Thursday, 28 October 2010

those who do not learn from history....


.....Are doomed to repeat it.

It looks like once again the bear will be going over the mountains as the US and NATO have turned to the Russians for support in a desperate bid to maintain momentum and sped up rebuilding efforts no doubt so they can pull out much quicker with there heads still held high and pretend they've accomplished something of substance.

This a very strange arrangement given that large sections of the mujahedeen that resisted Soviet forces in the 1980's now occupy key areas of government or are warlords in the alliance that supports NATO. Further adding to the strange turn of events in addition to training Afghan army units Russia has signed a deal agreeing in principle (political speak for when we've crunched the numbers)to supply NATO with helicopters. For those of you who are old enough to remember it or know there history it was an almost identical deal that marked the first stages of Soviet military assistance before there December invasion in 1979, the first official deployment of Soviet Hind helicopters was in July of that year in support of Afghan army units in a sweep of Kunar valley. The only real difference is instead of supplying Mi 24's (pictured) they'll be supplying Mi-17's.

I'm not for one minute suggesting that the Russians are going to invade since I'm not some nutty new world order American militiamen, but the idea that the Russians getting involved again won't play into the hands of the Taliban. Even if we in the west have forgotten the Afghans sure as hell haven't, this will undoubtedly cause quite a bit of consternation in Kabul and it will be interesting to see what President Hamid Karzai will do to keep his camp together. The only Afghan "big boss" I can think of who'll be pleased the Russians are returning is General Dostum whose probably getting a big nostalgic kick out of this sense of deja vu. Millions died during and after the invasion when the world lost interest after the Soviets pulled out and the two factions were left alone to fight it out, in fact the fighting AFTER the Soviet withdrawal was so fierce that the main reason for the growth of the Taliban was that they and they alone seemed to be capable of wending the domination of the warlords.

Now that history is repeating it self it seems incredulous that the Taliban want be able to increase support by simply reminding ordinary Afghans of the damage that was done the last time Moscow invited itself to the neighbourhood.

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