Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 27, 2020

The Air War In Afghanistan Expands On Both Sides

Under the Trump administration U.S. air attacks in Afghanistan have sharply increased. But it now seems that the Taliban have acquired some means to counter them.

Last year the U.S. dropped a record number of bombs on Afghanistan leading to ever increasing casualties among civilians:

According to the Combined Forces Air Component Commander (CFACC) 2013-2019 Airpower Statistics released in late January, 7,423 missions flown in Afghanistan in 2019 resulted in weapons being released. There were more weapon releases in most months of the year than in any corresponding months since records were first released in 2009, with September recording the most for the year at 948.

The previous annual record was 7,362 set in 2018, and the last two years together have seen more weapon releases over Afghanistan than the combined number for 2012 through to 2017.

Twenty bombing strikes per day is a quite astonishing number. Many civilians get killed in this U.S. bombing campaign. The U.S. often seems not to know who it is hitting. This report from last week is typical:

A drone attack carried out by U.S. forces earlier this month in western Afghanistan that apparently targeted a splinter Taliban group also killed at least 10 civilians, including three women and three children, an Afghan rights official and a council member said Wednesday.
...
There was no immediate comment from the Afghan military or the U.S. forces. But Wakil Ahmad Karokhi, a provincial council member in Herat, said the Jan. 8 strike also killed the commander of a Taliban splinter group, known as Mullah Nangyalia, along with 15 other militants.
...
The commanders funeral the following day was held in the Herat provincial capital’s Guzargah neighborhood, and was attended by dozens of militants.

Karokhi criticized the strike as “huge mistake” saying the commander had been a useful buffer against the Taliban in Shindand district, taking up arms with his fighters against the insurgents “when no one else would do it" and leaving the area's civilians in peace.

The U.S. military and its allies and Afghan proxies are not the only ones fighting. The Taliban can hit back at helicopters and planes and, judging from the number of recent air incidents, they now have found effective means to do so. Two days ago they destroyed another helicopter:

Drexluddin Spiveyzai @RisboLensky - 9:44 UTC · Jan 25, 2020

Helicopter hit by missile in Kajaki area of #Helmand 4 soldiers wounded via @TOLOnews #Afghanistan

Its #Moldova flag. Helicopter got hit pretty bad. True miracle there are no deaths

#Taliban took responsibility for shooting down of military helicopter in #Helmand #Afghanistan

This is the 4th helicopter that went down in January

Video from Kajaki

Four helicopter losses in one month is quite significant.

Earlier today there were reports that a civilian Afghan airliner had come down. Those turned out to be false. But a plane had indeed crashed in Ghazni province south of Kabul. It was a military one:

Harry Boone @towersight - 12:37 UTC · Jan 27, 2020

Wreck of plane crashed today in Afghanistan looks like to be a USAF Bombardier Global 6000 / E-11A "BACN" (Battlefield Airborne Communications Node)

Four U.S. E-11As are assigned to the 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron and operate usually from Kandahar AB.

There are video of the burning and burned out plane.


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Afghan sources say the Taliban claimed that they shot down the plane. Others deny that. What is sure though is that the plane crashed into Taliban held territory. At least two persons on board were killed.


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The "BACN" flying radio relay stations have been in Afghanistan for a while. A military report from March 2017 said:

Called “as essential to mission success as bullets,” the E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node flew its 10,000th sortie Feb. 24, 2017 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, since arriving in Afghanistan eight years ago.

The 430th Expeditionary Electronic Squadron operating out of Kandahar is the only unit in the U.S. Air Force that operates the E-11A with the BACN payload. It was created to fulfill what is called a joint urgent operational need, when it was identified that the terrain of Afghanistan posed serious communication challenges.

E-11A

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There appear to exist only four of these planes which are heavily modified Bombardier Global 6000 ultra long-range business jets. They are only used in Afghanistan.

The loss is significant. The ground troops depend on radio communication when they direct bombers to their targets. Without the flying relay stations they have no chance to do so in Afghanistan's mountainous terrain.

It is not known what new means the Taliban have to take down planes and helicopters. In 2018 a few Stinger anti-air missiles were found during a raid on some Taliban. But those seem to have been old and were probably no longer functioning. Helicopters can be brought down with machine guns or even with anti-tank missiles (RPGs).

But the E-11A usually fly at a significant altitude and the crashed plane was not near an airport. The usual man-portable air-defense missiles (MANPAD) like the U.S. made Stinger reach a maximum altitude of only some 3.500 meters. 

That opens the possibility that the Taliban have acquired new supplies of larger missiles. One wonders where those would come from.

On January 5 Hizbullah leader Hassan Nazrallah announced how the 'resistance axis' would respond to the U.S. murder of the Iranian General Soleimani and the Iraqi PMU leader Al-Muhandis.

The response to the blood of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis must be expulsion of all U.S. forces from the region.

Using effective means to take down even high flying U.S. planes would be one possible way to achieve that aim.

But Iran is not the only possible source of such missiles. China and Russia also produce effective anti-air missiles and the military in Pakistan and in Tajikistan have bought those in significant numbers. All these countries usually hold back from providing anti-air missiles to militants as they could also endanger their own (civil) airplanes.

But the loss of five aircraft in one month in Afghanistan might well mean that this has changed.

Posted by b on January 27, 2020 at 16:03 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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I view this as a serious escalation in the world war that is going on as we speak. If the Taliban are being armed in such a way to be able to take down U.S. aircraft, then the opponents of the West are seeing the writing on the wall and are getting more serious.

Posted by: JasonT | Jan 27 2020 16:09 utc | 1

...add this "loss": https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/5597249.html :P

Posted by: Mikhail | Jan 27 2020 16:09 utc | 2

Yes, bet Iran will be blamed for this somehow if it is indeed an american plane that was shot down.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 27 2020 16:16 utc | 3

If the $1.6 trillion cost of the US military being in Afghanistan is correct, then the loss of 4 helicopters and even the E11 won't significantly increase US overall spend there. $1.6 trillion over 18 years is a tad under $250 million per day

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 27 2020 16:17 utc | 4

Yes, there is some talk even in Afghan media about Taliban getting Manpads if the US refuses to withdraw.

But i would caution about the aircraft crashes this month. Air attrition of the Afghan Airforce has been pretty high during the last several years and their choppers go down relatively often.

US aircraft fall from time to time too.

Posted by: Passer by | Jan 27 2020 16:36 utc | 5

9/11 was the excuse to invade Iraq.
At least Saddam and al qaeda were Sunni.

But Iran is not the only possible source of such missiles. China and Russia also produce effective anti-air missiles and the military in Pakistan and in Tajikistan have bought those in significant numbers. All these countries usually hold back from providing anti-air missiles to militants as they could also endanger their own (civil) airplanes.

In one paragraph you have written what will take the media 10 years to work out.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Jan 27 2020 16:43 utc | 6

One of the main Taliban Twitter accounts, @Zabehulah_M33, has posted the following tweets (machine translated):

US invasion plane crashes in Ghazni, killing scores of officers

Following a raid today in Sadukhel district of Dehik district of Ghazni province, a US special aircraft carrier was flying over an intelligence mission in the area.

The aircraft was destroyed with all its crew and crew, including the major US intelligence officers (CIA).

It is noteworthy that recently, in the provinces of Helmand, Balkh and some other parts of the country, large numbers of enemy aircraft and helicopters have fallen and fallen.

(source)

# Important News:
A Ghazni helicopter crashed in the area near Sharana, the capital of Paktika province, this evening after the Ghazni incident.
The helicopter crew and the soldiers were all destroyed.

(source)

So Taliban has not taken responsibility for the E-11A crash (although many news outlets are reporting it, including Russian ones). Meanwhile, yet another helicopter crashed after the E-11A crash, so it’s two crashes in one day.

Posted by: S | Jan 27 2020 16:43 utc | 7

Does this mean that Air Force One is also a possible target if it comes into the area?

Given the price on Trump's head I wouldn't be surprised if an attempt is made.

The new ME peace plan that Trump is going to be forced to accept includes having all US troops leave the invaded countries. Then maybe Occupied Palestine would have to learn to play nice with its neighbors.....or leave.

What will empire do to try and regain control of the global narrative? Certainly the Kushner peace plan is a non-starter in spite of its backing.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 27 2020 16:55 utc | 8

Opium production down then? Some faction needing to make a point maybe?

Posted by: Jayne | Jan 27 2020 16:58 utc | 9

1) Taliban was never officially recognised as the sovereign government of Afghanistan.

2) The Soviet Union never invaded Afghanistan, they were invited in in by then sovereign UN-recognised Gov of Afghan (golly wonder why)

3) Al-Queda was never part of the Taliban, nor is imported ISIS,

4) Can't understand Yankee justification for hammering Afghanistan, unless it involved stealing sovereign wealth.

Posted by: Ant. | Jan 27 2020 17:03 utc | 10

More photos of the E-11A crash.

Posted by: S | Jan 27 2020 17:04 utc | 11

Before this war (2003) Afghanistan had 75km or railway.

-- 75 --

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_rail_transport_network_size

WHAT are the Americans actually bombing?
Let me suggest - nothing, just an opportunity to use up the existing arsenal.

Posted by: Alex_Gorsky | Jan 27 2020 17:14 utc | 12

When a colonial war goes wrong, one salient question was: who sold guns to the savages?

Among more recent examples, who explained technologically inept Iraqis how to make IEDs?

In the case of smaller weapons, the usual suspect is responsible. NYT By C. J. Chivers Aug. 24, 2016

... In all, Overton found, the Pentagon provided more than 1.45 million firearms to various security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, including more than 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols and almost 112,000 machine guns. These transfers formed a collage of firearms of mixed vintage and type: Kalashnikov assault rifles left over from the Cold War; recently manufactured NATO-standard M16s and M4s from American factories; machine guns of Russian and Western lineage; and sniper rifles, shotguns and pistols of varied provenance and caliber, including a large order of Glock semiautomatic pistols, a type of weapon also regularly offered for sale online in Iraq.

----

That said, one needs something more sophisticated against helicopters and planes. I suspect that even if Iran were inclined to provide them to Taliban, it would not give them their own products, and, for sure, they cannot purchase Western missiles on regular markets. However, as valiant freedom fighters in Syria are provided with such weapons while being woefully underpaid...

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 27 2020 17:15 utc | 13

So, blow up more villages therefore we will, and why not!

Is this the same measurement the mighty generals measured their success in Vietnam? How many tonnes of napalm they dropped? Oh, the heroics of being out of range!

You are my hero!

Posted by: Ant. | Jan 27 2020 17:17 utc | 14

@S #7: Dih Yak District, Ghazni Province, where the plane has crashed, is adjacent to Sharan District, Paktika Province, where the helicopter has crashed. Perhaps, the helicopter was sent to rescue possible survivors of the crash.

Posted by: S | Jan 27 2020 17:18 utc | 15

A technical point. For sound engineering reasons the US uses VHF and higher frequency radio. These spectra do not bounce off the ionosphere and they do bounce off rocks and mountains (which can be a problem). An airborne or high ground relay is necessary to relay from one mountain valley to another in these VHF+ regions. It is possible to use what's called NVIS (Near vertical incidence skywave) but if there's lots of data this too is problematic. I know zero about the specifics of what spectra the US military uses other than what's published by the ITU and what can be inferred from looking at the antennas they use (which is lots). I suppose there are satellite links from aircraft to sat as well.

...

I recall a quotation from that good man, Winston C, who wrote long ago about Afghanamistan...{populated by} "poverty-stricken illiterate tribesmen possessed of the finest Martini-Henry Rifles..."

That was over 100 years ago...

Now, it seem, "possessed of the finest surface to air missiles."

Well now, who'd a thunk...

Posted by: Walter | Jan 27 2020 17:24 utc | 16

9K38-Igla-M
MANPADS represent a large leap in the 'death by 1000 cuts' equation.
The stinger missile made a huge difference in the battle dynamics when the Soviets were in Afganistan. 2000 Iglas trickled into Afganistan would be a huge headache for occupying forces. No more close air support, very dangerous take-off and landings along with possible higher altitude interceptions.

In regard to the financing of the ongoing operations, war profiteers are happy to continue that ad infinitum. The American war in Viet-Nam was a test run of sorts, how to keep things running for maximum profit and burn. Weapons in and commodities (hmmmm...)out makes for quite a killing.

The sense I get is that the escalation cause by the various air strikes and assassinations was designed as a last ditch effort to keep things escalating lest peace and stability break out. Granted that is a distant horizon, but if Iran and the KSA found some common ground, Syria was mopped up and Lebanon was able to shake off the elements that continually throw spanners in the works USA/isreal interests would definitely be less likely to prosper. Given the pattern of provocation by the USA trying to get Iran to do something extreme in order to justify all out war, the murder of the highly prized generals seems not to have worked as intended. Rather than striking out impulsively, the Resistance appears to have engaged in a broad spectrum highly controlled campaign to do just what it has promised. Expel the USA from the MidEast.

We live in world of countermeasures and gone are the days of total domination by the usual suspects. Anti aircraft missile defense is the current keystone to this balance. As with many things MANPADS are very much a double edged sword, so one must be judicious with sales and distribution. There is nothing stopping them from biting the manufacturer in the arse.

Not long ago such missiles would be easier to trace, but given the amount of exports and knock-offs they could filter into the Afgan theater from anywhere. If there are in fact a quantity of them in play, then the occupiers are going to have a very bad day(s) indeed.

Posted by: Chevrus | Jan 27 2020 17:29 utc | 17

"4) Can't understand Yankee justification for hammering Afghanistan, unless it involved stealing sovereign wealth."

Posted by: Ant. | Jan 27 2020 17:03 utc | 10

It is ALL about the cia opium trade,, Afghanistan is the "poppy greenhouse" of the cia and fukus terrorist regimes..

Posted by: Per/Norway | Jan 27 2020 17:30 utc | 18

"WHAT are the Americans actually bombing?
Let me suggest - nothing, just an opportunity to use up the existing arsenal."

Posted by: Alex_Gorsky | Jan 27 2020 17:14 utc | 12
No, they are bombing homes and trying to genocide the Pashtuns that live on/over a fortune in minerals and whatnot,.-
Try to research how many Pashtun children the united states of terrorist and nato terrorists have raped and killed, ALL just to steal Afghanistans wealth.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Jan 27 2020 17:34 utc | 19

It would be highly ironic if these American military aircraft were shot down with the (in)famous US Stinger missiles that America gave to Afghan jihadists against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Reap what you sow.

Posted by: ak74 | Jan 27 2020 17:37 utc | 20

thanks b... ditto per/norway @19.... usa murdering innocent people is more like it... a usa-israel specialty...

Posted by: james | Jan 27 2020 17:38 utc | 21

james | Jan 27 2020 17:38 utc | 21

Sad but true.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Jan 27 2020 17:39 utc | 22

Uncle Sam has declared War on the World, thinking it is just a bunching bag. Now he is finding out that sometimes punching bags can punch back.

I wonder if the "splinter Taliban group" is really a local militia organized to defend their own village from Taliban and US vassals alike. My poorly-informed perception is that there may be many such groups in rugged and isolated Afghanistan.

I'm thinking they are waiting for someone like the late General Soleimani to convince various local militias to work together. If someone showed up with weapons to attack the hated drones always circling overhead, that would sure get their attention.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Jan 27 2020 17:42 utc | 23

Ant. @10--

Your point #3 is crucial as the Taliban were never part of the Outlaw US Empire's Terrorist Foreign Legion, which IMO makes them a member of the Arc of Resistance. It appears the Empire tried to co-opt them into such an organization but were rebuffed during Clinton's reign. Indeed, it's very curious how the Empire lost control of its Foreign Legion in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Unable to buy the Taliban, the Empire planned to invade in 2001 before 911 proving there was never any link between the reasons for that invasion and the false flag. I've previously set forth the whys for that invasion, which by now should be obvious and are why the Empire won't leave unless ousted, as with Iraq.

The Empire airlifted a significant portion of its Foreign Legion to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, which is curious as Ahmed Rashid made them out as even more extreme that Daesh in his Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, which was published, purchased and read by me prior to 911. 18+ years later, I now question some aspects of that book and look at its second edition skeptically. Why? From what I can glean, most Afghans seem to tolerate the Taliban as a force for good when compared to the invaders and the corrupt puppet government they back. And when compared with Daesh, Taliban are less extreme by far. When it comes to Taliban's area of control, I somewhat doubt this current Southfront situational map as Taliban's often credited for controlling 60%+ of Afghanistan's territory.

It may well be that this coming spring and summer will be marked by many shootdowns as more talks are planned.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 27 2020 17:56 utc | 24

Let me suggest - nothing, just an opportunity to use up the existing arsenal.
Posted by: Alex_Gorsky | Jan 27 2020 17:14 utc | 12

Not meant to distract attention, but.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 27 2020 17:15 utc | 13
When a colonial war goes wrong, one salient question was: who sold guns to the savages?

This rather impressive but somewhat heavy documentary argued. It's Nile Perch to Europe via Russian/Ukrainian? plane transport and on the way into Afruca weapons in. One has to plan logistically.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin%27s_Nightmare

Nile Perch, via Wiki:
Nile perch have been introduced to many other lakes in Africa, including Lake Victoria and the artificial Lake Nasser. The World Conservation Union's Invasive Species Specialist Group considers L. niloticus one of the world's 100 worst invasive species.

The state of Queensland in Australia levies heavy fines on anyone found in possession of a living Nile perch, since it competes directly with the native barramundi, which is similar and grows to 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) long, while the Nile Perch grows to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) long.

The species is of great commercial importance as a food fish. The Nile perch is also popular with sport anglers, as it attacks artificial fishing lures, and it is also raised in aquaculture.

Posted by: Vig | Jan 27 2020 18:01 utc | 25

I wonder how much opium is needed to buy a shiny new surface to air gadget.

In history>
The Story of the Malakand Field Force (Dover Military History, Weapons, Armor)


and

The Story of the Malakand Field Force (Dover Military History, Weapons, Armor)

The latter tome, flawed though it may be, is the source for the martini-Henry quote. Take Winnie with a grain of salt. He lies a lot.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 27 2020 18:08 utc | 26

- I do think that both Russia and China are supplying those anti-aircraft missiles to the Taliban and their "friends".
- Given the fact that these missiles also can be used to shoot down russian airplanes I would assume (& hope) that the russians are doling these weapons out sparingly.
- But I wouldn'r rule out that Russia has given these missiles to Iran which have given them to groups in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Wilyy2 | Jan 27 2020 18:19 utc | 27

Another example of the ongoing folly. Begging the question why hasn't the US withdrawn from Afghanistan yet? Is it because the US uniparty can't stand the thought of relinquishing control of that part of Eurasia limited as it may be, or is it because no US administration wants to be remembered for being the 2nd to wear the inglorious 'Peace with Honour" banner?

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 27 2020 18:22 utc | 28

- I know there are currently (Peace) talks going on between the US and the Taliban. It seems that the US Military Industrial Complex doens't like those talks at all. And it will do anything to sabotage those talks. Hence the increased amount of airstrikes. And the increaasing tensions between Iran, Iraq and the US provide an excellent excuse for those increased amount of airstrikes.

Posted by: Willy2 | Jan 27 2020 18:29 utc | 29

Piotr Berman @ 13
When a colonial war goes wrong, one salient question was: who sold guns to the savages?
Among more recent examples, who explained technologically inept Iraqis how to make IEDs?

Good question regarding the source of the weapons. Besides the obvious geopolitical motivations, the fact that where there's a buck to be made someone will step in to supply it, and it's not hard to do it covertly as we've historically seen. Look at the stealth and deception the Israelis used to develop the bomb, many magnitudes more complex than acquiring Manpads or Stingers. They were secretly supplied by Nations (France, UK, Norway, South Africa, etc.) as well as brokers, corporations, and businessmen (e.g. Noratom in Norway and NUMEC in US). In many cases the motivation seemed to be greed, with elaborate measures to cover their illegal actions.

As to your second question, there's ample evidence (including much from MoA) that the IED's in Iraq were mostly home-grown and not that high-tech as to difficulty of design or manufacture. US propaganda that they were supplied by Iran has been used for many years by warmongers, and of course put on the front burner again trying to justify the murder of Soleimani.

Posted by: Kabobyak | Jan 27 2020 18:32 utc | 30

That's alright, because as Orwell said, "the war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous."

Posted by: Steve M | Jan 27 2020 18:33 utc | 31

"Twenty bombing strikes per day is a quite astonishing number."

Great article, thank you for some real journalism. Reading it is like catching your breath. Meanwhile everyone else is easily fascinated with an 'epidemic' somehow emanating from the imaginary ancient savagery of the Far East ('everything from wolf cubs to rats for sale!'). The West really needs that wake-up enema and soon.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 27 2020 18:39 utc | 32

To Ant 10, Per/Norway 18: Afghanistan is a vast source of mineral wealth, and has valuable potential oil/gas pipeline routes. As usual, US/ZATO wants to "protect" these for their pet corporate thieves. That the CIA/Mossad runs the opium industry is just a cash-cow to pay-off the local drug kingpins/warlords.

The Taliban had decimated the opium industry a couple times, but the CIA/Mossad always pushes back in and keeps the country in chaos.

The Taliban are no angels, but at least they eradicate the opium industry. If the US/ZATO and CIA/Mossad got out of Afghanistan, it wouldn't take long for the locals to throw out the Taliban. The locals put up with the Taliban because they are slightly less destructive than the US/ZATO/CIA/Mossad thugs.

Posted by: A P | Jan 27 2020 18:42 utc | 33

Ukies got Javelin anti-tank weapons. (though the US controls them or half of them would be sold off).
Then, there was a counter-move. Not in Donbass. Elsewhere.
Taliban have MANPADS.

Soon, the Iraqi PMF will have MANPADS.

It's a weapons war that the US cannot win.

Too many people want the Hegemon out of their country.

We see this weapons war in Africa. Russia and China are there to teach the weapons' use.

You don't need big nukes and aircraft to win a war.

Vietnam won with artillery, sappers and AK-47s.
Houthis are winning with homemade missiles and drones.

Taliban will force out the US. Russia and China will do whatever they can to see that will be the outcome.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jan 27 2020 18:49 utc | 34

Bubbles @28--

IMO, it's the former, which is why it invaded. Cornering the Opium/Heroin market was seen as a side benefit to mitigate costs. Depending on source, Outlaw US Empire controls 30-50% of Afghan territory. Very bleak day for the Empire's Foreign Legion as they're getting rapidly rolled-up in Idlib. Saraqib's just 7k away from SAA vanguard, perhaps even closer given com-lag. Maarrat al Numan is now surrounded and the fleeing terrorists are being picked off by helos. Bad weather is supposed to reenter the picture, so SAA wants to gain as much as it can beforehand. Its advances outside Aleppo might reach the edge of the urbanized area by daybreak tomorrow.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 27 2020 18:49 utc | 35

@7 S

Exactly Taliban claimed the plane was brought down as an enemy plane. There is some misreading and mis-translation of Taliban statements. It seems some of translations ( including Sputnik news ) confused official Irani Farsi with Afghani Dari Farsi.
Taliban official statement read clearly that the plane has been brought down.( سقود داده شد )

In the second paragraph said: “in this successful operation (achievement ) the plane with all operators and passengers including important high ranking intelligence officers were eliminated .
The third paragraph said: in recent period numerous planes and helicopters were brought down in Helmand, Balkh and other provinces

Posted by: arata | Jan 27 2020 18:53 utc | 36

How much does a E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node cost?

Posted by: Georg Ed | Jan 27 2020 19:10 utc | 37

Guarantee you the Empire is not going to cede its position anywhere on the globe. It's not going to leave Syria, it's not going to leave Iraq, and it certainly is not going to leave it's foothold in the underbelly of Eurasia.
Because to do so would mean the end of the Hegemonic project.

It has a virtual blank check for anything military. And there's no need to worry about public opinion since the general population has been so snowed they don't know which end is up. So, war without end will continue. If a few more planes are shot down here and there, there's always more behind those to replace them with.

I'm afraid it's going to take some major cataclysm before this Imperial juggernaut grinds to a halt.


Posted by: Quixotic 1 | Jan 27 2020 19:11 utc | 38

There must be some Iranian special Quods force operating deep inside Afghanistan using their own SAM, not giving them to the Taliban, who are their longtgerm enemies.

The Iranians will choose how, when and where they are going to kill US soldiers and CIA opertatives with total deniability if required; probably in this plane there were some CIA dudes involved in dirty operations in the ME affecting Iran, now they have reaped what they sown

Posted by: DFC | Jan 27 2020 19:16 utc | 39

If I wanted to attack the US I would do it in Afghanistan. Hostile territory, hostile population, impossible lines of communication. If it isn’t Taliban, then it probably someone in alliance with them. China? Shares a border with Afghanistan (even if a bit inaccessible). Pakistan? Iraq? Iran? Russia (I doubt it but you never know). There must be so much general ordnance kicking around in the Middle East, most of it supplied or sourced by the US. I’m surprised it hasn’t been done before. Certainly, if whoever it is has a regular supply of surface to air missiles, Bhagram, and the US are toast.

Posted by: Montreal | Jan 27 2020 19:20 utc | 40

The afghans canteach the iraqi how to bring down those planes, then the NATO would be a sitting duck in Iraq and the only option to get out alive would be a peacedeal the israeli can not refuse.

Posted by: Mckinnon | Jan 27 2020 19:27 utc | 41

Q@38

We are defintely not looking through the same "window".

I don't know where you got the tea. And it is clear whomever you got to read the leaves isn't a qualified seer.

The "game" has changed dramatically.

The "tipping" point is now behind, not in front.

The "exit" may well not come immediately, the US is incomprehesibly stuborn; but it is coming, and not just in Afghanistan; and there is no way mercenaries are going to hold on... and the US Gov and its cohorts can't afford the losses which are most assuredly coming home to roost.


I do believe

Les Jeux sont faits...

Posted by: unconsolable1 | Jan 27 2020 19:33 utc | 42

Quixotic 1 @38--

I tend to agree with that thinking. The Outlaw US Empire will need to be ousted from wherever it occupies as with 'Nam, although there's still the question of the Current Oligarchy's domestic viability and ability to retain control over the federal government. What's promising in the latter regard is the very strong pushback aimed at DNC Chair Perez's committee appointments, which is being called Trump's Re-election Campaign Committee for good reasons. However IMO, people need to look beyond Trump and the Duopoly at those pulling the strings. And the easiest way to cut the strings is to elect people without any.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 27 2020 19:35 utc | 43

This ongoing war in Afghanistan has morphed into a live fire training program for the U$ military. Totally illegal and disgusting.

"it's just business, get over it."

Oh, but DJT promised to end it, did he not?

Posted by: ben | Jan 27 2020 19:41 utc | 44

DFC @39--

Hard to say just what the Iranian-Taliban relationship is at this juncture. Tehran continues to deny supplying them, but it's clear Taliban are the only force capable to defeating the Outlaw US Empire's Terrorist Foreign Legion it imported into the Afghan theatre. Iran's watched the Taliban up close and personal for 24+ years now, so I'd be very surprised if there wasn't at least a strong backchannel com between them. IIRC, Iran okayed Taliban's inclusion in the Moscow talks and has suggested they become a part of any future Afghan government.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 27 2020 19:48 utc | 45

Could it be sabotage on take-off? Ground installations capable of intercepting high altitude targets aren't very stealthy and won't survive in the field for too long without defense in depth. Use of man-portable systems in this case seem unlikely, unless the plane was flying at an uncharacteristically low altitude.

Posted by: Skiffer | Jan 27 2020 19:50 utc | 46

Thank you, b, for connecting the dots for us. Indeed, the whole region will be subject to increasing and more capable hostiles to U.S. presence. If there is any hope for a DJT 2.0, he better heed it and leave now. Otherwise, dangerous escalations are indeed afoot.

My brother here in the state reserves has been told that, "you will be deployed." Sometime in the next couple years. Seems inevitable then that the MIC is doubling down and we are in for some pretty shit.

20,000 troops more in the MENA in the past few years, more air sorties in Afghanistan than before...how quickly that narrative has fallen away that DJT is deescalating in the ME.

C'mon Don, don't make me vote for a socialist that is going to torpedo the economy and reward the AIC (Academic Industrial Complex) with student-loan forgiveness, to the ire of every sensible parent and student that has paid for their post-secondary schooling the right way.

You won't pull out of the MENA?...then I guess I am going to have to shoot myself in the foot.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 27 2020 19:50 utc | 47

As to your second question, there's ample evidence (including much from MoA) that the IED's in Iraq were mostly home-grown and not that high-tech as to difficulty of design or manufacture. US propaganda that they were supplied by Iran has been used for many years by warmongers, and of course put on the front burner again trying to justify the murder of Soleimani.

Posted by: Kabobyak | Jan 27 2020 18:32 utc | 30

I wanted to stress that the idea of culturally superior Iranians having to help culturally inferior Iraqis how to make IEDs is really bold, although not without precedence. Native people were classified as militarily apt and militarily inept, and recruitment to colonial armies was guided by that principle. Arabs were typically classified as inept, unlike Gurkhas and the Sikh. Persians were not recruited, but they were known to colonial leaders who had education in classics.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 27 2020 19:55 utc | 48

@ 38 Quixotic 1
Guarantee you- "the Empire is not going to cede its position anywhere on the globe. It's not going to leave Syria, it's not going to leave Iraq, and it certainly is not going to leave it's foothold in the underbelly of Eurasia.
Because to do so would mean the end of the Hegemonic project.

I have 1st dibs on that Guarantee
by 2025. Be ready to deliver in gold.

Here is how. Watch KSA and that old 1973 deal to price oil in USD$; follows then ALL countries need USD to buy oil. Fast Forward. KSA wants in on their share of oil to China AND the price will be paid in Yuan. Ask Qatar.

See the historical Timeline of currencies at link.

The USD is losing its appeal because Uncle Sam foolishly weaponized its currency. A review of history: Bullies have a limited life as do Reserve Currencies all things end. And sanctions are wearing thin.

The epitaph reads "US$, aka the greenback, met its demise by sanctions."

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 27 2020 20:14 utc | 49

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 27 2020 18:49 utc | 35

Sound enough choice given the information available. At this point however, both factors may be at play even though they would seem to oppose each other. MIC factor taken into account as it is the one constant.

Good news on the long belaboured Idlib front? Been having difficulty finding a reliable source of up to date info since Canthama seems to have lost his sources, Leith has become a repeater of not always accurate tidbits and Lucem doesn't do up to date mapping any longer.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 27 2020 20:19 utc | 50

@ karlof1 | Jan 27 2020 19:48 utc | 45

Well may be the Iranians could supply the Taliban with weapons, or may be they supply them to the Hazara, that are much more close to them and are the real allies in Afghanistan, and it is a way to protect them un a post-US future. So may be the Hazara could become the new Houthies in Afghanistan

Posted by: DFC | Jan 27 2020 20:41 utc | 51

For those who used to access FARS news prior to the US Treasury blocking it, here is a .ir domain of the crash
https://en.farsnews.ir/newstext.aspx?nn=13981107000803

Posted by: Krollchem | Jan 27 2020 20:42 utc | 52

Piotr Berman @ 48

Thanks for the addition, I understand better now what you were saying. Cheers!

Posted by: Kabobyak | Jan 27 2020 20:58 utc | 53

May have gotten D'Andrea in the shoot down.

Posted by: casey | Jan 27 2020 21:14 utc | 54

Bubbles @59--

Canthama recently posted a string of updates at SyrPers here and here. Most recent map of front.

On last map, you can see where the plains end and foothills leading to mountains begin. The word is that while the terrain becomes more difficult, the amount of defensive positions rapidly diminishes. And with the intensive push out of Aleppo, terrorists can't shift forces.

The reports out of Iraq say the march was over 5 million. Here's Magnier's latest on Iraq.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 27 2020 21:14 utc | 55

@ 38 Quixotic 1.. i believe a good number of moa posters see it along the same lines... i think it will be like the fall of the soviet union... it will come as a shock when it does happen and it will be fast.. predicting when it will happen is a fools game, but it is going to happen eventually...

Posted by: james | Jan 27 2020 21:16 utc | 57

@ 54 casey.. it will be interesting if anything is revealed about who was on the plane as it probably had a good number of cia people on it... good way to take out people who know too much of the wrong stuff too..

Posted by: james | Jan 27 2020 21:19 utc | 58

All this puts the US in an awkward position. They have blamed Iran of every attack in the past, and they bragged so openly about the assassination of Gen Suleimani, that Iran will be viewed as being behind this, whether it had anything to do with it or not. Which gives Iran serious cred among its allies and its pathetic gulf state enemies.

OTOH, it will be very difficult for the US to blame Iran for this attack. To do so would be to admit that their actions have consequences and that they are engaging an enemy that can hit back. Which will not be nearly as much fun as engaging those who can't.

Posted by: Lysander | Jan 27 2020 21:24 utc | 59

To james 58: Absolutely, the US/ZATO/CIA Mossad eliminated many ISIS "moderate terrorists" in Syria as the SAA and Russian troops moved into places like Aleppo. Can't have anyone telling the truth about who arranged/supplied what and when... there have been a few former "insurgents" in Syria that lived to tell the tale, but their story seldom reaches the MSM.

Posted by: A P | Jan 27 2020 21:30 utc | 60

@ james | Jan 27 2020 21:16 utc | 57

Johan Galtung predicted, in the year 2000, the end of the US Empire in 2020, he also predicted, in the year 1980, the end of the Soviet Empire before the end of that decade, and he nailed.

This is an interview in 2010, but the book with his predictions is much old:

https://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/7/johan_galtung_on_the_fall_of

He said:
"It’s an empire against a wall; an empire in despair; an empire, I would say, in its last phase. My prediction in the book that is here, that you mentioned, The Fall of the US Empire–And Then What?, is that it cannot last longer than 'til about 2020. In 1980, I predicted for the Soviet empire that it will crack at its weakest point, the wall of Berlin, within ten years, and it happened in November 1989, and the Soviet empire followed. So my prediction is a similar one for the US empire"

In another interview he said that after the cracks in the Empire and the loss of the Imperial Wealth Pump:

"The most dangerous variable is the definitive end of the American dream, due to domestic hardship. This would lead to the functional breakdown of the establishment and Treaty of the Union, which would be the political end of the North American multi-state entity. At this point, Galtung says, the empire would be split into a confederation of states, more or less powerful, that would seek an independent solution to the external and internal crisis."

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2019/03/18/2020-and-the-end-of-the-american-empire/

Posted by: DFC | Jan 27 2020 21:33 utc | 61

I'm not sure now where I got this from but it seems to me to be a real game-changer: The real casualties in Iraq 8th January night.
https://static.hypercomments.com/data/images2/9483823/1579175432328668

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jan 27 2020 21:33 utc | 62

@Bubbles #50: Try SouthFront or LiveuaMap Syria. Keep in mind that LiveuaMap is a Ukrainian project, so it has a pro-HTS slant (e.g., “pro-Assad forces drop barrel bombs on civilians” instead of “SAA bombs HTS”), but their map is up-to-date and interactive.

Posted by: S | Jan 27 2020 21:35 utc | 63

Unless the operatives on the US spy plane were carrying ID the Taliban can find, we'll never know who they really were. As if we could trust that either. (remember Colonel Flagg from MASH? New fake/cover ID every time he showed up) And funny how those "soldiers" with brain damage from the Iranian missile strikes have disappeared of the MSM news cycle... And the "American" interpreter's death that triggered the Soleimani assassination was a dual US/Iraqi citizen... doesn't the US often offer citizenship to useful locals in return for betraying their home country? Sometimes treason doesn't pay.

Posted by: A P | Jan 27 2020 21:39 utc | 64

The supposed deliveries of AA weapons to the Taliban should have happened months if not years ago. Do commercial airlines fly over Afghanistan at all? Really, that should be the only thing to be considered here. If Iranian flights habitually cross Afghan territory, alright, Iran should refrain from giving the Taliban SAMs. If they don't Iran should definitely supply missiles. Any other nation using Afghan airspace, that's their business, their risk, their loss. US presence in Afghanistan sure is a thorn in Iran's side. The higher the costs for the US and the smaller their presence, the better.

I seriously doubt that gentlemanly Russia or timid China supply the Taliban with any kind of weapons. Mind you, Auntie Russia has reservations about supplying responsible governments like Syria's and Iran's with top-notch SAMs! Lest Mr Netanyahu should get upset, waddle to Moscow and complain. Now, how would they feel about giving weapons to non-state actors?

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Jan 27 2020 21:44 utc | 65

foolisholdman @ 62

I would seriously doubt that letter is legit

Posted by: Kabobyak | Jan 27 2020 21:44 utc | 66

foolisholdman | Jan 27 2020 21:33 utc | 62

"I'm not sure now where I got this from but it seems to me to be a real game-changer"

If you do not know where it is from you are in the danger of being moved into another game.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 27 2020 21:56 utc | 67

foolisholdman @ 62 I would seriously doubt that letter is legit by: Kabobyak @ 66; <= Is it the letter or the numbers in the letter you doubt to be legitimate. I hope its not because you think the damages reported in the letter fall below the actual numbers? The longer this intrigue goes on, the larger the damages seem to be? first there were none, then there were 8 brain concussions and now its in the hundreds.
Somebody better get some pictures out that can be confirmed out .. .

Posted by: snake | Jan 27 2020 22:18 utc | 68

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 27 2020 21:14 utc | 55

Thanks for pointing me to where Canthama posts updates and a current map. A bit humourous that I started following the proxy war in Syria at Fadel Sr's site until his bent for propaganda became too much for me but visiting there led me to his son's site where I found Canthama and his frequent, largely accurate and earnest posts which he also posted on twitter until he caught the attention of the US Uniparty's Gargoyles perched on the shoulders of Binyamin Netanyahu, and he was banned. Lost touch after that. Until I saw he posts here occasionally.

Disrupted by Gargoyles and false Messiahs, balance in world cannot be. My best Yoda interpretation. :) Corny as it might be.

What troubles me most is that Donald Trump isn't even close to being the worst of them. It's so much worse than that.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 27 2020 22:18 utc | 69

Skiffer | Jan 27 2020 19:50 utc | 46:

Or a simpler explanation. Improper or poor maintenance. I've read stories from non-US soldiers at the height of the War against Afghanistan that US soldiers were taking supplies from them to fix their US equipment. I was a bit surprised to read that and brushed it off. But, the current economic situation could explain this incident. Time will tell.

Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 27 2020 22:27 utc | 70

I'm gonna SPECULATE that USA blames ISIS and is thus forced FORCED! to send more troops and equipment to Afghanistan to fight a "resurgent" ISIS.

Americans will be told: we are not still fighting a lost war but the hated ISIS terrorist group. We can defeat them like we did in Syria. No problemo. Booyah!

Oh, and the additional troops have nothing to do with Iran NOTHING. MSM will not even ask if it does.

Sleep tight, sheeple.

Hey look: Kobe is dead!

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27 2020 22:28 utc | 71

The formating of that letter on casualties at Ain al Assad reminds me of that of documents I saw when I worked in the Pentagon. It's not obvious to me that the document is phony.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 27 2020 22:31 utc | 72

If that were not enough, if any of the events referred to in this tweet happened, then the Saudis have just had another bad day.

https://twitter.com/LongLiveYemen/status/1221205974347911168?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1221612853225906177&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.middleeastmonitor.com%2F20200127-yemens-houthis-make-biggest-gains-against-hadi-forces%2F

Posted by: Sid Finster | Jan 27 2020 22:41 utc | 73

Bubbles @69--

Yes, Trump's not even close to the worst. It's difficult to say if the continuing decline in competence is a good sign or not. And it's just as hard to judge what proportion of the USA's public knows what's being done to them and who's ultimately to blame. There are some very smart folk doing good work that need a bigger audience.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 27 2020 22:44 utc | 74

re: l@72

On agency search, personnel is genuine as is authority/role...

Posted by: unconsolable1 | Jan 27 2020 22:48 utc | 75

thanks Sid Finster @73 for doing the deed.

Posted by: Maximus | Jan 27 2020 22:59 utc | 76

RE: doc @ 62

anybody know how and where to search whether a FOIA request was filed by Congressman Thompson and if he followed up with an appeal on Jan 8??

Posted by: unconsolable1 | Jan 27 2020 23:04 utc | 77

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 27 2020 22:44 utc | 74

Perhaps Americans are the new Citizens of Rome?

Heard something apt yesterday, "Americans are the best entertained people in the world, and the least informed".

So long as their Space Time Continuum remains intact, I expect they will continue to languish in their bubble. Not that that phenomenon is exclusive to Americans, it's that their totally inadequate leadership tries it's best to infect them with false exceptionalism. Via endless Propaganda. Meanwhile, said leadership, the current trump regime, has cast off all pretenses of being a force for good, despite Pompeo's babble, and have gone Netanyahu style rogue.

And why not, the Nethanyahu far right Zionist's own trump, hopey changey Obama did as he was told albeit with a phony doth protest moment here and there. Still gave Israel and top up of $800 million per year on their US taxpayer funded allowance to compensate for signing the JCPOA.. then came the Kosher Nostra's man trump to blow that up, but they still get the extra $800 million per year.

Great ponzi scheme so long as the USD / Swift rackets can keep it going.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 27 2020 23:14 utc | 78

Can someone explain to mean what 'ZATO' (as in 'US/ZATO') means on this site?

As for China being a possible source for the anti-aircraft missiles, I doubt it is via the Xinjiang/Afghanistan border and must instead be using established smuggling routes and intermediaries groups.

I've heard it said that the missiles fired by Houthis on the Abqaiq oil facility are based on Iran designs, some of which are in turn copies or reverse-engineered from Chinese designs. If the Afghanistan situation is like that, then the Chinese connection is mediated instead of immediate, such as via Iran. The missiles doesn't even need to be reverse-engineered --- just swap out some parts for generic ones. For various reasons, such as plausible deniability, I doubt that China would directly supply Taliban with such equipment.

Posted by: occupatio | Jan 27 2020 23:35 utc | 79

Bomber McCain wanted the terrorists in Syria armed with MANPADS, I read it in Sputnik News several years ago, MANPADS in the hands of ‘arc of resistance forces’ against the occupiers supplied by whoever should be a no brainer, however most modern military jets and helicopters have countermeasures built into the aircraft, flares, chaff, radar and infrared and laser/beam riding deflectors etc. On takeoff or long glide slope landings they could be very effective. How about this popular automatic weapon fitted with Armour piercing or incendiary rounds. With the correct ‘lead time’ fatal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFXj1gyEghQ

Posted by: Harry law | Jan 27 2020 23:40 utc | 80

A review of history: Bullies have a limited life as do Reserve Currencies all things end.
https://www.zerohedge.com/article/history-worlds-reserve-currency-ancient-greece-today
Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 27 2020 20:14 utc | 49

There's a recent Foreign Affairs piece that also compares the US to Athens in abusing its financial clout and thereby alienating allies.
The Twilight of America’s Financial Empire

Posted by: occupatio | Jan 27 2020 23:46 utc | 81

proper link:
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2020-01-24/twilight-americas-financial-empire

Posted by: occupatio | Jan 27 2020 23:47 utc | 82

The propaganda is thick at the BBC about the jet "crash" in Afghanistan

Check out the opening lines of their posting, titled "Afghan plane crash: US jet comes down in Taliban territory"

"
The US military has confirmed one of its planes crashed in eastern Afghanistan on Monday.

Col Sonny Leggett said: "While the cause of crash is under investigation, there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire."

The aircraft crashed in Deh Yak district, Ghazni province, an area with a strong Taliban presence.

It is unclear how many people were on board.

Col Leggett denied Taliban claims that additional aircraft had crashed.
"

It is also interesting to note the lack of MSM follow up on the rockets yesterday into the Green Zone in Iraq

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 28 2020 0:00 utc | 83

Native people were classified as militarily apt and militarily inept, and recruitment to
colonial armies was guided by that principle. Arabs were typically classified as inept,
unlike Gurkhas and the Sikh. Persians were not recruited, but they were known to colonial
leaders who had education in classics."
iotr Berman@48
This is Raj History 101 bullshit recycled. Far from being classified as inept- Arabs, particularly Sunni
desert Arabs were very highly regarded by the British for their military prowess. Hence the entrusting to
the current Gulf rulers of the British protectorates handed back in the 1960s.
The Arab Legion in 1948 came out of the war with its reputation intact.
So far as their educational achievements are concerned: it was the Arabs who brought Europe the Renaissance.
Anyone who really believes that Arabs are incapable of developing IEDs is likely to be
part of that unfortunate portion of humanity that holds them to be 'sand niggers' etc. And likely to suffer
the fate of racist fools throughout history.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 28 2020 0:08 utc | 84

psychohistorian @83--

I continue to see Twitter reports, like this one that the Prince of Darkness aka Mike de Andrea was killed in that shootdown. As with the commander at the base Iran attacked in Iraq who is now rumored to have died, the easiest refutation would be for them to appear in public.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 0:09 utc | 85

@ 60 A.P. the msm doesn't cover a lot of important info or details - the event at the UN with Henderson and him not being given a visa to speak in person - a very recent example.. we hear about stuff via alternative means now.. to re quote from the previous link off a pdf that b shared "When truth is replaced by silence, then silence is a lie." Yevgeny Yevtushenko"

@ 61 DFC.. thanks for the links! 20 year cycles.. they are the jupiter-saturn cycle essentially.. they are interesting to watch.. the cycle technically starts anew in dec 2020... you might find this interesting or not.. http://www.davidmcminn.com/pages/pres.htm

@ 79 occupatio - re 'US/ZATO' question... nato with a zionist twist - zato..

Posted by: james | Jan 28 2020 0:13 utc | 86

Why is Mike D Andea's wiki page all in past tense now?

Posted by: Maximus | Jan 28 2020 0:38 utc | 87

Bubbles:

Canthama maintains a presence on Twitter, where he also "re-tweets" several other people who provide a constant stream of updates of the military situation in not only Syria, but Libya and Yemen also.

Lots of detailed maps also.

Lots of good news these past few days, the Syrian Army has been rapidly advancing in Idlib, and are closing in Marat Numan, a large city that is surrounded on three sides. After several weeks of heavy attack by the Russian and Syrian Air Forces, the Orcs' front lines seem to have been considerably weakened, and are now collapsing.

Canthama is at: https://twitter.com/Canthama

Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | Jan 28 2020 0:39 utc | 88

2) The Soviet Union never invaded Afghanistan, they were invited in in by then sovereign UN-recognised Gov of Afghan (golly wonder why)

Posted by: Ant. | Jan 27 2020 17:03 utc | 10

Wiki (quite accurate): Meanwhile, increasing friction between the competing factions of the PDPA — the dominant Khalq and the more moderate Parcham — resulted (in July–August 1979) in the dismissal of Parchami cabinet members and the arrest of Parchami military officers under the pretext of a Parchami coup.[62]

In September 1979, President Taraki was assassinated in a coup within the PDPA orchestrated by fellow Khalq member Hafizullah Amin, who assumed the presidency. The situation in the country deteriorated under Amin and thousands of people went missing.[63] The Soviet Union was displeased with Amin's government and decided to intervene and invade the country on 27 December 1979, killing Amin that same day.[64]

A Soviet-organized regime, led by Parcham's Babrak Karmal but inclusive of both factions (Parcham and Khalq), filled the vacuum.

------

Perhaps Taraki invited Soviets just as he was beset by assassins, or Amin did it for reasons he never got a chance to explain. Honestly, left to their own devices, PDPA, the Afghan Communists, were making royal mess. In any case, the western supported anti-progress guerilla, fighting horrors like schools for girls, predated Soviet "invasion".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 28 2020 0:41 utc | 89

Good news on the long belaboured Idlib front? Been having difficulty finding a reliable source of up to date info since Canthama seems to have lost his sources, Leith has become a repeater of not always accurate tidbits and Lucem doesn't do up to date mapping any longer.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 27 2020 20:19 utc | 50

All sources repeat "not always accurate tidbits". However, I like https://twitter.com/GeromanAT because he re-twits everything that is important, including Leith Fadel at occasion. One has to observe some "peculiarities" like under-reporting successes of the adversary, there is quite a bit of back-and-forth. This is a combination of mobile war with positional war, fortifications and tunnels play important role, so after gaining a position and before this position is fortified the is a period of vulnerability with uncertain outcomes. This results in many reports of villages being gained or lost that do not reflect final status of a day.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 28 2020 0:56 utc | 90

Easiest route for Afghan Taliban to obtain weapons is from Pakistani Taliban, with ISI permission.
Remember Pakistani ISI ran Al-Qaeda back in the day.
It is also forgotten that the Tallys prevent the muj warlords from raping the country's teenagers, of both genders, their favorite sport. Thus they are forgiven for suppressing the poppy farming.

Posted by: necromancer | Jan 28 2020 0:58 utc | 91

occupatio | Jan 27 2020 23:35 utc | 79:

Doubtful on Chinese involvement. My money is on Iran.

Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 28 2020 1:09 utc | 92

The Prince of Darkness's death seems to be as confirmed as we might get according to this and its thread:

"The US govt seems to be actively hiding this information from the public, but the Taliban has verified this to the Iranians, who in turn passed the message to the GCC states. There is a gruesome photograph of one of the passengers who died, & he has the same profile as D'Andrea."

And:

"The CIA's Michael D'Andrea, who was in charge of the CIA's anti-Iran operations, was in fact killed yesterday in a plane crash in Afghanistan, which the Iranian-backed Taliban claims to have downed. He was killed alongside 4 other people, including 2 USAF pilots & 2 CIA figures."

Not equivalent in stature to Soleimani but important nonetheless. I'll add a small caveat that this still isn't 100% confirmed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 2:16 utc | 93

@ S (club) 7 and karlofi 93
Yes I'm hearing Ayatollah Mike was one of the several CIA officers among the dead. BIG loss for US and good retaliatory strike (if true) for Iran. The Dark Prince Mike was indeed head of CIA anti-Iran operations and likely played a big part in the Soleimani assassination. We may never know for sure, but the premature departure of CIA officers is always good for the rest of humankind.

Posted by: TEP | Jan 28 2020 2:26 utc | 94

DFC @ 39

Claims of high ranking CIA officers aboard. I suppose U.S. missiles would have been appropriate. Stock from Obama and Clinton's private arms dealing perhaps?

Posted by: psychedelicatessen | Jan 28 2020 2:35 utc | 95

@87 Maximus - "Why is Mike D Andea's wiki page all in past tense now?"

Excellent catch. I'm taking a screenshot of the Yandex snippet to the Wiki page that has him in the present tense.

Even the edit history shows a sentence added in present tense last July that is now past tense.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 28 2020 2:41 utc | 96

@ james #86
Thanks for explaining ZATO!

Posted by: occupatio | Jan 28 2020 2:47 utc | 97

I have long wondered why the Russians have not paid back the US for their aid to the Afghan guerrilla in the 1980's. The US supplied stinger missiles and other anti-aircraft systems and at one point they were knocking down one Russian aircraft a day. Maybe the Russians smell Western blood on the water and have chosen this as the time to pay them back with select arms deliveries to the Taliban.

It was this loss of aviation support that hastened their departure and it would certainly hasten a US departure. I do not think the US has it in them to ramp it up at this point...

Let us remember...

The Soviet War in Afghanistan, 1979 - 1989

Posted by: dltravers | Jan 28 2020 2:49 utc | 98

Michael D'Andrea was in present tense in 26 january 2020 - according to Google Cache. In the last day, one word was changed in the whole page- from "Michael D'Andrea is an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency, " to "Michael D'Andrea was an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency".

Posted by: Passer by | Jan 28 2020 3:03 utc | 99

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 2:16 utc | 93 with the Michael D'Andrea death evidence.....thanks

I would say that if this is true then it speaks volumes about the capabilities of Iran and the growing ME cooperation
to oust FUKUS empire

and deal with Occupied Palestine while they laugh at Trumps Peace Plan.

Trump is doing a bang up job of running the American bus into the ditch, eh?

US Bankruptcy is next in the global war, IMO. I have been thinking about this and know that the elite have had since
2008, when they almost lost it, until now, to set up a controlled world wide crash before there is enough world wide cohesion
to totally throw off the centuries old yoke of global private finance If they crash the system now, they have all of the debt and
private property to bring to the negotiating table in a world that is not ready to become totally China like with public finance at
the core of or as a branch of their government. I hope they are wrong and humanity evolves past this cultural dead end.

We don't need to pretend anymore about Hand, The Invisible being real and like Santa Claus

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 28 2020 3:29 utc | 100

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