Saturday, 29 June 2013

If We Could Talk to the Taliban...

Who'd have thought that a guerilla war in Afghanistan would be so tricky?


Now it is claimed by someone quite important (I suppose) that the first thing to do, about ten years ago, would have been negotiate with the Taliban. It seems that, contrary to popular strategic thinking, the Taliban are not a race of ant-people from another planet/dimension, but human beings. What's more, they are not a disciplined military force but a rag-tag coalition of warriors, ideologues, fanatics, pragmatists, patriots, mercenaries - in fact, it's almost as if they were some kind of nationalist movement! And some of them would have been ready to talk and reach a settlement, seriously weakening the clout of the die-hard extremists.

Pity it didn't happen. I'm assuming that, after most Western forces leave, the Afghan army and police will collapse and there'll be a televised race to the last American helicopter in Kabul. Scenes like this will occur. Once the evacuation of Saigon was an iconic image of What Not To End Up Doing. But for the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Blair, and their enablers in the media it was all ancient history, I suppose.

And in jolly old Britain the lesson learned will be Don't Get Involved in Costly Wars When You Haven't Got a Coherent Plan. Ha ha, only joking, because we do have a coherent plan. It's called Obeying Orders from Americans who've obviously got no fucking clue. Except when it comes to ripping off the natives, of course.

U.S. and other foreign contractors owe Afghan workers and companies potentially tens of millions of dollars, heightening security risks for Westerners living and working in Afghanistan, according to a government report released Thursday. 
The report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) details how local subcontractors in Afghanistan are threatening to kidnap or kill Western businessmen and employers over alleged nonpayment for U.S.-financed work. One man threatened to set himself on fire in front of the U.S. Embassy over the issue.

Since I'm feeling a mite cynical, let's also mention that great tradition of treating out Brave Boys (and Girls) as paladins till the war's over, then dumping them on the streets and/or in the prisons while the right-wing press look the other way. That's going to be executed to perfection by the coalition, I just know it. Expect drunken, drug-addled, mentally ill, and of course just plain violent soldiery in your shopping street of choice. They will not be helped.

Hey ho, here's to the next war we'll pretend we haven't expensively lost, even when a Taliban official sets up shop at the Afghan Embassy.

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