Thursday, 17 November 2011

Ten Years in Afghanistan a UK Perspective

Operation Enduring Freedom was launched as a result of the attack on the World Trade Centre, were almost 3,000 innocent people were killed.  Al Quaeda, including its leader Osama Bin Laden, had found a safe haven in Afghanistan.  When the Taliban failed to hand over Al Quaeda terrorists, including its leaders, Operation Enduring Freedom was launched.

Sanctioned by the UN, a coalition of NATO countries and others launched an attack on Afghanistan and removed the Taliban, an oppressive regime from power.   A central government was installed, followed by elections.   Whether or not installing a central government in a tribal nation is open for debate.  Hindsight being 20/20 it may have been more appropriate to work with local governments and tribal leaders that would have been responsible for selecting a central government according to tribal tradition.

After a surge of 100,000 troops authorized by President Obama, the drawdown has begun.  NATO intends to remove all of its troops by 2014.  A big push is underway, with priority to ready Afghan Security Forces to be prepared to provide security for the Afghan people.  The jury is also out on this.

Canada ended its combat role in July and is now embarked on a training mission near Kabul.  158 Canadian soldiers have paid the ultimate price in Afghanistan.

The UK Armed Forces, who shared the lions share of the burden in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, have also lost 378 soldiers in the ten year war.

The UK Ministry of Defence has put together a video with footage over the past ten years, highlighting the history of operations and explaining the reason for the UK's involvement in the war.  The video shows the progress that has been made and the preparations leading up to the handover of control to Afghans in 2015.   

While NATO is preparing to withdraw from NATO, it appears that the leaders of NATO countries are also planning to have a continued presence in Afghanistan for continued training and mentoring of Afghan Security Forces. 

Below the UK Video 10 Years of Operations in Afghanistan:


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