This video above actually explains the background for Afghanistan pretty well and it's worth watching. The last time I spoke with Ted Lieu about Afghanistan was back in April. People opposing Biden's decision to finally end U.S. occupation, were saying that the current government could collapse within 6 months of withdrawal of U.S. troops. Having spent more time there than any of the U.S. policy-makers, my prediction was that it would be closer to 6 weeks than 6 months and that the word "could" should be replaced with "will." Lieu, an Air Force colonel in the National Guard who has been actively trying to get the U.S. out of Afghanistan for the entire time he's been in Congress, told me that "The U.S. has been fighting the endless war in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years. There are troops who have enlisted who were not even born when the war started. If the U.S. cannot win in 20 years, it won’t win staying another 20 years. Our military is the best in the world, but it is not designed to prop up governments or change hearts and minds of a foreign population. Unfortunately this is a lesson America keeps having to relearn. Pleased that President Biden is withdrawing our military from Afghanistan."
Times of London reporters Michael Evans and Hugh Tomlinson wrote today that General David Petraeus is less pleased. Evans and Tomlinson wrote that he told them that "America has abandoned its duty to protect democracy and human rights in Afghanistan, leaving its people to face a 'bloody, brutal civil war.' As the Taliban lay siege to cities that British, American and other coalition troops died defending during 20 years of fighting, the architect of counter-insurgency warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq highlighted the dangers of an Islamist takeover." The war Patraeus was architect of failed, dismally-- just as the Russians failed before that and the British failed before that. And the moronic and jingoistic rhetoric by journalists like Evans and Tomlinson just makes matters worse.
Short of nukes, no one is going to conquer Afghanistan. And, thank God, not even Trump went in that direction. This morning the Washington Post reported that Taliban fighters launched rockets Saturday at airports in Kandahar and Herat, two of the country’s largest cities and busiest economic centers. The attacks mark a potential turning point in the Afghan conflict. Previously, clashes were largely confined to the country’s rural areas or smaller cities contested by the militants. Large-scale conventional attacks on Kandahar and Herat, the second- and fourth-largest cities in the country, have the potential to endanger millions more civilians."
The Taliban are taking over; I doubt there will be much of a civil war... more of a slaughter of the people who collaborated with the occupiers (us). It's hard for Americans to visualize themselves as having been on the wrong side of history... though we have been many times. Vietnam thrived once they kicked us out and reunified the country. We're friends now and Vietnam is a U.S. trading partner and a hot tourist destination for young Americans who weren't alive during the U.S. invasion and occupation. I doubt that will happen in Afghanistan any time soon; they have much longer memories there.
Writing for The Guardian this morning, Peter Beaumont reported that the Taliban is rolling over the Afghan opposition and escalating its offensive. "The current focus of the Taliban’s efforts appears to be a number of key provincial capitals, not least in the country’s south, with the ambition that the fall of Kandahar or Lashkar Gah would rapidly topple the five surrounding provinces. The capture of any major urban centre would also take their current offensive to another level and fuel concerns that the army is incapable of resisting the Taliban’s advances."
The Afghan air force is bombing the cities, to keep them from falling into Taliban hands, failing with the latter, while killing untold numbers of civilians in the process.
“The aircraft are bombing the city every minute. Every inch of the city has been bombed,” Badshah Khan, a resident of Lashkar Gah, told Agence France-Presse by phone.
“You can see dead bodies on the streets. There are bodies of people in the main square.”
The Taliban also struck the sprawling Kandahar airport in southern Afghanistan with at least three rockets overnight, the insurgent group’s spokesman said on Sunday, adding that the aim was to thwart airstrikes conducted by Afghan government forces.
“Kandahar airport was targeted by us because the enemy were using it as a centre to conduct airstrikes against us,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson. Afghan government officials said the rocket attacks forced authorities to suspend all flights and the runway was partially damaged.
Airport chief Massoud Pashtun said two rockets had hit the runway and repairs were under way, with planes likely to resume service later on Sunday.
The facility is vital to maintaining the logistics and air support needed to keep the Taliban from overrunning the city, while also providing aerial cover for large tracts of southern Afghanistan.
Officials said the Taliban saw Kandahar as a major strategic focus for their efforts amid the suggestion that the Taliban would like to use it as a temporary capital in the south.
In the country’s west, Afghan officials acknowledged that the Taliban had gained control of strategic buildings around Herat city, forcing civilians to remain in their homes.
On Sunday, the ministry of defence said that hundreds of commandos had been sent to Herat to help beat back the insurgent assault.
“These forces will increase offensive operations and suppress the Taliban in Herat,” the ministry tweeted.
Lashkar Gah, however, appears the most vulnerable.
Heavy clashes between the Taliban and government forces were continuing inside the city on Sunday, with militant fighters described as being only a few hundred metres from the governor’s office on Saturday amid Afghan and US airstrikes on Taliban positions.
“Fighting is going on inside the city and we have asked for special forces to be deployed,” Ataullah Afghan, the head of Helmand provincial council, told AFP.
“The city is in the worst condition. I do not know what will happen,” said Halim Karimi, a resident of the city of 200,000 residents.
“Neither the Taliban will have mercy on us, nor will the government stop bombing.”
The Taliban has been advancing in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US and Nato troops from the country, and in recent weeks the fundamentalist Islamist group said it had captured more than half of all Afghanistan’s territory, including border crossings with Iran and Pakistan.
What was once the puppet U.S. regime has no realistic chance to survive and, in fact, no plans for survival. The U.S. pullout will be complete on August 31. I'd say that if there was an August 32nd, the Taliban will by then control the whole country outside of Kabul... and that Kabul will fall within weeks if not days.
The European Union says it will not recognize the Taliban as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan if they take power by force. This isn't a joke; it isn't anything. It's just silly. Thomas Nicholson, head of the European Union delegation to Afghanistan, told the Afghanistan Times that "If Taliban rise to power militarily, the EU will not recognise them. We are clearly very concerned about the situation."
It isn't worth listening to a single word that comes out of the puppet government-- now freaked out, cut loose from its puppeteer-- in Kabul. It's all meaningless drivel designed to keep some aid flowing from the West. This is going to be an ugly end to an ugly war. The sooner it's over, the better for everyone concerned. Republicans are already trying to blame Biden for the disaster, although they do this while fully aware that Trump had set last May for the end of the U.S. occupation and fully aware that this ending was as inevitable as it is regrettable.
Former congressman Alan Grayson, running for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida, called today about something unrelated to Afghanistan but Grayson is the one person I speak with regularly who has travelled to more places than I have and I asked him how he feels about what's happening there now. "Our policy in Afghanistan," he said "is-- and has been-- for a long time, 'Maginot Line' thinking, mentally stuck in the past. The Taliban government was overthrown in December 2001, twenty years ago. There was never any realistic chance that a Western military occupation would modernize Afghanistan-- when has that ever worked, anywhere? Osama Bin Laden is dead. Mullah Omar is dead. (And, for that matter, Fidel Castro is dead, for five years now, and someone should let Marco Rubio know that.) At this point, the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan already looks a lot like Ozymandias’s:
I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed: And on the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away."