The foreign and defence secretaries should take a lesson from history. If they looked into our imperial past they would discover that the first phase of Operation Panther’s Claw was declared complete around the anniversary of the battle of Maiwand — a comprehensive defeat for a British brigade just east of the Helmand river in 1880. The 66th Regiment of Foot took terrible casualties and their successors, the Rifles, are today fighting and dying in their forebears’ footsteps. From that disaster came ultimate success that has many useful parallels for today.
David Miliband’s speech last week about closer engagement with the Taliban sounds superficially daring but such “reconciliation” talks have been under way for some years already.… Seguir leyendo »