Saturday, 10 July 2010

Afghanistan: The Unwinnable War

Nine years has passed since the British forces launched their attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban had become the de facto government in large areas of Afghanistan and had introduced extremist Islamic laws and religious teachings. They were also linked to Al Qaeda training bases in Afghanistan, and according to the United States, were also linked directly to the 911 attacks.

This is what formed the basis of the perceived threat to world security, and from the tenuous prospective of the British government, the security of the United Kingdom.

The initial objective was to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban and install a democratic government. This objective was quickly achieved and the Taliban were pushed out and into the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan's towns and villages were brought under the control and protection of the Allies. Democracy was installed, and the process of developing Afghanistan and establishing it's own army began.

The only problem was the Taliban never went away. They resurfaced even more radicalised and militarised. What followed has seen some of the heaviest losses ever inflicted on the British army, and the longest and most costly military engagement Britain has seen since world war two.

Just why is the Afghanistan war dragging on so long? The answer is simple. It's because it's an unwinnable war. It's a war without any clear military objective. It's a war where the enemy is not an army, but rather a religious ideology of fantatics who are opposed to democracy, Western values and everything we stand for.

As each area is secured by the Allies, it is quickly recaptured by the Taliban as soon as the Allies are drawn out of that area to fight the Taliban elsewhere. Round and round they go, with areas passing between the Allies and the Taliban like a bizarre game of pass the parcel.

Wherever the Allies begin investment and constructing schools, police stations and other infrastructure, the Taliban are able to burn them down or blow them up using suicide bombers. Many such buildings have been rebuilt several times by the Allies after successive attacks by the Taliban. Afghanistan is becoming a bottomless pit into which British tax payers money disappears into.

Whilst the British army has vastly superior weaponary, fire-power, military expertise and technology, it's largely useless in Afghanistan. The Taliban always has the upper-hand when it comes to strategy and fighting tactics. The Taliban choose to fight from within populated civilian areas, severely restricting the British army's and Air Force's ability to fight from a position of superiority, and thus, evening the odds. The Taliban army are virtually indistinguishable from civilians, and are able to move in and out of civilian areas with ease, using the local population as human shields.

The Taliban are also able to place mines and other improvised explosives along roadsides to inflict continual collateral damage on British personnel and transport vehicles. This low-tech tactic doesn't cost the Taliban very much at all. It is low risk to them and high cost to the Allies, proving a highly successful tactic. This is why such incidents of roadside bombs have not only accelerated rapidly in the last few years, but have become ever more daring with bombs and explosives placed right outside British military bases.

The Taliban may be massively inferior to the Allied occupying forces in terms of their technology and resources, but they what they do have is an unlimited supply of keen and eager radicalised volunteer fighters flowing into Afghanistan across the border from Pakistan. Many Muslim fighters arrive in Pakistan from all over the world, including the UK. They are willing to die for what they see as a fight for Islam, a holy-war. Whilst our soldiers and the relatives mourn the loss of the mounting casualties of this war, the Muslim's celebrate there's as martyrs doing Allah's work.

British involvement in the Afghanistan war was yet again at the behest of the United States. Britain yet again finds itself fighting America's ridiculous "war on terror" in conflicts that have nothing to do with Britain or British interests. This war must be brought to an end, and soon. For everybody's sake.

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