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The two maps featured here are from the United Nations and show the provinces of Afghanistan and the level of threat each represents.  The first map is from the earlysummer and second more recently in October.  They starkly reveal that the Afghanistan War is being lost though Obama happily assured the American public earlier this month that ” the strategy is on track and that troops would start coming home next July”, and whilst  his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was piping up telling anyone who would listen that “We are being clear eyed and realistic [in assessing that the allies are on top of the problem] ”.

There is no suggestion that matters have improved in the last three months.

Several parts of Afghanistan previously considered safe and secure have now been upgraded to “High Risk”.  These are:  Baghis; Sanagan; Faryab; Laghman and Takhar.  They show that the south of the country where the US is making the fiercest push remains stubbornly high risk.

The documents which were classed as “classified” were published by The Wall Street Journal, and republished by The Daily Mail, so I am not expecting their editors to be wheeched off to the dungeons of the State to be charged with treason anytime soon, unlike Assange.

There are currently 140,000 US led troops in Afghanistan.  The US military budget as at November 29th is $7,000,000,000.00 a year and their Taliban opposition is holding them off with second hand Russian grenade launchers, and home-made AK47’s at $20.00 a pop.

The problem for the US is the one that has faced them since the Pacific War.  They need to win their wars without actually suffering any loss of life on the US side.  They know that the public has no appetite for TV footage of corpses in flag draped coffins, or crippled young men. Their home public will vote them out at the next election.  If the US cannot have others fight her wars for her, she sees the way forward to be a technological one, the mad elusive dream that has haunted administrations for sixty years, that somehow, somewhere, there is a “fix”, a piece of kit, a device, be it drone, or XM-25, that can be deployed at a nice safe distance that will, please God, be more effective than a ten year old boy with a grenade. 

The lesson of war is always that if the side you fight are more willing to die for their homeland than you are to control it you will lose.

America and her coalition of the coerced is losing this one.   

Copyright David Macadam 2010

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