Sunday, September 6

U.S. Special Forces forced to defend Camp Bastion as Taliban close in

Re the claim in the following report that the Afghan National Army is paying Taliban not to attack: If true, then obviously the ANA isn't paying them enough, unless they're making out the checks to the wrong party.  BE SURE to write "United States Department of State," and then State can endorse the checks over to Pakistan's military.  

Would it be okay to abbreviate "United States?"  Oh sure.  They could even write "State Department."  But you do want the checks going through State so the comptroller on the Pakistan end can't say they never got them.  

Now as to whether the checks should be actually be made out to the U.S. Department of Treasury, which can then forward the monies to State, which can then write out a check to Pakistan's military -- I think that by such technical discussions wars can be lost.   

From The Daily Mail:
  • Bastion on the brink: American Special Forces defend former British HQ as Taliban close in - and Afghan army pays the rebels not to attack 
  • Camp Bastion, in Afghanistan, is in danger of being over-run by the Taliban
  • Former British Army base is being protected by US Special Forces soldiers
  • Security source says Afghan army is paying Taliban not to attack the site
  • Final 1,500 British troops left headquarters in Helmand Province last year
PUBLISHED: 19:48 EST, 5 September 2015 
UPDATED: 03:33am EST, 6 September 2015

Camp Bastion, the former British Army headquarters in Helmand, Afghanistan, is in such danger of being over-run by the Taliban that an American Special Forces team has been deployed to protect it.

In a shocking indictment of how far security has collapsed in the province since Britain handed over the base to the Afghan National Army (ANA) last year, the United States has been forced to use 90 ‘Special Operations’ soldiers to defend the site.

In a further alarming development, a British security source who visited Helmand last week has told The Mail on Sunday that the ANA is now paying the Taliban thousands of US dollars not to attack them – a claim regarded as plausible by military experts.

Camp Bastion was Britain’s largest operational base built anywhere since the Second World War. Initially constructed as an airfield in 2006, it grew to become the size of Reading, had its own Pizza Hut restaurant and was home to thousands of UK troops. 

The cost to British taxpayers of setting up and running the camp was £20billion.

A ceremony marking the departure of the last 1,500 UK troops from Camp Bastion took place last year. The base was then handed over to the ANA and renamed Camp Antonik.

Recent battles in Helmand have seen the Taliban defeat the ANA, even though the US launched a bombing campaign in support of the British and American-trained Afghan soldiers.

Intelligence reports have suggested the Taliban may be planning to invade Camp Bastion, as a symbolic move intended to secure publicity across the world. The US responded by sending 90 members of the US Air Force’s Special Tactics Squadron to the base.

Two members of the squadron – both airmen – were killed on August 26 when an insurgent dressed as an ANA soldier opened fire on a vehicle carrying international troops.

In total, 454 British soldiers lost their lives in Helmand province during the campaign against the Taliban from 2006 to 2014.

As part of the operation, the troops trained thousands of Afghan fighters to take on the Taliban – but according to a British source, the ANA prefers to pay off the Taliban rather than fight them.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said: ‘The deals are done between field commanders of the ANA and the Taliban’s higher-ups.

‘The Taliban are better equipped and can pay fighters twice the wages of ANA troops, so discounting US air strikes, the engagements have become rather one-sided.

‘Faced with that reality, and in anticipation of an expected peace agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government in the next 12 months, the ANA doesn’t want to lose more soldiers – they’ve lost 4,300 soldiers in action and suffered 12,000 wounded – and the morgues are full. They know they’re onto a loser so they’re literally buying time.’

Last night, Emily Winterbotham, Afghanistan expert at the military think tank the Royal United Services Institute, said she was not surprised that the ANA was cutting such deals. She said: ‘This is what happens on the ground in complex conflicts. Corruption is an unfortunate reality within the Afghan security forces and other Afghan government departments.’

Colonel Richard Kemp, who led British troops in Afghanistan, said: ‘This is entirely predictable and we can expect to see more of it. Camp Bastion is also a likely objective for the Taliban, if only symbolically, as a demonstration of their capability.’

A British Government spokesman said last night: ‘The UK has made an enduring commitment to Afghanistan. The Afghan security forces have demonstrated their capability in defending the country’s security and the significant progress made since 2001.’


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