Times Online: "British envoy says mission in Afghanistan is doomed, according to leaked memo"


It's not the first such hint at a strong discontent of involved top personnel.
Here's another not really optimistic example, from a general:


Sven Ortmann

And another General expresses his disbelief in victory, expects negotiations:


  1. Hello Sven,

    One of the keys to "winning" in Afghanistan (as in any war) is sheer persistence, and given that the enemy lives there while we don't, the political will that needs to be exerted wil be formidable. The U.S. may find that will; NATO will not, and few individual NATO members may be expected to stick it out with no clear end in sight. As such, I will have to disagree with GEN McCaffery on that point - NATO needs to be shunted aside, delicately if possible, firmly if necessary. Although both the General and the British Ambassador have been known to tend towards gloomy assessments, neither viewpoint, actual or alleged, is without some, even considerable, merit.

    Given the noticeably greater activity and potency of the Taleban's political infrastructure in many parts of Afghanistan this year, it is certainly plausible that next year the Taleban may engage in rather more vigorous and intense operations than in the past, of course with a view to knocking certain national contingents out of the war, permanently. However, the Taleban may have to expose themselves if not then, but later, to much more direct military confrontations with NATO and particularly US forces. 2009 might turn out to be a busy year, all right, and while it may break the will of some NATO-member Governments and precipitate the withdrawal of certain national contingents, the Taleban will be left to face a growing and more aggressive US force.

    If there are to be big battles next year, 2010 may turn out to be a bit of a "breather" year, as the Taleban reorganize and regroup for the 2010 campaigning season, and the US settles in to working on the tribal groups and systems in an attempt to line them up alongside the Afghan Government against the Taleban and certain other groups. And then the war might really be underway in earnest.



  2. I have recently discussed the Afghanistan thing elsewhere, and there's a problem with
    "the Taleban will be left to face a growing and more aggressive US force."

    80% of the supplies seem to go through Pakistan by truck. It's a miracle that this lifeline hasn't been cut in the mountainous regions yet.
    If nothing else then the political fallout of then nuclear program conflict prevents the use of a supply line through Iran.
    The political fallout of the South Ossetia War casts strong doubts about the 80's supply line from the North (CIS countries).
    There's no significant fourth possible route from the East.

    The Soviets were direct neighbors and had a multi-million men army, but had never much more than 100,000 troops in the country. They fought alongside up to about 300,000 Afghan army troops.

    I am extremely skeptical about the value of more troops. A long war would be a Pyrrhic War, not worth the effort even if ultimately successful. It would even be easier and more rational (yet still insane) to invade every two years.

    They need some brilliant ideas, and opportunities to realize these ideas - or the war will be a huge failure.

  3. The complaint I have about all of these threads is none of them (or this article and comments) discusses the Afghan Government and the economy.
    Lets face it, military action is required until the government and the economy that supports it get back on track. This may take years, but what progress has been made?
    Is foreign capital coming in. Are natural resources being tapped providing jobs and revenue?
    These people have been fighting all their lives, their government has to give them a reason to stop.

  4. Well, the Afghan government and its army are the official exit strategy cornerstones.
    The Afghan government is also more than just rumored to be hopelessly corrupt and incompetent, and hoping for its success seems to be futile.

    And I know the "everything will become better once businessmen/corporations invest" attitude, but a quick look at a map tells me that Afghanistan is one of the least likely countries for foreign investments, even if there was no war. A pipeline project was pretty much the only major foreign investment project, but that's just a paper project since both Afghanistan and Pakistan are now politically unstable.

    The war in Afghanistan is first and foremost a political affair, as neither side can win decisively with its military force.
    That highlights the importance of what you mentioned; the requirements. What's required, for what, at what costs?
    My opinion on this is not exactly ready for mainstream (as usual):