The Afghan debacle: How the Taliban made a mockery off Western military interventionism

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SHAFAQNA – Anger has surged in the UK over news that the British government dispatched more troops to Afghanistan now that the Taliban threatens to regain control of the Helmand province – a former stronghold of the Wahhabi outfit.

Afghan officials confirmed on Tuesday (December 22sd, 2015) that Taliban fighters managed to overrun the military in Sangin, a valuable geostrategic position which both Britain and the US fought very hard to stabilize only a couple years ago.

Back then PM David Cameron smugly declared that if not for Britain military intervention Afghanistan would have remained prey to the Taliban, with no state institutions to speak off.

What a difference 24 months make …

“Taliban fighters were on Tuesday in control of most of Sangin district center, with besieged pockets of Afghan troops holding out in a few government buildings,” read a news report published by the Telegraph.

Witnesses on the ground are painting grim picture indeed. According to several testimonies, Afghan soldiers stand besieged by Taliban fighters, with little to no resources to sustain their efforts – with few ammunitions and fast depleting food supplies, the military quite literally faces the barrel of a gun.

Amid such uncertainty and violence the British defense ministry confirmed that a small team of British military advisers had arrived in the Helmand province “to try to bolster the demoralised local troops.”

A spokesman for the ministry stressed that the advisers would not engage in any combat mission, and would solely act as a support system for Afghanistan military apparatus.

While British officials have downplayed the announcement, the public was not exactly pleased to hear that more if its servicemen and women would be put into harm’s way in yet another “foreign mission” under the umbrella of this grand war against terror the United States declared over a decade ago.

Helen Edison, whose husband was killed in Afghanistan in 2006 while trying to regain control of the Helmand province told the Herald Tribune how angry she feels today. “Officials have absolutely no understanding of the suffering families go through … this campaign has been a waste of life and resources from the get go. Hundreds have died and for what? In the defence of what? Britain? Has Britain been made safer since we declared war on the Taliban? Has Afghanistan been made safer since Britain intervened. On all accounts our officials have failed miserably. Two years after we pulled out the Taliban has returned in a great show of force. Two years after we were assured our efforts and our sacrifices has been well spent we are right back where we started. I am at a loss for word!”

Another woman, Diane Dernie also turned to press to express her disappointment. Speaking to the Telegraph she noted what a: “desperate sense of waste, and fear that we are still not learning the lessons and that it’s British troops that are going to pay the price for a failure to learn.”

She added: “The Afghan campaign had been underfunded, under-defined and under-supported.”

Mis-management appears indeed to have characterized Western military intervention in Afghanistan. This sad state of affairs has been often raised by Prince Ali Seraj of Afghanistan, a virulent critic of blind interventionism.

With Britain and its allies increasingly engaged militarily in Syria, Iraq and, prospectively, in Libya too, the latest reverses in Afghanistan have harshly illuminated the stark dangers and unforeseen consequences of precipitate Western intervention in foreign lands – and how easily such adventures can go disastrously awry.

If Western powers have demonstrated a strong taste for military interventionism since 2001, they have however systematically failed to manifest any coherent change on the ground – sowing instead acute and aggravated unrest. For every new frontline the West has opened up, terror outfits have sprang forth stronger and more numerous.

Many experts, among whom Kevin Barrett, editor of Veteran Today have often suggested that rather than fight against terror, NATO allies only ever sought to exploit the threat of radicalism to better rationalise their foreign campaigns. As it were It could be this warped dynamic which actually made both powers: the West and terror, weirdly codependent – locked in a dangerous dance for control and existential validation.

After all if not for terror, Western powers could not have justified their military footprint abroad, and if not for Western interventionism, radicals would not have been able to rally more arms to its sickening crusade.

But for Prince Ali the fault does not entirely rest with a lack of funds or organization, but rather a refusal to admit to the source of terrorism.

In an op-ed  published by Shafaqna News, Prince Ali wrote: “How many more American, NATO and Afghan forces must die before the USA own up to the fact that the Pakistani Military and its ISI is responsible for supporting all of the terror activities, not only inside Afghanistan, but also a multitude of other nations.  How long will the USA make excuses for Pakistan and support them financially, while they condemn leaders like Assad for far lesser crimes, and have imposed sanctions against his country and condemn Iran for supporting terrorists. Where does facts begin and misinformation end?”

To which he added: “Maybe it is time for the USA and the NATO forces to pack it in and declare defeat at the hands of these killers of the innocent and go home and let Afghans face their faith, whatever it might be.”

For what seems now criminal lack of oversight and a good dose of political myopia, Afghanistan stands besieged by those groups Washington proclaimed it has tamed for good a decade ago.

And because it is only invasion Western powers ever planned for, and NOT reconstruction, Afghanistan today stands an empty shell of a country before a monster whose blood has been stronger by rampant poverty and despair.

A total of 106 British troops died in the Helmand province in between 2006 to 2010 out of a total of 456 from the whole campaign. How British officials will manage to sell this momentous failure remains to be seen.

By Catherine Shakdam – This article appeared first in the American Herald Tribune

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