Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 19, 2011

Similarities In Afghanistan Wars

Two snippets taken from one newspaper - spot the difference:

KABUL, Afghanistan — [...] Three men wearing camouflage fatigues that are frequently worn by Afghan soldiers stormed a police station near the presidential palace, with one of them detonating an explosives vest just outside the gates as two others rushed inside and began firing, an Interior Ministry statement said.

The crackle of gunfire echoed through the usually bustling streets for about two hours before security forces killed the two remaining attackers. Insurgents killed three police officers, one intelligence agent and five civilians in the attack, according to the ministry statement.


New Delhi (AP) - Moslem rebels killed five Kabul policemen and wounded 11 others during a two hour battle this week after the rebels slipped into the Soviet-guarded city, a reliable Afghan source reported yesterday.

One rebel was killed during the Tuesday night engagement in the Wazirabad district of Kabul and the others escaped, leaving the body behind, the source said.

The only real difference here are 31 years in which little changed. The second quote is from the Palm Beach Post, June 14 1980: Rebels Kill Five Policemen in Kabul. The first quote is also from the Palm Beach Post. But it is the June 19 2011 edition: Afghan leader confirms peace talks; Kabul attacked.

After the sure to come retreat of "western" troops from Afghanistan someone will write a book about all the parallels of the Soviet war and the U.S. war there. The opening sentence of that book could itself be a historic repeat. It might reuse the opening sentences from Marx' Eighteenth Brumaire:

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Posted by b on June 19, 2011 at 6:37 UTC | Permalink


it goes back much longer than that

"n November 1841 insurrection and massacre flared up in Kabul. The British vacillated and disagreed and were beleaguered in their inadequate cantonments. The British negotiated with the most influential sirdars, cut off as they were by winter and insurgent tribes from any hope of relief. Muhammad Akbar Khan, son of the captive Dost Muhammad, arrived in Kabul and became effective leader of the sirdars. At a conference with them Sir William MacNaghten was killed, but in spite of this, the sirdars' demands were agreed to by the British and they withdrew. During the withdrawal they were attacked by Ghilzai tribesmen and in running battles through the snowbound passes nearly the entire column of 4,500 troops and 12,000 civilians were massacred. Of the British only one, Dr. William Brydon, reached Jalalabad, while a few others were captured.

Afghan forces loyal to Akbar Khan besieged the remaining British contingents at Kandahar, Ghazni and Jalalabad. Ghazni fell, but the other garrisons held out, and with the help of reinforcements from India their besiegers were defeated. While preparations were under way for a renewed advance on Kabul, the new Governor-General Lord Ellenborough ordered British forces to leave Afghanistan after securing the release of the prisoners from Kabul and taking reprisals. The forces from Kandahar and Jalalabad again defeated Akbar Khan, retook Ghazni and Kabul, inflicted widespread devastation and rescued the prisoners before withdrawing through the Khyber Pass."

Posted by: somebody | Jun 19 2011 7:50 utc | 1

Although, to be fair, the first time was pretty farcical as well.

Posted by: ScuzzaMan | Jun 19 2011 9:09 utc | 2


The American empire was stronger and better financed than the Soviet empire. One figures that the Americans can hold out longer than the Russians did.

How long? What is your guess on how long the American Empire can continue to wage war in the middle east? Afghanistan in particular.

Posted by: joseph | Jun 19 2011 10:19 utc | 3

Hmm...So what did the Brits, or the Russkies, or for that matter the Mongols WIN in Afghanistan?

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 19 2011 14:23 utc | 4

It's impossible to imagine a scenario where the US 'wins' enough stability to build and maintain a pipeline and safe road infrastructure through af pak.. for extracting resources from the caspian region. Which is of course what this is all about.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Jun 19 2011 14:57 utc | 5

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