The last stage of the British military retreat from Afghanistan took place on Monday 27 October 2014 as Camp Bastion in Helmand Province was ‘handed-over’ to the Afghan National Army (ANA). Under a heavy security presence, the last British soldiers, and the US marines who were stationed in Helmand with them, were flown out in helicopters amidst obvious fears that they would be the targets of the resistance after 13 years of bloody occupation.
The British Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, was quoted in the bourgeois press as saying that the army was leaving with “heads held high” and ignoring reality claimed that ” We leave Helmand in good order, having transferred Camp Bastion to the ANA to use alongside their own Camp Shorabak which will allow them to continue to ensure security and stability in that part of their country .” He continued “Thanks to our Armed Forces and our Afghan and coalition allies, Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for terrorists.”
While most Afghans would agree that with the leaving of British and US troops from the area the number of terrorists has dramatically declined, however, those who Michael Fallon would designate ‘terrorists’ remain in very high numbers, a fact that the heavily armed retreat from Helmand serves to underline. One un-named ‘senior ANA officer’ was quoted in a Times article on 27 October as saying: ” I don’t understand when they say their mission is finished…the situation is the same as before. The enemy is still strong.”
The 13-year occupation of Afghanistan following a massive murderous invasion by mainly US and British troops has cost dearly. An uncounted, and perhaps uncountable now, number of Afghan civilians have died at the hands of both that invasion and the even deadlier occupation which has also seen hundreds of thousands wounded and/or mutilated by an occupation force that was almost universally hated – to the point that it couldn’t even trust those it claimed to be training to ‘replace’ it.
The occupation, just like the US/UK invasion and occupation of Iraq, has become synonymous with torture, executions and general genocide, while these practices by ‘our heroes’ helped to guarantee a limitless supply of indigenous resistance.
Casualties among the occupying forces have been much lower but still high enough to bring their morale crashing down and their fear going up through the roof. The British military losses were 453 dead with thousands wounded. The financial statistics for Britain have been claimed in the press to be around £40 billion – or £2,000 per UK household.
But perhaps the most telling statistics come from a recent (24-26 October) BBC telephone poll which has revealed that: 68 percent of Britons think that the UK’s military campaign in Afghanistan was not worthwhile. And 42 percent of those surveyed believe that Britain is less safe as a result of the invasion and occupation with a mere 14 percent of those polled saying that they felt Britain was actually safer as a result.
Regarding Afghanistan itself, 64 percent said that they were not confident the state could protect its citizens without the help of UK forces while only 31 percent took the opposite view.
After 13 years of death and destruction on a disgusting scale, the US now has its pipeline but just how safe can the supply through it be when the puppet Afghan government and its military have approximately 77 police officials and soldiers killed by ‘insurgents’ every week? This year, up to the pull-out, over 4,000 Afghan security officials and five British officers have been killed.
The imperialist press will never spell it out but if you read between the lines of every bourgeois media report on the ‘withdrawal’ it says in bold type we lost!