President Donald Trump has ruled out a hasty US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, America’s longest war.
Trump had previously tweeted “We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Their government has zero appreciation. Let’s get out!” but has now been persuaded that America must remain in Afghanistan to “fight to win” vowing to avoid the mistakes made in the past.
“We are not nation building again, we are killing terrorists” the President said. Unfortunately, if ISAF learned anything in Afghanistan, it was that the supply of willing insurgent foot soldiers in that part of the world is infinity. My friend Niels Vistisen, Political Adviser (POLAD) to the Governor of Nahr-E-Saraj in 2012, observed ‘It became increasingly obvious that even though ISAF won all of the battles, NATO was not winning the war.’
General Stanley McChrystal, a former ISAF commander explained: “From a conventional standpoint, the killing of two insurgents in a group of ten leaves eight remaining: Ten minus two equals eight. From the insurgent standpoint, those two killed were likely related to many others who will want vengeance… Therefore, the death of two creates more willing recruits: Ten minus two equals twenty (or more) rather than eight.”
McChrystal was infamously sacked in 2010 by President Obama after his motor-mouth got the better of him in the company of a Rolling Stone journalist. While his media skills may have been deficient his insight into counter-insurgency warfare was not.
Killing terrorists is not the winning strategy that President Trump now seeks or that America now needs to end the longest war in its history.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand
A true story of love, service and incompetence.
When Chris Green became disillusioned with his seemingly perfect existence he didn’t buy a sports car, run off with the au pair or snort cocaine from the breasts of prostitutes.
Instead he went to fight the increasingly unpopular war on terror in Afghanistan.
In the process of discovering himself he unwittingly discovers that the courage and heroism of the soldiers he fights alongside are confounded by incompetence and corruption, not to mention “an industrial strength counterterrorism killing machine”.
It’s a world where the dipsomaniac governor is in the pay of the illicit opium trade, the Chief of Police is a pederast and all round bad guy and the locals still haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842, or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. All infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.
Missing his two young sons, unable to influence policy and just a phone-call away from a brawl he can only lose with the elite SAS, Chris dreams of epic powder days in the High Alps a world away from Afghanistan. But before he can return home to a hero’s welcome – and his wife’s divorce lawyers – he must first complete one last mission to Zumbalay, the Taliban Heart of Darkness and an unlikely reunion with an old man in Helmand.
Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry or your money back*, Spin Zhira is a rare insight into the male mid-life crisis. What every woman needs to know and why every man should be careful what he wishes for.
‘Brims with authenticity and dark humour.’
Patrick Hennessey, The Junior Officers’ Reading Club
‘A must read.’
Richard Dorney, The Killing Zone
‘The best book by a soldier concerning the Afghan War that I have read.’
Frank Ledwidge, Losing Small Wars
Doug Beattie MC, An Ordinary Soldier
Dr Mike Martin, An Intimate war
* check the small print first