Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Governor Gulab Mangal

Governor Gulab Mangal has been in charge of the Helmand province in Afghanistan for a year now and has developed a formidable reputation both in the international domestic communities. His first achievement has been to survive in the precarious world of Afghan politics.

Unsurprisingly he came to our meeting, with a small group of Lib Dem Parliamentary Colleagues in the House of Commons, with a message. He was initially, uncharacteristically, restrained but with a bit of teasing he was blunt. “The people of Helmand expected more from the UK,” was the assessment. In line with Britain’s commitment to stabilising his country he wanted more troops, better cooperation with the Afghans and more development aid.

More controversially, he told us that he was concerned that the quality of some of the work of the British troops was not good enough. He cited Sangin in the north of Helmand where the combination of British and Afghan sources with Afghan police had been unable to secure more than 200 yards outside the base.

That’s strong criticism which the Defence Secretary must investigate urgently and take the necessary action to resolve.

I’m in favour of sending more troops combined with a greater effort to talk to soft Taliban and establishing a high level regional conference to engage all the neighbours in the region in seeking a solution. That must include China, Russia and Iran.


  1. I would strongly disagree with you on sending more troops to Afghanistan. Too many of our men and women out there are dying needlessly. The Taliban has no intention of ever giving in to outside intervention. I am deeply offended by the comments made by Gulab Mangal on the quality of work done by British forces. How dare he say we are not doing enough, I think it is about time British troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan and the country put in more effort to fight its own battle rather than apportion blame on those sent out there to help. Maybe the only reason Mr Mangal has survived his his first year in Afghan politics is because he spouts offensive bull about those trying to help his country and given the Taliban a good laugh at the expense of British troops they have needlessly and brutally murdered.

  2. I take the view that the Afghanistan conflict is very different from the one in Iraq. We needed to remove the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan following 9/11. If we leave they will simply move back in and we'll have even more atrocities over here. It's a really tough job, and too many are losing their lives, but leaving will make it worse.

    I found Governor Mangal's comments offensive too. But although he's crass he's also no fool and his remarks need urgent investigation so we can establish if he right or wrong (as I suspect he is).