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The Arithmetic of the Afghan War
Publication date: 2006-08-20

The Blair Government started their military operations in Afghanistan with some 3,500 soldiers.

Then increased this number to 4,000.

Then to 4,500.

And now the British top military say that they need some 50,000.

But will a 50,000 strong army be enough to win the present Afghan War?

But what is the purpose of the present Afghan War?

They say, it is to prevent re-emergence of Islamic Fundamentalism in Afghanistan and establishment of Democracy.

Some 25 year ago the Russians wanted to achieve similar results by military means.

What was their experience?

The Soviet invasion began in 1979, and they withdrew from Afghanistan 10 years later in 1989.

The number of Russian troops in Afghanistan had reached some 100,000.

The number of Afghan dead was some 1,000,000.

The number of Russian dead was some 15,000.

The death ratio of Russian to Afghan was 1 to 66.5.

The number of Taliban killed was 0. This is because they did not exist at that time.

The results of the Russian-Afghan war (1979-1989) was emergence of the Taliban after the Russians had withdrawn - that is precisely the opposite of the purpose of their war.

So, if the Russians have failed in Afghanistan with 100,000 troops, will 50,000 be enough to achieve the British objectives?

To be serious, they need some 300,000 to 500,000 to stay in Afghanistan for some 20-30 years.

The number of Afghans killed by them during that period would be some 2,000,000-3,000,000, and the number of killed on their side some 20,000-30,000 (1:100 ratio).

And what will be the result of it all?

Emergence of some super-Taliban - of the kind that does not exist today.

But when the Russians started their Afghan war some 25 years ago, they were making their plans and calculations, and they had their triumphs and victories, and they did not think that they would loose their war.

They just kept sending in more and more military, until it became clear that no success can be achieved.

Similar war arithmetics can be observed in the American War against Vietnam, and in other wars by great nations against rag-tag rebels, insurgents, terrorists, extremists, and other "trash". And in all such wars the great nations had killed millions, while loosing thousands. But in the end it was the "trash" that triumphed over the great nations.

So, now at the start of the British military involvement in Afghanistan, there is still plenty of hope that, if the British send enough troops to Afghanistan, they will surely win their war. Just as the Russians were absolutely sure, at the start of their Afghan war - some 25 years ago.


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