After intense political debate a couple of month ago, we sent our boys to Afghanistan. The missions is called ISAF, it’s for “humanitarian aid”, “helping the population build up their country”, etc. etc. Next door, the coalition forces, lead by US militairy is busy with “Operation Enduring Freedom” (OEF), fighting Taliban and Al-Qa’ida. Our Marines are helping there too, a not very well known fact. A few of our F-16′s are stationed there too. One of those crashed last thursday, killing the 29 year old pilot. It was flying at high altitude and the cause was probably mechanical failure on both the aircraft as well as the ejection seat; the pilot was found in his seat, the parachute undeployed. Two days later, a UK Neptune crashed, killing all 14 on board, supposedly after a shortcircuit and a fire on the 30+ year old, aging aircraft (speculation).

It is becoming pretty clear the humanitarian mission is doomed to fail. Quoting a soldier “There is really nothing to build up here, it’s simply total war. That is probably also the reason why our troups took over the Canadian workload near the capital Kandahar. The Canadian troups were then sent into ISAF (not OEF) operation “Medusa”, a fierce battle where 200 Taliban fighters were killed.

Way to go. Afghanistan, the forgotten war. At least this one is fought for a legitimate reason, both in the formal sense (a UN resolution) as morally, opposing the insanely violent-to-their-own-people Taliban.

ps: Almost all poppy (read: opium) in the world is grown in Afghanistan. The awfull repression of the Taliban reduced that to almost zero two years ago, but now it’s in full production again. It is said about nothing else grows there.
pps: While history will not view religious-crazy Taliban as liberators (from the Russians yes, but what did they get in back), I keep wondering if the the people, the children will see “us”, the western-world helpers as liberators or as occupants. Are we creating a new pool of hatred?

update: In operation Medusa, one soldier was killed and several wounded by friendly fire. The nationality of the victims has not been released yet. Four Canadians were killed in the battle.

Ed. Note: For those of you in the USA who may have thought upon reading the first line, “WTF, we invaded Afghanistan years ago?”, we must explain that yoh-there is our European correspondent living in The Netherlands.

update: News here is that OEF and ISAF-III are now officially the same and moved from a “build up” mission to a “battle and counter-insurgency” mission. Of course we knew this alltogether, but now it’s official. Oh and it gives some credibility to OEF (pun intended). Please note that our boys going there was politically closely linked to the rebuilding mission. I’ll keep you posted what happens next (my predicion: nothing).