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Current events in Afghanistan

daodao

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Mod Note: Posts #1 - #5 originally in this thread.

Yet another failing that can be laid at the door of Bliar - meddling in Afghanistan in 2001, given that the Taliban are now about to regain control. Yet another example of the futility of liberal interventionism. One of the better things about Corbyn was his refreshingly different foreign policy views, which Starmer appears to have ditched.
 
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DynamicSpirit

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Yet another failing that can be laid at the door of Bliar - meddling in Afghanistan in 2001, given that the Taliban are now about to regain control. Yet another example of the futility of liberal interventionism. One of the better things about Corbyn was his refreshingly different foreign policy views, which Starmer appears to have ditched.

How is that a failing of Blair? (And why the ridiculous apparent need to mis-spell his name in such an insulting manner? It adds nothing to your arguments and to my mind just makes you look offensive). Afghanistan was a particularly difficult country to intervene in - and that showed in the casualty levels in the first few years. Nevertheless, thanks to our intervention, much of Afghanistan's population has - as far as I'm aware - been able to live in much greater freedom and at least somewhat greater safety than would've been the case if we'd just let the Taliban keep total control back in the early 2000's. And our intervention did ultimately remove a likely source of terrorism in the West, so may well have saved us from some terrorist attacks as well - though admittedly with a high cost, both financially and in terms of lives of soldiers :(.

The failure appears to be the sudden unjustified pull-out apparently driven by politics and the ideological desire to not have our troops in foreign countries - a political culture of keeping our hands lily-white in terms of keeping our forces at home, even when it means not bothering to help people to who need our help. A political culture for which we can at least in part 'thank' the influence of the left :( Personally I think our pulling out and abandoning much of the Afghan population its likely grisly fate is utterly disgusting. Thanks, Joe Biden! But you really can't lay that pull-out at the door of Blair.
 

brad465

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Yet another failing that can be laid at the door of Bliar - meddling in Afghanistan in 2001, given that the Taliban are now about to regain control. Yet another example of the futility of liberal interventionism. One of the better things about Corbyn was his refreshingly different foreign policy views, which Starmer appears to have ditched.
Has Starmer even been saying much about Afghanistan at this point in time? The main person I think being implicated for the latest unrest is Biden, and in the case of us the Tories were not keen to withdraw in the last 10/11 years of Government, and also added Libya to the list of failed states with their interventionalist behaviour. Whether Democrat/Republican or Tory/New Labour, no major party either side of the pond can take the moral high ground, unless a particular leader can prove they tried to stop intervention or distance themselves from what happened (something Obama did well in regard to Iraq in the 2008 election campaign).

You are right Corbyn had different foreign policy views that were aimed more at diplomacy and talking rather than physical intervention, but these were painted as him siding with terrorist organisations, so it's unlikely at this point in time a leader of a major party can take a near-pacifist line.
 

NorthKent1989

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How is that a failing of Blair? (And why the ridiculous apparent need to mis-spell his name in such an insulting manner? It adds nothing to your arguments and to my mind just makes you look offensive). Afghanistan was a particularly difficult country to intervene in - and that showed in the casualty levels in the first few years. Nevertheless, thanks to our intervention, much of Afghanistan's population has - as far as I'm aware - been able to live in much greater freedom and at least somewhat greater safety than would've been the case if we'd just let the Taliban keep total control back in the early 2000's. And our intervention did ultimately remove a likely source of terrorism in the West, so may well have saved us from some terrorist attacks as well - though admittedly with a high cost, both financially and in terms of lives of soldiers :(.

The failure appears to be the sudden unjustified pull-out apparently driven by politics and the ideological desire to not have our troops in foreign countries - a political culture of keeping our hands lily-white in terms of keeping our forces at home, even when it means not bothering to help people to who need our help. A political culture for which we can at least in part 'thank' the influence of the left :( Personally I think our pulling out and abandoning much of the Afghan population its likely grisly fate is utterly disgusting. Thanks, Joe Biden!

I don’t think insulting Blair is too much of a big deal, the fact is a lot of issues we have today date back to Blair.

Going into Afghanistan and Iraq only created more problems, the 2010s saw more terror incidents across Europe, so removing one source of terrorism actually created a whole lot of terrorism in the West.

The Afghan and Iraq wars were not worth the lives of our soldiers.
 

edwin_m

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How is that a failing of Blair? (And why the ridiculous apparent need to mis-spell his name in such an insulting manner? It adds nothing to your arguments and to my mind just makes you look offensive). Afghanistan was a particularly difficult country to intervene in - and that showed in the casualty levels in the first few years. Nevertheless, thanks to our intervention, much of Afghanistan's population has - as far as I'm aware - been able to live in much greater freedom and at least somewhat greater safety than would've been the case if we'd just let the Taliban keep total control back in the early 2000's. And our intervention did ultimately remove a likely source of terrorism in the West, so may well have saved us from some terrorist attacks as well - though admittedly with a high cost, both financially and in terms of lives of soldiers :(.

The failure appears to be the sudden unjustified pull-out apparently driven by politics and the ideological desire to not have our troops in foreign countries - a political culture of keeping our hands lily-white in terms of keeping our forces at home, even when it means not bothering to help people to who need our help. A political culture for which we can at least in part 'thank' the influence of the left :( Personally I think our pulling out and abandoning much of the Afghan population its likely grisly fate is utterly disgusting. Thanks, Joe Biden! But you really can't lay that pull-out at the door of Blair.

I don’t think insulting Blair is too much of a big deal, the fact is a lot of issues we have today date back to Blair.

Going into Afghanistan and Iraq only created more problems, the 2010s saw more terror incidents across Europe, so removing one source of terrorism actually created a whole lot of terrorism in the West.

The Afghan and Iraq wars were not worth the lives of our soldiers.
My personal belief is that the Afghanistan intervention in 2001 was a necessary response to the 9/11 attacks, though the reasons those attacks were allowed to happen may be more questionable.

The subsequent invasion of Iraq was completely unjustified, with no evidence of Saddam being behind attacks in the West as suggested by Bush and the ostensible reason (weapons of mass destruction) turning out to be wrong as well. This probably had the short-term effect of removing the focus from Afghanistan and preventing the job there being done properly, but also led to the destabilisation of the region and created some much greater dangers for the West - not to mention killing several hundred thousand people. It created a climate where any intervention is seen by many as wrong, whether justified or not.

Blair certainly bears a lot of the blame for this, and for refusing to acknowledge that ever since. But he had support from nearly every MP in the Tory opposition and had they been in government at the time, they would have done exactly the same. The LibDems, a large minority of Labour and a few Tory rebels like Ken Clarke turned out to be right.
 

birchesgreen

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Its a damning inditement of nearly 20 years of blood and treasure. So many lives, a trillion dollars and the mighty Afghanistan army collapses so fast they'd probably have been better off with literal cardboard soldiers.
 

Gostav

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I know that the Afghan puppet regime may fall soon but never expect it happen so fast.
 

yorksrob

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In the 1990's, no one gave a fig about the Taliban until they were stupid enough to shelter Al Quada. The fact that a war even happened is entirely their making.

As for the current withdrawal, I have some sympathy for it, in spite of the obvious destruction etc. We've been training the Afghan army for twenty years. If its not ready now, it never will be.

The problem is that too large a proportion of the population in the place support Taliban style government. If it didn't, they wouldn't make the headway.
 

najaB

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Yet another failing that can be laid at the door of Bliar - meddling in Afghanistan in 2001, given that the Taliban are now about to regain control
Intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 was both justified and proportionate. The real failure happened in the 1990s when the West (primarily the US) abandoned the Mujahedeen who fought and died to repel the Soviets.

Had that not happened there likely would never have been a Taliban.
The problem is that too large a proportion of the population in the place support Taliban style government. If it didn't, they wouldn't make the headway.
They don't necessarily support or want the Taliban but don't really have a viable alternative.
 

yorksrob

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Intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 was both justified and proportionate. The real failure happened in the 1990s when the West (primarily the US) abandoned the Mujahedeen who fought and died to repel the Soviets.

Had that not happened there likely would never have been a Taliban.

They don't necessarily support or want the Taliban but don't really have a viable alternative.

Absolutely, not everyone wants that situation. But there's too much of a critical mass of supporters unfortunately.
 

najaB

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Absolutely, not everyone wants that situation. But there's too much of a critical mass of supporters unfortunately.
I honestly don't believe there's actually even that critical mass, but when your options are to comply or to die - most people will chose not to fight.
 

SynthD

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The last 20 years was just delaying what was already happening. The Taliban were successful and were chosen to be funded to fight a common enemy. They did so well at this that they controlled regions and populations. No wonder that now, 40 years after the Americans first funded them, they are still around. Win hearts and minds, don’t fight.
 

brad465

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An opinion piece in the Financial Times here talks about how Biden's credibility has been shredded through this withdrawal, but also adds China has its own concerns to worry about because of the Taliban's advance:


...Since it is Joe Biden in the White House there is instead, largely, an embarrassed silence.

I can't quote more than 140 characters, but the first part of the above sentence is about the vocal outrage that would occur were Trump overseeing this action. There's plenty of Vietnam comparisons, the negatives being obvious undermining US capability and reliance, but suggesting a sign of hope is the US still went onto win the cold war only 14 years or so later, because of domestic politics and economies, something that may decide the struggle between the US and China. The concerns for China revolve around their behaviour towards Ugyhur Muslims, where this group could receive support from the Taliban and any terrorist bases in Afghanistan could pose a threat to China because of this, to the point China may have to decide whether to make its own military intervention or not.
 

SynthD

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Trump did oversee this action as he initiated it. It wasn’t jumped on, as you suggest, because it was and is a good enough plan.
 

yorksrob

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I honestly don't believe there's actually even that critical mass, but when your options are to comply or to die - most people will chose not to fight.

There have to be enough people to enable someone to say "comply or die" There have to be the people in the woodwork to back it up.
 

yorksrob

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And when you don't know who is Taliban and who is not... When you don't know if going to the police is signing your own death warrant...

Precisely. When half the country is the fifth column, there's no hope.
 

daodao

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intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 was both justified and proportionate.
Why? Meddling in the internal affairs of another sovereign state is rarely the right thing to do. Afghanistan did not pose an existentialist threat to the UK, or the "West" in general.
 

edwin_m

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Why? Meddling in the internal affairs of another sovereign state is rarely the right thing to do. Afghanistan did not pose an existentialist threat to the UK, or the "West" in general.
9/11 may not have been an extinentialist threat to the USA, but I think any country would have had to respond to something like that, assuming it was able to do so. Didn't the USA gave the Taliban the chance to throw out Al-Quaida in 2001, but they refused?
And when you don't know who is Taliban and who is not... When you don't know if going to the police is signing your own death warrant...
There have been plenty of cases, such as West Germany after 1945 and eastern Europe after 1989, where toppling the regime and removing a relatively small number of key people removed the "climate of fear" and allowed the rest of the population to move from totalitarianism to a democratic model fairly painlessly. It doesn't always happen but it can.
 

daodao

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such as West Germany after 1945
The only reason that the change of regime was accepted there was the death and destruction resulting from the previous leader's catastrophic invasion of the USSR in 1941. Until the defeat at Stalingrad, most Germans supported the previous regime and were complicit in its actions.
 

edwin_m

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The only reason that the change of regime was accepted there was the death and destruction resulting from the previous leader's catastrophic invasion of the USSR in 1941. Until the defeat at Stalingrad, most Germans supported the previous regime.
That may or may not be true for Germany, I don't know and you provide no evidence. But it isn't true for Eastern Europe after 1989, as none of these countries were involved in military action.
 

brad465

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9/11 may not have been an extinentialist threat to the USA, but I think any country would have had to respond to something like that, assuming it was able to do so. Didn't the USA gave the Taliban the chance to throw out Al-Quaida in 2001, but they refused?
This is correct, in the sense they wanted Bin Laden to be handed over but the Taliban refused, and did provide some justification to the initial invasion as a peaceful solution was tried first and they only resorted to invasion when the peaceful demand wasn't met (something that doesn't apply to Iraq). The big faults lie with not having any proper long term plan about how to stabilise Afghanistan without having a permanent foreign presence.
 

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The big faults lie with not having any proper long term plan about how to stabilise Afghanistan without having a permanent foreign presence.
As is always the way. A power vacuum allows all sorts of nasty pieces of work to step in and fill the gap.
 

Snow1964

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Britain withdrew its combat troops in 2014, what is left has been peacekeeping and technical support.

This isn’t the 18th Century where Britain was a world superpower, we now have just 0.9% of population (about 75m out of 8.1bn) so from a world effort (pro rata by population) would be supplying 1 person out of about 110 from any World peacekeeping force.

There are some countries with 15-20 times our population, that are considerably nearer, who aren’t getting involved, so if we should be involved is debatable.

My only problem with withdrawal now is it is a betrayal of the nearly 500 British troops killed or seriously injured there if we just leave. But really the world has moved on and another big country should be stepping up to restore order.
 

Gloster

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I have never bought into the attitude that, “Because my son was killed, I want other people’s sons to keep on dying until we have destroyed the opposition, rather than bringing the deaths and conflict to an end with a workable compromise.” I don’t pretend that any peace agreement is necessarily the right thing, but governments should be hard-headed rather than emotional; the Anglo-Irish and Good Friday Agreements were examples of doing the right thing.

We have two problems in the UK. One is governments that still have delusions of grandeur and of being a major player on the world stage, something that it is becoming increasingly difficult to do economically or politically, leaving displays of military power as just about the only option. The other is historical baggage from our colonial past: there seem to be few countries that we haven’t invaded, occupied or fought over the last few centuries. In some of them the bitterness and the feeling that we are responsible for their current problems is deeply ingrained.
 

daodao

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We have two problems in the UK. One is governments that still have delusions of grandeur and of being a major player on the world stage, something that it is becoming increasingly difficult to do economically or politically, leaving displays of military power as just about the only option. The other is historical baggage from our colonial past: there seem to be few countries that we haven’t invaded, occupied or fought over the last few centuries. In some of them the bitterness and the feeling that we are responsible for their current problems is deeply ingrained.
I agree. If Corbyn had become PM at the last election, he would have addressed these problems. One particular issue which creates bitterness in much of the world is British culpability in facilitating what many perceive as the foreign occupation of the Holy Land "between the river and the sea". Afghanistan is another, given the number of times that it is has been invaded by British forces; has the lesson of 1842 not been learnt?
 
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Every single deceased Soldier over the last 20 years has died in vain if the Taliban takes back full control which is likely. Politictians don't care one iota. It's all a game to them.
 

yorksrob

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I agree. If Corbyn had become PM at the last election, he would have addressed these problems. One particular issue which creates bitterness in much of the world is British culpability in facilitating what many perceive as the foreign occupation of the Holy Land "between the river and the sea". Afghanistan is another, given the number of times that it is has been invaded by British forces; has the lesson of 1842 not been learnt?

As I pointed out earlier, no one gave a fig about the taleban until they sheltered Al Quaeda. One can say it's their country, let them do with it as they please, but how do you contain the problem, as with the export of terrorism or the conversion of gullible youths here into jihadis.
 

Carlisle

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Every single deceased Soldier over the last 20 years has died in vain if the Taliban takes back full control which is likely. Politictians don't care one iota. It's all a game to them.
I agree,can’t see Biden’s credibility emerging from this in any form other than entirely shot to pieces, unless he can pull off some kind of master stroke in the next few weeks .
 

edwin_m

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I agree,can’t see Biden’s credibility emerging from this in any form other than entirely shot to pieces, unless he can pull off some kind of master stroke in the next few weeks .
That's probably true, even though it was Trump who started the process.
 

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