"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Why Are We Fighting the Taliban?

The above image is a montage of 200 men killed fighting in Afghanistan.

Since it was created, it has gone out of date; another British soldier has died after succumbing to injuries received in a bomb blast, and the death toll currently stands at 201.

Earlier in the week, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth, a man who has never served in the military and was flirting with radical Marxism well into his thirties, blamed the 'defeatist attitude' of the British public for letting down our soldiers.

Of course, one can stand firmly behind our soldiers and all their NATO allies without necessarily supporting the war in Afghanistan, and most sensible people realise this.

Perhaps Mr Ainsworth should do his job, and garner support by actually explaining the purpose of the war. Whilst he is at it, he could complete the far more important task of equipping the troops on the ground with what they actually need.

Several senior commanders have come forward to say he is capable of doing neither.

In an article written in today's Mail on Sunday, Peter Hitchens says:

The explanation shifts and wobbles as the months pass. One minute, we are global social workers, then a sort of drugs squad, then we are promoting feminism or training the Afghan army.

Or perhaps we are introducing ‘democracy’ in a country where men vote as their tribal leaders tell them.

As a last resort, we are spun some tale that by fighting over mud villages near Lashkar Gah, we are protecting Britain from terrorist plots – though all the evidence shows that terrorist plots can be and are begun in Britain, with no aid from supposed ‘training camps’ in Afghanistan.

Although he seems quite glib about some issues, I'm inclined to agree with him; however good the intentions of trying to make Afghanistan a better place may be, I'm not sure they are realistically achievable.

Take the following story:

AFGHANISTAN has quietly passed a law permitting Shiite men to deny their wives food and sustenance if they refuse to obey their husbands' sexual demands, despite international outrage over an earlier version of the legislation that President Hamid Karzai had promised to review.

The new final draft of the legislation also grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers, and requires women to gain permission from their husbands to work.

''It also effectively allows a rapist to avoid prosecution by paying 'blood money' to a girl who was injured when he raped her,'' the US charity Human Rights Watch said.

This is the government we are paying with the blood of our young men to prop up.

The problem with Afghanistan is that pretty much everyone in a position of power is a backward, bloodthirsty Islamist - it is simply a question of degrees.

Meanwhile, as the death toll soars and the practices of the Taliban enter normal society once more via the back door, female U.S. Marines are donning headscarves 'to bond with local women':

That was the drill for female American Marines who set out on patrol this week with a mission to make friends with Afghan women in a war zone by showing respect for Muslim standards of modesty. The all-female unit of 46 Marines is the military’s latest innovation in its rivalry with the Taliban for the populace’s loyalty. Afghan women are viewed as good intelligence sources, and more open to the basics of the military’s hearts-and-minds effort — hygiene, education and an end to the violence.

“It’s part of the effort to show we’re sensitive to local culture,” said Capt. Jennifer Gregoire, of East Strasburg, Pennsylvania. She leads the Female Engagement Team in the Now Zad Valley of Helmand province, the heartland of the Taliban insurgency.

If you show your hair, its kind of like seeing a nude picture here, because women are very covered up,” she said.

Silly question, I know, but aren't these Marines there to help liberate Afghan women from tyrannical oppression, rather than adapting to medieval customs themselves?

It truly beggars belief. These women are the ultimate example, supposedly, of women succeeding in a man's world.

Increasingly, I think this war is a fool's errand. This country cannot be occupied, and it isn't in our interests to do so anyway; if we are concerned about security, then our borders deserve more attention than they currently get.

The Taliban and the training camps can be kept at bay with drones, airstrikes and special forces; but pretending Afghanistan has a democratic future with the way things currently stand is simply delusional.

***Update*** 21:45 16th August 2009

Sadly, even this post is now out of date; a further three British soldiers have died in Afghanistan.

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