Bombs, respect, and Disney in an unwinnable Afghanistan / News / The Foreigner

Bombs, respect, and Disney in an unwinnable Afghanistan. Helge Lurås, advisor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), thinks the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable. “The policy-makers are in a state of denial as to how grave the situation is. For the US, it’s about prestige,” he tells The Foreigner. America was taught a lesson by the Vietnam War. Lurås believes there are certain parallels with what’s happening in Afghanistan now.

afghanistan, grete, faremo, soldiers, medals, norway, fallen, killed, roadside, bomb, jens, stoltenberg, oslo, prime, minister, defence



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Bombs, respect, and Disney in an unwinnable Afghanistan

Published on Wednesday, 30th June, 2010 at 09:30 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 30th June 2010 at 12:45.

Helge Lurås, advisor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), thinks the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable.

Reserve guards outside container with fallen soldiers
Reserve guards outside container with fallen soldiers
Photo: Forsvarets mediesenter


The Disney syndrome

“The policy-makers are in a state of denial as to how grave the situation is. For the US, it’s about prestige,” he tells The Foreigner.

America was taught a lesson by the Vietnam War. Lurås believes there are certain parallels with what’s happening in Afghanistan now.

He goes on to say both options of staying or leaving are bad, and there is a reluctance to choose the lesser of two evils.

“The US finds it easier to hold on its original strategy and hope for a miracle to happen, but the conflict has become a farce,” says Lurås.

Blind alley

“America should have left years ago. Its policy has been one of disrupting, dismantling, and defeating the Taliban. This has worked, partially, but if they don’t beat the Taliban on its retreat, there’s a risk Al Qaida will return. The possibility of a non-Taliban Afghanistan seems unrealistic for the foreseeable future.”

He goes on to say the Taliban could also return in a different form that isn’t necessarily in opposition to the interests of US and NATO forces.

“We could perhaps learn to live with the Taliban in Afghanistan.”

Unwinnable

International military forces in the country have become resistance fighters’ common enemy. Norwegian and other ISAF casualties are not only inevitable, but symptomatic of an unwinnable war. Lurås thinks the only option left is retreat.

“This strategy wouldn’t be winning according to the original ambitions and goals the US and its allies set themselves, but they don’t have any options. I can’t see there are any effective political or military means in this fight. But there are ways of handling a withdrawal.

“I recommend the US and NATO make it clear in both Afghanistan and surrounding areas that they are going to leave in a period of, say, three to five years. This gives domestic parties time to resolve their differences, but only if the allies ensure they explain it’s not all-out war. We have an obligation to ourselves and Afghanistan to try,” he says.

Labour (Ap) Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is also sticking to the Yellow Brick Road, and has reaffirmed Norway will remain in Afghanistan.

“We are in Afghanistan along with our allies on an international mission in accordance with the mandate of a unanimous UN Security Council. We went in with our NATO allies, and will come out together with them.”

Solemn reminder

Meanwhile, comrades of the four killed in a roadside bomb attack on Sunday, received their Service Medal at a ceremony in Oslo on Monday.

“This is a day where we experience the deep contrasts in life. We are all affected by the grief and despair at having lost four of our soldiers in Afghanistan,” said Minister of Defence Grete Faremo.

She mentioned how much she respected the soldiers’ efforts towards rebuilding the country, as well as improving the lives of millions. She also reminded those gathered how important it was to confront the reality of being at war.

“They died in service creating safety and a better life for the people of Afghanistan. They will never be forgotten. We’ve been given a horrible reminder of that military engagement also brings human suffering and loss. Not just for Afghanistan’s civil population, who’ve suffered for so many years, but also for us. Lives can be lost in the battle to bring security and protection,” she said.

And whilst the families mourn their loss, the biggest loss of Norwegian life since WWII, Faremo is now in Afghanistan to talk to the troops, and will be accompanying the dead home.




Published on Wednesday, 30th June, 2010 at 09:30 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 30th June 2010 at 12:45.

This post has the following tags: afghanistan, grete, faremo, soldiers, medals, norway, fallen, killed, roadside, bomb, jens, stoltenberg, oslo, prime, minister, defence.





  
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