With British officials playing up the idea of ending their role in the occupation of Afghanistan, the troops actually doing the occupying are set to find themselves facing long tours in the nation, as part of a scheme to make a “final push” toward training Afghan forces to take over.
Six month tours are set to become nine month tours at a time when “green-on-blue” attacks are becoming more common and a 2014 “transition” that was supposed to be written in stone looks increasingly doubtful.
The doubts reflect NATO’s deceptive efforts to sell the public on the idea “progress” was made, based on a re-definition of the top level of Afghan forces from “ready” troops to “ready with support,” which still the vast majority fail to meet.
Officials have long presented keeping troops in Afghanistan in a “support” role as an end to combat, but the reality is that with a goal to keep Afghanistan’s military huge, the largely untrained force is simply an excuse to give the enduring NATO occupation something to claim it is supporting. Britain may be selling the new plan as a push to prepare Afghan forces, but it is a push that will inevitably fail and be used to justify a longer stay.