Monday, 14 May 2012

How Not To Ensure The UK's Safety

Afghan police officers

Two British servicemen have been murdered by rogue Afghan policemen while they guarded a public meeting on Saturday. Two attackers are thought to be involved.  One was killed at the scene but the other escaped.

The MOD has confirmed that a soldier from 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and an airman from the Royal Air Force were serving as part of an advisory team and were providing security for a shura (meeting) near Patrol Base Attai, a joint British and Afghan compound in Helmand's Lashkar Gah district.

Their deaths are the latest in a string of attacks on international troops by Afghan security forces or insurgents disguised as police.

The murders by the Afghan police will further heighten foreboding among Western forces of an enemy within even though British defence sources attempt to play down claims of Taliban infiltration.

414 members of the UK's armed forces have now been killed in the Afghanistan war.

Westminster government leaders have made no secret of the fact that a large number of British troops will continue to be deployed in Afghanistan after 2014, when a percentage are to be brought home. Those remaining are to have a training/support role. Recently it was reported that the Foreign Office has demanded that 'significant equipment'- £1billion of military vehicles - can be passed to the Afghan National Army and Police so they can maintain security when we leave and the overall cost of equipment scheduled to be passed to the Afghans is eventually expected to reach £2 billion.

We cannot afford to make 'gifts' of this magnitude, particularly when the capability of frontline units are being reduced and specialised equipment is in desperately short supply.

When UK forces left Aden in 1967 equipment that couldn't be shipped back was packed onto an RAF runway and after the last troops had been lifted out the kit was bombed by RAF aircraft.

If we are unable to ship back our equipment, what happened in Aden in 1967 should happen in Afghanistan once our troops return home. I have no doubt equipment left behind will find its way into the hands of the Taliban one way or another.

Is that ensuring the safety of the UK?


Brian said...


What a waste of young life when those servicemen are needed here to protect our physical borders from illegals and terrorists. Bring our lot all back now!
Given the problems with spares for the Mastiff early on in its Afghan deployment (the stores supply of axles ran out after three months' usage in Afghanistan), I'm sure that any vehicles won't work long, but will be available for restorers seventy years hence, like the RAfghanAF Hawker Harts.
Perhaps all the donated vehicles will be provided with concealed tracker devices to enable easy acquisition by Brimstones if necessary.

RMcGeddon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RMcGeddon said...

Sad news about the soldier and airman.
Leaving the vehicles behind must have been a last resort. Although it's only tax payers money so who cares.
I wonder if the 'people boiler' of Uzbekhistan demanded too much for access to his territory.( state visit etc ) Ditto the Russians. We've killed too many Pakistanis to use their roads as well.

JRB said...

Not for the first time, and sadly not for the last, we take a moment to reflect upon the loss of two young lives.

However, what does annoy me about this incident, and others like it, is the cold calculated and callous attempt to de-humanise the event.

We now have such loss of life euphemistically rebranded as ‘a green on blue’ incident – like some trivial clash of tone in the design of ones sitting room.
Why can’t the higher echelons of the military and our politicians be honest – this was plainly and simply the slaughter of two innocent young men.

If the powers-that-be regard young lives as expendable, then do we really expect them to give due consideration to some expensive equipment.

subrosa said...

Aye there were problems with the Mastiff Brian, but still they're valuable vehicles which, as you say, could be adapted.

Some Taliban will work that bit out.

subrosa said...

We haven't heard more about the Uzbekhistan business have we RM? Maybe the president's price of a state visit to England was a bit too much.

I suspect the really valuable equipment will be air lifted out and the rest left behind.

subrosa said...

Your last paragraph says it all JRB.

I dislike the term green on blue because it wasn't 'friendly fire'.

These types of murders will become more regular once withdrawals begin.

Brian said...

NATO has historically used blue pennants on exercises, hence the term. You are quite right: this is not "friendly fire" or blue on blue (perhaps green is used for islamic sensitivity) incident but murder.
Unfortunately lives are expendable in the military; it's just what it says on the tin. It's a business where deaths and injuries are also budgeted for to achieve an objective.

subrosa said...

I knew about the blue Brian but didn't know where the green came from. I'm sure you're right.

Joe Public said...

Brian @ 16:07

"It's a business where deaths and injuries are also budgeted for to achieve an objective." To which could be added:- 'By MPs safely ensconced in the UK who know they'll never have to face danger themselves.'

One sometimes wishes the Afghan police were invited to 'protect' certain of our MPs.

Brian said...

Joe Public,
Here's a depressing article about casualty estimation by the military. I'm just very grateful that brave men and women I've never met are prepared to risk life and limb on my behalf.

As for Afghanistan, if the public thought the cause was worthwhile, the strategy was correct and there was clear indication that we were demonstrably winning, eg Taliban handing in their weapons etc, then the public would accept 414 as a reasonable sacrifice to make. But there is no Malayan Emergency (which cost the lives of 519 British service personnel) indication of success.

subrosa said...

Brian, the public don't seem to care about Afghanistan one way or another. Iraq had plenty protestors but they were gradually silenced.

Surely there are people who see the damage this Afghanistan war will do to these islands in the future?

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