Just over a year ago ago the UK handed over its last military base in Afghanistan. Ann-Marie de Veer’s view is that the subsequent return of the Taliban exposes Western foreign policy.
“On the 26 October 2014 the UK regime handed over its last military base in Afghanistan to the Afghan Ministry of Defence having ousted the vast majority of the Taliban in the region: Camp Bastion, Gereshk, Helmand Province, had been the primary forward operating base of the British military contingent in the country since early 2005 and was subsequently part of the much larger International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), who also ceased operations at the base on the same day – writes Ann Marie de Veer.
At the time of the UK regimes withdrawal, over 400 British military personnel had been killed in action whilst more than 2,100 had been physically wounded in a conflict that has continued to rage since October 2001. The number of personnel who have since returned to the UK and are known to suffer from psychological distress, of one form or another, has not been officially quantified but is estimated by the King’s Centre for Military Health Research to be more than 15,000.
Moreover, the number of dead and wounded in Afghanistan is, understandably, much greater than Western loses and are still being counted: more than 26,000 civilians have been killed while a similar number of Afghan military forces have also lost their lives, plus an estimated 25,000 to 40,000 Taliban are known to have been killed: Afghan deaths in the conflict range from 77,000 to 92,000 while the number of injured and traumatised is completely unknown. The cost, in terms of the pain and suffering caused, on all sides of the conflict, is immeasurable.
Nonetheless, less than one year later, as of the middle of October 2015, the Taliban have since returned in force.
Most of the villages surrounding the regional capital of Lashkar Gar have been retaken by the former Islamic fundamentalist regime: Abdul, Gereshk, Jamal, Jay, Marjeh, Marjah, Nad-e Ali, Pada, Sagin, Yakhchal, Zara etc. have recently fallen to the Islamists and now Lashkar Gar and Camp Bastion, currently an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base, are in imminent danger of being overrun. In fact, as the events over the last year have clearly shown, there are now many areas of the country that have succumbed to the advancing Taliban forces who are even threatening the nations capital, Kabul.
Clearly the ANA, who have been trained and supported by many Western regimes, primarily the UK and the US, and continue to be mentored to this day, are not up to the task of countering a resurgent Taliban: the resilience and effectiveness of the ANA is akin to the Iraqi Army who were also trained and supported by the West. As history records, the Iraqi Army were swiftly routed in early 2014 by a much smaller and less well-equipped insurgency force, mounted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who have gone on to expand the territory they hold throughout Iraq and beyond. Thus, there can be little doubt about the ANA’s inability to counter a resurgent Taliban: the Afghan’s are neither equipped nor capable of dealing with the return of their former Islamic fundamentalist rulers.
Naturally, latent inability, aka. structural military weaknesses, in any military force, other than your own, is an asset and, from a trainers point of view, it is particularly valuable if your trainee is both ethnically and culturally diverse to the point where you consider it possible that you may have to face them across the battlefield in the future. While building structural military weakness is a facet of all Western military training regimes for diverse nationals, the mentoring of a force that is accustomed to operating differently and being inspired and driven by differing goals and objectives, is tantamount to adding yet another structural weakness. Both Afghanistan and Iraq, whose military forces have, and continue to be, trained by the West are replete with operationalstructural weaknesses. In other words: Western regimes, mainly in the guise of the UK and US, have no intention whatsoever of training either the ANA or the Iraqi Army into becoming an effective and independent fighting force in case they have to face them at some future date.
Thus, the return of the Taliban is inevitable.
Of course, the notion that Western regimes are unaware of the structural military weaknesses they have engineered into the ANA is, quite frankly, laughable: the creation of latent inability is key to their policy of rendering the current Afghan regime into a constant state of dependence on the West whose military trainers and corporatists, mostly in the form of the Western Military Industrial Complex, are more than ready to step into the void, for a price. While Western regimes stated objectives are often lauded as fighting terrorism, having created the Taliban in the first place in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, and then building democracy, by imposing a Western system of governance ill suited for an Eastern nation, the truth is much more unpalatable: modern colonial imperialism relies on the application of a system whereby economic and military dependence renders a nation into a constant state of flux, the net result of which is its failure to establish lasting peace, stability and prosperity for its people.
Meanwhile, as the Western Empire enters its death throes countless lives will continue to be lost or damaged in its quest for geo-strategic and political supremacy.
- Only those politicians who send their sons and/or daughters to a war they say must be fought believe in democracy.”
de Veer Online Magazine
Saturday 24 October 2015