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A New Military Development

Over the last several months, British Paras, British Special Forces, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Dutch infantry, Danish armoured reconnaissance, and US Special forces and US infantry have delivered significant defeats to the Taliban across Afghanistan.

Plagued by inadequate supplies and helicopters, the Paras managed to turn the battle around in Helmand. Then Afghan tribal elders negotiated a cease-fire.

In the TELEGRAPH TODAY > Brigadier Ed Butler, commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, is quoted as saying that the Taliban defeat moves power into the hands of the tribal elders who are turning to the government of Afghanistan for security and development.

"That is the glimmer of an opportunity which could be deliverable if we seize it. It is about people power and it could gain momentum."

He also said that British troops would now press ahead with redevelopment work that was the focus for the original British plan.

It sometimes goes unremarked that in the history of the world, very few militaries have ever engaged in supporting democracy and redevelopment after battle.

At the same time, the people of Afghanistan "have to be given the chance to fail and fall on their faces". Only then will "they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and come up with solutions.” The British forces contributing to the NATO effort are giving them that chance.

The quote comes from US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld in reference to the people of Iraq, where Brits are also helping to give people a chance.