Richard North, 16/10/2012  

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It is a long time since I looked in on Michael Yon, but he has now come up with this - a letter from a senior US officer describing the conduct of the war in Afghanistan.

This is Col. Harry D. Tunnel IV, commander of the 5th Stryker Brigade, deployed in Afghanistan. He is a controversial officer, famed for his aggressive leadership. But, in this valedictory memorandum to the Secretary of the Army, he gives an overview of the state of the art.

Dated 20 August 2010, the memoradum has only just come to light. Some of the criticisms I would have reservations about, but much of it has the ring of truth. It seems as relevant today as it was then, especially the considerable criticism of the conduct of senior British and US commanders.

I have to say that the thrust of the memorandum does not come as a surprise – but what is especially pertinent is the confirmation of the parlous nature of Afghan forces, on which the entire strategy currently relies.

This, then, makes a sad contrast with the present day. While the military adventure in Afghanistan goes steadily down the pan, we have the British establishment enriching themselves at the cost of operational efficiency. Look at this and tell me, with a straight face, that there was no undue commercial influence somewhere along the line.

Look at this piece as well. See what British troops were given by way of equipment, and what the US forces were given for the same job – route clearance.

And now, the money spent and lives wasted to no avail, we are beginning to leave. To date, 433 British military personnel have died in Afghanistan, while operations have cost £17.3 billion on top of the normal defence budget.

How much of that of that has ended up in the pockets of retired senior officers and MoD officials, one wonders.

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