Obviously Tony Blair either wasn’t aware of this or didn’t believe it. Britain invaded, fought in and retreated beaten from Afganistan 4 times in the last 170 years. 1842, 1880, 1919 and most recently 2014 which was in good PR speak described as a withdrawal. The count, 453 deaths and thousands maimed and injured.
At one stage since their entry in 2006 Britain had 137 bases, mainly in Helmand province. Bastion was the first, the largest and the last to close on 27th Oct 2014. At its peak over 30,000 personnel lived in this Base. It had coffee bars, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, 3 gyms, state-of-the-art hospital and its own water bottling plant producing 15,000 gallons a day. They clearly meant to stay there.
At one point it was the UK’s 3rd busiest airport after Healthrow and Manchester.
Bastion was built and dismantled by engineer Lt Colonel Laurence Quinn. “It’s like trying to pack up a town the size of Aldershot (37,000) but with Gatwick airport bolted on to it”.
Fifty aircraft stationed there had to go back plus 3,300 armoured vehicles including a number of “Mastiffs & Wolfhounds”, huge 6 wheeled armour-caged monsters which cost over £1 million each. All in all some 5,500 40ft containers were returned to the UK.
All that remained was a few empty hangers and the rusty barbed wire and watch towers on the 23, yes twenty three mile perimeter of the base. The planning of the departure/retreat was meticulous following severe instructions from Whitehall “We don’t want anything that vaguely looks like helicopters fleeing from the US Embassy in Saigon.”
This coalition of the willing, 48 countries, lost 3,484 troops and spent about $1 trillion, $1,000,000,000. A war Obama called “the good war”!!
Perhaps McMillan got it right? The most advanced countries in the world, with satellites in the sky 24/7, 140,000 troops deployed and bombs the size of family cars raining down on one of the poorest countries in the world failed to defeat a ragtag group of religious students & farmers led by a one-eyed mullah.
Why did they even bother?