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Salisbury Diplomatic & Wellington Societies

Salisbury Diplomatic & Wellington Societies:
Captain Afzal Amin, ‘Afghanistan: What, why and how?’


The Salisbury Diplomatic and Wellington Societies welcomed Capt. Afzal Amin for the last meeting of the half. Capt. Amin, a well-respected officer based in Warminster, is currently working on counter-insurgency and the strategy that the Army will adopt in Afghanistan. This is a position that he has taken up in recent months, having previously worked in the Army’s language-training section.

The talk was entitled ‘Afghanistan: What, why and how?’ Capt. Amin was clearly aware of the lack of general understanding concerning the current insurgency in Afghanistan. He cleared this misunderstanding in true military fashion by giving a definition of every term and action that the audience had heard or not heard of before. Once this first task was accomplished, he moved on to why the Army had invaded Afghanistan as part of a broad coalition in late 2001, and reminded us that this was done in light of 9/11. Once Al-Qaeda’s presence had been effectively disrupted in Afghanistan, the Army’s next mission was to stabilise the country.

Unfortunately for ISAF forces this mission has proven to be difficult and last summer’s fighting has proven to be the bloodiest to date. ISAF’s military chiefs addressed the problem and General McChrystal drew up a new initiative for the insurgency. Capt. Amin moved onto the current British operation (Moshtarak) taking place in Helmand province and how the new tactics will hopefully deliver better results.

He continued to explain the methods that the Army would employ and how a mixture of intelligence, development aid and practice, manpower and persistence is needed to succeed. Questions followed and tested Capt. Amin in a variety of issues concerning policy, the armed forces’ budget and the prospects for a peaceful, stable Afghanistan. This proved to be a most interesting evening; Capt. Amin gave insights into Army strategy, Whitehall thinking, and the huge problems faced by ISAF.


Anjana Silva (RJM)


DATE POSTED: 18 March 2010

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