News / Asia

Britain Key Part of Afghan Strategy

Jennifer Glasse

Britain's new foreign secretary, William Hague, is in Washington meeting with his American counterpart. One of the main topics they'll discuss is Afghanistan, where Britain has deployed 10,000 troops.

Some military analysts say U.S. and British forces should move quickly on Afghanistan, particularly in strategic areas such as the traditional Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan where NATO forces are planning a major offensive.

US and British forces have been engaged in a number of military offenses in Southern Afghanistan in recent months.  That's part of a new strategy, according to Malcolm Chalmers, a military analyst at London's Royal United Services Institute.

"Basically what they are engaged in right now is breaking the momentum of the Taliban because there's a widespread agreement that over the last couple of years, the Taliban's influence has been spreading. And they've got NATO on the back foot," said Chalmers.

That is in part why U.S. President Barack Obama has sent an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan under the strategy put together - in part - by the top U.S. commander General Stanley McChrystal.

The former head of the British Army, General Richard Dannat told the BBC that the plan is a good one.

"This whole process of clearing areas, holding them securely with enough boots on the ground and then building a better life for the people, we can get it right," said the general. "It's got to be rolled out across the South of Afghanistan between the British army, the American Army and the U.S. Marine Corps."

General Dannatt adds that part of that roll out includes the impending offensive in Kandahar for obvious reasons.  

"Kandahar is effectively the power base for the Taliban and the Taliban if they want to control the country, first of all they have to control Kandahar, and then they've opened up the access to Kabul."  Confronting the Taliban is critical, he said.

"The fact of the matter is that the Taliban is effectively a front for al- Qaida, al-Qaida is the expression of the militant Islamist agenda which if we don't oppose it and face it off  in Southern Afghanistan or Afghanistan or in South Asia, then frankly that influence will grow."

At the heart of the strategy in Afghanistan is winning over the Afghan population.  Andy Bearpark heads the British Association of Private Security Companies.  Many of them work in Afghanistan. Bearpark believes carrying out a military operation without alienating the people is challenging.

"We've seen the awful effects of what happens when you kill innocent civilians and you can turn entire groups of people against you that way so you really strengthen and broaden the insurgency far and away from the original insurgency."

But Bearpark also said security is crucial.

"The reality is that until you have security, it's really impossible to achieve very much." And in some ways, he said, insurgents have an advantage. "You can build as many power stations as you want, it takes quite a long time to build one, it doesn't take that many seconds to blow one up."

RUSI's Chalmers says something that has been tried and perhaps should be considered again, is negotiating with the more moderate Taliban.

"One of the things which we've not done enough on is understand the complexities of Afghan politics and think about a  political settlement in Afghanistan that brings on board those elements of Afghan society that are not sufficiently represented."

While public opinion here in Britain remains skeptical about the prospects for success in Afghanistan, Chalmers does not think the new British government which took power this week will make big changes.

"I don't think the UK is going to pull out of Afghanistan, as long as the U.S. is there in substantial numbers, but there is a lot of political pressure to reduce the burden," said Chalmers.

Next year, he said, is more uncertain.

"Everybody's asking where the U.S. will go after the middle of next year which is when President Obama said he is going to start drawing down forces but nobody knows what that means."

Commanders in Afghanistan say by July, 2011, the date given for the drawdown, they should have a good idea how much help the newly trained Afghan army and police forces will need to secure the country and whether Western forces can begin to leave Afghanistan in substantial numbers.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid