Gransnet forums

Chat

Afghanistan - where did it all go wrong?

(47 Posts)
Newatthis Wed 18-Aug-21 10:22:07

I found this interesting article explaining why, after all these years of support from the US and UK, it all went wrong.

www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/08/16/afghanistan-history-taliban-collapse-504977

olddudders Wed 18-Aug-21 10:56:47

Interesting indeed. But the main message I draw from it is that the immense cultural differences in civilisations in that part of the world, and people's values and basic tenets, are very different from those of us brought up in a broadly-peaceful West. It is thus very difficult to stand in their shoes and see those values, particularly the religious fundamentalism that is attached to, though not strictly part of, Islam.

But then, being English, I would be hard put to truly understand the enormous sincerity of hate that for the last century has bedevilled our own Six Counties of Northern Ireland - and yet both sides are composed of people outwardly like me, and with whom I might find it very easy to enjoy a pint of beer or a game of cards.

I hope Kabul doesn't become a bloodbath, obviously, but sorting the good guys from the baddies is far more complex than we might think.

Greyduster Wed 18-Aug-21 13:05:51

An interesting article indeed. “The central feature of the past several weeks in Afghanistan has not been fighting. It has been negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan forces, sometimes brokered by local elders. On Sunday, the Washington Post reported“a breathtaking series of negotiated surrenders by government forces” that resulted from more than a year of deal-making between the Taliban and rural leaders.”. If this has been the case, it beggars belief that we would not have known about it from the Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams that several NATO countries, including ours, have had embedded living and fighting alongside the Afghan Forces for some considerable time. I hope they managed to get these guys out.
It’s also telling that in a recent Congressional “Lessons Learned in Afghanistan” hearing, one of the six “overarching lessons learned” was that, “to be effective, reconstruction efforts must be based on a better understanding of the historical, social, legal and political traditions of the host nation.”

Katie59 Wed 18-Aug-21 13:12:31

It never was going to end any other way, when you have a group of religious fanatics who say “support us or die”. You cannot fight that with democracy or decency, it happened just the same in Iraq.
Extreme Islam is expanding with violence in many places, a very uncertain future.

Franbern Wed 18-Aug-21 16:24:30

Afganastan, over the past couple of hundred years has consistently beaten the so-called 'super powers' Britain Russia, USA.

My heart goes out to those families in Uk have lost beloved sons, etc during tours of duty out there, and also to the thousands of Afgans who have died over these last twenty years.

We must learn to allow countries to make their own decisions and just really hope that the more fanatic sections of the Talaban have learnt some leasson from their own recent past.

winterwhite Wed 18-Aug-21 18:37:27

Who is arming the Taliban? They seem much better equipped than the Afghan soldiers, so given their reputation for savage reprisals it's understandable that the Afghan response has to give in and go home.

And Western intelligence must have been very poor for the Taliban to have been able to regroup and plan and arm in secret to the extent they did. It went mega wrong there as well.

Lincslass Wed 18-Aug-21 18:50:56

winterwhite

Who is arming the Taliban? They seem much better equipped than the Afghan soldiers, so given their reputation for savage reprisals it's understandable that the Afghan response has to give in and go home.

And Western intelligence must have been very poor for the Taliban to have been able to regroup and plan and arm in secret to the extent they did. It went mega wrong there as well.

I believe the Taliban never went away. Plenty of places for them to hide, regroup, and plan. Initially we went out to rid the country of terrorist fighters, once bin laden had gone so should we have done. We then got sucked in by America again, and what did the Yanks do, pull the rug under the feet of all involved. We cannot and should not be taking the blame for this, that lies solely with Trump, Biden. Most refugees should be heading Stateside. Russia, China, and the illegal heroin trade supply their cash. America has supplied their weapons, along with the Afghan army.

Fennel Wed 18-Aug-21 19:32:30

" where did it all go wrong?"
When did it all go right?
So much in the history I don't know or understand.

Alegrias1 Wed 18-Aug-21 19:37:14

And Western intelligence must have been very poor for the Taliban to have been able to regroup and plan and arm in secret to the extent they did. It went mega wrong there as well.

To paraphrase Teresa May today; Either our intelligence was pitiful or we chose to ignore it. I have my suspicions.

MerylStreep Wed 18-Aug-21 19:58:59

I’ve not long finished one of the many books I’ve read about Afghanistan.
On the subject of intelligence: at the start of the invasion there were 19 different intelligence agencies in the US. They didn’t want to share with each other, let alone us. As you can imagine this caused no end of difficulties ( and deaths).
This was resolved to a much lesser amount but I’m afraid I can’t remember the details. I read too much to remember 😟

Brahumbug Thu 19-Aug-21 07:56:18

Afghanistan went wrong the day we invaded. We should never have been there in the first place. The Taliban are not better equipped than the Afghan army, just better motivated. Indeed, the Afghan army has some serious high tech equipment which the Taliban are not trained to use, but the Afghan army morale is virtually zero. A waste of lives and money, reminiscent of Vietnam.

Brownflopsy Thu 19-Aug-21 10:54:22

Interesting article, but it's also worth reading some history about Afghanistan too for better insight. It's one of those coutries (along with many others in the region) that has been in the firing line between east and west for a long, long time. The Russians got their fingers burned there more than once, let alone the Brits and Americans - who, incidentally, funded the Taliban during the Russian invasion in the 80s. Most Afghans do not want Taliban rule, especially the women, who have been making srides back into public life, but have no way to fight back against their military clout without help. It's a humantarian disaster, and the biggest contributor to this in recent years has been the idiot Trump in his desperation to be seen as worthy of a Nobel peace prize. It's heartbreaking.

cc Thu 19-Aug-21 11:04:26

I think the battle against extreme fundamentalism is unwinnable in a country like Afghanistan. The terrain is very difficult, you're really fighting a guerrilla war against completely determined religious opponents whose local knowledge of that terrain makes them unbeatable.
My DH worked with a Russian around the turn of the century who had been there with the Russian army. By the time they pulled out, effectively defeated, he reckoned that they had lost upwards of 200,000 men (though the official figures have never reflected the true figures).

fluttERBY123 Thu 19-Aug-21 11:07:49

Thank you, newatthis, very interesting. My father was on the NW Frontier during the war. He always said nobody had ever succeeded in conquering Afghanistan. He said the Afghans always fought the invader and of there wasn't one they fought each other. Harold Mcmillan said the first law of diplomacy was Never invade Afghanistan. I was very interested to see the bit about the "arrangements", that explains so much, and confirmation that loyalties are to family and tribe and not to nation.

lemongrove Thu 19-Aug-21 11:11:57

Alegrias1

^And Western intelligence must have been very poor for the Taliban to have been able to regroup and plan and arm in secret to the extent they did. It went mega wrong there as well.^

To paraphrase Teresa May today; Either our intelligence was pitiful or we chose to ignore it. I have my suspicions.

so do I.
Biden was warned it would happen and took no notice of his military advisors, he was so committed to being out by a certain date.That means we knew it was happening too, but what could anyone do but move fast as possible to get any British out of there and as many loyal to the allies Afghans out too.Germany did the same I expect.
there were no options at that stage other than a mad scramble or fight the taliban and engage in more war with them.

polnan Thu 19-Aug-21 11:17:13

I know nothing

However, why did we go there?

I read recently, it was because of 9/11
ie American reprisals.

so why were we involved?

oh come on , this whole Western "civilisation" is based on
money

oh, and no mention that we are taking 20,000 refugees from that country, well that is what I have read

I despair, and we can`t even look after the people already here,,,

I am NOT saying I am without sympathy, but just do not understand where the accomodation, and finances are coming from, when here,,,, and we are classed as one of the top financial countries? (whatever the wording is)

Riggie Thu 19-Aug-21 11:27:28

He said the Afghans always fought the invader and of there wasn't one they fought each other.

This. It has been a land of tribes and warlords for centuries.

Wildstrawberry Thu 19-Aug-21 11:31:09

Unfortunately it is a major loss to all bar the taliban, I so feel sad for all the young lives lost and for so little in return.
It is easy for super powers to use their superior resources and occupy countries and then leave them in utter chaos.
Look at Iraq another failure to create a better future for the people as they only replaced Sadam with other equally horrible leaders.
It took a recent uprising to maybe lead to a better future.
Palestine is another major source of terror that we are either unable or unwilling to resolve with a just settlement and thus removing a major excuse for Iran’s backed militia like hezbollah to use as justification for their existence.
We need to learn that we need an exit strategy that resolves the injustices, terrorism, lawlessness
So we will reap security on our shores.

Sarnia Thu 19-Aug-21 11:34:16

I have never seen the Afghan war as the US & UK supporting that country. We steamed in to a country we had no right to be in and this is the resulting mess. The Taliban weren't defeated, they were biding their time. Will we learn from this? Answers on a postcard.........

HannahLoisLuke Thu 19-Aug-21 11:46:48

Interesting article. Explains a lot about why the well equipped, well trained and much bigger government army just allowed the Taliban to walk in and take over.
I had assumed it was because most Afghan men wanted the strict Sharia law of the Taliban, rather than the more tolerant society that the west had established. I’ll wager the women don’t feel that way!

Nannan2 Thu 19-Aug-21 11:49:07

I agree with Polnan.I feel sorry for these refugees, but we cant surely take in all those folk when we are sadly lacking to take care of our own people??and yet no one in government asked us what we think or wish to do- we have enough trouble getting our UK residents back on their feet after covid has ravaged our health, our jobs,our education, our lives.We have a national debt we will never repay for many decades, yet we still are expected to take on others.Just so Boris can look sympathetic.

Alegrias1 Thu 19-Aug-21 11:51:48

I don't think Johnson has ever looked sympathetic.

shock

Here's an idea....instead of spending money on rail links and big boats, let's spend some money on people. Radical, I know, but there you go...

Pammie1 Thu 19-Aug-21 11:55:14

We steamed in on the coat tails of America after 9/11 with no justification without a second thought barely remember the Russians invading Afghanistan in 1979 to ‘help’ the communist government fight off Muslim guerrilla fighters ? America responded with trade embargoes and boycotted the 1980 Moscow olympics. Within 10 years the Russians withdrew citing it an unwinnable war and a drain on resources. What made us think we would fare any better ?

Pammie1 Thu 19-Aug-21 11:58:47

@Alegrias1. I agree - I think we have a moral obligation where Afghan refugees are concerned, but how about spending some money on our own people. There’s such a lot needs fixing here, and food banks in western civilisation aren’t exactly something to be proud of in the 21st century.

Coco51 Thu 19-Aug-21 12:01:22

It’s the good ol’ US of A . They trained and armed Al Qaeda against the Russians and then were surprised that Al Qaeda wasn’t ever going to be a puppet of the USA. That’s when it all turned to ratsh*t. Look at the history Vietnam et al. They wreck a country then get fed up with the input and walk away.