Officer attacks government

John A Silkstone

Mi General
MI.Net Member
Jul 11, 2004
British Army officer launches stinging attack on 'failing' UK strategy in Afghanistan

A British Army officer has launched a devastating attack on the UK's "failing" strategy in Afghanistan.

The officer, who works in defence intelligence, has described the British presence in Helmand as an "unmitigated disaster" fuelled by "lamentable" government spin and naïvety.

Writing in the British Army Review, an official MoD publication, Major SN Miller, stated: "Lets not kid ourselves. To date Operation Herrick [the British codename for the War in Afghanistan] has been a failure".

Rather than "winning hearts and minds", Major Miller, who serves in the Defence Intelligence Staff serving Intelligence Corps, said the British presence had had the opposite effect.

But his most blistering attack was on the UK's counter-narcotics policy, where the illicit sale of drugs has been successfully used by the Taliban to fund the insurgency and kill British troops.

He wrote: "British policy towards the poppy crop has been an unmitigated disaster. The chief "effect" of the British presence in Helmand has been to transform Helmand into the opium centre of the world.

"This remarkable milestone was achieved just two years into the British intervention."

Major Miller's indictment of Britain's Afghan strategy can be revealed just a day after the Ministry of Defence announced that another soldier had been killed in an explosion in Helmand.

The death of the soldier, who was a member of the Welsh Guards, brings to 169 the number of British troops killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

Maj Miller claimed that the British government "sleepwalked" into Helmand in 2006 "without any meaningful reconstruction plan, without the resources to undertake-nation building tasks, and, critically, without any desire to fight a major insurgency".

He added: "It was thanks to the tenacity of the common soldier and the paratrooper that British embarrassment was saved."

In direct contradiction to the view of the defence chiefs and the government, Major Miller added that the much-vaulted British strategy of "winning the hearts and minds" of the Afghan people in Helmand had failed.

Instead, he claimed, the opposite had happened, with polls showing that 23 per cent of the population support the Taliban in the south west of the country, a threefold increase compared with 2008.

He wrote: "Where a year (2008) ago, 81 per cent stated that the Taliban have "no significant support at all" in the area, now only 52 per cent judged this to be the case.

"Just 45 per cent of polled Afghans supported the Nato presence in the south west, down from 83 per cent in the previous year. The often repeated statement that 'the Afghans don't want the Taliban back' is increasingly open to question."

He continued: "Last year there were just 57 doctors in Helmand Province – a scandalous figure three years into the British campaign.

"Positive opinion of overall living standards have dropped by 20 points – a remarkably bitter under achievement for a campaign that purported to improve the lives of Afghans."

Maj Miller, who has served in Afghanistan, also attacks the Department For International Development (DFID) for pumping millions of pounds of taxpayers money into a government where he claimed "corruption, inefficiency and incompetence" are "endemic".

Maj Miller also castigated senior officers for the strategy of "Clear, Hold, Build", which he stated had become a "parody of itself".

He added: "We are really only clearing the immediate vicinity of the security force bases, we are only holding the major settlements, and we are not building.

"Self-protection has become the main tactic, reinforced by air strikes that can backfire and undermine the campaign.

"Even as the Army renders itself more and more immobile with heavier vehicles and infantrymen weighing as much as a medieval knight, still the fantasy of the "manoeuvrist approach is peddled in staff courses.

"There is nothing manoeuvrist about weeks of petty, attritional fire fights within a few kilometres radius of a Forward Operating Base. The reason for all this is clear – zero casualties has become the tacit assumption behind operations.

"The Taliban are not being "coerced", "deterred", or "destabilised". They simply disperse, knowing that the British cannot sustain pressure, and they return like the tide when the British troops withdraw, after a short period, back to their bases."

In concluding his essay, Maj Miller wrote the "British Army must believe that it can win wars again".

He added: "Politics needs to be squeezed out of the military campaign. The point of going to war is not to then save ministerial discomfort by avoiding casualties and buttering the media.

"Wars cost lives and the media better get used to it. The British people understand this. They are far tougher than a worried government PR man imagines. We need to win a war, not spin one."

Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP for Newark and a former infantry commander, said: "This castigates the Labour government.

"A succession of defence and foreign secretaries have tried to present the campaign in Afghanistan as benign and bloodless but that is just spin and nonsense.

"Until the government properly resources the war in Afghanistan, our strategy will fail."
Sounds like Germany in the late 1970's;

American soldiers bought hashish from pro Shah Iranians,
Who imported it from Afghanistanian Freedom Fighters,
Who used the money from the sales to American soldiers,
To buy weapons from the CIA,
In order to combat the Soviet Invaders.

Now those same Freedom Fighters who defeated the Soviet Union
Are in fact the Taliban who we are fighting now... It's all just one vicious unending circle of violence. The reason we're having so much trouble winning against those guys is because they're using tactics taught to them by the CIA.:confused:

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