June 13, 2006


Afghanistan’s warning bells

In a sense despite 9/11, Afghanistan has stolen up on us. When I say
‘us’ I mean ‘we Brits’ but I might just as easily say ‘we Nato’.

The first death of a UK soldier in combat with the Taliban has served
notice with the powers that be this side of the Atlantic that
Afghanistan is a deep and complex challenge. I have been speaking to an extremely
senior well-connected military source who claims there are very serious
misgivings in the British armed forces about the extent of the British
commitment in Afghanistan.

My source describes what he says is a very serious lack of armour and
firepower but also says that this is a commitment from which we “cannot
bug out”. He thinks the resurgent Taliban are beginning to give Nato
forces a run for their money. Further, the complexity of the Nato
deployment, the constant need to refer back to national capitals before any
decision is taken is neutering the capacity in the region.


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