Posted by: Lister | January 29, 2008

Thanks for nothing

Karzai blames the Brits for letting the Taliban back into Helmand. The Brits disagree:

Downing Street has hit back at claims by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that the arrival of British troops made security in his country worse.

[…] The Times said Mr Karzai, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, told a group of journalists that “there was one part of the country where we suffered after the arrival of the British forces”, referring to Helmand.

He said the mistake was allowing the US and the UK to replace the province’s sitting governor.

“Before that we were fully in charge of Helmand. When our governor was there, we were fully in charge. They came and said, ‘Your governor is no good.’

“I said ‘All right, do we have a replacement for this governor; do you have enough forces?'” Mr Karzai said.

“Both the American and the British forces guaranteed to me they knew what they were doing and I made the mistake of listening to them. And when they came in, the Taleban came.”

[Gordon says] “We are working alongside the Afghan government in order to drive out the Taleban from Helmand.” […] “And it’s to that aim that our armed forces have suffered losses and shown great bravery and determination.”

None of which contradicts what Karzai said: The Taliban were not in Helmand; the Brits and Americans suggested a course of action; the Taliban came into Helmand. Intentions and bravery are neither here nor there. What hapenned? That’s the question that needs addressing.

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