Sunday, 7 February 2010

Our Latest Defence Policy - Tell the Enemy Your Plans

After the Afghanistan conference the week before last, when the outcome appeared to be the bribery of Taliban leaders, Gordon Brown announces 4,000 British troops are preparing to take part in the largest military offensive against the Taliban since the Afghanistan invasion in 2001.

The strike force, composed of British, US and Afghan troops, will storm into some of the most dangerous areas of central Helmand in a series of daring raids as part of Operation Moshtarak.

The offensive, the start date of which is being kept secret (although it is obviously imminent), will dwarf last summer's Operation Panther's Claw in which 10 British soldiers were killed and more than 100 badly injured.

The mission is designed to “break the back” of the Taliban in Helmand but commanders warned that casualties could be the highest of any operation in the eight-year war. Senior officers believe that there is a “real risk” that British forces could lose a Chinook helicopter laden with troops in the assault and warned the public to “steel itself” for casualties.

So this announcement is to prepare us for excessive casualties. No other country's troops are taking part.

In the past such operations have proved unsuccessful as once the British and NATO troops withdrew to their bases the Taliban returned.

Last month the UN condemned the Taliban's use of children as victims and perpetrators of suicide bombings. 'Children must be protected and not targeted,' UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy said in a statement. The Taliban have ignored the UN and continue to train and use children as suicide bombers.

How ineffective the UN is becoming. It seldoms walks the talk.

Update: Captain Ranty has an appropriate post which can be viewed here.


Cold Steel Rain said...

Sadly it's nothing new. The BBC World Service broadcast that 2 Para were on their way to assault Goose Green in The Falklands War.

subrosa said...

CSR, I remember that. You would think, in this day and age when the government talks about security being the 'be all and end all' that messages like this would be held top secret.

They don't have a clue do they.

Mark Wadsworth said...

That has always puzzled me, all this announcing in advance.

But maybe it's different when you're already occupying a country and being harassed by the locals - the psychology of announcing a "surge" is as important as there actually being more troops.

It's not like the Afgh's actually count the troops, is it?

Strathturret said...

We're approaching the 'fighting season'.

Dark Lochnagar said...

Rosie, this struck me as stragnge as well. Do they think the Taliban live in caves and don't have the Internet? Or was it dis-information? Aaahaa!

subrosa said...

I'm sure there are plenty Afghans who are paid to give information on troops numbers and activities Mark. The money may, in certain situations, be the difference between life and death for some of them.

Perhaps Im being naive here but I go by 'forewarned is forearmed'.

subrosa said...

I thought we were going into the 'bribery season' Strathturret, but of course that was the plan 10 days ago.

Brown just doesn't have a clue.

subrosa said...

The Panther's Claw operation wasn't dis-information DL.

Of course the Taliban will know what's happening on the ground because they'll see the preparations but to put out a press release seems more than a little foolish.

Captain Ranty said...

Variation on a theme:


Demetrius said...

Sooner or later in this campaign there will be a bad one. Perhaps more than one. Simply the longer it goes on then the increase in risk. I hope we are lucky and avoid anything serious but the way things are looking it may happen.

subrosa said...

Many thanks for that CR. I'll put a link on my post.

subrosa said...

It seems it's bound to happen Demetrius. The military seldom comment on these issues.

Strathturret said...

We've been very lucky with deaths in Afghanistan. We don't get told how many are seriously wounded of course?

I wonder how people would react if there was a serious incident where we came worst off?

Given how unpopular the war is that might prove to be a tipping point.

Its just down to luck I suspect.

subrosa said...

The change may happen if, with this new operation, the toll is heavy Strathturret.

We've already been 'warned'.

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