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Why are the UK forces going into Afghanistan?

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by Samtheman1k, 11 Jul 2006.

  1. Samtheman1k

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    I understand the need for NATO forces to go into Afghanistan for peace keeping and for keeping the Taliban at bay, but why is it falling to UK forces?

    AIUI, the original Afghan war was a NATO operation, with forces from all parts of NATO, so surely the increased peacekeeping operations should also be from all parts of NATO.

    The UK forces are stretched enough as it is, and one could argue that the UK is at a great threat of terrorism due to Iraq, so surely some of the burden should be shared, so say, France, Germany and other NATO countries to reduce the overall threat and burden on the UK?
     
  2. Shackley

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    A more interesting question would be "Why did the US and NATO invade Afghanistan in the first place?"

    Afghanistan is presented as being much less of a disaster than Iraq - perhaps because we reduced the threat from terrorists in Afghanistan but increased it in the case of Iraq.

    I have a vague recollection that one of the plans at the time of the invasion of Afghanistan was to reduce the cultivation of poppies - that doesn't appear to have happened; yesterday the UK government said that UK troops would NOT be involved in destroying poppy crops.

    It seems that in the case of both Afghanistan and Iraq, the only real planning was devoted to 'how to win the war'. What happened afterwards appears not even to have been a distant secondary consideration.

    One other useful comparison is with the Balkans which appear to be much less of a disaster than either Iraq or Afghanistan - perhaps because our reasons there did have more to do with the well-being and security of the people who live there. Also, Yugoslavia has now split up into separate countries.
     
  3. Visage

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    Because Blair hasnt got the cojones to tell GWB to do one.



    Whats more worrying is why the US feels the need to withdraw its troops.....a few months of R'n'R before a trip to Tehran?
     
  4. Borris

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    I know I'm not answering the OP, but I thought that I would point out something about poppise.

    The Taleban did a much better job than anyone (including the invading Soviet forces and years of conflict) in eradicating Afghani opium production.

    Once the Taleban rulers were ousted, giving way to feudal warlords, opium poppy growers reappeared in droves.
     
  5. hola_adios

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    I am surprised to see that nobody remembers all the great "achivements" of the Taliban regime in Afganistan. Women executed, men tortured, no chance of getting any kind of education. Problem is that all the allies troops should have gone to Afganistan and not to Iraq.
     
  6. Fop

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    Actually that's not quite true.

    The opium production in Afghanistan peaked under the Taliban and the Taliban used money from it to fund themselves.

    The did however ban its production not long before they were ousted, but it was quite possible this was just a short term method to increase the prices of the huge stockpiles already in their hands.

    Although production picked up again after they were ousted, but it’ll always be difficult as opium production has been an underpinning of the Afghan economy to some degree for a very long time.




    As to why it’s British troops?
    Probably mostly because no other sensible country would want to commit large numbers of troops (and accept the bad PR of deaths) in a country that has lacked any form of stability for a very long time and has a lot of issues to solved before it could become anything close to a stable country.
     
  7. Shackley

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    Not quite sure what you are driving at here? I don't think many people approved of the Taliban. However, their behaviour isn't unique - if you were to apply this justification for going to war, what of Zimbabwe, Somalia, Korea, Burma, Russia, China, etc. etc.?

    Whatever the rights or wrongs of invading Afghanistan in preference to somewhere else, there does seem to be a question at to whether it has helped the Afghan people much.

    And I still can't find a clear statement on the net as to why the US and NATO invaded Afghanistan in the first place - I guess that there must have been a UN resolution?
     
  8. Borris

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    I stand corrected, but would suggest that there is some contention as to the reasons for the Taleban's banning of Opium (via religious edict).

    On the one hand, it was purportedly a purely religious decision, on the other, due to an OPEC style effort to increase flagging prices in the face of a global surplus (1999 being the year for peak production).

    Primary sources aren't particularly easy to come by on the subject.
     
  9. hola_adios

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    Shackley, first of all the Taliban regime was exporting terrorism all over the globe (I know that this could be said about other countries also, but not at this scale). Second point which I was for the invasion is the way all female population was being treated, they were like living dead, couldn't even get medical treatment.
    The main reason for the invasion was that the US goverment needed to act quickly to show determination and scare their invisible enemy (a tactic which was naive, say the least). I don't think that there was any UN resolution, but the support for the invasion was so great that it wasn't necessary.
    I think that it would be a great tragedy to leave the Afghan people in Taliba hands again. If something good could come out of this situation, which to be honest, I doubt, it would be a first steep towards a more secure living for millions of people in that part of the world.
     
  10. Fop

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    Yep the reasoning behind it, well it could have been an economic price fix (certainly a lot of people looking at global opium production thought so) or it could have been a sudden (genuine) religious moral decision, at the end of the day I guess it can never really be known for sure.

    They were definitely very effective at it reducing it in the time they were trying (but then given their methods I guess they would be).

    I think at the end of the day the real hope is that they don't regain control of Afghanistan to find out either way.
     
  11. Nix

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    I think that perhaps there is a couple of reasons why it has fallen onto the responsibility of the UK. Firstly, the UK may be taking a more active role there to divert attention from Iraq back home, meaning we can quietly begin to withdraw but at the same time not sacrificing our global presence. In terms of external politics, it will look more more favourable if we dealt with the situation rather than relying on other NATO powers.
    Secondly, along with the USA, the UK is one of only a few powers truely able to engage their enemies and fight a war anywhere in the world. To do so is an awesome fete of logistics which very few countries are really able achieve. In this light, it makes sense that the UK is able to fight in both Afganistan and Iraq. Admitidly, it would make more sense for the UK to focus their efforts in Afganistan and leave Iraq to the US, but to leave the US alone in Iraq will produce negative perceptions internationally.
     
  12. RaohNS

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    personally i think Nato should be more involved, its like that guy on BBC N24 said last night the Nato troop deployment is laughable Swiss have 4 soldiers and Denmark have 7 or something akin to that. We have the 2nd largest after America!

    >| Raoh |<
     
  13. Shackley

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  14. Nix

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  15. anarchist

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  16. Nix

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  17. Shackley

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    Touché! A hit, verily a hit - I am undone, I yield.
     
  18. Samtheman1k

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    No, that's not a more interesting question in a thread titled Why are the UK forces going into Afghanistan?

    If you want to ask Why did the US and NATO invade Afghanistan in the first place?, please start a new thread. Thanks.
     
  19. scorza

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    Well given that UK forces are already in Afghanistan, and are being killed by Taleban forces, I'd rather it was other UK troops backing them up than any other nation's forces. Thats nothing against other countries either - its just better that they'll be British troops under British commanders.

    I believe that there are still lots of other NATO troops in Afghanistan, but that now its the British turn to patrol Helmand province, where the Taleban are still quite strong. I agree that our troops seem to be over-stretched at the moment, but we already have the second largest troop contingent in Afghanistan I think.
     
  20. badgermonkey

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    May be missing something here, but NATO arent ALLOWED to invade anything surely? They are a peacekeeping force...?