The big NATO offensive in the Afghnan province Helmand is “going very well”, according t U.S. Security advisor James Jones. A British general, on a Ministry of Defence briefing in London, says the opreation has “gone to plan”.
Well, indeed. The offensive is barele two days old. Already, three NATO soldiers have died. The 15.000 British, American and Afghan soldiers managed to kill “(a)t least 27 fighters” , if indeed they are fighters. Eleven Taliban fighters “have been detained”. If this is supposed to be ‘the plan’ which is ‘going well’ , the plan is not very ambitous, and does not include victory. A few more days like this, and the number of NATO deaths wil run into the dozens.
The Taliban will suffer more deaths, but they are on home ground, will find replacements, and will fight on. Besides, they will probably evade big battles and just disappear if NATO pressure becomes too strong. Then they will turn up somewhere alse with new attacks. In a few weeks, the whole offensive, whether or not NATO succeeds in taking the Afghan town Marjah, will run out of steam, wit not much to show for the serious losses NATO will by then have suffered. NATO is losing this war, and this offensive will not change that fact.
But in th meantime, it is not just NATO and Taliban that will suffer. Already today there were 12 civilians reported dead – victims of a NATO rocket landing in the wrong place. There have already been US apologies. But these kinds of errors are built into these kind of grand-scale offensieve operations. More rockets, more civilian deaths will undoubtedly follow during the offensive. And each of these deaths will fire the anger of Afghan people. Each death like this will help turn Afghan attitudes more against the Western occupiers. Each death will be an argument for strengthened resistence.
This war should stop. NATO does nog have the right to decide who rules Afghanistan, in what fashion. Afghans should finally be allowed to decide their own fate – and British, American and other Western soldiers should no longer be sacrificed for the economic and political ambitions and interests of their rulers.
(edited within five minutes after publishing)