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Nato's no use in Afghanistan

Churchill, that aristocrat who hid under a commoner's name, that arch anti-communist, when he was a Young subaltern, a Lieutenant in India said of the Afghans; before running away from them to save his hide:

"The danger and difficulty of attacking these active fierce hill men is extreme. They can get up in the hills twice as fast as we can, and shoot wonderfully well with Martini Henry rifles. It is a war without quarter. They kill and mutilate everyone they catch and we do not hesitate to finish their wounded off. I have seen several things which have not been very pretty since I have been up here."

We are talking the best fighting men in the world here. Not the SAS. So I doubt General David Richard's words. These are the men, who legend says, slaughtered their wives and children before they went off to fight the Golden Horde so that they would have nothing to lose. These are the men who defeated the SpetsNats with a little help from Zbigniew Brzezinski, the CIA and heat seeking missiles.

I do not think wars will be won by NATO in Afghanistan. NATO is only a foul excuse for a cold war organisation dragged in because the Blair and Bush governments, cavalierly, bypassed the UN. No wonder the Germans and French are behaving passive aggressively: Europe was ignored, France was demonized.

I passed through Afghanistan in 1976. It was part of the hippy trail then. I remember the tombstones of all the British and Indian soldiers set in the rock of the Khyber pass, the fast, clear, pebbly streams. I remember the beautiful unveiled women ... and a young soldier who, as a laugh, pretended he was going to run me through with a bayonet.

"We may be the best fighters in the world", a group of Afghan men with a shop near Greenwich market told me, but we are so tired of fighting. We have been fighting all our lives."

I taught a woman in the government of Muhammad Karzai in who was in charge of the social programme and had a huge budget in 2005. Her remit was to focus particularly on helping boost income generation for Afghan women. Most of the money came from the US but it was guaranteed by the world bank. I can't help wondering what happened to her and her social programme.

That, perhaps, was the decisive battle that the US and UK lost, the battle to rebuild Afghanistan and win hearts and minds. After all, as the fighters themselves told me, the Afghans are sick of fighting. But that desire for peace and hunger for prosperity was not harnessed on by the quick and the dirty. Bush and Blair.

This post first appeared on Donkeyshott & Xuitlacoche, please read the originial post: here

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Nato's no use in Afghanistan


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