The revelation in the Sunday Times and Daily Mail that the British Ambassador was ordered to remain behind in Kabul reminded me of the situation in Siberia in November 1919. For those who have not read Churchill’s Abandoned Prisoners, a group of British soldiers were ordered to stay in Omsk to save the lives of British subjects fleeing from the Red Terror and help their evacuation along the Trans-Siberian railway.
There are other reminders in Afghanistan today of the end of the war in Siberia. These include: the collapse of the propped-up government, the failure of internationally trained army, the pusillanimous response of the international community, the humanitarian disaster and the acts of terrorism that overlapped with crimes against humanity are all strikingly similar.
Mark Twain is attributed as saying: “History never repeats itself; but it rhymes.” Unfortunately, the rhyming in this case is more akin to Wilfred Owen’s pity of war.