In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

UK seeking to end ‘dirty Afghan war’

Posted by seumasach on February 21, 2011


21st February, 2011

Historically they say whenever the British make sure that they are incapable of winning a war, they resort to tricks and try to buy the other side of a conflict to end misery.

Now, it is the case for the war in Afghanistan. The UK government is spearheading talks with the Taliban ten years after the US-led invasion of the country to which Britain has been one of the masterminds, in a bid to escape the quagmire they are going down deep into.

As the US-led occupation of Afghanistan enters its tenth year, casualties are increasing day by day among Afghan civilians and NATO troops alike.

The US-led troops are engaged in a dirty war in which they are using aerial bombing, drone attacks, torture prisons and corporate mercenaries against the Afghan people, all of which are fuelling insecurity, hence fostering human rights abuse.

Britain joined the countries that invaded Afghanistan under the US command after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on US soil on the pretext that the masterminds behind the attacks – al-Qaeda and the Taliban – must be uprooted.

But, the multinational force led by the US military have neither been able to defeat terrorism nor they succeeded in their attempts to uproot the terrorists the US and British intelligence agencies claimed have taken refuge in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Now, it is the time for Britain to put the traditional trick on agenda in order to both end the conflict and tell the world that “we fought bravely and won the war honorably”.
London has been hosting secret talks with members of the Taliban to discuss peace proposals aimed at ending the conflict in Afghanistan.

Mullah Abdul Salaam Zaeef, the member of the Taliban regime before September 11, is said to be close to Taliban chief Mullah Omar. He has held private talks with British officials in a conference partly funded by the Foreign Office.

Britain, which is under immense domestic pressure to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, is facilitating talks between Afghan president Hamid Karzai and the senior member of the Taliban.

This is while that the UK’s financial crisis, together with its record budget deficit, an increasing number of casualties among British troops in Afghanistan, the war’s unpopularity among the nation, its mounting costs as well as the money the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had to spend to accommodate its staff at a time of credit crunch, are all adding to the reason why the UK government must choose to deal with the enemy, and try to pull itself out of the quagmire.

The MoD is spending more than £1 million a week to accommodate top military brass and their families in luxury flats in exclusive parts of London, a move called “emergency accommodation”.

The private accommodation policy is allowed for more than 6,000 high-ranking civil servants and officers above the rank of Major who do not have access to appropriate services accommodation close to their work place.

The costs are so high that the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakshott has called on the MoD to lower the costs.

“The MoD paid £72,000 in rent last year for a pad in London W2. Presumably a lot of these people are commuting into the MoD main building, but do they really need to live in the Westminster area?” Oakshott said.

This comes as the MoD is spending an extra £3 million annually to accommodate middle-ranking officials.

Meanwhile, the situation among the military staff is so tense that no more people are applying to join the army. The British army is re-scheduling its programs for the troops to have shorter between the tours leaves.

Recently, it was even revealed that a seven months pregnant British trooper has served on the front line in Afghanistan in the southern Helmand province.

The 21-year-old Private, Kayla Donnelly, has given birth just two weeks after leaving Afghanistan, British media reported.

Usually, the army does not dispatch pregnant soldiers to the front line, and would immediately return them home if they become aware they are carrying a baby, but a lack of ready to deploy troops is resulting in such cases.

While the British government is under pressure in all spheres including economy, politics, humanitarian and internationally to end the dirty war in Afghanistan, the country’s public are also re-doubling their efforts in their campaign to force the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan.

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