Losing Afghanistan

Despite everything you hear from ministers on the news, Helmand is on the edge of a precipice. The only people, apart from the British public, who are fooled by the official reports insisting that everything is “on target” in Afghanistan are the ministers back in London who read them.

The officials who write the reports know perfectly well that they do not give an accurate picture. As one senior MI6 officer put it to me: “No one gets promoted by saying things are going badly in public. They do in private, and that just makes the cynicism so much worse.”

The Afghans themselves of course know what is really happening. The Government’s attempts to export the arts of spin to rural Helmand have been a dismal failure. Pretending black is white may have worked in Britain. It doesn’t work in Afghanistan.



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