(the truth hurts)

Ex-SAS chief in Afghanistan slams 'worthless' war

LONDON (AFP) – Military operations in Afghanistan are "worthless," with British NATO forces unable to hold ground against Taliban insurgents, the former chief of British special forces there said in an interview published Saturday.
Major Sebastian Morley, former commander of Special Air Service troops in Afghanistan, was speaking out for the first time since resigning in protest in late 2008 over the use of lightly armoured Land Rovers in combat zones.
"The operations that we are conducting are so worthless," Morley, 40, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
"We hold tiny areas of ground in Helmand and we are kidding ourselves if we think our influence goes beyond 500 metres (yards) of our security bases."
"It's just crazy to think we hold that ground or have any influence on what goes on beyond the bases," he added.
"We go out on operations, have a punch-up with the Taliban and then go back to camp for tea. We are not holding the ground. The Taliban know where we are. They know full well when we have gone back into camp."
"I don't think we have even scratched the surface as far as this conflict goes. The level of attrition and casualties is only set to rise. This is the equivalent to the start of the Vietnam conflict, there is much more to come."
Britain has 8,300 soldiers in Afghanistan -- the largest contribution after the United States to the NATO-led military force there.
A total of 149 British troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, several in so-called Snatch Land Rovers which Morley criticised as "inadequate" and the source of "needless deaths".
It was the deaths of four soldiers in June 2008, including the first British female soldier to die in Afghanistan, that prompted Morley to quit the military in anger.
Responding to Morley's comments, a Ministry of Defence spokesman in London said Saturday: "The security challenge is manageable by the available forces and the overriding mood of the local population is one of optimism and hope."