General Stanley McChrystal, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, has sent his proposal for a new strategy to his bosses at the White House and NATO headquarters. Although details of what he wants to do haven’t yet been made public, we do know that he calls the situation ‘serious’ but says success is achievable with a revised strategy. Some people are not so sure.
In Britain’s Mirror newspaper on the weekend, the long-serving and well respected defence correspondent Robert Fox said Afghanistan risks becoming Britain’s Vietnam.
He compares the stated aim of the NATO to ‘Afghanise’ the security forces with Richard Nixon’s plan to ‘Vietnamese’ the forces fighting the Viet Cong. And he points out that turned out to be a disaster for the Americans – the Vietnamese forces were ill-prepared and unable to live up to the expectations put on them. He warns the same thing would happen in Afghanistan.
With more allied troops going in there, despite the serious questions raised over the validity of the recent Presidential election, and the ability of the incumbent Hamid Karzai to keep his country under control, are the NATO countries throwing good money – and lives -after bad?
Is Afghanistan the Vietnam of this century? Is it time for coalition forces to cut their losses and go?