Comment on the lead Feature in the Sunday Times, 22 May 2011, 'I come in peace'

Posted on | Sunday, 22 May 2011 | No Comments

Ref: http://thetim.es/mjpNEJ

It's perplexing that a senior Diplomat who seems to understand the history of foreign intervention in Afghanistan, and who has proposed/supported three sound military/intelligence initiatives there, can conclude by stating that any solution must involve America.

To quote,"To have any chance of succeeding, such a process will need sustained and vigorous diplomatic engagement by the US. In particular, America will need to talk to all the internal and external parties to the conflict, including the Taliban". But, Mr Cowper-Coles, hasn't America had enough time already, sacrificed enough lives, to have achieved this by now?  Are you completely unaware that this conflict has been the result of dubious America foreign policy, a continuously flawed 'end game' strategy and ineffective military tactics.

You quite rightly mention the lessons our own history has taught us from the North West Frontier (where our forefathers knew better than extend Empire beyond the Pass into Afghanistan) and Malaya where we succeeded because WE devised the strategy, planned the tactics and implemented this in the field of battle. But then you go on to show that nothing has been learnt from this, not least by the American overseers of the Afghan debacle.

And now you are telling us that America (qualifications; Vietnam, Iraq etc) is capable of resolving the Afghan polity involving conflicts between Islam and secularism, tradition and modernism, town and country, Sunni and Shi’ite.....I don't know whether you were smoking the same stuff as your American counterpart, but your tour of duty out there has seriously unbalanced your judgement.

The answer is out, and out now. There is no gain for the Afghans, or honour for  our military by remaining there under American command. Our forces have been the whipping boys for failures in Helmet and earlier in Basra, Iraq. Enough is enough.

Your conclusion should have resolved that our troops must leave now and will never return unless part of a UN initiative. The reason, you know full well; those conducting this occupation have no understanding of the issues involved.

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