Sunday, February 14, 2010

"Look, we're attacking!"

Today's papers are reporting the biggest offensive in Afghanistan since 2001.

Operation Moshtarak was announced a while back as "a crucial test of the new US strategy to roll back insurgents in Afghanistan" and it's a joint offensive inovolving American, Afghan Canadian, British, Danish and Estonian forces for a total of 15,000 troops.

What is odd, however, is that such a seemingly significant pivotal move was actually announced to the press weeks before it would even take place.

As Michael Portillo observed on BBC This Week on Thursday, "it's been billed as highly significant but the thing that makes you doubt it is the fact that it's been billed: what serious military operation is advertised weeks in advance?".

Critics suspect the move is primarily theatrical, especially as similar operations in nearly the same area of the province obtained the same result: coalition troops take over but then fail to keep hold of the area.

However, as the Independent reports, "
the slogan of the new US strategy is 'Clear, Hold, Build', and it has the declared intention of not withdrawing after expelling or killing the Taliban, but of winning the support of local people by protecting them and providing services such as roads, clean water and electricity".


Tom said...

Claude, what do you think of the recently-trailed strategy of coming to terms with the Taleban and even paying them money to stop fighting?

As someone who believed the war was about a principled stance against repression of women and fundamentalist rule (rather than opportunist empire-building), do you see this as a betrayal of those stated aims?

claude said...

If it's literally just "paying them money to stop fighting", then yes I agree with you.