Wednesday 5 August 2009

Afghanistan - A Scrimmage In A Border Station

There are those saying that we are likely to be in Afghanistan for decades yet in order to stabilise the country and to establish a more democratic society. We will not be satisfied until the financial quarter of Kandahar has a fully fledged Hedge Fund industry, or something. There are a number of other reasons, which has led to the complaints about “Mission Creep”, that is added extra duties. The trouble with these is if you are neither able to impose them nor to carry them out. It was exactly this kind of political activity that gave us most of the Empire and caused us so much trouble in getting out of it when the profit margins had evaporated.

I had vowed to abjure military matters in this blog, but having seen that Michael Yon was with the British troops again, changed my mind. It was his dispatches from Iraq when he spent a great deal of time with them that told us so much more about the realities than all the MoD press releases and British media put together. is his latest posting and tells us all a great deal more about what is going on than we normally see. I had thought to cherry pick his piece, but it is much better for others to take a good look. The picture at the head is of the encampment at Kabul during the Afghan War of 1839 to 1842, and is from James Rattray’s “Costumes and Scenery of Afghanistan” of 1848. Few of those in the tents would have survived, Kabul was later a scene of disaster.

What is astonishing is that there is so much known from this encounter, and from the later war of 1878-1880, let alone all the activity on the North West Frontier in the time of Empire. Then there is the Russian experience of the 1980’s. There is no chance of the UK being there for decades, because it will break us first.

1 comment:

  1. You may have seen this argument as a central plank for much of my meagre offerings on Afghanistan, Demetrius. It does please me to realise there are a great many of us feel this way and a campaign is forming!