Saturday, 20 November 2010

Exit Strategies Compared - NATO and Taliban

Guardsman Christopher Davies, a 22 year old father of one, who was alive this time last week, has achieved an unenviable distinction. Last Wednesday, he became the 100th British soldier to die in Afghanistan this year and the latest of 645 NATO troops to suffer death in battle in 2010. His family and his comrades speak highly of him. He leaves a young daughter, Lucy. His 21 year old brother, John, is serving in the same regiment - the Irish Guards.Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, has said that Guardsman Davies' sacrifice will not be forgotten. Well, there's a comfort.
   This tragic event comes at a time when NATO is debating when (and how) to quit Afghanistan. No-one is making the mistake that George Bush made in Iraq - boasting "Mission accomplished!". Everyone knows that it isn't. From what I have read, it seems that the Taliban controls about half of the country. While NATO troops are tied down in the South, the Taliban are active in the North of Afghanistan. Unlike the NATO commanders, they have not forgotten the teachings of Sun Tzu and Mao-Tse Tung.
Another forgotten fact is that, after 9/11, we would not have invaded Afghanistan had the Taliban handed over Osama Bin Laden. So much for our honourable crusade. If they had delivered Bin Laden, "The Talibs" would have been left alone to rule Afghanistan in their own inimitable fashion. Anyway, NATO leaders are thrashing out an exit strategy. The Taliban, of course, have their own exit strategy - death or victory. It remains to be seen which of the two exit strategies is the more successful.


  1. I keep on hearing from politicians and senior military officers about "our mission" in Afghanistan, but never what the mission actually is. I conclude that no one actually knows. This is necessary, because if a set of clear objectives had been laid out, we taxpayers who fund this murderous invasion of another sovereign state could then see clearly whether we have failed or succeeded. By keeping the objectives woolly, they can be changed as they go along. NATO is simply looking for a set of criteria (any set, by the looks of it) that they can use to declare, "Mission accomplished" and get out of this quagmire.

    The Taliban's exit strategy is, as you say, quite clear. Ours isn't because we're making it up as we go along. We don't really know why we're there to begin with. I think it's clear which exit strategy will succeed. We are losing this war - let's just admit it and stop killing innocent Afghan civilians. Dead Afghan civilians outnumber our dead by many times: 100,000s instead of 100s.

  2. Looks like you're right, Nev: