Taliban urges Britain to not send more troops to Afghanistan

The British presence is now just in the hundreds, but the UK had one of the highest military presence during the height of the war (AFP)
Updated 20 May 2018
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Taliban urges Britain to not send more troops to Afghanistan

  • Britain’s Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson recommended sending up to 400 reinforcements to Afghanistan, joining the 600 already there
  • Taliban said in the past 17 years British troops had failed to defeat the Taliban, just as the British Empire failed to conquer Afghanistan in the 19th century

KABUL: Taliban guerrillas urged Britain on Sunday to stop sending troops to the protracted conflict in Afghanistan and avoid further involvement in the “futile and failed” US war.

Last week, Britain’s Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson recommended sending up to 400 more army personnel to Afghanistan to join the 600 already there. The reinforcements will be deployed in training Afghan soldiers, who have faced the brunt of Taliban’s deadly attacks in recent years, following a drastic reduction in foreign forces.

The move follows calls by US President Donald Trump and NATO for allies to send more troops as the resurgent Taliban have made some in-roads despite offensives announced under Trump’s new Afghan war strategy in the middle of last year.

“The British government is once again sending troops to Afghanistan, even though the results of the current and former invasion of our homeland by Britain are such admonitory chapters in our history that contain a lot of lessons for the heedful,” the Taliban said in a statement emailed to the media.

It added that the experience of the past 17 years of US-led war, which began with the overthrow of the Taliban from power, demonstrated there was no military solution to the conflict, nor can a regime be enforced in the country through the bombardment, it said.

The statement said that over the past 17 years British troops had failed to defeat the Taliban, just as it had failed to conquer Afghanistan in the 19th century during the various bloody incursions of the British Empire.

A Taliban spokesman contacted by Arab News said the group has no contact with Britain, either direct or indirect, but said Britain could speak to the Taliban’s political office if it had concern.

The British Embassy could not be reached for comment at the time of writing of this article.

The Taliban has repeatedly turned down requests for negotiations with Britain although it has shown readiness to talk with the US. The group has demanded the withdrawal of all of foreign troops.


Indian cancellation of defense equipment orders hurts investor sentiment: Experts

A tender was withdrawn for short-range surface-to-air missiles, with Israel’s SPYDER system having been the front-runner. Supplied
Updated 18 June 2018
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Indian cancellation of defense equipment orders hurts investor sentiment: Experts

  • New Delhi scrapped a $500 million deal for Israel’s Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile. Israel had agreed to transfer the technology to India, and had set up a factory in a venture with an Indian company
  • Modi wants the country to decrease its reliance on foreign firms, reduce its import bill and manufacture equipment in-house

NEW DELHI: The Indian government’s penchant for canceling or withdrawing tenders for defense equipment at the last minute is likely to hurt investor confidence in the country, experts said on Sunday.
New Delhi called off a $9 billion deal to co-develop with Russia a next-generation fighter aircraft, after the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) said it would do the job in-house, Indian media reported this week.
Under the deal, a significant amount of the research would have been carried out in India. Russia had agreed to tailor the aircraft to Indian needs, and was to hand over all the technology, the Economic Times reported.
India is the world’s largest importer of defense equipment, and imports at least 90 percent of its equipment, including parts for assembly.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants the country to decrease its reliance on foreign firms, reduce its import bill and manufacture equipment in-house.
But India lacks much of the high-end technology needed for such equipment, which is why deals where foreign partners agree to share technology are useful for its long-term plans, experts say.
When such deals are canceled, “it greatly reduces confidence in India,” said Saurabh Joshi, editor of StratPost Media Pvt Ltd., a defense news website.
“We can’t willy-nilly… accept arguments that a particular equipment can be developed and produced indigenously before such tenders are withdrawn,” he added.
“There should be an adequate test to develop and produce indigenously. Otherwise, we’re simply postponing an acquisition process by 10 to 15 years, and it’s the armed forces that have to go without critical equipment until then.”
Experts say one reason for the government canceling orders could be a lack of funds. The Russian deal is not the only one to be jettisoned recently.
New Delhi scrapped a $500 million deal for Israel’s Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile. Israel had agreed to transfer the technology to India, and had set up a factory in a venture with an Indian company. The reason given for the cancellation was the same: To develop the missiles indigenously.
A tender was also withdrawn for short-range surface-to-air missiles, with Israel’s SPYDER system having been the front-runner, experts said.
On average, it takes a tender at least six years to go through the various steps before the final purchase order can be placed.
Any company that loses a bid has to account for that time and investment to its head office and its board, Joshi said.