Monday, February 8, 2010

Battle for Helmand

The Times

A renewed offensive to defeat the Taleban heightens risks but is the right courseBritish troops in Afghanistan have shed blood and they face enduring danger. They will soon undergo still greater risks. Some 4,000 of them — almost half Britain’s total force in Afghanistan — will take part in a huge Nato offensive in some of the deadliest parts of Helmand province.

The size of the campaign, known as Operation Moshtarak, will be scrutinised by policymakers. But it deserves bipartisan political support and public sympathy. It is an important development in a just and necessary war.

Operation Moshtarak will attempt to clear the Taleban from its enclaves and establish security for civilians who have lived for years under repression. It may mean redeploying troops from areas that have seen fierce fighting and heavy casualties.

It will raise the question in particular whether British troops should withdraw from Sangin, where two British soldiers were killed only three weeks ago while protecting local people. Despite the heroic efforts British troops have made in Sangin, policymakers and military chiefs should not hesitate to concentrate forces if military logic requires it.

To read the full article click The Times Online

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