Left behind in Kabul: 700+
Left behind in Kabul are at least 700 interpreters and others who were officially entitled to come to the UK. Everyone knows that. Despite the last-minute best efforts, our government let them down. They should have planned it better and begun sooner. The crisis was foreseeable as soon as the Americans announced their withdrawal.
Left behind away from Kabul
The British Army did not operate only in Kabul. There must be lots of Afghans in many parts of the country who worked with or for us in one way or another. Those near one of the borders might have a chance of getting to another country. Then what? Pretti Patel has said that Britain will admit only those coming by ‘approved routes’. Others who make it here by whatever means will be illegal immigrants and face a hostile environment. Those who are nowhere near Kabul or a border have no means of escape unless we negotiate some with the Taliban. That is not impossible, but it is problematic. However, I did say, in a previous post, that the Taliban have good reasons to want to be cooperative. Whether they will be is another matter. I have good reasons to lose weight.
What things have we left behind?
There is an old army saying, ‘Never leave the Enemy ammunition‘. The loudest man-made bang prior to Hiroshima was made in 1808 when Sir John Moore blew up tons of gunpowder and other supplies to deny their use to Napoleon’s forces. I find it incredible that the British, Americans and the Afghan Army failed to take such a simple precaution. We left not only ammunition, but guns, vehicles and even aircraft without rendering them unusable. How many key documents did they also leave behind in the embassy and elsewhere?
Does it matter that we left so much stuff behind?
It usually matters. When the parliamentary forces defeated Charles I at Naseby, they captured his baggage train. Apart from the useful supplies that changed hands, there were letters and other papers which revealed a lot of embarrassing secrets. It was a propaganda victory for Cromwell.
Some say the Taliban will be able to make use of only the most basic items, as nobody has trained them to work the sophisticated things. Want to bet? Of course, it is possible that the allied forces undertook some subtle sabotage and the things won’t work properly. I expect you can get training manuals on the internet. I hope GCHQ or someone will be hacking into it to tweak the instructions just enough!
Who else was left behind?
There is a rumour that we left some members of the SAS and our intelligence services in deep cover. Why? Perhaps to do some more sabotage or simply to gather intelligence. There is another possibility. Many people are rightly concerned that the Taliban will take revenge on Afghans they consider to be traitors – not only the ones directly working for the US or UK. What about the opposite? Did not some Afghans betray the British and facilitate the Taliban victory? Perhaps they should be afraid.
What else is left behind?
The reputation of the USA and the UK. Our soldiers may come home with honour and so should the ambassador, but the politicians have egg on their faces and blood on their hands.