In the New York Times today, an article titled with studied understatement ‘Afghan Army’s Turnover Threatens US Strategy‘. Read the whole thing. Or maybe just consider this line: ‘“We’re not concerned about getting enough young men,” General Ahmadzai [Deputy Commander of the National Recruiting Centre] said, “just as long as we get that $4.1 billion a year from NATO.”’
Get it? Of course you do. The general is refreshingly honest. I salute his candour. My question is for our politicians and generals. If this is the sort of thing which Afghan generals are openly telling the NY Times now what were they telling you two or three years ago? ‘Afghanisation’ of the conflict has been the cornerstone of our strategy for how long again? Let’s recap:
Plan A: defeat Taliban, ‘stabilise’ Afghanistan, leave in triumph.
Plan defeated by rise of neo-Taliban and, um, reality.
Plan B: give Taliban a bloody great thrashing, build up Afghan security forces, leave with heads held high and hope for the best.
Plan defeated by ‘green on blue’ attacks and the apparent emptiness of the security force build-up.
According to a recruiter, despite good pay, many candidates are scum of the earth, or Taliban supporters, or both. And the good ones? Read and weep: ‘“I wanted to serve my country, my homeland,” Ghubar said. “But after I joined, I saw the situation was all about corruption. The officers are too busy stealing the money to defeat the insurgents.”’ They desert.
What, pray tell, is Plan C?