Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 14, 2021

Afghanistan - Taliban Make New Peace Offer And Other Bits

More from Afghanistan where history now happens at a speed seldom seen before.

The current situation:

At least three more province capitals are now under Taliban control. In total 21 out of 34 provinces are now in Taliban hands. Most of the others are contested.

  • August 14 - Sharana (Paktika)
  • August 14 - Asasabad (Kunar)
  • August 14 - Gardez (Paktia)

I have modified the yesterday's Long War Journal map to reflect the confirmed changes in the southeast and east.

August 13

August 14


The Afghan Analyst Network just published a detailed report about the development in Paktia over the last years. It explains the Taliban's operational course of action:

The Domino Effect in Paktia and the Fall of Zurmat: A case study of the Taleban surrounding Afghan cities

A thread by Bilal Sarawary, who hails from Kunar, documents the recent development there.


Taliban peace offer:

Yesterday the Taliban have opened a new path to real negotiations.

To understand its full meaning requires a bit of historic background.

The Jamiat-e-Islami party was founded in 1972 by Burhanuddin Rabbani. Its aim was to form an Afghan state based on Islam. Ahmad Shah Massoud and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar were both early followers of Rabbani, being Kabul University students at the time.

In 1976 Hekmatyar broke away from Jamiat to found his own party: Hezb-e Islami. Jamiat members were mostly ethnic Tajik while Hezb members were mostly Pashtun. Jamiat followed a gradualist approach to take over the state. Hezb-i-Islami took a uncompromising militant stand. It gained support from the Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

After the Soviet invasion both groups fought against the occupier. After the Soviet retreat both groups started to fight each other as well as the government. After the communist government fell in 1992 Jamiat took Kabul and installed its own government.  Hezb, later joined by the Uzbek warloard Dostum, attacked Kabul with thousands of rockets. In 1994 Pakistan stopped financing Hezb and started to build the Taliban.

In 1995 the Taliban appeared and pushed both groups out of Kabul. The Hezb Dostum alliance fell apart. Dostum joined the Jamiat in the Northern Alliance. Hezb eventually took the Taliban side.

While fighting continued the Taliban were dominating until November 2001 when the U.S. supported the Northern Alliance to occupy the country. The warlords of the Jamiat have since held onto most of the offices in the various U.S. proxy governments in Kabul.

One of the Jamiat warlords is the Tajik Ismail Khan from Herat near the Iranian border. Khan was the governor of Herat when the Taliban last week took the city and province and arrested him.

In other times one would have expected that the Taliban would kill Ismail Khan. But that did not happen. Instead Ismail Khan received a phone call from Amir Khan Motaqay,  a senior Taliban leader:

بدري ۳۱۳ @badri313_army - 15:48 UTC · Aug 13, 2021

This is a very historic call Essentially the TB rep greets Ismail Khan and asks him to ask the other Jamiat-i-Islami members like Atta, Salahuddin, Ahmad Massoud, Qanuni Saib to make a reconciliatory deal with the TB so that we can have peace after 40 years and give no reason for outsider to get involved in Afg affairs. Or even internal forces to start be dissatisfied. He also mentions that the TB have a policy not to insult any figures. Overall spoke to him in a respectful tone. Inshallah this leads to peace

Bilal Karimi(بلال کریمي) @BilalKarimi21 · Aug 13
Muttaqi Sahib's telephone contact with Ismail Khan ...

That the phone call was published proves that this is an official Taliban offer and request.

There is unconfirmed news that Ismail Khan is traveling to Kabul today to convince the other Jamiat members to agree to peace with the Taliban and to form a government with them.

The Taliban's only condition, as far as known, is to remove President Ashraf Ghani and his immediate followers. Everyone, including the U.S., will by now be ready to support that. Ghani has been a roadblock during the negotiations in Qatar. He is an academic and former World Bank bureaucrat who has spent most of his life in the U.S. He has little support in Afghanistan.

Ghani was expected to resign today but in a TV statement given earlier today he only promised to rally the defenses of Kabul. As he is unwilling to recognize the graveness of the military situation someone may well help him to leave the office.

With Ghani removed the two largest factions in Afghanistan, both coming from Islamic movements, could form a government and work out a new framework for the Afghan state.

This must have all along been the big plan behind the Taliban's current moves. Their military success puts enough pressure on the other side to agree to it.


Other news bits from Afghanistan:

U.S. 'intelligence' is a joke. These tweets were a mere six hours apart.

Aron Lund @aronlund - 14:21 UTC · Aug 13, 2021

U.S. intelligence estimates for when Kabul could be overrun are now down to 30-90 days, report @barbarastarrcnn, @kylieatwood, and @jmhansler.
By my estimate as a professional estimate analyst, this still leaves time for two or three downward revisions.
CNN: Intelligence assessments warn Afghan capital could be cut off and collapse in coming months

Shashank Joshi @shashj - 20:16 UTC · Aug 13, 2021

US embassy in the 'burning documents' stage of preparation. "one diplomatic source telling CNN that one intelligence assessment indicates that Kabul could be isolated by the Taliban within the week, possibly within the next 72 hours."
CNN: US Embassy in Afghanistan tells staff to destroy sensitive materials

But don't despair. Someone did not get the memo. So help is underway.

Daybook @DaybookJobs - 14:01 UTC · Aug 13, 2021

Job Opportunity!
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan seeks a Public Engagement Assistant. The incumbent functions in an extremely sensitive political environment in which an ongoing insurgency adds to the urgency of accurate media reporting.
Daybook: Public Engagement Assistant At U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan


The Afghan army has had seven corps. Five have now surrendered to the Taliban or dispersed. Only two, in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif, are still operating. Neither of them is fairing well.

Babak Taghvaee - Μπάπακ Τακβαίε - بابک تقوایی @BabakTaghvaee - 11:00 UTC · Aug 14, 2021

#BREAKING: This just happed in #MaidanShahr, SW of #Kabul minutes ago. #Afghanistan National Army had sent its Special Operation Forces from #Zabul to secure the town but they surrendered to Taliban with their M1117 APCs! #Taliban will use them for attack to #Kabul on Monday! video

Paktﻯawal @Paktyaw4l - 10:57 UTC · Aug 14, 2021

Warlord Ata & Dostum forces in the north just suffered a heavy blow, their commander Ali Sarwar ended up in an ambush after hour of negotiations, his men put up a short lived fight, many casualties now. Some of them reached MazarESharif most have been killed, incld the cmdr.

The defenses of Mazar-i-Sharif have been broken. The city is under attack.


Professor Paul Robinson on how it came to this:

After 20 years & billions of dollars, the American defeat in Afghanistan is worse than the Soviet failure ... how has this happened?

Posted by b on August 14, 2021 at 16:51 UTC | Permalink

next page »

tabbi's take is on the money.

I will salute Joe B for having the sense to leave Afghanistan. Non of his priors had the balls to end an obvious losing effort with no stated goals. He will take major criticism for doing the right thing.

Posted by: douglas | Aug 14 2021 17:12 utc | 1

Things happen faster than one can write:

FJ @Natsecjeff - 17:00 UTC Aug 14, 2021

Mazar-i-Sharif city overrun by Taliban. Prisoners escaped from the prison. City deserted. ANDSF commander reportedly abandoned the security belt and the ANDSF defense line fell. Local sources report officials including Atta Nur fled towards airport. #Balkh

Posted by: b | Aug 14 2021 17:15 utc | 2

Hey Dude Douglas,
Biden is just two month late from Trump decision.
Big Orange not so stupid

Posted by: Rêver | Aug 14 2021 17:19 utc | 3

If you want to have a good laugh:

The Guardian view on the Taliban’s advance: not an American debacle but Afghans’ tragedy [The Guardian Editorial Board]

Biden Could Have Stopped the Taliban. He Chose Not To. by Frederick W. Kagan (of the American Enterprise Institute), for the NYT

Posted by: vk | Aug 14 2021 17:26 utc | 4

Great update, thanks. The Taliban were never Al Qaeda/ISIS (Al Qaeda wasn't Al Qaeda either, but that's another story.) It's no surprise, certainly around here, that the Taliban has won the war without firing a shot, if you don't count the last 20 years.

We'll see what petulant acts the USA takes on its way out as the Taliban take Kabul on its way in.

Posted by: gottlieb | Aug 14 2021 17:33 utc | 5

Very insightful backgrounder, B.

This clears the picture considerably. Much appreciated! 👍

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 14 2021 17:45 utc | 6


Kagan and his wife of the loathsome kagan klan were in Afghan years ago serving as civilian advisors to petraeus; access to all commanders, intel(sic) reports, war sit reports. No formal security clearance status, just working their normal warmongering magic while holding theri full time status as head of institute, staff member of AEI.

Not sure if patraeus originated the "turning the corner" obscenity but he was part of it and is a revered figure of the neo con kagan klan, idolotry at their war mongerng institute. War is good, war is profitable.

Posted by: Thomas Minnehan | Aug 14 2021 17:46 utc | 7

Perhaps a case can be made that the Taliban has been in control all along and that U.S. forces were there to allow the war and the drug trade to flourish.

Perhaps Biden is pulling the plug on that, knowing the Saudi control of Afghanistan will now be acknowledged.

Bad for Russia. Bad for China. Bad for the world. But maybe now we will focus on sanctioning the Saudi government, or on not arming them, or on stopping the arms trade and the drug trade. Am I dreaming?

Posted by: Linda Wood | Aug 14 2021 17:47 utc | 8

Why are the Taliban succeeding at such a speed?

It seems like the Taliban were prepared and had a strategy, plan and force to capture their nation. Ghani’s administration comes across lost, weak and on its way out. Is there good LEADERSHIP in Afghanistan? Without good leadership, nation and culture are directionless and aimless.

Ghani’s failure will reflect badly on the U$A, and show its incompetence. Also, Biden’s failure makes it much harder for the U$A to push its core message that “America is back”...

Afghanistan Plausible SCENARIOS:
Better Future.Various factions, including Taliban, work together to build a better nation. Afghanistan, enjoys peace and prosperity, along with its neighbors.

Good internally but bad externally. Internally stability achieved, and then exploited by the Empire as an aircraft carrier against China and Russia. Neighboring powers won’t like this scenario and would rather see it destabilized internally. Will Afghanistan be a responsible neighbor?

Terrorist - Opium playground. It is destabilized and penetrated by terrorists, that are used as proxies against China and Russia. Is this the reason for China and Russia preferring Taliban, who are against opium production? Will Afghanistan launch opium war & terrorism against neighbors?

Any additional scenarios and signals to watch for?

What probabilities would you assign to these scenarios?

Posted by: Max | Aug 14 2021 17:50 utc | 9

An appropriate policy for the financial superpower:

As the Taliban closes in and the troops rush to avert disaster, the US is offering its citizens LOANS to flee Afghanistan

Posted by: vk | Aug 14 2021 17:56 utc | 10

just wow, fantastic

Posted by: annie | Aug 14 2021 17:59 utc | 11

You need to update the map,

Mazar e Sharif, Maymana, Nili and Mehtarlam provinicial capitols fell too in the last several hours.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 14 2021 18:01 utc | 12

The Taliban don't have the welcoming committee that they had during their first invasion. They are better off negotiating since public support is not going to be tolerant of the brutal Shariah interpretation they want to impose.

Posted by: Me2 | Aug 14 2021 18:01 utc | 13

I have noticed an increasingly number of articles in the liberal US press that are focusing on the fact that Afghan woman and young girls are going to be lose out big time with the coming victory of the taliban forces (and implying that the US should do something). It is without doubt that woman and girls are going to be big losers. One would think from this latest Western propaganda campaign that the US was backing the rights of woman and girls from the very beginning of this US instigated war.

But one would be wrong. This war did not start in after 911 in 2001. It began in 1978. At that time the government in Kabul attempted to reform the national educational system by allowing young girls to go to school. Not just in Kabul, but throughout the entire country. This attempt by the central government to impose universal education resulted in many of the outlying villages to resist central government mandates. These protests coalesced into a nationwide rebellion against the Kabul government.

At that time the Kabul government attempted to exert their power to force the imposition of universal education. War broke out. Russia at that time gave the central government support in their efforts to provide education the young girls.

It was during this period that Brzinski (that crazed Pole who was Carter's security advisor) led the US into supporting the rebellion against the Kabul government. This war was from the first day a war against the rights of woman. And the US was its major sponsor.

This is a war that has been going on for 41 years. The US was there at the very beginning supporting some of worse Islamic misogynist imaginable. It is beyond irony that today we hear voices among the major neocon dominated media decrying that the incoming Taliban forces are going to repress woman. When that is exactly what the Carter Administration supported in 1979.

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 14 2021 18:03 utc | 14

'Linda Wood' says:

Bad for Russia. Bad for China.

[...]Saudi control of Afghanistan...

[...]Am I dreaming?

Yes you are. But don't worry---it's a lucid dream...the good kind, lol! 😹

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 14 2021 18:04 utc | 15

Linda @ 8
That's just silly. Apologists for losers, especially losers who so handsomely deserved to lose, are tiresome.

What follows next will be fascinating. I certainly don't expect the West to cease playing dirty tricks in Afghanistan even after a "full" withdrawal, but their effects should be containable and consequences for those caught continuing to support the West will no doubt be severe. It has been an interesting tightrope Russia has walked, obviously trying to pragmatically establish ties with the Taliban, which is still considered an outlaw organization and a potential threat. But baby steps, and if the US can be ousted, and the Chinese and Pakistanis will also exert their influence, it will certainly be more likely that a tolerable and stable situation will be created than if the US remained.

I would say not only did Russia learn from their previous Afghani experiences, but they also learned from Chechnia, where don't forget one of the most fierce opponents was ultimately swayed to recognize that the most violent and destabilizing influences were foreigners (Saudi, mostly), and that they were doing nothing but using the local Chechens for their own mischief, and to the great harm of Chechnia. At that point Kadyrov and the locals were given a great amount of autonomy, and no longer fearing Russia as an interfering overlord threatening their way of life, they began to see the Saudi interlopers as the true threat to their way of life and prosperity. The turnaround has been remarkable, and Chechnia is now quite peaceful and content, even supportive of Moscow. Perhaps Russia is trying to take a similar tact with the new Taliban, although I'm sure they'll be cautious in trusting them.

Posted by: J Swift | Aug 14 2021 18:08 utc | 16

According to this article in Russian, (may need machine translation), Taliban vanguards 11 KM from Kabul:

Posted by: Thomas Minnehan | Aug 14 2021 18:10 utc | 17

1. how many us contractors left in the country? fake withdrawal.
2. biden just goes on to bomb somalia and ramp up tensions with iran and syria and venezuela and cuba and no doubt other countries.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Aug 14 2021 18:10 utc | 18

@ 'Max':

Of course America is 'back'!

We know this because Trump made America GREAT again!

Mission Accomplished! 😹

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 14 2021 18:12 utc | 19

Posted by: pretzelattack | Aug 14 2021 18:10 utc | 18

>> how many us contractors left in the country? fake withdrawal.

They left the country too. Taliban forced the US hand on it.

Posted by: Thomas Minnehan | Aug 14 2021 18:10 utc | 17

>>Taliban vanguards 11 KM from Kabul

Taliban were always near Kabul, see Surobi district that the french failed to pacify.

Taliban defacto controlled many rural areas all over the place even with NATO in the country. And when 75 % of the people live in rural areas, well, guess what that means. : )

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 14 2021 18:20 utc | 20

Thanks for the Afghanistan update b.....the situation is in the toilet is being flushed of 20 years of empire BS..they may have to flush twice....

b wrote
The Taliban's only condition, as far as known, is to remove President Ashraf Ghani and his immediate followers. Everyone, including the U.S., will by now be ready to support that. Ghani has been a roadblock during the negotiations in Qatar. He is an academic and former World Bank bureaucrat who has spent most of his life in the U.S. He has little support in Afghanistan.

The bio of Ghani being an acolyte for God of Mammon finance structure tells one everything they need to know about his fealty being not for Afghanistan.

I say there is "money" to be made from video's of the empire rats leaving the ship in Afghanistan....will it get frantic like Vietnam?....stay tuned......; that said, empire still controls the MSM so maybe the fall of empire will not be recorded and therefore not make a sound......grin

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 14 2021 18:23 utc | 21

Afghanistan in some ways looks like Dune from Frank Herbert.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 14 2021 18:28 utc | 22

wow if the contractors are being removed too, this looks legitimate. still not going to give biden much credit, i think he just just moving wars elsewhere.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Aug 14 2021 18:29 utc | 23

I almost missed this gem: It seems America has somehow, at the last minute, traded up to an 'aircraft carrier' in Afghanistan! 😹

I would guess that the old 'aircraft carrier' in Vietnam is also still in ship shape, lol!

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 14 2021 18:30 utc | 24

I would suggest to anyone who didn't see Pepe's post on the Taliban meeting a Chinese delegation in China to have a look at that one. It was a very good preliminary article in assessing the possible outcomes, which to my mind have borne fruit as b describes the previous history of Afghanistan, which was very helpful - thanks b!

The leader of Pakistan is someone I have known from his earlier cricket days. I remember that he spent a large sum of his earnings building a hospital in his native region - that's better than a stupid rocket ship polluting and going nowhere, to my mind.

Posted by: juliania | Aug 14 2021 18:40 utc | 25

@ Gordog (#19),

“MAGA” = Make America Go Away!

De-Dollarize, diversify & demilitarize to DISMANTLE the Dollar Empire.

All nations need to pass a resolution to expel foreign forces. Illegal Imperialist “Go BACK”!

The Death of American Competence

From the article by Stephen Walt:
“Wall Street firms can crater the economy through a combination of greed, indifference, and fraud, and no one gets investigated, let alone prosecuted. Highly decorated generals favor “staying the course” in distant battles, fail to achieve victory, and then retire to corporate boards and influential positions as respected pundits. Meanwhile, whistleblowers and dedicated public servants strive to fulfill their oaths of office, only to be vilified, fired, or worse. When INTEGRITY and dedication go unrewarded and failure carries no penalty, competence is bound to suffer. To speculate further, I suspect a broader cultural current of selfishness is at work here as well.

But the ROT is still widespread… Cultural rot cannot be fixed by legislation, executive orders, or even jeremiads like this one. One may hope that the present crisis will remind enough Americans that having competent and reliable people in key leadership positions really matters, and that holding people more accountable for corruption, cronyism, or sheer incompetence is essential to effective public policies.

Americans will need to rethink a political system that recruits and rewards those who are most adept at selling themselves to the highest bidder. And there has to be something seriously wrong with a political system that has devoted many months and spent billions of dollars preparing for the 2020 election and ends up giving the country a choice between three old white guys. For that matter, Americans ought to RETHINK whether spending a full year electing someone to a four year term makes any sense at all.

It is upon Americans now to remember that experience, put the past few decades of hubris, division, and indulgence aside, and prove that their country is still competent enough to figure out what it needs to do. And then they need to DO IT!”

Are we Americans still competent to accomplish our Mission Impossible, build a great nation?

Posted by: Max | Aug 14 2021 18:48 utc | 26

I also remember the earlier history of Russia in Chechnya in their approach to the cities under control of Islamic dissidents - the approach b describes for the Taliban seems to be following that successful experience with potential terrorist communities - a negotiation from strength rather than simply exacerbating the terror as the US did in Fallujah and other cities in Syria.

It is fitting that we approach memories of 9/11 in this country, the US, as we should be reminded that terrorism then was used by our government as an excuse for war when it should have been an international policing action as Russia was already undertaking with respect to its own problem.

The wrongheadedness began back then.

Posted by: juliania | Aug 14 2021 18:54 utc | 27

The characterization of that phone call as "this a very historic call" and the reference to "40 years" stand out for me:

"so that we can have peace after 40 years and give no reason for outsider to get involved in Afg affairs."

The past four decades of Wahhabi extremism and violence around the world - starting with the suffering in Afghanistan - stems from what the US did.

In 1979, the US began to covertly foster Wahhabi extremism in Afghanistan to, in the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski, "induce" a brutal war in order to inflict on "the USSR its Vietnam war," at the casual expense of thoroughly destroying the country and society of the people of Afghanistan for decades.

Robert Gates, the former Defense Secretary under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and former CIA director under George H. Bush and Ronald Reagan, stated in his 1996 memoirs "From the Shadows" that American intelligence services began to aid the opposing factions in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet deployment in 1979.

That confirms what Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser to Jimmy Carter and also an adviser to Barack Obama, stated in a 1988 interview:

"According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979."

"But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention."

"That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap [..] The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war [..]"

- Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser, foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama, in Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998

From the book "Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia" by Ahmed Rashid:

"The US committed some four to five billion dollars between 1980 and 1992 in aid to the Mujaheddin. [..] Most of this aid was in the form of lethal modern weaponry [..] Prior to the war the Islamicists barely had a base in Afghan society, but with money and arms from the CIA pipeline and support from Pakistan, they built one and wielded tremendous clout."

"In 1986, CIA chief William Casey [..] committed CIA support to a long-standing ISI initiative to recruit radical Muslims from around the world to come to Pakistan and fight with the Afghan Mujaheddin. The ISI had encouraged this since 1982. [..] Between 1982 and 1992, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 43 Islamic countries in the Middle East, North and East Africa, Central Asia and the Far East would pass their baptism under fire with the Afghan Mujaheddin. Tens of thousands more foreign Muslim radicals came to study in the hundreds of new madrassas that Zia's military government began to fund in Pakistan and along the Afghan border. Eventually more than 100,000 Muslim radicals were to have direct contact with Pakistan and Afghanistan and be influenced by the jihad."

That was the source and metastasization of Wahhabi extremists like AQ/ISIS/ETIM/etc. that have since been used in places like Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc.

Afghanistan has had Wahhabi extremism, brutal war/warlords, drugs/druglords, corruption/crimelords - and all the accompanying suffering from those - imposed on it for four decades by the US, as it used Afghanistan as a geopolitical pawn against neighbouring countries.

If they recognize that the US neocons/CIA use Wahhabi extremism and groups like AQ/ISIS/ETIM, drugs, and corruption as tools to divide and conquer their country, and in turn to divide and conquer the region, then they can finally be on their way to peace after 40 years of US-machinated suffering.

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Aug 14 2021 19:00 utc | 28

The Position of Strength

Doesn't Blinken want to negotiate?

Posted by: Rêver | Aug 14 2021 19:03 utc | 29

Yesterday I highlighted what I called the Mongol approach twice in separate comments: "Don’t fight us and you will be spared." That went along with, "the Taliban had been secretly reaching out for months, through tribal connections and family ties," and now we have a deal that combines both.

Bravo to the mature Taliban. May peace be upon them and their countrymen!

Oh, it must be noted that Imran Khan, Pakistan's PM, is Pashtun.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 14 2021 19:03 utc | 30

Mission Accomplished !!!

Posted by: par4 | Aug 14 2021 19:04 utc | 31

meanwhile, as multiple transport paths thru Afghanistan become a possibility, the 3 northern neighbors - Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan - start putting economic integration in motion. This in turn will increase competition among China's "Belt/Road" partner network, accesspaylog developments that were stalled while some countries had the opportunity to collect premium terms on transit.

note source is Azerbaijan news outlet... It is not much at this stage, but look for acceleration once multiple parallel east-west corridors exist. The endgame is regional currency exchange and financial integration.

Also note there is a contiguous east-west strip of countries from Syria to the pacific ocean Ocean US policy has managed to thoroughly alienate in the past 20 years... Big hole to dig out of for Washington

Posted by: ptb | Aug 14 2021 19:06 utc | 32

@juliania | Aug 14 2021 18:54 utc | 27

It is fitting that we approach memories of 9/11 in this country, the US, as we should be reminded that terrorism then was used by our government as an excuse for war

Your government used terrorism on 911 against you to create a pretext for terrorism against Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and countless others. It is fitting to remember that at the upcoming anniversary.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 14 2021 19:11 utc | 33

The progenitor of the Kagan clan, Donald Kagan, died just last last week, on Aug. 6. He wrote volumes on the Peloponnesian War, but I wonder how much he learned from studying it.

Posted by: lysias | Aug 14 2021 19:12 utc | 34

jSwift @16, apologies for treading on your post - I had missed it earlier. Thanks for describing the Chechnia situation better than I did. It's so far back many don't remember what happened then.

Posted by: juliania | Aug 14 2021 19:24 utc | 35

Slowly at first, then all at once.

Thus goes bankruptcy, divorce, the fall of imperial outposts, and the rise of nations.

ToivoS @14 and Canadian Cents @28 both show the 4-decade war the US has waged against the potential national coherence of Afghanistan in order to create smaller factions of disruptive force.

The Taliban now seem very clearly to be saying to all the tribes: "We can be a nation." And the tribes seem to have heard this clarion call.


I don't think the US decided to leave Afghanistan. I don't think we thus suddenly see the Taliban rushing to fill the void, taking advantage, as it were, of an accident of history.

I think what we're seeing is the rout of empire, the chasing out of Afghanistan of its invaders, and the last-minute recognition by the US that it had better get out or be overrun, with disastrous PR results.

This was not done because the US got tired of being the top dog there. I believe it was done because the US was in mortal peril of losing face in front of the whole world, and ending up in a disastrous shooting war that it no longer has the ass for - if indeed it ever did.

The Taliban didn't come out of nowhere. The entire country knows who the Taliban are, and what they offer. A colonized nation has just evicted its invaders, and thrown off the yoke of colonialism.

How poetic (since history is said to rhyme) that it should be Afghanistan.


Wonderful backgrounder, b, and many thanks. One often forgets to thank you for the original material, because your comment threads are so good.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 14 2021 19:31 utc | 36

Max @26:

All nations need to pass a resolution to expel foreign forces. Illegal Imperialist “Go BACK”!

If they do, your favorite dope the Financial Empire would be ecstatic: it gives them the justification to print another Trillion $ to facilitate the move of 800+ bases all around the world. Once settled back in the US of A, there is the justification to print another Trillion $ to build the infra-structure to house the said evacuees. Then a year later, the justification arises for another Trillion $ to keep these fatsos employed, fed, and enjoy LBGT activities. Since LBGT habits are likely lifelong, this stream of money printing economy could last like, forever!!!

Nah, keep them in those lackey foreign countries. They ain't doing nothin' to anyone beside Empire's lackeys anyway, and those lackeys deserve their presence d they not???

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Aug 14 2021 19:36 utc | 37

Nili is always marked "low threat" on these maps. But reports are that they already surrendered to the Taliban.

Posted by: andreas | Aug 14 2021 19:37 utc | 38

Toivo @14 thanks for making that important point about Afghan women and girls! That definitely is being pushed in the Western establishment news coverage right now.

J Swift @16, thanks for the Chechnya parallel. Hopefully that awareness and turnaround is occurring in Xingjiang too.

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Aug 14 2021 19:38 utc | 39

Empire's sphere of influence in Afghanistan is shrinking faster than the time it takes for anyone to empty out one's morning coffee. Meanwhile, Washington is busy cooking up rumor for a Yellen visit to Beijing, as prompto as one can take another piss. What's up Mr. Biden? Are you losing your cool, again??? Is money drying up faster than you can take your next piss?

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Aug 14 2021 19:43 utc | 40

Passerby @22

Funny you should say that - Dune was totally on my mind as well, watching the mostly arid Afgan landscape and the lucrative Opium trade. The strict codes of behavior that govern lives of people eking out a living under inhospitable conditions is also something that can and should be expected. Herbert no doubt took many of his cues from nomadic desert clans that arose on earth.

All that said, I still think something happened to the Taliban on their way back to the "throne". In some ways they adapted to new realities. In other ways they may have simply evolved, as a movement and as a military force to be reckoned with. No matter what, I still see some barely visible hand behind the recent events and behind the transformation of the Taliban into a seemingly capable - and smart - fighting force, with both tactics and strategy as well as an end goal.

Why am I reminded of the turn-around in Syria after 2015 ?

Posted by: Merlin2 | Aug 14 2021 19:47 utc | 41

Posted by: ptb | Aug 14 2021 19:06 utc | 32

I suppose you mean transport paths after the disappearance of the Americans. Central Asian countries are not open for rescuing Americans.

The question being that US diplomats in Kabul have a big problem for getting out. The nearest safe landing zone is US carriers in the Indian Ocean, 750 miles away, too far for helicoptering off the roof of the embassy in Saigon style. That's why the 3000 US at the airport. Fixed wing evacuation is necessary. There are no US friends left in the region.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 14 2021 19:49 utc | 42

ptb @32--

Thanks for your comment about what the future holds for the region. No more Outlaw US Empire presence means no further possibility of direct interdiction by it; it must now rely on its Terrorist Foreign Legion that has no indigenous base of support to hide amongst. But it will take a genuine team effort by the Taliban and its new found allies to prepare Afghanistan for Winter and thus reduce the main reason for a stream of refugees. Russia being the #1 global grain exporter can greatly help in that regard. Then there's the painstaking job of clearing the nation of mines and unexploded ordinance, which must be done before new infrastructure can be constructed. So, there's lots to do without any sort of reparations from the invading nations to pay for the damage they wrought.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 14 2021 19:57 utc | 43

Thanks very much b. The link to "The Domino Effect in Paktia and the Fall of Zurmat:" was particularly interesting. Showing how tribal links can be used to lever results.

One point is that the "softer" approach to the population (comparitively speaking) finally was the best solution for the Taliban. IF the US and the mass of external countries had tried that they might not have been leaving at the moment. OK, they tried to introduce "modernity" but only after flattening villages and people. They didn't "connect" to th local population. (Probably took them as uneducated yobs, rather than intelligent but lacking a western based "education" - as a side note; somewhere in the US it has been decided that students no longer need maths and writing skills to "graduate", so what's different?)
Second point is that the majority of the population are fed up with war, and will choose any reasonable alternative that leads to a halt to the fighting.
Third. Food WILL become a problem in the next few months as the Taliban expect to be fed by people who have difficulty in feeding themselves - and who have not been able to harvest crops anyway.
Fourth; The Taliban have been taking Humvees/etc into Pakistan to sell, which is going to become a future source of unease for the reat of Pakistan
Last point; they have been working at this result for a long time (2006?) But it is only recently that they have got their act together..

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 14 2021 19:59 utc | 44

I wonder if Taliban will go with sound money, or keep fiat.

Posted by: Jezabeel | Aug 14 2021 20:02 utc | 45

@ Oriental Voice (#37), you missed one of the important elements, De-Dollarize, from the comment. It will immediately put brakes on Empire’s private money $ creation, unless it wants to become a Weimar Republic. Good Americans are on alert!

We can deploy our troops in the next generation automated manufacturing and research in many arenas. It is better to channel our talent in the right direction. Why use the fake private money and be ENSLAVED?

The Dollar Empire will keep on creating private money, until world accepts it. Do nations lack common sense, courage and imagination to create their sovereign money? Let’s see which nation is smart and sovereign to create their sovereign money and free its people. Name a democracy that isn’t a suzerainty.

One can never make any more progress than what they can IMAGINE...

“What is bad is not that man lives and dies, but what dies within man while he lives. Perhaps the most important thing that dies within man while he lives is his imagination.”
– Albert Schweitzer

Posted by: Max | Aug 14 2021 20:02 utc | 46

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 14 2021 19:49 utc | 42

Oh yeah, and helicopters can't fly over the Hindu Kush, to reach Central Asia, with a pass at 12,000 ft. The old DC3s of Ariana Airways had to fly through the pass, not over it. I was lucky back in 68 that I was in a 727.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 14 2021 20:06 utc | 47

Posted by: Merlin2 | Aug 14 2021 19:47 utc | 41

Another analogy with Dune is that the Empire relied on the cities, and underestimated the fact that 75 % of the afghan people do not live in the cities.

I remember some US generals dissing the Taliban for controlling only rural areas.

See Lt. Gen. Doug Lute here.


Posted by: Passer by | Aug 14 2021 20:10 utc | 48

Karlof1 @ 30
Ah, it was you that first mentioned the Mongol effect...I should have known! I referenced this concept last thread, but couldn't remember who remarked about it first. I believe you have it completely right, and thanks for bringing it up first.

juliana @ 35
No worries, great minds think alike! :)

Militant, fanatical Wahabism is the greatest threat to all peace-loving nations and cultures, including very much Muslim communities, and the CIA nurturing and spreading of this malignant evil will go down in history as one of the greatest crimes against humanity. I hope without this outside poisoning the Taliban will mature into a very conservative but essentially peaceful and non-aggressive entity.

Posted by: J Swift | Aug 14 2021 20:10 utc | 49

@ Jezabeel (#45),

If Afghanistan’s leadership has integrity, intelligence and imagination, they will issue SOVEREIGN MONEY & do CURRENCY SWAPS for the international trade.

Afghanistan, Syria and Iran need to unite and make a deal with China to build their transport & telecom (5G) infrastructure, along with sovereign digital currencies and manufacturing capabilities at the low end. This is a golden opportunity for China to shine and make its mark upon the world.

So called fake Civilized nations have been captured and show no conscience. Let’s see which nation will rise to challenge the Financial Empire with sovereign money.

Posted by: Max | Aug 14 2021 20:16 utc | 50

I will second Stonebridge comment, that link to the domino article was fascinating.

I don't know anything about the authors or the group they are associated with, but assuming they wrote an unbiased piece, I would have to say that what really struck me in the article was that the taleban acted with integrity. They made deals and stuck to them. Don't fight with us and you are free to go.

The US could use some of that.

Religious fundamentalist aren't my cup of tea, but I do respect integrity.

Posted by: David F | Aug 14 2021 20:19 utc | 51

Max @46:

No I did not miss that caveat. De-dollarization is easier said than done. It cannot happen within a few years; it has to drag out over decades for the world to adjust and build up new alternatives without being hurt in the meantime. It is during that meantime that the Empire will print and print. Weimar Republic symptoms will be managed somehow, or let the victim to adjust and adapt.

I probably overused the term "forever!!!" :-). But I do mean they have the luxury of doing this for quite a while.

You can wish all you want how to deploy the laid-off troops and logistic manpower, but reality shows these fatsos are not willing to put in an honest day of work nor to learn tricks. It takes hitting the pits for human behavioral revolution. If you don't believe, try re-deploy those homeless laying around in streets of metropolis, and good luck.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Aug 14 2021 20:20 utc | 52

The discredited and openly partisan 'think tanks' have lost the ability to actually think about the basic relationship between cause and effect in their zeal to promote 'solutions' in accord with their desired outcomes, chiefly; the amendment of the title deeds to Palestine, so the thief gets to keep the stolen property.

This purblind abandonment of reasoning was not lost by 'western' politicians a little over one hundred years ago. During WW1 Allied politicians anxious to preserve the loyalty of the millions of Muslim subjects and soldiers of the British Indian army went to great pains to conceal the secret and odious provisions of both the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes Picot Agreement. Had the provisions become known to the Muslim troops, many engaged wresting the Arab lands from the Ottoman Empire the politicians well knew there would be blowback and revolt. These land grabbing 'treaties' were also kept secret from their own populations and the world, see 'Palestine The Reality', JMN Jeffries and 'Balfour in the Dock', Colin Andersen.

The World Zionist Organisation, then headquarted in Berlin, and its precursor organisation the Aliance Isralite Universelle, headed by Sir Moses Montfiore [AKA the king of the Jews] were well aquainted with the provisions because they were the benificaries.see 'The Jew, The Gipsy and El;-Islam: An Examination of Richard Burton's Consulship in Damascus and his premature Recall, 1868 - 1871', Andrew Vincent

This essay points out the political power of the Alliance Isralite Universelle and a political father of the Zionist Movement, Sir Moses Montifiore.

Subsequent events in Palestine and around the Muslim world therefore should come as no surprise,see Text of Osam Bin Laden's statement:

Now the same think tanks portray all blowback as unjustified 'terrorism'
as if there is no such thing as cause and effect.

Attempts to maintain this fundamentally unjust state of affairs are reminiscent of the labours of Sisyphus.

Posted by: Paul | Aug 14 2021 20:20 utc | 53

This whole Afghanistan debacle has stung the whole social fabric of the American Empire so hard and so deep that even the otherwise lucid CPUSA has lost its composure:

Afghanistan’s agony and the so-called ‘war on terror’

The pain is real.

Posted by: vk | Aug 14 2021 20:21 utc | 54

In Lebanon, bakeries, cafes and restaurants have closed after the central bank decided to stop subsidies to gas (they work on private generators). The Talibans don't seem to have such problems.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 14 2021 20:21 utc | 55

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 14 2021 20:06 utc | 47

Sorry, my memory is faulty. I took a bus from Kabul through the Salang tunnel, on my hippy trip in 68, and only took the 727 from Mazar to Herat, as there seemed no alternative. I still have the photos of that epic voyage.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 14 2021 20:22 utc | 56

God Damon spellchecker. Stonebird.

Posted by: David F | Aug 14 2021 20:25 utc | 57

@ Posted by: David F | Aug 14 2021 20:19 utc | 51

You speak as if the USA wasn't a de facto fundamentalist Christian nation.

The only difference between a member of the Taliban and a random Texan housewife is that the latter lives in a bubble where the supermarkets' shelves are always full and she doesn't need to worry here bus blowing up in the morning.

Posted by: vk | Aug 14 2021 20:26 utc | 58

J Swift @16

"I certainly don't expect the West to cease playing dirty tricks in Afghanistan even after a "full" withdrawal"

There are reports of militants trying to infiltrate the Taliban. They supposedly have British accents. Possibly takfiris shipped out of Syria with the hope of spreading disruption into Russia's southern border states. Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan have already started joint military exercises in anticipation of shenanigans. Erdogan is looking to keep security control ofan airbase near Kabul, presumably to allow him to ship the takfiris into Afghanistan so they can destabilise that rather than Turkey.

Posted by: Arfur Mo | Aug 14 2021 20:28 utc | 59

Posted by: Mina | Aug 14 2021 20:21 utc | 55

The Western powers, including Macron, don't seem willing to allow a popular vote in Lebanon, which might lead to a Hizbullah victory. In that sense Lebanon is quite similar to Afghanistan.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 14 2021 20:33 utc | 60

Fuck you vk. You know absolutely nothing about actual life in America.

Are there some religious nations in America? Yes.

Do they represent the country as a whole, or even a significant majority. Absolutely not.

Do us both a favor and don't respond to me directly.

Fucking moron.

Posted by: David F | Aug 14 2021 20:34 utc | 61

Nutjobs not nations.

Posted by: David F | Aug 14 2021 20:36 utc | 62

Let's not forget this guy Sleepy Joe Biden has been a cheerleader within the Beltway for over 4 decades supporting every freaking devilish USA foreign activities front and center every chance he gets. Shed no tears for this war criminal. Spare no sympathy for this heart of stone. He deserves the humility that's now bestowed upon him.

Of course, Biden is not the only one deserving this kind of payback. 99% of those involved in USA politics, Fed and State, deserve the same. Just that this time random events directed the latest payback at him.

By the way, Cuomo has to step down in humiliation. I chuckle and shed no tears, because he is a politician (as was his dad) in the same category of beasts I just referred to. But remember that the effort to oust him has gone on for months now, and so far I have seen only accusations by sleezy looking/sounding broads and ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCES!!! How come??? I say, Trump committed murder 10 years ago. He should be held to appear in court for such crime. I don't need evidence to substantiate my accusation, do I? No one held Cuomo's accuser to that requirement.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Aug 14 2021 20:37 utc | 63

Taliban should go strong on remaining US, US understands only strength, see Iran Hostage Crisis, Saigon

Posted by: maga | Aug 14 2021 20:39 utc | 64

for those here wanting to follow the developments in near real time:
Tomorrow maybe the deciding day. Taliban siege has started on Kabul. But a few minuted ago it was reported Ghani is now arming Kabul citiziens for a last stand.
What a crazy nutjob that guy is who claims to be the "2. most intellectual person on earth".
Cant make this shit up.
And just momments ago info leaked that US asks Talibs not to attack their embassy in exchange for diplomatic recognition by us and international support.
This is a WAY WORSE loss of faith for the Empire than Vietman!

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Aug 14 2021 20:40 utc | 65

Posted by: David F | Aug 14 2021 20:34 utc | 61

I'm not surprised Americans don't notice what happens in their own country. They're so isolated, they think it's normal.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 14 2021 20:41 utc | 66

Looks like the humiliation was too much for Joe Biden. The withdrawal seems to be cancelled:

Biden orders INCREASE in US presence in Afghanistan as he threatens Taliban with ‘strong’ military response if interests attacked

Biden finally is able to unite the whole nation: everybody - from the communists to the alt-rightists - want the War of Afghanistan to continue after all.

Posted by: vk | Aug 14 2021 20:43 utc | 67

More five-eyes numbers to add to the American 3000.
"Australian military to evacuate hundreds from Afghanistan as Taliban heads toward assault on Kabul"
"The US will deploy 3,000 troops to secure evacuations of US embassy staff from Kabul's green zone. Britain will do the same, sending about 600 troops on a short-term mission, and Canada will dispatch special force soldiers."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 14 2021 20:45 utc | 68

Max #26

No. Seek help.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 14 2021 20:48 utc | 69

Posted by: vk | Aug 14 2021 20:43 utc | 67

Is Biden willing to put in 100K or more to retake Kabul and more? My say is no. Bombs yes (killing civilians), troops on the ground, no.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 14 2021 20:53 utc | 70

@ Oriental Voice (#52),

The innovation adoption trajectory has accelerated in the digital age. In 2018, 88% of trade between China and Russia was in the US$. In 2020, that number dropped to 11%. What will happen in 2021?

Russia completely De-Dollarized in three years. The EU has already started too, checkout its energy contracts. Japan wants to use other currencies. When the U$A was the largest buyer of oil, it paid in the US$. China is the largest buyer of oil and gas, so it needs to pay in Renminbi?

In 2018, there was only one payment network CIPS in addition to SWIFT. Now there are 4-6 payment networks. So payment infrastructure is in place to enable the take-off.

It is unfortunate that we Americans don’t care for our veterans. I have had conversations with veterans, soldiers and marines that have comeback from their missions, I have confidence in them to make the change. There is lot of good talent in the United States of America, unfortunately their capabilities are untapped. Let’s have confidence in our people and they will rise to the challenge!

“The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use - of how to get men of power to live for the public rather than off the public.”
– Robert F. Kennedy

Posted by: Max | Aug 14 2021 20:56 utc | 71

Laguerre - Let me guess, you are as arrogant as vk in so far as you are going to tell me that I don't understand the place I have lived for over 50 years.

If you think America is a fundamental religious state,then it is you who is delusional or incredibly misinformed.

Posted by: David F | Aug 14 2021 21:04 utc | 72

Grieved @ 36:

I would not be surprised if the Taliban were to call for national reconciliation and forgiveness, and a laying down of arms as part of a new national ideology based on Islamic principles that emphasise mercy, forgiveness and brotherhood / inclusiveness. The Taliban have been in talks with Russia and China, and they cannot have failed to notice the progress both those nations have made in uplifting their own Muslim populations in regions like Chechnya, Dagestan, Tatarstan and Xinjiang, not to mention the assistance Russian and Chinese Muslim communities might offer Afghanistan.

BTW that job description for the Public Engagement Assistant in Kabul forgot to mention that the applicant needs to know how to flick on a cigarette lighter or rub two sticks together.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 14 2021 21:05 utc | 73

@42 Laguerre

I was referring to transport of commercial cargo in the future. I'm sure the refugee issue will be worked out one way or another...

Sorry for the poor typing, I was on my phone.

Posted by: ptb | Aug 14 2021 21:06 utc | 74

DontBelieveEitherPr @65--

But a few minutes ago it was reported Ghani is now arming Kabul citizens for a last stand.

As I wrote a few days ago, I expect Ghani to behave like Hitler in the final days. I await the Taliban's Mongol message to the Kabul masses--Surrender and be spared to help rebuild our land.

There are numerous articles at Pakistan's English language news outfit Dawn.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 14 2021 21:07 utc | 75

Euro-puppet Carl Bildt is crying that his master will embarrass himself.

I think the Biden administration should be aware that on present trends history might judge that the Soviet Union managed its exit from Afghanistan better than the US did.

There is nothing more disgusting than a puppet begging for a failing master to save his control over him.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 14 2021 21:19 utc | 76

Fuck you vk. You know absolutely nothing about actual life in America
Posted by: David F |

David're right in a sense. The religious zealots and fanatics don't represent the whole of the nation....just the government sectors and wealthy televangelist con artists and pedos who pay no taxes who I am sure are a small minority. Congress and all that is 50% Jewish.....though they are what, less than 2% of the total population. The other 50% are tobacco chewing, bible thumping, pedo committing inbred morons. And just because most of the country aren't religious doesn't mean they aren't stupid or moronic. Look at you, making my case, for me.

Posted by: Saladin Abdul Jabar | Aug 14 2021 21:22 utc | 77

@43 karlof1

Thanks for the reply! Yes, even in the best case, rebuilding after 40+ years of war will be a generational task for Afghanistan's population. But I'm thinking that even a partial stabilization will have effects on the neighboring countries.

The ongoing big change, which isn't news to anyone I suppose, is the way a combination of access to energy and related transport (whether from Iran or Qatar or Turkmenistan) + the Chinese infrastructure-building machine + manufactured goods + regional security + a stable trade-clearing system (whatever the currency), put together, are now a full service regional "order", long envisioned by SCO. Eyes will then be on the per-capita incomes in the region in the next decade, to see if they trend up. Currently India is outperforming countries like Pakistan, Tajikistan, etc. This may change.

Posted by: ptb | Aug 14 2021 21:23 utc | 78

You speak as if the USA wasn't a de facto fundamentalist Christian nation.

The only difference between a member of the Taliban and a random Texan housewife is that the latter lives in a bubble where the supermarkets' shelves are always full and she doesn't need to worry here bus blowing up in the morning.

Posted by: vk | Aug 14 2021 20:26 utc | 58

Patience, vk! We're not there yet, but we're getting there. Give us a few more congressional election cycles.

Fuck you vk. You know absolutely nothing about actual life in America.

Are there some religious nations in America? Yes.

Do they represent the country as a whole, or even a significant majority. Absolutely not.

Do us both a favor and don't respond to me directly.

Fucking moron.

Posted by: David F | Aug 14 2021 20:34 utc | 61

What with your 50-plus years in the USA, David F, you must surely have noticed by now that majorities don't matter. What matters is who gets to vote, and who has the guns.

Posted by: corvo | Aug 14 2021 21:26 utc | 79

So was it the Russians or the Chinese that sent in undercover diplomats (the real kind and not the Shock Doctrine American gangster style ones) to teach the Taliban how to win friends and influence people?

If this strategy is indigenous then the new Taliban have some world-class leadership among their ranks.

Or alternatively there is a genuine revolution taking place and the Taliban are just the catalyst.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 14 2021 21:38 utc | 80

The leader of Pakistan is someone I have known from his earlier cricket days. I remember that he spent a large sum of his earnings building a hospital in his native region - that's better than a stupid rocket ship polluting and going nowhere, to my mind.
Posted by: juliania | Aug 14 2021 18:40 utc | 25
Somehow that opening line is amusing and absurd to me. You are so nice. Lol. And I agree with this.
So what is his character like socially (otherwise)? What kind of man is he?

Posted by: David G Horsman | Aug 14 2021 21:56 utc | 81

ptb @78--

And thanks for your reply! Yes, it will take time, but look what China accomplished in 40 years. Much depends on the vision of whoever emerge as the leaders and how well they articulate that vision to all Afghans. Afghanistan geoeconomically is very much the BRI's Traffic Circle, an odd contrivance that can run smoothly or be extremely chaotic. Some of the op/eds now appearing are on point, although many are wrong in saying the invasion failed--it worked very well for 20+ years to impede/retard Central Asian development that would have greatly benefitted Iran, China and Russia. What gets said and done over the next month will set the tone for what follows.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 14 2021 21:57 utc | 82

For those who have never experienced starvation...try to imagine how effective it is as a control mechanism.

FOOD, lack of, is THE basic weapon to soften/compromise an enemy, when LACK OF is possible to create. FOOD includes potable water and air.

LACK OF FOOD is deliberate coercion, i.e. by design, always, when such lack is able to be created by wannabe interlopers.

Cash-cropping is only 1 of many tricks to substitute a "more profitable" non-food crop, such as opium cropping...BUT there must concurrently be an AVAILABLE FOOD supply that seems reliable ["Trust us. We are your friends."] and relatively cheap... then the farmer falls into the trap that the "reliable" FOOD can be withdrawn if he steps out of line.

Many months are needed to re-start and crop a FOOD supply.

A few recalcitrant farmers can be quietly snuffed or relatives threatened...any large-scale failure to obey is handled by threat of
starvation of whole families and tribes.

Yes, there is always that last-resort threat that all FOOD warehouses/storage depots will be destroyed by an exiting occupation force,
by bombing or otherwise spoilage.

Posted by: chu teh | Aug 14 2021 21:58 utc | 83

Are we Americans still competent to accomplish our Mission Impossible, build a great nation?
Posted by: Max | Aug 14 2021 18:48 utc | 26
As we know you can buy competency. Otherwise you need to invest heavily in education. What a mess the US educational system became.
Importantly, it takes 5-20 years before you repeat the rewards of this. And you might have brain drain to deal with.

Right now I don't think so Max. It could change.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Aug 14 2021 22:05 utc | 84

Colateral damaged?
Does the Afghan massive energy discharge  allows his physical form to 'shift' through dimensions, taking him to a strange but deceptively similar parallel universe? Or as Keith Winston*, Anthony Blinken remains focused on his delirium in the hope of being teleported to the parallel universe of his wet dreams ?

Secretary Antony Blinken
11 août

People around the world are inspired by the American spirit of boundless optimism and possibility. We must bring that spirit to bear in our endeavor to renew our sources of domestic strength and invest in our future greatness.

But where were we here?
What was that senseless universe in which it was natural to associate with specimens of a race more frightening than had ever been portrayed in anticipation magazines ?

*Frédéric Brown, What Mad Universe, 1949

Posted by: Rêver | Aug 14 2021 22:06 utc | 85

Apologize to Fredric Brown

I was googled by automatic corrector...

Posted by: Rêver | Aug 14 2021 22:10 utc | 86

Posted by: Rêver | Aug 14 2021 22:06 utc | 85

Secretary Bliken has been watching too much anime (Japanese animation).

Posted by: vk | Aug 14 2021 22:14 utc | 87


How de-dollarization is going to proceed I really don't know, so I'm not going to argue who, how, and when it will be carried out. But for sure more and more people/nations around the world are now more keen of this happening than, say, as late as a couple years ago. China rolled out CIPS in 2016, 5 full years ago. It didn't gain much traction until the last couple of years. But CIPS or SWIFT, they are nothing but tools to facilitate trade. The central issue of trade is pricing and here is what will slow down de-dollarization. When only 2-3% of trades are nominated in currency other than dollars, the currency market can provide the stability of pricing using $$$ as the reference. But when 30-40% of trades are priced away from $$$, traders becomes nervous about stability of pricing. Even gold/oil/mineral are much more volatile than $$$, so how do you ensure what you believe to be fair for what you're selling? That equilibrium can only be reach over a long period of time when people, in unisome, develop a trust in certain regime of valuation. Today's status quo was established over decades, and even with full compliance/complement from the previous currency hegemon (the pound sterling) as the needed backdrop. Today, if Uncle Sam wants to impede the trend of de-dollarization, the process will be lengthy and painful.

You quoted Kennedy on use of power, as if the Kennedy's are smart or something. I'm no fan of that family. That's based history that I personally witnessed. How had the Kennedys excercised responsible power in Bay of Bigs and on Cuban embargo? Who decides what is being responsible or not? Escalation of Vietnam war started by Ole Jack. So spare me of the colorful utterances.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Aug 14 2021 22:17 utc | 88

Saladin - Seriously? First I would ask how I proved that your case that I am stupid or moronic. Please be specific.

But, you do have a point, everyone here is either a religious fundamentalist or a tobacco chewing bible thumper.

Have you failed to notice that we are a capitalist nation? Money rules the day here. If you have money your voice is heard. It matters little how ridiculous what that person has to say is, the point is that people in power cater to people with money.

I am flabbergasted that someone could say with a straight face that the religious nuts in america are in control of the country. If anybody here has proven how stupid and moronic they are it is the three of you trying to say that america is a religious fundamentalist society on par with the taleban.

Corvo - of course I have. You are going to jump on that bandwagon with these three other idiots and say that america is a theocracy?

Posted by: David F | Aug 14 2021 22:37 utc | 89

@77 Saladin Abdul Jabar

The American political and ruling class hasn't been Christian for decades. Why are you ascribing all the amoral foreign policy and propaganda that emanates from the US to the dying Christian middle class, when atheists & Jews control every institution in the country and have been waging a war on Christians for decades? Do you think it's practicing Christians who turned the US into an Israeli vassal and centered our culture on degeneracy? How exactly is your hateful portrayal of the average American different than the idea that the average Muslim is a fanatical terrorist?

Posted by: Francesca | Aug 14 2021 22:39 utc | 90

Gruff @ 80 is definitely onto something!

The Taliban now control MORE territory than they did in 2001, when the US came marching in!

As B explains in his backgrounder, that Northern Alliance of Tajiks and Uzbeks were the main allies the US used to topple the Taliban. Even before 2001, their territory was out of reach of the Talib.

Where is the Northern Alliance now? These are distinct ethnic groups that together make up almost as big a population as the Taliban base of Pashtuns. Yet that northern part of the country is solid Taliban red!

In fact, the Taliban pretty much waltzed into that former enemy territory, where they were welcomed with open arms!

This does not just happen. There are big ethnic and even religious divisions here [Hazara Shias etc].

There is much much more going on behind the scenes. I will point again to a quote from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who seems very pleased with the Taliban!

What’s important to us is that the border with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan is also taken under the control of the Taliban.

Bhadrakumar echoes the same line in his analysis of a couple of days ago: Taliban Neutralizes the Afghan warlords

As for Russia and China, Taliban’s consolidation in the North is a factor of stability and security.

The Russians are HAPPY the border areas to 'their' 'stans is under the control of the Taliban? So are the Chinese?

When did this happen? Of course we saw recently pictures that say a thousand words: here, and here.

This did not happen overnight folks. The melting away of the Northern Alliance, plus the 'conversion' of the Tajiks and Uzbeks to the Taliban Big Tent will have required some very BIG FRIENDS. Doing some very INTERESTING things behind the scenes. For a very long time, probably!

Maybe two can play at this 'color' revolution thing? 😉

Yes, the Taliban are religious fanatics. Is this always a bad thing? The Hezbollah in Lebanon are also religious fanatics. Yet they do very well by the people. Iran is a theocracy too. They have a lot of legitimacy with their people also.

I have a feeling there is huge and fascinating story that is only going to start to unfold slowly, after the US is completely gone.

And speaking of which...the US never actually meant to leave for good. They were still going to keep a hand in somehow. PMCs, NGOs, 'diplomats' etc.

Well guess what the news is? They're ALL leaving on the first plane out of Saigon Kabul!

The upping of troops to oversee the withdrawal is only to protect the five thousand US nationals in Kabul, from the Frankensteins they created---all of whom want to get out to.

And some of those may become a bit unruly, if they can't get a plane seat. They know what's waiting for them when the Taliban enter Kabul.

Video: 1975 - South Vietnam - Last US Evacuation Flight Out of Da Nang as City Falls to North

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 14 2021 22:48 utc | 91

@David F | Aug 14 2021 21:04 utc | 72

I'm sure there are "normal" or shall we say "moderate" people in the USA....

But as they say: watch what they do, not what they say - looking at the behavior of the USA internationally and having been personally at the receiving end of hostile policies and color revolutions, please excuse me for agreeing with VK and others.

So YOU can fuck right off, and take at good look at what your country is doing to the world. And why others perceives USA the way they do.

You call your country a democracy but you're personally unwilling to take responsibility of your countries collective decision by majority, don't you claim innocence on that now. That's weak.

You can have you cake and also shove it up your ass.

Posted by: A.L. | Aug 14 2021 22:50 utc | 92

I read MofA in order to be schooled and I appreciate it, even if it shows how wrong I am, as in my suspicion Biden may know he's doing the right thing in getting us out of Afghanistan.

Still, I tend to think Putin is right, that Biden doesn't miss anything, and that's because I trust Putin to explain the situation to Biden.

Among the vital things expressed in b's essay and the outstanding comments is a reference to Pepe Escobar's reporting on the Taliban meeting in China. Priceless reading. Here's a link:

The Taliban go to Tianjin - Asia Times

China and Russia will be key to solving an ancient geopolitical riddle: how to pacify the 'graveyard of empires'


Posted by: Linda Wood | Aug 14 2021 22:53 utc | 93

OT---For Max---OT

The strategy proposed in the linked document was made a little more that two years ago, one of its aspects being dedollarization. I suggest reading it then searching Hudson's website for the additional articles where he's talked about the need and ways to dedollarize. In the process of reading all that material, you'll have a better grasp of the overall challenge ridding the planet of Neoliberalism entails.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 14 2021 22:59 utc | 94

A.L. - You are putting words into my mouth. I never said america was just, or a democracy. I would agree that america is doing all kinds of fucked up shit all over the world.

I am not defending america. But you my friend are sadly mistaken if you think the average person in america has a say about anything.

My argument above was strictly pointing out that we are not a religious fundamentalist society or a theocracy. Period.

vk is obviously an intelligent person, but he has a habit of thinking that because he knows on topic well he knows all topics well. This is not the first time I have called him out on his bullshit unfounded statement about america.

And just for the record, the average american might be a bit of a dumbass, and they tend to live in their own little bubbles (much like powerless people all over the world, the vast majority of people I might add), but mostly they are decent people trying to live their lives. Our leaders are psychopaths and sociopaths (the end result of capitalism) and you must forgive most of us if we are not in a hurry to rush out in a futile attempt to change that when the end result is either death or imprisonment.

So, you know, suck on that.

Posted by: David F | Aug 14 2021 23:06 utc | 95

@ Posted by: Francesca | Aug 14 2021 22:39 utc | 90

That's what a fundamentalist Christian would say.


@ Posted by: David F | Aug 14 2021 23:06 utc | 95

That's what an American would say.

Posted by: vk | Aug 14 2021 23:10 utc | 96

Commenters are right to point to Brzezinski and the anti Soviet campaign of the late 70s as the start of this 40+ year travesty. Hopefully it will end soon.

The US was using Afghanistan as a spy hub, particularly for Iran. If the Taliban take over all the CIA rats will have to leave. Biden has a massive domestic agenda and that will be what he is judged on. An Afghanistan withdrawal should close the door on the 'military option' for Iran and plug a huge budgetary rat hole, much of it going to 'contractors'. A similar withdrawal from Iraq and Syria would allow the diversion/re-direction of funds, a good bit of it "off the books", to domestic priorities. Perhaps, just perhaps, some in the current administration have realized that to realistically compete with China would require very significant domestic investment in education, basic industries, and domestic infrastructure.Perhaps...

Posted by: the pessimist | Aug 14 2021 23:11 utc | 97

And just momments ago info leaked that US asks Talibs not to attack their embassy in exchange for diplomatic recognition by us and international support.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Aug 14 2021 20:40 utc | 65

Let's agree the TB are no angels. They represent a lesser evil in every sense of that term.

That said, I hope they don't fall for the offer. Leaving any US institution on their soil will just mean another cancer tumour oozing PMC, NGO and spies forever.

Same goes for any countries that had ever put boots on afghan soil appeasing the US. They must be shown that action have consequences, even if those countries acted under duress by the big brother USA. "just following orders" isn't going to cut it.

Posted by: A.L. | Aug 14 2021 23:13 utc | 98

Linda Wood @93--

Thanks for reinjecting that Escobar essay back into the mix. Once the Outlaw US Empire and its NATO vassals have abandoned Afghanistan, the SCO will have its first huge test of its abilities. I know many meetings have occurred about Afghanistan with very little info emerging from them; but from what we've seen, it's clear actions are coordinated. Pakistan has reopened its border crossings, so Iran should soon follow. Keeping Afghanis within Afghanistan will be a major task and is a top concern of all neighboring nations, not to forget the repatriation of the millions of refugees. Reestablishing fundamental security for families is part of that task, which means reprisals must be minimized and done juridically. Such behavior will instill confidence that this Taliban is different. And to get the aid required, they must demonstrate their difference. That seems to be happening now, but we'll continue closely watching.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 14 2021 23:15 utc | 99

ToivoS, thank you for reminding us of that massive hypocrisy.

Posted by: Arius | Aug 14 2021 23:17 utc | 100

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