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tv   BBC Newsnight  PBS  July 16, 2010 1:00pm-1:30pm PST

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>> "bbc newsnight" is presented by kcet, los angeles. funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its global expertise to work for a wide range of companies. what can we do for you? >> we are a nation of explorers.
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we seek new ways of living, of thinking, and of expressing ourselves. we take risks. we learn from experience. and we keep moving forward. that is why we encourage and celebrate the explorer in all of us. >> and now "bbc newsnight." >> as coalition troops are killed by a renegade afghan soldier, is the exit strategy dangerously flawed? this week, the taliban claims it is shielding the afghan soldier who murdered three british soldiers he was working alongside. should there be a rethink as to how the afghan national army is
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deployed? >> if you do not win wars when you tell the enemy when you are leaving. >> injured while fighting the taliban. and as state budget -- the state budget champ. can he fill the gap? >> i do not have any training periods it takes a little bit of the glamour from it for me. -- i do not have any training. it takes a little bit of the glamour from it for me. >> hello. president karzai apologized for an attack on coalition troops in afghan soldier that left three men dead and others wounded in helmand province. this is the first time be coalition forces have been expanded to 134,000 by next year there have been reports of concerns they are not going about this expansion the right way. >> british and afghan soldiers
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operate together all the time. actual violence between them is extremely rare. there is the inevitable prickliness about many of these patrols. each side thinks it knows best, and afghan soldiers need careful handling. >> they have of pride and history. a warrior history. you have to be careful of the way you talk to them. and, this is all about understanding their culture and how to approach their work. it is like a said, they are actually no different from any other soldier. they have got a job. they have got missions. the have the skills that they bring to bear. and they are good at what they did. >> the attack on the gurkha soldiers attack and at 3:00 a.m. in an area cleared in earlier operations this year.
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an afghan soldier killed a rocket-propelled grenade, killing three and wounding four. >> we have got to get to the bottom of what happened. this is appalling. we need a proper investigation. i am disgusted with president karzai. the trust between the afghan national army and the british army and other nato units is working well. this is a rogue element in the afghan national army. this is not typical of what the afghan national army is doing. >> with some of these afghan troops setting off on patrol without british support earlier this year. independent operations, even on the scale, are rare. instead, the emphasis is doing things alongside -- the emphasis is on doing things alongside nato units. a spokesman rejected that this creates dependence. >> the reality is this is training them to stand on their own feet.
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giving them more autonomy now would not do the job because they are not ready. as they learn from us, they will increasingly be ready to stand on their whole -- on their own feet. that is the whole point of partnering. >> a comment from the u.s. senior official suggests the afghan army men as is poor. he estimated only 3% of soldiers and 12% of police can operate unsupervised. he added the 17% of the police are absent without leave. the problem for nato is knowing whether partnering is working well or increasing dependence, and many soldiers feel that using supplies or other gifts to get cooperation from the afghans holds them for independence. >> we are taking the big step of having this professional relationship and stopping giving
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them presents. it has been hard. you look bad elements. you have weeks where they pay you and will not work with you. it is something you have got to get through. -- you have weeks where they he you -- hate you. you have to be firm and get them to do it for themselves. >> whenever the best method of training afghan forces, there is widespread agreement getting more than into the film is -- into the field is in need of's only exit strategy. with thousands of men deserting the afghan units, will they really meet the needs? my colleague has been speaking to the former republican presidents candidate senator john mccain. >> senator mccain, you are just back from afghanistan. do you think the strategy of been betting the afghan national army with the coalition forces,
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that we might be over relying on this strategy. >> no, i do not. i think it is an integral part of the counterinsurgency strategy. it was a factor that succeeded in iraq. but i also understand the trepidation and concern that people have in light of a couple of incidents, incidents including a very recent one where an afghan soldier turned on british soldiers and killed them. >> do you think though been murdered gives ammunition to the arguments -- that the murder gives ammunition to the argument is time to move out that >> i believe for a long time that we cannot send a message to the enemy that we are leaving. we just cannot do that. it is one of the fundamentals of warfare. no military person has made that
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recommendation to the president of the united states. it was a decision he made and his alone and it was based, in my view, on the political environment you're in the united states. i think we have to do exactly what we did in iraq. we have to go with this counterinsurgency strategy. >> do you think then, as you say, it was a political decision by president obama rather than having of military employed in that, do you think there will be a fresh understanding of their general petraeus and president obama? >> that is an excellent question. general petraeus, secretary of state clinton, secretary defense gates have made their statement. the president said "we are not going to turn out the lights on the stock rose and also his political adviser and his
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spokesperson have made unequivocal statements, including mr. gibbs said it was etched in stone and the president had the chisel. but that has done is send an uncertain trumpet to afghanistan. recently, i was outside canada hard -- kandahar. and a police chief said that the afghans believe we are leaving. that is the message that has penetrated cuban -- penetrated to a great degree. >> be using that strategy, giving succor to the taliban, do you think general petraeus will alter the strategy in a way that they understand the strategy? >> as much as i respect general petraeus -- and by the way general carter, the british
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general there -- the fact is the word comes from the president of the united states. he is commander in chief. the president has to say unambiguously is condition-case. -- it is conditions-base. the president has to say that. >> to you think the timetable by president obama is really a problem? >> it is apparently very clear that in the last few months things have slowed down. it was perhaps more difficult than we anticipated. the operation in kandahar is proceeding, but not on the timetable. the timetable never should have been made part of the policy. you do not win wars when you tell the enemy when you are leaving. as captured taliban have said, we have got the time. when interrogated, the taliban
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have said, you got the watches, we get the time. >> do you think the incident like the dreadful murder and be woundings might change strategy that's -- change strategy? the way general petraeus will operate as leader of the forces? >> no, i do not believe it will. we had similar strategy -- tragedies happen in iraq as well. we grieve, we grieve the loss of our brave young british soldiers as we do americans. it is tough. what we owe them in return is a strategy that can succeed in the overall plan that does not tell the enemy that we are going to leave at a date certain. the strategy can and will succeed in my view. >> if you were president, what would your strategy be? what's my strategy would be exactly the same that i
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supported -- >> my strategy would be exactly the same that i supported. it would be the surge, what worked for us and our allies in iraq. that succeeded. everyone said that would be the end of my political chances to get the nomination of my party. i was right. all the pundits that you year in washington now is say we cannot succeed -- you here in washington now who say we cannot succeed are the same ones you said we could not succeed in iraq. people do not hold them accountable. >> last month was the deadliest month for college -- for coalition forces. is it still worth it? >> again come up when we began the surge, casualty's went up. we predicted the same thing would happen in afghanistan. we were in areas that were exceedingly dangerous.
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but if we allow afghanistan to return to make attacks on united states and our allies, and we will pay a heavier price in all of our blood and treasure. we cannot allow that. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> the attack on coalition troops was an aberration. the vast majority of afghan soldiers are risking their lives to fight against the taliban. our correspondent has been looking at the war in afghanistan through the eyes of british soldiers. afghan soldiers are paying a high price for their efforts. you may find some of the images in this report disturbing. >> for the moment the soldiers leave this patrol base, they are in danger. it is typical of efforts to bring security to the district center.
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hear, last november, teams from the 2nd battalion of the yorkshire regiment were given a mission. this is sergeant was one of those carrying it out. corporal sarah mary was the medic attached to the team. this tells us a lot about the afghan war in one of its darkest corners. we gave the soldiers small cameras to record their patrols. since those events, we have interviewed some of them about what they did. the mission was to enter a compound less than 500 meters from the patrol base. it was known as a bad area. in order to protect the troops entering the target building, other compounds had to be taken along the way. the target was a heavy machine- gun which could be used against the patrol base or helicopters, using a nearby landing site.
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the night before the operation, the sergeant walked afghan soldiers threw their compounds -- through their compound. one man would cover while the other swept for ied's. >> [unintelligible] front door. to the south. >> the afghan army went forward to do what they practice the day before. >> [unintelligible] [yelling] it is a shock, over. >> he went first.
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he initiated. ied's. at first, i did not find him. we were doing a mission. then one of them appears. he was very distraught. he was the speaking. -- he was not speaking. >> as a surviving afghans staggered away from the initial blast, they pointed out there were more unexploded ied's where their comrades were lying. despite the risk to come up british soldiers went in to get him. -- despite the risk, british soldiers went in to get him. >> he was missing legs. both of them from the knee down. very severe. just blown clean off. the lead was completely gone from the knee.
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-- the leg was completely gone from the knee. one of his arms was shredded in a very bad way. he lost the top half of his hands here. >> while they worked to save the soldier, there metic prepared to receive the casualty's around the corner. -- their medic received -- prepared to receive the cattle to run the quarter. very few people survive traumatic amputation of all their lives. next an 18-year-old soldier named muhammed depended on its sarah marriott. >> it was not until he came around a corner that i understood the severity of his injuries. it is hard to go back over it. everything kind of the cliques
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in -- clicks in. that is my assessment. what we need, and where we need to go. just got to work, really. >> while mohammed was being treated, the commander got on the radio with the surgeon and appealed for a helicopter. the american flight was on its way soon. the soldiers abandoned their search for the heavy machine gun. treating the wounded had become the mission. the return to their patrol base to reflect on what had happened. -- they returned to their patrol base to reflect on what had happened. >> [unintelligible] there wasn't no time to think about what was happening. you have to do it, like now, when you realize.
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>> mohammed, the quadruple amputee, was with you emergency soldier. -- whisked to a emergency so -- emergency surgery. remarkably, he survived. >> i was lying unconscious, so i do not remember anything. all i remember is that i was with the foreign soldiers and that was blown up by a bomb. i am really grateful to me -- i am very grateful to them because it got me to hospital. the doctors felt the law. the care for me. i am much better now. a lot to say thank you to the british soldiers for their help. i wanted to defend my country, serve my soil. >> what future now awaits an afghan with such terrible injuries? mohammed cannot stay here indefinitely. he may have to return to the small village near the pakistani
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border. >> the afghan army does not give much compensation, apart from a monthly wage. the family will have to look after him. >> with mohammed the sole surviving afghan army quadruple amputee. >> it will be nice to know you do not just treat them on the battlefield, and that is it. that he was just some person that you treated somewhere. it would be nice to know he has got some sort of quality of life that, you know what i mean? it must be hard. against the level of independence in my get back, to be ok. >> the fate of that mission shows exactly how that it can be in afghanistan. the soldiers showed extraordinary bravery and professionalism in recovering all of those casualties, it is
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clear that mohammed would not survive without them. on the other hand, the mission itself to capture that heavy machine-gun had to be abandoned, and even today, the threat from ied's and snipers is so intense and in that area, just a few hundred yards from the patrol base, it is bitterly contested still. >> britain, like the rest of europe, has been grappling with state budgets. the government believes in what it calls the "great society." is an idea of what helping the local -- for an idea of what helping the local company -- local communities by volunteering might mean, we volunteered. >> ♪ the clouds will soon roll by ♪ >> ♪ we must all stick together
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all stick together and the clubs will soon roll by -- clouds will soon roll by ♪ >> quite sunny periods -- quite sunny. in a year on holiday. we have come to the suspects riviera -- sussex riviera for a unique experiment. we will see of the government's idea of a great society has a chance. dominating this corner, the imposing bulk of the former queen's hotel. generations of hastings couples once trod the parquet of its
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elegant ballroom. this is the ballroom today. still frequented by young men and women of the town, except now it is run by volunteers. this is the place to get it right on the sexual help. or to do the washing, get a freshly-cooked meal for the kids. >> are you ready for some hardware -- hard-core request action? are you sure? >> of harsh lesson for me at the ping-pong table from the center 's boss. at least it is a distraction from his money worries. the center is supported by charitable donations, but it is having trouble paying the rent. that is because they used to least these prints out to a primary healthtrust, but the trust has had to give them up as a result of spending cuts. >> and we are left holding the
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baby, if you like. >> what do you do? >> our job is to make sure that this kind of service continues. >> the extract center here has me thinking about volunteering, about giving something back. i decided to go straight to the top in hastings and see the leader of the council. here is mine cv. >> what do you do? >> i am a journalist. >> well, we have some projects. we are trying to look out here. >> what do you think i would be suited for? >> what about docking the roundabout on the seafront? >> that sounds good. what are the hours? >> the hours are 26. >> that is all i want. i am sure i -- that would be
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enough. >> i will give you the keys for getting on to the roundabout, and look after them. >> is this from the original tapestry? do you know? >> we just split of the end. -- off the end. >> and here it is, the object of my sacred covenant with the people of hastings. around the belts. all right, -- are round about. all right, if it is not stonehenge, but it is a star. the centerpiece of the roundabout is this splendid water feature, said to be modeled on the fountains of versified -- versailles. the man who understands its is the manager, roy.
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i think i will be keeping him on. hello. are you roy? i am stephen. in taking over the cosmetic upkeep of the -- yes to keep -- just like taking over the cosmetic upkeep of the roundabout. i should say i do not have any formal training in fountains. >> it is basically pushing a broom. >> is it? >> that takes away some of the glamour of it for me. it's the big society means -- if the big society means we look at the family council activity and we see a group taking more responsibility for the green spaces in an area, absolutely. but i think it is a non-starter
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for some of the big, resource- hungry areas which can only be done by people with knowledge, training, skills, and the council to arbitrates when it comes to things like plumbing applications. >> so is the big society a bit of i diversion? or is helping one another out the way forward? maybe what goes around, comes around. we will trying to find out when we return. >> that is all for this week. from all of us, good night. >> funding for this presentation -- >> hello and welcome. >> get the news from around the world. the 02 bbc.com/news to experience the in-depth, expert reporting of bbc news.
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>> funding for this presentation was made possible by was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank offers unique insight and expertise in our range of in
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