Discussion in 'Mainstream News Stories' started by Anonymous, Jan 19, 2004.
Britain's 13-year war in Afghanistan comes to an end
Flag lowered in moving ceremony at Camp Bastion, bringing to end the 13-year war in Afghanistan that has claimed lives of 453 British servicemen and women
By Holly Watt, Whitehall Editor, Camp Bastion, Afghanistan
8:00AM GMT 26 Oct 2014
Britain’s war in Afghanistan has ended with a final ceremony in Camp Bastion.
The British flag was lowered in a moving ceremony, bringing to a conclusion the 13-year war in Afghanistan, which has claimed the lives of 453 British servicemen and women.
All British soldiers will leave Camp Bastion within days, handing over the huge base to Afghan troops.
Thousands of soldiers have returned to Britain in recent months, leaving only a few hundred members of the Armed Forces operating in the country. Tonnes of equipment have been repatriated, to meet the deadline of ending combat operations by the end of 2014.
The sprawling base in Helmand province was officially handed over to the Afghans at 10am local time in a ceremony before the few British and American personnel left on the base. The British flag was lowered, along with the US and Nato flags, as Apache helicopters clattered overhead.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... -days.html
So who won, then?
The military-industrial complex.
I reckon that's about right. They did very well out of the British taxpayer.
The formal ending of Britain's 13 years of combat operations in Afghanistan is marked by Monday's press with pictures, tributes, analysis and some measure of soul-searching.
"The soldiers snapped to attention and a union flag was lowered towards the parched desert sand. With this brief ceremony, Britain's 13-year war in Afghanistan came to an end yesterday," writes Holly Watt, the Daily Telegraph's woman in Camp Bastion, as the UK handed the baton on in its war against the Taliban to local Afghan forces.
The long campaign has dominated many young soldiers' military careers, writes Watt.
One 23-year-old tells her, "This is all I have known since I have been in the Army. It is going to be quite weird adjusting to not having to prepare for it every two years."
The British commander at Bastion, Brig Robert Thomson, thoughtfully notes the Western intervention in Afghanistan has gone only part-way in checking the extremist threat.
"This is a country that is a work in progress rather than a country that has been completed," he tells the Telegraph.
The Times says Afghan police and soldiers continue to be killed by Taliban insurgents at the rate of 11 every day, and opium production - a crop that Tony Blair sough to eradicate from the country, to ease Britain's heroin problem - is at an all-time high.
The paper notes how the campaign evolved from early successes to a series of brutal attacks on British forces, at that time scattered in small bases throughout southern Afghanistan.
"It was only the courage of the men and women on the ground that prevented defeat," the paper says.
"The extraordinary examples of resistance during those first few months are the stuff of folklore. At Nawzad, 40 Gurkhas held off 28 assaults in two weeks; at Sangin, 100 paratroopers fought off 44 attacks in 25 days; at Kajaki, eight British soldiers and two dozen Afghans repelled 30 attacks in 10 days."
The development of the vast Anglo-American Camp Bastion/Leatherneck ("the size of Reading") gave the Nato forces a safer base within Helmand province.
But the paper notes: "Britain's legacy on the stabilisation front is also questionable even after the billions of pounds that have been pumped into reconstruction projects.
"As of today, nearly a third of Helmand's 382 schools are closed because of insecurity or a shortage of teachers; Taliban courts are still preferred; and malnutrition and access to healthcare are still problems in all but the province's biggest cities."
The Sun is largely positive on the legacy the UK leaves. It interviews four people, two soldiers, a widow whose husband died in the campaign and a defence writer to conclude, "we did the right thing".
Lord Prescott, a member of the government that first committed troops to Afghanistan, is less sure.
Writing in the Daily Mirror he says: "The West has always made a mess of interventionism in the Middle East. Shock and awe attacks turn into protracted ground campaigns.
"I respect the thousands of gallant men and women who went to Afghanistan and Iraq to save lives and restore peace. But they teach us that being the world's policeman carries a heavy price and does not justify the heavy loss of lives."
It is a sentiment echoed in the pages of the Daily Telegraph by Patricia Quinlan, whose son Capt James Philippson died in Helmand province in 2006.
"The improvements will soon be swallowed up. It is already happening, as in Iraq. Even if some have benefited, it was not worth my son's life," she says.
Does that mean we can all wake up now Lord Prescott?
Green Day, Wake Me Up When September Ends:
I considered listening to John Lennon singing about War being over this morning but then that would require us all to evolve ...
Horia Mosadiq on “Religious Fundamentalism and its Impact on Women and Girls in Afghanistan”
Women, Religion and Religious-Right Panel
Chair: Julie Bindel
Panellists: Horia Mosadiq (“Religious Fundamentalism and its Impact on Women and Girls in Afghanistan”), Magdulien Abaida (“Women in Islam”), Nira Yuval-Davis (“The Role of Religion in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and its Effects on the Position of Women”), Siba Shakib (“How Religion and Tradition Determine the Lives of Wom and Girls and Education as a Way to Free Oneself”) and Soad Baba Aïssa (“Double Fight: against Islamist Terrorism and Ideology”)
11-12 October International Conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights in London
I think jimv mentioned it on the TV reminders thread, but just to reiterate, if you want to get a handle on Afghanistan and the events there, you could do a lot worse than to watch Adam Curtis's new documentary on iPlayer. Lots of fascinating footage, why the lessons of the Soviet Union's invasion of the country were not learnt by the West who made the same mistakes, how the government installed by them was corrupted because the West couldn't recognise the criminals from the righteous reformers, and so on. Plus the connection between Tartovsky's Solaris and Carry On Up the Khyber. Pretty much essential viewing if you have the time.
N.Y. cop, female Air Force major among 6 U.S. troops killed in Afghan attack
In addition to catching up with loved ones, Lemm had other simple things on his mind: "Pizza. Can't wait for a pizza and a nice American burger. Something that's not frozen before it gets to you, that's what I'm looking forward to," he told the station.
On Wednesday, flags on all New York state government buildings will be flown at half-staff in honor of New York Air National Guard Technical Sgt. Joseph Lemm and five other NATO service members killed two days earlier in a motorcycle bomb attack in Bagram, Afghanistan.
Flags will also be flown at half-staff on government buildings in New York City, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"Staff Sgt. Joe Lemm served this nation with the selflessness and bravery that embodies the U.S. Armed forces and the NYPD," Cuomo said in a statement.
"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to his family, friends, fellow officers and service members."
Lemm was a 15-year NYPD veteran who was promoted to detective in January 2014, serving in the Bronx warrant squad, according to a statement from Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
As a member of the NYPD, Lemm was deployed three times, twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq.
Lemm -- a resident of West Harrison, New York, assigned to the 105th Security Forces Squadron, which is a part of the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh -- leaves behind his wife and two children.
All six of the NATO service members killed in Monday's motorcycle bomb attack were American, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said.
Among them was Maj. Adrianna Vorderbruggen of the Air Force, a pioneer in the protest against the military's former "don't ask, don't tell" policy, she was one of the first openly gay service members to marry after the policy was ended in 2011. The group Military Partners and Families Coalition confirmed her death on its Facebook page.
Beheading of third-grade girl ‘was just the spark’ for Afghan minority group
KABUL — The last time Ramzan Ali saw his 9-year-old daughter alive was the day he put her in a van, along with her aunt and five other people from their Afghan village. They were headed for the Pakistani city of Quetta, where the little girl, Shukria, was going to spend time with her ailing grandmother.
The next time Ali saw his daughter, in mid-November, she was lying in a coffin with her severed head stitched jaggedly back onto her neck. She and the other passengers, all ethnic Hazaras from Ghazni province, had been abducted on the highway by Taliban insurgents, held captive for 27 days and then beheaded.
“She was the smartest girl in her class,” Ali, a farmer who walks with crutches, recalled in an interview last week. After spending years in Pakistan as war refugees, he and his family had returned home in 2012 to work their land again. “When I hurt my leg, Shukria told me she was going to become a doctor and fix it,” he said.
Afghan teenager braves threats, family pressure to lead women's orchestra
KABUL, April 18 (Reuters) - Like many teenagers, 19-year-old Negin Khpalwak from Kunar in eastern Afghanistan loves music, but few people of her age have battled as fiercely to pursue their passion in the face of family hostility and threats.
Playing instruments was banned outright during the period of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, and even today, many conservative Muslims frown on most forms of music.
Negin took her first steps learning music in secret, before eventually revealing her activity to her father. He encouraged her, but the reaction from the rest of her conservative Pashtun family was hostile.
"Apart from my father, everybody in the family is against it," she said. "They say, 'How can a Pashtun girl play music?' Especially in our tribe, where even a man doesn't have the right to do it."
Now living in an orphanage in the Afghan capital of Kabul, Negin leads the Zohra orchestra, an ensemble of 35 women at the Afghanistan National Institute for Music that plays both Western and Afghan musical instruments.
When she went home on a recent visit, her uncles and brothers threatened to beat her for a performing appearance on television, and she had to return to Kabul the next day. ...
Brave girl - good on her. How fucking stupid & misguided do you have to be to consider music a bad thing?
This is worrying. And its in the Mail so I suppose, paradoxically, that gives it more credence.
Rogue SAS unit is accused of executing unarmed Afghan civilians and planting Russian 'kill pistols' on their bodies to frame them as Taliban
Special Air Service forces allegedly murdered Afghan civilians in night raids
The potential war crimes were uncovered by Royal Military Police investigators
They are working on Operation Northmoor, run from military bunker in Cornwall
RMP understood to have found evidence of planted pistols and falsified reports
Would imply SAS soldiers have tried to cover up their involvement in war crimes
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...g-unarmed-Afghan-civilians.html#ixzz4lhpDHocl
Some good news.
Afghan interpreters who served alongside the British army have been granted the right to resettle in the UK.
Under the government’s previous relocation scheme, only interpreters who served with the British army in Afghanistan’s Helmand province from 2012 and for at least a year were eligible to resettle in the UK.
Now, following years of lobbying and legal uncertainty, the government has announced that around 50 interpreters who served on the frontline alongside British soldiers as far back as 2006 will be granted five-year visas to Britain as part of new qualifying measures. They will also be able to bring their wives and children, taking the figure to an estimated 200.
The move comes at a time when the British government has faced “severe criticism for its treatment of immigrants and Afghan interpreters” reports CNN.
More good news if correct.
The United States has launched an air strike on the Taliban in Afghanistan.
There are unconfirmed media reports that Mullah Fazlullah - the commander of the Pakistan Taliban - has been killed in the operation.
Fazlullah's men shot the schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan in 2012.
He has been operating in Afghanistan for years. The US attack was in collaboration with Afghan forces.
The US said the strike was aimed at a senior militant figure, in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar, which is on the Pakistan border.
A senior Afghan Defence Ministry official told Reuters and CNN that Fazlullah was targeted and killed.
Such a despicable human with such a hilarious name. Well played, Irony. Well played.
Separate names with a comma.