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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:26 pm 
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Christina Lamb Helmand, Afghanistan

Britain's most senior military commander in Afghanistan has warned that the war against the Taliban cannot be won. Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said the British public should not expect a “decisive military victory” but should be prepared for a possible deal with the Taliban.

His assessment followed the leaking of a memo from a French diplomat who claimed that Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the British ambassador in Kabul, had told him the current strategy was “doomed to fail”.

Carleton-Smith, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, which has just completed its second tour of Afghanistan, said it was necessary to “lower our expectations”. He said: “We’re not going to win this war. It’s about reducing it to a manageable level of insurgency that’s not a strategic threat and can be managed by the Afghan army.”

The brigadier added: “We may well leave with there still being a low but steady ebb of rural insurgency . . . I don’t think we should expect that when we go there won’t be roaming bands of armed men in this part of the world. That would be unrealistic and probably incredible.”

Carleton-Smith insisted that his forces had “taken the sting out of the Taliban for 2008”. But his brigade has sustained heavy losses in the southern province of Helmand in the past six months, with 32 killed and 170 injured. In an interview with The Sunday Times, he added his voice to a growing number of people arguing that the conflict in Afghanistan could be resolved only through a political settlement that could include the Taliban.

“We want to change the nature of the debate from one where disputes are settled through the barrel of the gun to one where it is done through negotiations,” Carleton-Smith said.

“If the Taliban were prepared to sit on the other side of the table and talk about a political settlement, then that’s precisely the sort of progress that concludes insurgencies like this. That shouldn’t make people uncomfortable.”

Last week Gulab Mangal, the governor of Helmand, said the Taliban controlled more than half the province despite the increased presence of British forces.

<Emphasis Added>

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 882597.ece

Considering that Afghanistan has always been a lawless place (not fair to call it a country), Carleton-Smith's comments are probably accurate. The place will always be lawless. That coupled with the fact that islam is a persistant, relentless plague, indicates that we will never be out of that part of the world, unless we develop a new method of playing the game.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:37 pm 
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Considering that Afghanistan has always been a lawless place (not fair to call it a country), Carleton-Smith's comments are probably accurate. The place will always be lawless. That coupled with the fact that islam is a persistant, relentless plague, indicates that we will never be out of that part of the world, unless we develop a new method of playing the game.

Blaming Islam for this is somewhat over the top - remember that Alexander the Great had major trouble with what were effectively the same group of people only just to the north of Afghanistan when he came through.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:17 am 
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pdf27 wrote:
Blaming Islam for this is somewhat over the top - remember that Alexander the Great had major trouble with what were effectively the same group of people only just to the north of Afghanistan when he came through.


I believe I said, "That coupled with the fact that islam is a persistant, relentless plague."

Yes, Afghanistan has always been a lawless place, and it always will be. But if it were only lawlessness and banditry, we would not be there. It wasn't bandits that piloted three planes into major American buildings, and tried a fourth. It isn't bandits that are seeking to acquire nuclear weapons to destroy US Cities. It isn't bandits that are throwing acid in the faces of women for the temerity of showing their faces, and executing children fdor possession of toys. The Taliban draws its existance and its viciousness from islam.

Islam is the driving force behind our current crop of enemies. And it ain't going away.

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