rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

In failing war, Afghan opposition grows

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

A British officer from the Defense Intelligence Staff has created a bit of stir with his scathing indictment of the war in Afghanistan. While such damning facts and figures which Major S. N. Miller cites are not new to this blog, one rarely sees them discussed elsewhere.

 

In fact, Miller's is the first commentary I have seen on the current state of Afghan opinion. (E. g., that majorities in the south and east of Afghanistan want NATO forces out of their country, while even in Kabul, which has received the lion's share of the economic stimulus accompanying the occupation, some 45% say they want NATO out.)

Miller has a go at his superiors:

British officer launches stinging attack on 'failing' UK strategy
June21 - Telegraph (UK)

By Sean Rayment

A British Army officer has launched a devastating attack on the UK's "failing" strategy in Afghanistan...

Writing in the British Army Review, an official MoD publication, Major SN Miller, stated: "Lets not kid ourselves. To date Operation Herrick [the British codename for the War in Afghanistan] has been a failure"...

In direct contradiction to the view of the defence chiefs and the government, Major Miller added that the much-vaulted British strategy of "winning the hearts and minds" of the Afghan people in Helmand had failed.

Instead, he claimed, the opposite had happened, with polls showing that 23 per cent of the population support the Taliban in the south west of the country, a threefold increase compared with 2008.

He wrote: "Where a year (2008) ago, 81 per cent stated that the Taliban have "no significant support at all" in the area, now only 52 per cent judged this to be the case.

"Just 45 per cent of polled Afghans supported the Nato presence in the south west, down from 83 per cent in the previous year. The often repeated statement that 'the Afghans don't want the Taliban back' is increasingly open to question." ...

"Positive opinion of overall living standards have dropped by 20 points - a remarkably bitter under achievement for a campaign that purported to improve the lives of Afghans." ... (link)

Miller's figures are a little puzzling. His data are similar to, but not identical with, polling data which we looked at in a post a while back. That data doesn't tease out figures for the "south west" by itself, so perhaps Miller has access to a data breakdown which I haven't found. Also, 23% support for the Taliban is a higher figure than I have seen elsewhere.

It is thus possible that Miller is referring to polling data commissioned by the British military. The Canadian Forces has undertaken PSYOPS of just that type:

Afghans' safety concerns spike
Murray Brewster - Winnipeg Sun

KANDAHAR, Feb 19 (CP)

... Over the last 18 months, the Canadian military has conducted several public opinion surveys in the war-ravaged city of Kandahar, asking residents about their level of support for the Afghan government, the Taliban and their perception of public safety.

Surveys conducted in late 2007 and early 2008 found 55 per cent of respondents saying they lived in a secure environment, but [Brig.-Gen. Denis] Thompson said that figure is now down to about 25 per cent.

Support for both Karzai's government and the Taliban have remained largely static, he added: Roughly 70 per cent of those asked said they support the government, while the Taliban pulls down between 15 and 20 per cent support at any given time. (link)

Related posts:

* In Logar , the 'majority of the people are not happy with the Americans.'

* 'Few people [in Wardak province] are happy with what the US-led war has brought them and they want the troops out.

* Opinion poll: Majorities in the east and south of Afghanistan say they oppose the presence of NATO troops in Afghanistan.

* Veteran journalist James Fergusson: 'It's all over. We've lost the consent of the people. It's finished.'

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.