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Afghanistan and the Ghost of Kipling’s ‘Kim’ [View All]

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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-13-06 02:38 AM
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Afghanistan and the Ghost of Kipling’s ‘Kim’
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----snip----

Speaking in Kandahar, not all that far from England’s old colonial fortress at Quetta, he announced, “I have the force, the rules of engagement, and the caveat-free environment to do everything I need.”

One wonders what Greek commander in Alexander’s army made that same speech, what Soviet general thought he also had “the force” and a “caveat-free environment” to do as he pleased.

In truth, General Richards holds exactly the ground he stands on—so long as it isn’t nightfall. After four years of war, the United States-led coalition is scrambling to contain a spreading insurgency, not only in the south, but the north and the east as well. In late May, Taliban insurgents overran a district capital in Oruzgan Province, and according to the Financial Times, a government presence doesn’t exist outside the Helmand Province capital of Lashkar Gar. Two weeks ago Kabul exploded, with tens of thousands of people stoning American military vehicles and chanting for foreign troops to leave.

This ground and history is familiar for the British. It will be, after all, England’s fourth war in Afghanistan.

The first (1838 –42) was ignited when the Brits forcibly installed Shah Shujah as the Afghan king. That went rather badly, and riots finally forced the British out of Kabul in 1842. As the army was retreating to India, it was ambushed, overrun and destroyed. The war ended when the English marched back, ravaged Kabul, burned the great bazaar, and killed 20,000 Afghans.

http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/article.cfm?issue=06...
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