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Afghanistan and the Ghost of Kiplings Kim [View All]

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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-13-06 01:38 AM
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Speaking in Kandahar, not all that far from Englands 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 Alexanders 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 onso long as it isnt 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 doesnt 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, Englands 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.
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