Afghanistan: Corruption or Defeat – 1
by Peter Eyre on 26 Nov 2009 0 Comment

Can we recall our respective illustrious leaders saying that more troops had to be made available for the forthcoming Afghan elections to make sure that it remained democratic and fair? Can we recall the increase in troop fatalities in the lead up to those elections and how our leaders condemned those attacks all in the name of democracy? Can we all recall that soon after the Afghanistan election our respective leaders said that the election was democratic, successful and were pleased with the results? Can we recall just days after the results were made available that the UN had agreed with opposition members that in actual fact the whole election campaign was rife with corruption? Can we recall that again our leaders took sides and agreed with the UN and demanded a run off? Can we then remember Karzai backing down and agreeing to another run off? It was around this time that the commander of ISAF forces asked for a massive injection of troops and that if we did not do this the war could well be lost.


Then we had a cat and mouse game going on between Obama, Brown and Karzai. The President said that he would not put his troops in harms way until there was a democratic government in Afghanistan. This was immediately followed by Brown repeating almost word for word the same quote. Whilst all this was going on the ISAF Commander was seeking an urgent response to his request. This was followed by members of Congress also demanding that this hesitation be resolved in order to protect our troops in Afghanistan.


Things then took a dramatic turn when the leader of the opposition backed down and stated that he would not be contesting Karzai. Suddenly we had those same leaders congratulating Karzai on his victory and Ban Ki Moon making that special flight to Kabul to personally congratulate him. So much for the sacrifice of our troops all in the name of democracy!


After the dust had again settled we saw a massive increase in ISAF fatalities along with a barrage of accusation made against the British Government regarding the lack of logistical support such as helicopters etc. Then at last we saw that the general public where starting to see that this war was rather futile and turning into another Vietnam. The final straw came when 6 British Soldiers died at the hands of one of the policemen they had trained.


Throughout the last couple of months we have heard both Obama and Brown repeat the same statement after the death of even more troops that “This will only strengthen our resolve.” We have also seen key senior commanders repeating the same spin and even an array of carefully selected ex-Afghan commanders appearing on television to say that this war can be won.


Mr Brown again used the same old statement to the British public that we must continue the battle in Afghanistan to make sure the streets of Britain remain safe. It was also very soon after this political drive that he again repeated that the main area of concern was Pakistan and the border region, and yet from the ISAF perspective this area has little or no activity. It was also repeated yet again that only around 100 Al Qaeda remain inside Afghanistan.


If one looks at the Afghanistan Provinces adjacent to the current Pakistan conflict zone we find that only 139 troops in total have died since the start of the war to date, and of these only 26 have died this year. It must be remembered that this area in the past has housed Al Qaeda and Taliban Militia and is the area likely to again receive militia that are being pushed over by the Pakistan Army. Why isn’t this area receiving the same attention as the region either side of the pipeline route… at the end of the day this war was supposed to be all about Al Qaeda?


One does not have to be a Field Marshall to understand that you take the battle to the area of concern and if possible attack the enemy on at least two fronts. Consequently we have the Pakistan Army fighting in mass with around 30,000 soldiers into the insurgent stronghold of South Waziristan, a tribal region bordering Afghanistan. It was estimated that around 10,000 militants and foreign fighters exist in the region. The Pakistan Army stated that this was a full-scale ground offensive against Taliban and al-Qaida insurgents. The headlines after day two of this operation read as follows: “Pakistan hits Taliban, urges NATO to seal border.” The article went on to say that the remote and rugged South Waziristan is a global hub for militants.


It’s ironic that the US forces have only returned to the adjacent Afghanistan province for a two day operation this month after an absence of over three years. One can see the frustration by Pakistan in being pushed by the US and UK to resolve terrorism in their country which was as a direct result of US forces pushing the problem over the border. Now we see Pakistan troops have the potential to push them back into Afghanistan, and no one will be on the other side to deal with the return of the problem.


 I continue to ask: Why are we still in Afghanistan? Why are there so many troops and more required? If the main terrorist activity is in the region indicated why are NATO troops fighting such a long distance away from those they have been tracking down for such a long time? Is there some other hidden agenda such as the TAPI pipeline? 


One can see there is significant activity along the pipeline route with the highest death rate. The main enemy (according to US, UK and NATO forces) are those that were driven over the border, but this factor doesn’t appear to cause any concern. How many times have we seen a surge in certain areas to then see them pull out and watch the Taliban return to the area that so many people died for? If it was so important to remove the enemy from the area, why wouldn’t you stand your ground, defend and protect it?


As we can now see, the Pakistan Government were harassed by the US to do something about terrorism in the northwest but for what purpose, to again attack the militia and have them cross back over the border into Afghanistan, and if so who will stop them re grouping and killing more soldiers? There are so many things that really do not make sense.


We have listened to Gordon Brown repeat time and again that we have the right strategy in Afghanistan and will not turn our backs on its people. He makes it clear that the purpose is to remove Al Qaeda and Taliban and continue training Afghans until they are strong enough to take back military control of their country. He emphasises that we must persevere in the effort to keep our streets free of terrorists, and yet no Taliban have attacked the US/UK.


Only when the death toll continues to rise and only when senior military officer start to be critical of government does he start to show signs of weakness. We have always known there has been an acute shortage of helicopters, which he repeatedly denied. He backed this belief up by asking one of the commanders if the lack of helicopters was instrumental in the deaths of 6 British troops recently, and then issued a statement that in this particular case there were helicopters available to cover the task. Then he announced a sizeable increase in helicopters being made available to the troops in Afghanistan by spring next year and a much higher ratio in flying hours!


One cannot totally blame the Prime Minister because the responsibility for such operations, supply and logistics remains under the control of the Secretary of State for Defence who has an array of Sub Ministers, Defence Department Staff and Department of Defence to guide him. Looking back at some of the past and current gentlemen in this vital position, we would have to go back a long way to find any person truly worthy of such a position. Historically we can start with George Robertson, Geoff Hoon, John Reid, John Hutton (very short lived) and finally the current and most ineffective Bob Ainsworth. Many of these so called astute gentlemen told so many fairytales and deceived the public.


Gordon Brown has turned the failings of the war effort into a case of “Corruption in Afghanistan”. Both he and Obama are saying exactly the same “We will not allow anymore troops to get into harms way until Afghanistan has sorted out its own Corruption.” They sound like conjoined twins. It appears that at last they are starting to accept that this is another Vietnam; Brown for the first time gave a slight indication of possible defeat.


Could this be the first sign of an exit strategy by using corruption in Afghanistan as the means to an end? What happened to the war for democracy? What happened to the statement that “We have the right strategy?” Do they believe the only ones involved in corruption were Afghans? If Iraq is to act as a template, corruption is rife at all levels on all sides with the added bonus of deceit at the highest level.


It would be appropriate just prior to the pullout for Obama and Brown to hold a press conference in Kabul and wait for the barrage of shoes that will head their way.


The President that promised change to the people of the US has reversed almost every promise made and is showing clear signs of become a person who will surpass George W Bush… Obama promised his people change but change didn’t come. Instead Wall Street was allowed to orchestrate the financial meltdown under the watchful eye of Bush and Obama, with the world’s best financial expert in Britain watching on. This rape of taxpayer’s money continues to rise and $6.8 Trillion has gone missing from the vaults of America without trace or enquiry. The Federal Reserve Bank continues to rule the President and US Government by strategically placing its operatives next to Obama in senior advisory roles. The Federal Reserve Bank does not have to answer to any US law and therefore has a free hand to do what it likes.


From my perspective – “Admit you were wrong” - “Admit defeat” - “Pull out” and bring the troops home. In doing so you will save trillions of dollars so vital to our respective economies and help overcome this economic collapse that you allowed to occur. In doing so you will reduce the military carbon footprint that according to your front man Gore is so vital for our survival… that’s another propaganda story we can cover another time…


Peter Eyre, a former British Naval officer, worked at NATO headquarters, and spent a lot of time in the Middle East and South East Asia as a petroleum consultant; he lives in the UK and writes regularly for the Palestine Telegraph 

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