““We came to realise that the main priority was to build up the Afghan security forces so they could independently manage their own insurgency.”
“We have taken the lessons of how to create local indigenous forces and to harness them with 21st century Western technology. We applied it very successfully against the caliphate, and we did so almost without a single combat fatality.
“This form of remote warfare has almost become our house style.”
Sir Mark is speaking in his spacious modern office at Army Headquarters in Andover which is filled with mementos of an action-packed career during which he has seen active service in all of Britain’s major military engagements of the past four decades, including Northern Ireland, the Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The ability to fight hi-tech wars of the future
His task now is to undertake the Herculean task of restructuring the Army in such a way that it retains the ability to conduct the type of successful military campaign that was undertaken against Isil while at the same time providing it with the ability to fight hi-tech wars of the future.
The template for the future structure of Britain’s Armed Forces was set out in the Government’s recently published Integrated Review, which set out an ambitious vision for the future role of the military as part of Global Britain. And to fund the ambitious reforms being undertaken by all three Services, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has managed to secure an extra £24 billion in funding from the Treasury.
But as part of the restructuring, the size of the Army is being cut from its current establishment” of 82,000 to 72,500 by 2025.”
Comment: C’mon man, the Afghan armed force are about to collapse in the face of an offensive conducted with small arms (whisper louder Joe) by a guerrilla army. The f—–g budget for the Afghan armed forces is larger than the GDP of the country. Sir Mark’s fatuous boasting of how well little England’s little techie army did in the discredited application of the discredited doctrine of counterinsurgency is just laughable. pl
This is difficult to understand, Colonel. Blinken is pro-EU and avowedly anti-Brexit. Biden has the Noraid vote to consider and is going to be no help putting the Northern Ireland problem to bed. The reverse it seems. A trade deal with the States – any old sort as long as it can be PR’d up into something significant – is needed by the Conservative administration here but doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.
In addition, though to my dismay and the dismay of many others, we gave the Democrats a real boost with the Steele nonsense and served as the maid of all work when it came to the more squalid side of the attack on Syria. A debt of shame rather than of honour but no sign that the Biden administration will settle it.
Biden’s Poodle Number One, I’d imagine they call us in the Pentagon, and faithfully so whether its master administers a pat or a beating.
Equally puzzling when it comes to Europe. It can’t be said we have the best of relations with the EU, whether it’s to do with fishing grounds, Northern Ireland, or one or two other little matters. Yet we’re going full steam ahead with joint military arrangements with the French and our soldiers, sailors and airmen, those we have left after so many defence cuts, are manfully helping defend the eastern borders of the EU for them as if we were allies. At the very least Brussels and Washington should decide between themselves whose poodle we are. Johnson seems entirely unable to make up his mind.
Like the rest of the European welfare states with ceremonial “armies,” the UK has steadily poured money into social welfare and drained the military.
For comparison, 72,000 strength is less than twice the NYPD.
This works as long as Uncle Sugar AKA Uncle chump maintains his military posture.
I just read an interesting book “The Changing of the Guard” about the British army since 9/11; it is not a good story.
It seems that the “leadership” of the British Army is just as inept and stupid as the US military, just not as politically corrupt.
Are you worried about China or North Korea being so close to Japan, since you have no military … our young Japanese guide was asked two years ago. Not really, was the answer. We expect the US will protect us.
So who is siphoning off more of the Afghan defense “budget”, their crooks, our crooks, or our wonderful “defense” contractors? Speaking of the later, wasn’t Lloyd Austin the CEO of one of those; after that distinguished career in the army where he saw many promotions but no “white supremacists”, or any that were of those other colors either. I wonder who his company had on the payroll in Afghanistan?
In the mind of EU/Dems/UK the afghan war is not a war! It is a humanitarian multinational operation to build a state from scratch; to promote women’s rights and universal emancipation of minorities in a region saturated with authoritarian governments and kingdoms and sheikdoms and Arab dictatorships. The dems think that they must show the world the “YES WE CAN!” carry out successful state-building ops even if there is sign of enduring law and order, no functioning and legitimately recognized central government, no proper social and political institutions, and there has never been a history and culture resembling that of liberal democracy to sustain a liberal democratic constitutional republic of Afghanistan.
The moment the last NATO/US troop leaves Afghanistan this happens: Taliban occupies the country (albeit with small pockets of pro-West resistance groups scattered around the border regions in and around Badaskhshan region and northeastern border with Turkmenistan) and establishes the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan by conquest. Cuts deals with China to build the country’s infrastructure (as a major hub in the Chinese Belt&Road), cutes deals with Russia to: 1. acquire necessary arms and equipment, 2. ensure that order and stability is established. Qatar step in to prop-up the national media and mass communication. Iran has a medieval Sunni Islamic regime at its doorsteps which is absolutely a threat to the national security of the country, because most of the Iranian Sunni population reside in the eastern bordering provinces to Afghanistan and Pakistan which in the past has seen many destabilizing and terror operations against the non-Sunni population and the IRGC. India has its Kashmir situation in its north that with the erection of the Taliban Islamic State becomes a major source of terror and instability. Pakistan benefits as it has been a major safe heaven to the Taliban throughout years and can use it against India , Israel benefits because Taliban soon finds itself at odds with Shia Iran and its 300k Fatemiyun, and Zeynabiyun and Hazarah proxies and opens up a front for possible coop with Israel through Saudi Arabia and the UAE, China’s benefits reside in its ability to take care of the Islamism aspect of it (counter-terrorism) and to be able to contain the flow of jihadis to Xinjiang, while at the same to establishes its economic and geostrategic foothold in central Asia. Since 2007-8 China has been honing its counter-terror efforts and skills in dealing with Sunni-jihadis and so is very adept in containing it. Iran used to supply China with its Qom and Mashhad-trained clerics to ameliorate the threat of Islamism in its eastern borders but now it is no longer that active.
Maybe. My opinion is when the last American leaves the Taliban will reassert control. Will there be “difficult” areas/warlords; sure. Whats new. The EUROs are out. Their involvement was always show. Western Europe doesn’t have the stomach (IMO) for its own defense never mind serious nation building in Afghanistan. Did’nt Kipling say something about “gwin to yer death like a soldier”. Taliban ascendant moves Islamic pressure closer to China and adds to Chinese necessity to eliminate the Uyhigur (been there since 800?) once and for all. The Chinese will tolerate an Islamic threat to their western. The silk road always went through Afghanistan and the “belt and road” will have to accommodate the geography. Some Chinese/Taliban agreement will have to be made. I don’t see any change for India. Hindus and Muslims will continue to argue over Sikkim/Kashmir. Perhaps Israel will see some Iranian pressure removed b/c the Iranian Sh’iite will have to confront a Sunni western Afghanistan. The Iranians have confronted Afghani war lords to their east b/f Mohammad. What bears watching is the relationship b/t the Taliban and Pakistan. The Taliban will draw the Paki fire breathers closer to fundamental Islam. A Tali/Paki alliance will influence who and to what end.
Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan by outside powers was DOA from the start. There was no way it was going to work without the full support of the Afghan people, or perhaps a more ruthless ‘Roman way of occupation’.
I note the Taliban does have mortars, some single mount rocket artillery, heavy machine guns, suicide truck bombs AKA as a guerilla air force, and much equipment captured from the ANA at Kunduz and elsewhere. But the Taliban’s most effective weapons are 1] insider ANA/National Police attacks, and 2] the corruption of the Afghan government and her warlord governors in the provinces.
The neocons and neolibs are firmly in control here so the civil service is looking to reduce the armed services to a minimum to stymie another Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya etc.