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Posts Tagged ‘Taliban’

Journalists and the Afghan Taliban.

September 10, 2009 Leave a comment

Given that New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell was warned about the dangers of trying to contact the Taliban in Kunduz to gather information about the recent bomb attack on two oil tankers and the subsequent deaths of Taliban terrorists was it wise to rescue him? There appears to be various journalists on TV news reports this morning who appear instead of being grateful for the rescue of one of their colleague instead have become hostile to rescues.

One British soldier died during Stephen Farrell’s rescue – was he worth it – no! No journalist is worth the life of a British soldier. Perhaps the next time an idiotic journalist wants to dance with the Taliban terrorists he or she should not be rescued.

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Afghan strategy ‘right’ – Brown

September 4, 2009 Leave a comment
Lunch with the Welsh Guards
Image by Downing Street via Flickr

The Prime Minister has presented a speeech at the Institute for Strategic Studies in London.  It is a clarification of the government’s position.

BBC NEWS: “Gordon Brown is giving a speech defending Britain’s mission in Afghanistan, a day after a ministerial aide quit over government strategy.

Labour MP Eric Joyce, a parliamentary aide to the defence secretary, resigned saying a time limit should be set on troop deployment.

The prime minister said he would not walk away, adding: “A safer Afghanistan means a safer Britain.”

He also said British military spending in Afghanistan was increasing.

Downing Street has been keen to stress that the speech was not a response to Eric Joyce’s resignation and had been planned for some time..”

BBC NEWS | Politics | Afghan strategy ‘right’ – Brown.

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Eric Joyce resigns from Brown’s government.

September 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Channel 4 News has released a copy of a resignation letter issued by the parliamentary private secretary to the defence secretary Eric Joyce. Clearly this will be a blow to Brown’s conduct of the war in Afghanistan. Eric Joyce rightly criticises government policy for failing to do its duty towards our military personnel.

Gordon

As you may know, I told Bob Ainsworth some weeks ago that I intended to step down as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Defence Secretary before the start of the new parliamentary term. This seems to me the least disruptive time to do that. I have been privileged to work as PPS to four senior Labour ministers in four government departments and now feel that I can make my best contribution to the Labour effort in parliament by concentrating on helping, as a regular back-bencher, to show that Labour remains sound on matters of Defence.

Labour was returned to power in 1997 on the back of your great success in turning the Economy from a weakness into a strength for Labour. Our continuing success in helping people from all parts of society become more prosperous, while helping the least well-off most, is built upon that. More quietly, during the 90’s, Labour’s then shadow defence team showed how Labour had become, after the disaster of the early 1980s, ‘sound’ on Defence. It seems to me that your personal success on the economy won the deal in 1997, while colleagues at Defence sealed it.

We are now, I think, once again at a critical time for Labour and Defence. The Conservatives, of course opportunistically, think they can convince the public that we have lost our empathy with the Defence community. We must not allow this to happen. I know that you have great commitment to our armed forces and this was clear when you visited Afghanistan this week, yet there seem to me to be some problems which need fixing with the greatest urgency.

As you know, two Black Watch soldiers gave their lives during your visit. I do not think the public will accept for much longer that our losses can be justified by simply referring to the risk of greater terrorism on our streets. Nor do I think we can continue with the present level of uncertainty about the future of our deployment in Afghanistan.

I think we must be much more direct about the reality that we do punch a long way above our weight, that many of our allies do far too little, and that leaving the field to the United States would mean the end of NATO as a meaningful proposition. The British people have a proud history of facing such realities. They understand the importance of the allied effort in Afghanistan/Pakistan and I think they would appreciate more direct approach by politicians. We also need to make it clear that our commitment in Afghanistan is high but time limited. It should be possible now to say that we will move off our present war-footing and reduce our forces there substantially during our next term in government.

We also need a greater geopolitical return from the United States for our efforts. For many, Britain fights; Germany pays, France calculates; Italy avoids. If the United States values each of these approaches equally, they will end up shouldering the burden by themselves. The first place to start is an acceptance this week by them, and by the Afghanistan electoral authorities, that there must be a second round in the elections there. I do not think the British people will support the physical risk to our servicemen and women unless they can be given confidence that Afghanistan’s government has been properly elected and has a clear intent to deal with the corruption there which has continued unabated in recent years.

Most important of all, we must make it clear to every serviceman and woman, their families and the British public that we give their well-being the highest political priority. Behind the hand attacks by any Labour figure on senior service personnel are now, to the public, indistinguishable from attacks on the services themselves. Conversely, in my view we should allow our service personnel greater latitude to voice their views on matters which make distinctions between defence and politics pointless.

I believe the next election is ours to win, thanks greatly to your personal great economic success. But we cannot win unless we grip defence. Above all, Labour must remember that service folk and their families are our people. We say that we honour them for their risk, bravery and sacrifice and we must at literally all costs continue to show by our actions that we mean it.

I intend to do what modest amount I can to help from the back-benches.

Yours sincerely

Eric Joyce MP”

The troops leave. And then the horrors begin | David Aaronovitch – Times Online

August 3, 2009 Leave a comment

A good artcle from David Aaronovitch, I totally agree with his analysis. There are those who feel we should surrender to the Taliban and withdraw from Afghanistan these people should grasp the significance of the probable fate of the Afghan people:

David Aaronovitch in The Times: “Almost exactly 30 years ago, in the summer of 1979, an IRA double ambush killed 18 British soldiers near the town of Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland. Among them was the commanding officer of the Queens Own Highlanders, Lieutenant-Colonel David Blair. It was the worst single incident during a campaign that lasted nearly two decades and cost more than 700 military lives…”

via The troops leave. And then the horrors begin | David Aaronovitch – Times Online.

David Miliband: How to help Afghans defeat the insurgency: FT.com

July 31, 2009 Leave a comment

The debate on Afghanistan continues, David Miliband has written a useful article stating the case for continuing British involvement. The simplistic, immature and naive arguments given by supporters of the “stop the war coalition” fail to get to grips with the essential facts, their argument is emotional and irrational. We have an important commitment in Afghanistan we cannot withdraw, cut and run, this would be a grave betrayal not only of Afghans who fear the Taliban but those in the armed services who have given their lives and those who have lost limbs and those who have mental distress. We must ensure the coming elections on August 30th are held in Afghanistan including Helmond province.

Dated: July 26 2009

How to help Afghans defeat the insurgency

By David Miliband

“In recent weeks the debate about Afghanistan has centred on the UK military’s tactics and resources. The bravery and commitment of our forces has been remarkable, and the toll of death and injury from recent operations heavy. But the result is 80,000 to 100,000 Afghans secure from Taliban threats and violence, and able to vote in the Afghan elections on August 20.

We committed to this mission for one reason: to deny al-Qaeda a base from which to attack the world. People support this and understand that in the 1990s the Taliban authority in Afghanistan provided a convenient incubator for al-Qaeda. But people now want to know whether and how we can succeed. We can. This is how…”

via FT.com / Comment / Opinion – How to help Afghans defeat the insurgency.

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Afghanistan – a just war against the Taliban.

July 30, 2009 2 comments

There are people who are becoming opposed to the current work of International Security and Assistance force (ISAF) and particularly the role of British forces in Afghanistan. Because casualties have inreased during Operation Panther’s Claw there is a knee jerk reaction that leads some people to think we should run away from Afghanistan. In other words surrender the Afghan people to the Taliban and we know what that would mean – a bloodbath! a new reign of terror! Those in the “stop the war coalition” need to seriously think as to what the consequences of withdrawal would mean but then do they really care about Afghans let alone our soldiers and airforce personnel who have given their lives or have been severely injured.

Foreign Secretary David Milliband has recently clarified why British military personnel are in Afghanistan. The cause is a good and just cause. We cannot allow the Taliban to terrorize the Afghan people, the Taliban is an assortment of people including not only Afghans but many foreigners. We are acting in coordination with our allies not only on reducing significantly or neutralising the Taliban threat; it is hoped that talks with moderates might help to reach a long term settlement but also helping the Afghan population with construction projects. Operation Panther’s Claw in Helmand province is aimed at helping Afghan participation in the coming elections.

So I would ask those who think we should retreat from our commitment in Afghanistan to think again and think hard as to the consequences. Whilst I remain committed to the Labour Party as a member I place myself as a centrist, one who believes in serving the national interest and ensuring our national security and ensuring Labour has a chance to win elections. This nation cannot afford to listen to pot smoking (though to be fair not all anti war people are) and misguided anti-war ultra leftists who do a great disservice to progressive thought and policies for democratic socialism.

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Afghanistan offensive ‘a success’

July 27, 2009 Leave a comment

At last some good news, the Taliban are being taught a lesson:

BBC NEWS: “The commander of UK forces in Afghanistan has hailed their latest operation a success, as its first stage draws to a close.

Brig Tim Radford was “cautiously optimistic” about the future but said there was “a long way to go” to improve security in time for elections.

Nine UK soldiers died during Operation Panther’s Claw, which has involved 3,000 troops since its launch in June…”

via BBC NEWS | World | Afghanistan offensive ‘a success’.