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Looks like Afghanistan is in Taliban hands...or VERY soon to be


J.C.MacSwell
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Faster than expected (which might be a good thing regardless of the fact that an oppressive regime is taking over, if they were going to take over anyway)

https://www.aljazeera.com/gallery/2021/8/15/in-pictures-taliban-fighters-enter-afghan-presidential-palace

Reminds me a bit of Saigon, and a bit of Havana. Hopefully retributions will be minimal and the new version of the Taliban will be a little more progressive than the old one.

...and foreign militaries manage to avoid aggravating it, in favour of political and economic pressures.

After 20 years though...we lost. Hopefully we come to terms with that, and not try to turn it around.

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ex-POTUS:

Quote

Trump calls Afghanistan withdrawal 'a wonderful and positive thing to do' and criticizes Biden's timeline

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/18/politics/trump-afghanistan-troop-withdrawal/index.html

 

Now they are even better armed than they were in 2001, because they got free of charge weapons given them by Afghan militarians who surrendered without any action.

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20 minutes ago, Sensei said:

ex-POTUS:

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/18/politics/trump-afghanistan-troop-withdrawal/index.html

 

Now they are even better armed than they were in 2001, because they got free of charge weapons given them by Afghan militarians who surrendered without any action.

Hopefully it's the due to the bolded:

"Never give in—never, never, never, never, except to convictions of honour and good sense." 

Winston Churchill

 

Edited by J.C.MacSwell
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“Every nation has a choice to make,” President George W. Bush said on the day that bombs began falling on Oct. 7, 2001. In private, senior U.S. diplomats were even more explicit. “For you and us, history starts today,” then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage told his Pakistani counterparts.

Earlier this month, as the Taliban raced across Afghanistan, retired Lt. Col. Jason Dempsey, a two-time veteran of the war, stumbled across Armitage’s words. To Dempsey, the sentiment was “the most American thing I’ve ever heard” and emblematic of the hubris and ignorance that he and so many others brought to the losing war.

 

“We assumed the rest of the world saw us as we saw ourselves,” he said. “And we believed that we could shape the world in our image using our guns and our money.” Both assumptions ignored Afghan culture, politics and history. Both, he said, were tragically wrong.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/us-hubris-afghanistan-humiliation/2021/08/14/47fb025a-fc67-11eb-9c0e-97e29906a970_story.html

 

My take:

A lot of ink has been spilled here in the States on all the wasted time and money and lives -- a hundred billion for ineffective training and tech support, more billions for infrastructure that got siphoned off by a corrupt government -- but what to me was as bad was the waste of history,  the ignoring of Russian and British misadventures in Afghanistan that so clearly spelled out the folly of trying to force a particular western model of government by outsiders.   And how could we,  with our own failures in SE Asia, be so blind and stupid?   

If we wanted to really help the people of Afghanistan, we might have tried a "soft power" gambit.   Offer microeconomics type assists to Afghan farmers,  for example - instead of coming in and destroying their poppy fields,  which were the only thing standing between them and dire poverty (and recruitment to radical Islam,  in some cases).   Maybe developing contracts for them with legit pharma companies,  instead of offering smug moral judgement from the barrel of a flamethrower?   If we hadn't made ourselves into another satanic western enemy,  the Taliban might have had far less traction,  and a more moderate Islamic State might have evolved. 

 

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That the US is leaving doesn’t bother me, especially since it’s happening 4 months later than Trump announced and should I’ve been done 15+ years ago anyway. What’s surprising is how badly and consistently Afghan forces who’ve been trained and swilled are failing to hold the line. 

I heard about Ghani fleeing 12 hours ago. It’s telling, surprising it happened so rapidly, not sunrising it happened.

The US lost this war. There’s simply no graceful way to lose a war. 

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This was the slowest-motion train-wreck I've ever witnessed (and i've been witnessing through the train-littered second half of the 20th century). Everybody knew how it would end from day 1. Except this time, hopefully, they won't leave behind so many no-longer-useful allies. 

Well, that's something.  

But I suspect it's not going to be any United States of Al for most of those rescued Afghans.

Edited by Peterkin
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Wow... autocorrect totally destroyed my post above. Sorry all. lol

One particularly hard part to watch in all of this is what will happen to women and anyone who supported the US these past 20 years. 

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14 hours ago, iNow said:

That the US is leaving doesn’t bother me, especially since it’s happening 4 months later than Trump announced and should I’ve been done 15+ years ago anyway. What’s surprising is how badly and consistently Afghan forces who’ve been trained and swilled are failing to hold the line. 

I heard about Ghani fleeing 12 hours ago. It’s telling, surprising it happened so rapidly, not sunrising it happened.

The US lost this war. There’s simply no graceful way to lose a war. 

I think that issue is that again folks did not understand how Afghanistan works and treated the problem solely as a military one. Outside of a few centres it is effectively ruled by local powers, from what I understand. Loyalties are complicated and apparently folks hedge their bets by e.g. sending their sons to join both, the army as well as the Taliban. 

Another aspect seems to be the agreement at Doha between the Taliban and the US. Apparently some saw it as a signal that the government is going to fall, which would explain the rapid surrenders rather than an armed conflict.

That being said, the desperation of folks trying to flee Kabul is heartbreaking to see.

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The UK brass is fuming griping about it - as if they had never considered the possibility of the US withdrawing (After all, US presidents always promise actions they don't intend to carry out!) or had time to calculate the logistics (Those two decades just flew by!) and now will have to leave some Afghan personnel behind.   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/16/some-afghan-allies-left-behind-uk-defence-secretary-concedes-afghanistan

Does anyone recall Brexit?

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War is brutal and inhumane.
The Afghan people understand brutal and inhumane.
That is why they fear the warlords and the Taliban; they have no respect for Americans who try to avoid killing, and if they do, apologize for it. Peacekeeping and nation-building are concepts lost on them.

America will never win another war with half-hearted attemps; no matter how much money it throws at the problem.
It started with Vietnam and televised war. People at home are not willing to be brutal/inhumane enough to actually win the war, so why go in in the first place ? you cannot win half-hearted war, so don't even try.

I have often said, after 9/11, the US should have air-dropped leaflets over a large mountain in Afghanistan telling people to leave in 24 hours, at which time they should have delivered a Thermonuclear bomb large enough to level that mountain.
Afterwards they should have announced " you attack us again, we will do this to the rest of your country."
That is something the Afghan people, warlords, and all others involved would understand.

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4 hours ago, iNow said:

Wow... autocorrect totally destroyed my post above. Sorry all. lol

 

You did have me wondering why we were feeding swill to Afghan troops.  The fact that I could briefly think this was possible,  and not a typo,  says something about our country's woeful experience with private contractors...   

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56 minutes ago, MigL said:

War is brutal and inhumane.
The Afghan people understand brutal and inhumane.
That is why they fear the warlords and the Taliban; they have no respect for Americans who try to avoid killing, and if they do, apologize for it. Peacekeeping and nation-building are concepts lost on them.

America will never win another war with half-hearted attemps; no matter how much money it throws at the problem.
It started with Vietnam and televised war. People at home are not willing to be brutal/inhumane enough to actually win the war, so why go in in the first place ? you cannot win half-hearted war, so don't even try.

I have often said, after 9/11, the US should have air-dropped leaflets over a large mountain in Afghanistan telling people to leave in 24 hours, at which time they should have delivered a Thermonuclear bomb large enough to level that mountain.
Afterwards they should have announced " you attack us again, we will do this to the rest of your country."
That is something the Afghan people, warlords, and all others involved would understand.

If the top topples, the lower parts have no chance. When Ghani fled, that was it. It seems to be his poor timing that has caused this situation unfolding worse than it needed to. My overall feeling is that not enough Afghani's are prepared to fight with the same conviction as the Taliban, so the end result is predictable.

Is the lesson that we need to totally overrun a country, like the Allies did to Germany, in order to put into effect durable, peaceful  change?

Edited by StringJunky
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18 hours ago, iNow said:

 What’s surprising is how badly and consistently Afghan forces who’ve been trained and swilled are failing to hold the line. 

That's the part that has me wondering. Perhaps the majority of the Afghan forces knew in the course of time that "withdrawal"was always on the cards and decided to lump in with the winners...Perhaps the facts are that the Taliban were never separated, and could never be separated from what one would class as the general populace...perhaps its because they could not destroy the Taliban and that wise heads among the Taliban, knew it was simply a matter of time, so why not sit back, relax, build up one's forces, rely on the obvious help from Pakistan, and Iran, and of course we all know that Russia and China, would not be too concerned about any difficulties the Americans and Allies were experiencing.

Yes sympathy now lies with all those women and girls under a strict Islamic society, plus anyone who has been helpful to the occupying forces...Great Weekend Reads | The World from PRX

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3 hours ago, MigL said:

War is brutal and inhumane.
The Afghan people understand brutal and inhumane.
That is why they fear the warlords and the Taliban; they have no respect for Americans who try to avoid killing, and if they do, apologize for it. Peacekeeping and nation-building are concepts lost on them.

America will never win another war with half-hearted attemps; no matter how much money it throws at the problem.
It started with Vietnam and televised war. People at home are not willing to be brutal/inhumane enough to actually win the war, so why go in in the first place ? you cannot win half-hearted war, so don't even try.

I have often said, after 9/11, the US should have air-dropped leaflets over a large mountain in Afghanistan telling people to leave in 24 hours, at which time they should have delivered a Thermonuclear bomb large enough to level that mountain.
Afterwards they should have announced " you attack us again, we will do this to the rest of your country."
That is something the Afghan people, warlords, and all others involved would understand.

I think that is quite a naïve view. The Soviets tried mass killings in Afghanistan and you can see what happened. Also as far as I am aware of, there were no Afghani citizens involved, the Taliban  provided sanctuary for a Saudi, and Saudi Arabia does not seem to be bombed to pieces, either. I am not sure that brutal suppression is what causes nations to stabilize, in fact I cannot think of an example where that alone has worked. And if you want to pull out post-war Japan or Germany as examples, both had strong central governments which were only partially dismantled and were rebuilt into strong economic entities. One of the issues seems to be that Afghanistan was seen as a military operation in the first place, and from what I have read from reports about 5% of the total spending was rebuilding the country whereas the rest went to military spending (including training and counternarcotics). Total expenditures in rebuilding programs and economy amounted to perhaps 50 bn total from what I gather. Japan and Germany received multiple of that amount for reconstruction.  Afghanistan, already in a bad economic situation only benefitted partially and most rural centres did not benefit at all. In my mind, nation building only works if you can demonstrate that life is going to be better for a large swath of the population (inequality also fosters instability).

 

2 hours ago, beecee said:

That's the part that has me wondering. Perhaps the majority of the Afghan forces knew in the course of time that "withdrawal"was always on the cards and decided to lump in with the winners...Perhaps the facts are that the Taliban were never separated, and could never be separated from what one would class as the general populace...perhaps its because they could not destroy the Taliban and that wise heads among the Taliban, knew it was simply a matter of time, so why not sit back, relax, build up one's forces, rely on the obvious help from Pakistan, and Iran, and of course we all know that Russia and China, would not be too concerned about any difficulties the Americans and Allies were experiencing.

It seems to be part of the issue. The government really had only power in some city centres and even then not a very firm grip. US air supremacy provided a kind of shield, but the real power was always decentralized and there was no real mechanism in place to pull it all together. Areas of Afghanistan are virtually isolated where officials barely show up and local elders hold power, the government does not really concern them in any tangible way. However, a local warlord with actual military presence (and who might be a relative) is a different matter.

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1 hour ago, CharonY said:

I think that is quite a naïve view.

I am comparing the situation to Iraq after the first Gulf War.
The Coalition Forces pulled out rather quickly, leaving Saddam Hussein in power, and he quickly re-established brutal control by gassing a couple of towns that had been spurred to revolt by the Americans.
Iraq became quite stable after that event; at least until George Jr. decided to stir it up again 20 years later..

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4 hours ago, StringJunky said:

Is the lesson that we need to totally overrun a country, like the Allies did to Germany, in order to put into effect durable, peaceful  change?

Or that you need to stop blundering in everywhere you don't understand? Like, let other peoples make their own peaceful changes at their pace, in their own way? 

Hardly an apt comparison.  Germany, in 1939, actually attacked other countries with the intent of conquest and occupation. Afghanistan has been invaded more than a dozen times - three times by Britain - and has never afaik invaded any other nation. Its one and unchangeable fault is its location at the crossroads of empires. Do you wonder it's given rise to a breed a fierce warriors?

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51 minutes ago, MigL said:

I am comparing the situation to Iraq after the first Gulf War.
The Coalition Forces pulled out rather quickly, leaving Saddam Hussein in power, and he quickly re-established brutal control by gassing a couple of towns that had been spurred to revolt by the Americans.
Iraq became quite stable after that event; at least until George Jr. decided to stir it up again 20 years later..

Except they did not pull out quickly out of Afghanistan...?

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20 hours ago, beecee said:

Yes sympathy now lies with all those women and girls under a strict Islamic society, plus anyone who has been helpful to the occupying forces...

What should have happened is to process all the visas and relocate folks concurrent with the withdrawal deadline. 

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If other nations keep a country under attack and foreign occupation for two thousand years, chances are, it will be ruled between invasions by whatever fanatical freedom fighters the empires failed to eradicate. It takes two generations to recover from the beleaguered mind-set, two more to build an economy and social structure stable enough, secure enough to liberalize its laws and customs, to expand its intellectual horizons and perhaps another two to form productive relationships with other sovereign nations. The Afghans have rarely had the luxury of such long periods of peace-on-the-land in which to develop. 

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9 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

It takes two generations to recover from the beleaguered mind-set, two more to build an economy and social structure stable enough, secure enough to liberalize its laws and customs, to expand its intellectual horizons and perhaps another two to form productive relationships with other sovereign nations.

Exactly.
Almost 80 years after WW2, the US still has 6 Air Bases in Germany, as well as bases in Japan and Italy.
You obviously believe they shuld either stay out, or, once they've made the commitment, they should see it through, and not pull out before the job is done.
And obviously 20 years is not long enough to get the job done.

16 hours ago, CharonY said:

Except they did not pull out quickly out of Afghanistan...?

I'm convinced, Peterkin, but someone needs to let CharonY know ...

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33 minutes ago, MigL said:

And obviously 20 years is not long enough to get the job done.

What was "the job"?  I mean, of the Americans, in Afghanistan? The pretext was looking for Bin Laden, but what was the real purpose and how would tell know when it's done?

Edited by Peterkin
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