not Britain's Vietnam at all, as there are far more countries involved in this anti-terrorist operation. Yes, Britain is fighting in one of the worst areas in that God forsaken country. But other countries are also losing troops, some more than us and some less. Our casualties are higher than most because we are in one of the worst areas. It is surely up to the U.N. whether or not we should pull out. We did not go in on America's coat-tails no more than other countries did.

No I have no idea what the solution is either, but giving up is not an alternative surely?

  Cymro. 17:46 19 Aug 2009

"No I have no idea what the solution is either, but giving up is not an alternative surely?"

If you don`t know the answer then at least try to explain to me why pulling out is not an alternative.

  bremner 17:49 19 Aug 2009

We (the UN) went into Afghanistan because it was a safe haven for terrorist training and preparation for attacks. That is now not the case but the fear is that if we leave then the Taliban will retake control and AQ will return.

However the safe havens for AQ are now Somalia and Pakistan. If we chased then out of there then it would be somewhere else.

There is no military solution to this problem and it is the case that our soldiers are loosing their lives or being terribly injured in ever increasing reasons for nothing.

I thought the pointless slaughter of our soldiers had ended with WW1 but it seems not.

  bremner 17:49 19 Aug 2009

reasons = numbers

  DieSse 17:51 19 Aug 2009

"..explain to me why pulling out is not an alternative."

Because the country could and probably would revert back to a Taliban lead regime, who might well, as they were before, be very hospitable to Al-Quaeda, to the extent of hosting their training camps.

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