Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 18, 2021

Afghanistan - What Will Happen Next? A Provisional Government And A New Constitution.

The Taliban leadership continues to arrive in Kabul.

Anas Haqqani is the son of the Jalaluddin Haqqani and younger brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the head of the Haqqani Network. He is part of the Taliban negotiation team in Qatar. Today he and a high level delegation of Taliban met with former president Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.


Also coming to Kabul is currently Khalil-ur-Rahman, an uncle of Sirajuddin Haqqani, for whom the FBI offers a $5 million reward because he collected donations for the Taliban.

Yesterday deputy Taliban chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban, arrived from Qatar in Kandahar.

Kabul seems to have a normal day except at the airport where thousands still try to get out of the country. The Taliban let people pass to the airport but try to prevent a big rush and new chaos by holding off masses.

There were small protests today in Khost and Jalalabad where people took down the white Islamic Emirate flag and put up the black-red-green flag of Afghanistan. The Taliban soon removed the protesters and corrected the issue.

The flag will be something that needs, as many other things, to be negotiated. One could probably take the Shahada ('There is no god but god'), which the Taliban put onto their white flag when they founded the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and add that, in white, onto the black-red-green national flag of Afghanistan. That would express the unity of the nation. 

As another sign of reconciliation they today appointed Humayoon Humayoon, a former deputy speaker and a one time close ally of the fugitive former president Ashraf Ghani, as police chief of Kabul.

Meanwhile some are trying to form a resistance against the Taliban:

[V]ideos from the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul, a stronghold of the Northern Alliance militias that allied with the U.S. against the Taliban in 2001, appear to show potential opposition figures gathering there. It's in the only province that hasn't yet fallen to the Taliban.

Those figures include members of the deposed government — Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who asserted on Twitter that he is the country’s rightful president and Defense Minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi — as well as Ahmad Massoud, the son of the slain Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud. It's unclear if they intend to challenge to the Taliban, who seized most of the country in a matter of days last week.

The Afghan embassy to Tajikistan seems to support the move:

Afghanistan's Ambassador to Tajikistan says, 'with Ashraf Ghani having escaped the country, VP Amrullah Saleh is the legitimate leader of Afghanistan'.

Saleh is an old CIA asset. Around 1995 he was trained as a spy in the U.S. and then worked as intelligence chief, first for the Northern Alliance and later for the U.S. installed government in Kabul. There are many in Afghanistan who dislike or hate him for very sound reasons. He is not a good leader. Ahmad Massoud is not a fighter, too young and lacks credibility to be the head of a resistance.

To raise a resistance army Saleh will need money, lots of it and soon. But who would be the national sponsor he could work for? I doubt that the U.S. is interested to push for another civil war in Afghanistan. It will also not accept Saleh as another powerless Juan Guaido. Even India, which sees the Taliban as a proxy of its archenemy Pakistan, seem to lack interest in more struggle. There is also the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, with all Afghan neighbor countries plus Russia and India, which will press for no more war.

Still, the Taliban would be well advised to send a bunch of troops into the Panjshir Valley and to smoke Saleh out before he starts to create new trouble.

The Taliban are currently only an improvised caretaker government. They need to form a kind of new representative structure and a true coalition government. Both, even while not elected, are acceptable to the outer world.

The issue is urgent because all governments of Afghanistan, even a Taliban led one, do need money.

The U.S. as well as Russia and other states, still have the Taliban on their terrorist list. The U.S. has blocked Afghanistan's Central Bank (DAB) reserves and any large cash flow. Afghanistan's former(?) Governor of the Central Bank Ajmal Ahmady, who fled on Sunday, explains what issues that creates:

Ajmal Ahmady @aahmady - 6:40 UTC · Aug 18, 2021

This thread is to clarify the location of DAB (Central Bank of Afghanistan) international reserves.
I am writing this because I have been told Taliban are asking DAB staff about location of assets.
If this is true - it is clear they urgently need to add an economist on their team.

First, total DAB reserves were approximately $9.0 billion as of last week.
But this does not mean that DAB held $9.0 billion physically in our vault.
As per international standards, most assets are held in safe, liquid assets such as Treasuries and gold.

The major investment categories include the following assets (all figures in billions)
(1) Federal Reserve = $7.0
- U.S. bills/bonds: $3.1
- WB RAMP assets: $2.4
- Gold: $1.2
- Cash accounts: $0.3
(2) International accounts = 1.3
(3) BIS = $0.7
Given Afghanistan’s large current account deficit, DAB was reliant on obtaining physical shipments of cash every few weeks.
The amount of such cash remaining is close to zero due a stoppage of shipments as the security situation deteriorated, especially during the last few days.
Given that the Taliban are still on international sanction lists, it is expected (confirmed?) that such assets will be frozen and not accessible to Taliban.
I can’t imagine a scenario where Treasury/OFAC would given Taliban access to such funds
Therefore, my base case would be the following:
- Treasury freezes assets
- Taliban have to implement capital controls and limit dollar access
- Currency will depreciate
- Inflation will rise as currency pass through is very high
- This will hurt the poor as food prices increase

It would be bad for the Taliban's and Afghanistan's future to let that happen. There is no hope that other countries will help with the problem.

Russian Embassy, UK @RussianEmbassy - 10:53 UTC · Aug 18, 2021

Lavrov: We have stated repeatedly that we are not in a rush to recognize the Taliban’s authority, just as the rest world.
We are observing positive developments on the streets of Kabul, where the situation is reasonably calm and the Taliban are effectively ensuring order.

Pakistan, which does have a motive to help the Taliban, is itself an economic basket case.

Access to money will soon become a serious issues as the Afghan economy will now go into a deep dive.

The Taliban's best move now is to form a provisional government in which they are not (openly) in the lead. The face of the government should be an internationally known one, probably former president Hamid Kazai who is no longer a U.S. stoogy.

If there is a provisional cabinet the Taliban should take only a few positions, for example as ministers for education, culture, security and defense, and leave the internationally more visual jobs to other people. They should also ask Ajmal Ahmady to return to the Central Bank.

With a provisional government installed and accepted internationally a Loya Jirga, a legal assembly following Pashtun traditions, could be called up to create a new constitution based on the monarchic one from 1964.

Under a modified 1964 constitution the 'King', replaced by something like the Supreme Leader in Iran, would be the formal head of the state. There would be an elected House of a the People (Wolesi Jirgah) and a House of the Elders (Meshrano Jirgah). The second one would have a third of its members appointed by the 'King' and two-thirds by provincial councils and provincial voters. Both together would vote for confidence in a Prime Minister and a cabinet designated by the 'King'.

The Taliban will insist on some religious/legal committee, like the Guardian Council in Iran, that tests every new law for being consistent with Islamic jurisprudence. This could either replace the House of the Elders or become a new institution next to the parliament.

The process to decide on such a system and to hold new elections will probably take a year.

Until then a provisional government must work under some kind of consensus agreement. The Taliban are currently working on forming both.

Posted by b on August 18, 2021 at 17:00 UTC | Permalink

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If the treatment of Cuba can be served as an example, then no amount of statecraftism will fool the USA to liberate the money to the Afghan government. It's not a matter of political system.

There's no magic formula. The Taliban must crush the usurper Salleh, that's priority #1. After that, they will have all the time in the world to nation-build. It will be a rocky road. Afghanistan will continue to be a "shithole" for the next decades. The Taliban will suffer from without and within. It will have to find some way to keep the economy afloat (there's no magic formula here either).

The only guaranteed asset Taliban has right now in the international arena is the fact that Russia, China and Iran are heavily interested into a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. It will have to convince these three regional powers (China and Russia being the most important) to keep their regime afloat for decades while they rebuild. There's no other way: China and Russia will have to bleed their treasuries to keep Afghanistan afloat for the foreseeable future, as the USA clamps it down from the financial system. It will be painful and costly for Russia and China - but that's the price of Eurasia.

Posted by: vk | Aug 18 2021 17:15 utc | 1

Thanks for this very pragmatic and info-filled post, B.

Posted by: Helena | Aug 18 2021 17:23 utc | 2

Thanks b. I agree with you on possible risks for inflation and food costs going up. Can't Russia and China both assist with food programs aid other humanitarian aid packages to include medical supplies ect.? The Taliban have said they want farmers to switch from growing opium to food crops. I do not know how long this transition will take, but, until then they are going to need some help.

Posted by: Michael Crockett | Aug 18 2021 17:43 utc | 3

What fact filled fun - lots to chew on. Thanks.

Given the reporting, "The Taliban soon removed the protesters and corrected the issue" may be a little glib. In the efforts to stabilize Afghanistan after 20 years of false-flag evil, certainly lots of slack needs loosening, but we shouldn't put lipstick on a pig either and support theocracy anymore than we should support crown and scepters.

Posted by: gottlieb | Aug 18 2021 17:43 utc | 4

I have to disagree with B on this one.

About CIA stooge and former Ghani veep Saleh, holed up on a mountaintop with a handful of other nobodies. This is a failing psyop by the CIA and a few of their twitter clowns.

It's not real. Where are the pictures of the 'thousands' of fighters he is gathering?

The NYT is running a piece with notorious CIA cutout Andrew Kramer that shows a 2020 picture of a raggedy billboard on the side of a deserted road, showing Ahmad Massoud.

Come on man! This tiny speck is surrounded by Taliban-held areas on all sides.

Besides, if Talib thought it necessary they would already be there!

Total nothingburger. The Afghan 'ambassador' making pro-Saleh noises from Tajikistan is not going to be there much longer.

Tajikistan is a key Russian ally and hosts a large Russian base. Nobody is paying attention to clowns like Saleh, lol!

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 18 2021 17:44 utc | 5

Yes, the monies held by the Outlaw US Empire are lost. Government formation will take time as b described. Keeping a lower profile in the provisional government might be a good idea depending on the quality of those willing to serve. Completing the securing of the nation is clearly a top priority. Also a high priority is overtly demonstrating the big differences in the Taliban's governing and social philosophy to combat the negative imagery the Establishment Narrative wants to promote and thus destabilize the Taliban's efforts at nation building.

The crescendo has crested and the harder work of reconciliation and governing now begins, and not just in Kabul where the media focus is most intense. How well this transition was thought about beforehand will now be seen as it gets implemented.

One propaganda item that's easily debunked is the attempt to strike fear into EU populous of an invasion of Afghan refugees--an impossibility given its location relative to the EU.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 18 2021 17:46 utc | 6

Maybe a tad ot to this article but here is a list in Russian of military hardware now owned by Taliban, which sullivan describes as a "fair amount."

Posted by: Thomas Minnehan | Aug 18 2021 17:46 utc | 7

I got a buddy who “trained” the Afghan army. He said at least half their recruits were known/confirmed Taliban. Intel went up the chain, orders came back down to train them anyway. The brass and the pols had promised an Afghan army and they were going to get one.

If you can get advanced weapon training (helicopters, heavy weapons, etc), a monthly stipend, healthcare, 3 hots and a cot for pretending to be a recruit, and the Yanks aren't going to say no, you take that deal.

And now the Afghan army dissolves back into Taliban regiments, flying choppers the Yanks trained them to fly, manning weapons given them, and there’s no resistance as they take the capital. I’m not surprised. You shouldn’t be either.

Posted by: MK | Aug 18 2021 17:55 utc | 8

Did b say ‘King’? Out of curiosity, let’s see what the Prince Charles’ network is up to in the region. Like every other country on Earth, the Taliban will have to accommodate the world’s most powerful somehow, who and how TBD, I guess?

Not much news, but a little:

There is a bit of an announcement about the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund on the Twitter account, @ClarenceHouse

And from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Aug 18 2021 17:56 utc | 9

While the US (certainly) and maybe for now, Russia won’t help, it is the perfect opportunity for the Chinese to step into the vacuum and stabilise a strategic area on its border.

They have the money, the know how and and a key strategic interest on bringing the new Afghan government under its sphere of influence.

This way Afghanistan wins (money, support, investment etc) and China wins (one more key node on the BRI).

Posted by: Down South | Aug 18 2021 18:03 utc | 10

@6 Karlof1

"How well this transition was thought about beforehand will now be seen as it gets implemented."

Yes. So far, things are looking good.

Now let's see if anyone ran a cash-flow analysis to see how the new gov't would fund itself once the U.S. money spigot shut off, and the new nation's self-generated wealth engines spun up.

In the parlance of entrepreneurial startups, this is time-range between day-one and cash break-even is called "runway". In the startup game, you go hat in hand to the investor, and you say "here's my business plan. It includes a dollar amount that gives me the runway I need to get airborne. If you give me that $$, I'll give you X percent of my company. Do we have a deal?"

Glassy-eyed investor says [gravelly voice from too many cigars] "who is on your team?"

Depending upon how good your plan is, and more importantly, how good your team is, you do/don't get the $$.

It is inconceivable to me at this point, given how they've handled the first month of so of this operation, that these issues haven't been thoroughly discussed.

Russia and China have told Afghans what they have to do. The checkpoints are clear. They will dole out money as the checkpoints are clicked by. That's how it's done in the biz world, and this is starting to look a lot like a business deal to me.

China does biz deals. It's what they do. And there's no way China, Russia, Iran or even Pakistan lets this golden opportunity pass by without investing in some provisions. More to the point, some project work that pays wages in tradeable goods, and that moves the country forward.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Aug 18 2021 18:07 utc | 11

I had suggested yesterday that international arrest warrants are in order for Ghani and his NSA who apparently fled with loads of cash (and, who knows, possibly gold).

Apparently the same Afghan embassy in Tajikistan that declares VP Saleh to be next in line has now called for that as well:

"The Afghan embassy in Tajikistan has asked Interpol police to detain Ashraf Ghani, Hamdallah Mohib and Fazal Mahmood Fazli on charges of stealing public wealth, so that funds could be returned to Afghanistan, sources said."

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Aug 18 2021 18:07 utc | 12

Propaganda trash, why you always so biased towards Russ a and China?

Posted by: Nick | Aug 18 2021 18:08 utc | 13

Let's just recap all the nothingburgers that were BIG talking points just days ago:

Thousands of US PMCs left in country to prop up Ghani---who was going to hold out for months after US left!

Drone bases in Uzbekistan. Even Bhadrakumar fell for that one, lol!

B52 bombing is 'turning the tide.'

Hybrid warfare for years, like Syria.

Turkish troops guarding airport.

What happened to all of those soap bubbles, lol?

There's not even a US embassy left. Even the flag has been evacuated.

This is not even Saigon. It's more like Hitler's bunker, May 1945!

There is no need for Talib to give away anything. They are obviously backed by the big powers and there is a cohesive plan.

The talks with Karzai are window dressing. Who does Karzai actually represent? What cards does he hold?

Russia and China are directing this, and saying all the right diplomatic words for the 'international community.'

The main issue now is physical security and calm in Kabul. All else is very secondary and will fall into place in due time.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 18 2021 18:09 utc | 14

Growing opium switch to growing food?
Why?if opium is a good business
Maintain the crop and get a better price!
The same with minerales, litium etc.
If the economy is destroyed the country better is divided by tribes again

Posted by: Anonymous 75 | Aug 18 2021 18:11 utc | 15

test link to Escobar's latest, "How Russia-China Are Stage-Managing the Taliban."

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 18 2021 18:12 utc | 16

@Posted by: Gordog | Aug 18 2021 17:44 utc | 5

"It's not real. Where are the pictures of the 'thousands' of fighters he is gathering?"

Well, they paraded today along the Panjshir motorway, one by one in motorcicles to form a longer demonstration....These guys talk about dozens...

Posted by: Asha K. | Aug 18 2021 18:17 utc | 17

Pepe seems to have a similar opinion about the "ressitence" and Massoud.

"Imperial Hybrid War tactics to counteract the scenario are inevitable. Take the first proclamation of a Northern Alliance “resistance”, in theory led by Ahmad Masoud, the son of the legendary Lion of the Panjshir killed by al-Qaeda two days before 9/11.

I met Masoud father – an icon. Afghan insider info on Masoud son is not exactly flattering. Yet he’s already a darling of woke Europeans, complete with a glamour pose for AFP, an impromptu visit in the Panjshir by professional philosopher swindler Bernard-Henri Levy, and the release of a manifesto of sorts published in several European newspapers, exhibiting all the catchphrases: “tyranny”, “slavery”, “vendetta”, “martyred nation”, “Kabul screams”, “nation in chains”, etc.

The whole set up smells like a “son of Shah” [of Iran] gambit. Masoud son and his mini-militia are completely surrounded in the Panjshir mountains and can’t be de facto effective even when it comes to regimenting the under 25s, two-thirds of the Afghan population, whose main worry is to find real jobs in a nascent real economy.

Woke NATOstan “analyses” of Taliban Afghanistan don’t even qualify as irrelevant, insisting that Afghanistan is not strategic and even lost its tactical importance for NATO. It’s a sorry spectacle illustrating how Europe is hopelessly behind the curve, drenched in trademark neo-colonialism of the White Man’s Burden variety as it dismisses a land dominated by clans and tribes."

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Aug 18 2021 18:17 utc | 18

Resistance seems to be hardest on Twitter... I guess Talibans can handle that.
They are advised here to rehire CB crony to handle US papers called Tresuries or bonds or whatever.
There used to be a time when some countries were on their own, without all that.
Should Talibans get culture and religion and leave finance to US vassals, they shouldn't have bothered to win anything, it's a loss anyway.

Posted by: Saraj | Aug 18 2021 18:23 utc | 19

& another thing, what of the women and children who've come to rely on west's help? Every time seems to gloss over their suffering in favour of the 'Eurasian duo are invincible' idea. It's a Russian propaganda site?

Posted by: Nick | Aug 18 2021 18:24 utc | 20

Masood lacks the charisma and battle experience of his father who is a bonafide hero in the North. However, his idea of a decentralized government is probably the best course of action for Afghanistan which will unlikely stay peaceful forever - though a risky gambit considering Pakistan's geopolitical ambitions in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 18 2021 17:44 utc | 5

They are real.

Posted by: Me2 | Aug 18 2021 18:27 utc | 21

About the money issue. People don't live by eating dollar bills!

Kabul's shops are open and people are going about their daily routine as usual.

Most of the Afghan economy is gray market. The vast majority of the populace is rural subsistence folks that live off their goats and such.

The only people who relied on the dollar economy in Kabul were profiteers and regime skimmers, from Ghani down.

This is a resilient society that has survived for decades amid chaos and armed conflict. The peace and stability will only make things better, not worse.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 18 2021 18:28 utc | 22

Seems like the perfect opportunity to de-dollarize.

Once Iran becomes a full member of SCO, Afghanistan would be almost completely surrounded by SCO members (with the exception of Turkmenistan). Since the country is landlocked, almost all external trade would be via land, which means a majority of trade would be via or with SCO members.

Since the SCO is implementing a system to bypass the dollar, it seems that there is really little incentive NOT to de-dollarize.

This would also greatly weaken the fifth columnists, since most collaborators with the occupation forces were probably paid in U.S. dollars.

Posted by: Sid Victor Cattoni | Aug 18 2021 18:31 utc | 23

@17 Cont'd--

Wasn't certain if Unz Review link would post, but it did! Pepe confirms Tom Pfotzer @12 and Gordog @15 assertions that its China and Russia running the show behind the scenes. Tom's business plan IMO is 100% accurate. China just liquidated some of its T-Bills for cash which could easily be provided as monetary support for the nascent government. I'm looking forward to Afghanistan having more positive experiences in the next year than those combined over the past 20+--experiences the occupiers could have provided if they'd ever imagined them to begin with.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 18 2021 18:32 utc | 24

Posted by: MK | Aug 18 2021 17:55 utc | 8

Well, I noticed that awful lot of Taliban on pics from last few days have good trigger discipline and are carrying .223 rifles so it is not surprising.

Posted by: Abe | Aug 18 2021 18:35 utc | 25

Orthodox vs Unorthodox economics

B, thanks for following the money. The monetary arena will reveal a lot of Afghanistan’s future.

Afghanistan has an OPPORTUNITY to end the enslavement of their populace and not be captured by the monetary grid of the monetary imperialism. Only 8% of the populace have bank accounts and the monetary base is low. Every crisis is a challenge for imagination. Afghans need to take risk and work with China and Iran. They need to pursue good relationship with all.

Afghanistan will make a big MISTAKE by pursuing orthodox monetary system by bringing back former central banker Ajmal Ahmady and other with similar thinking. They promoted usury (15% interest) and ensured Afghanistan followed the setup of the International Financial Oligarchy - neoliberal model. Also, they would do better by not bringing in monarchy or Iranian type system. Monopoly at the top is bad for a nation. They would do better by creating a council of wise people (board of directors).

Afghans need to be creative risk-takers and pursue unorthodox policies and plans to build a better nation. They need to DEFAULT on their external debt and blame it on the NATO. This way they make a fresh start with a clean balanced sheet. They need to announce a new currency and let it be equal to one Renminbi, with capital controls like China. All nations that freeze their assets be disbarred from any future trade and relations, until they return those funds at an interest rate of 15%. Now they can start building their economy with sovereign money, currency swaps and ZERO interest rate. If they act with integrity, intelligence, imagination and implement well, they will succeed!

Will Afghanistan show creativity and courage in the monetary realm?

Posted by: Max | Aug 18 2021 18:43 utc | 26

@Posted by: Saraj | Aug 18 2021 18:23 utc | 20

According to the guy in the CB ( their is no guy at any CB who is not an IMF asset, btw...)most of the treasury reserves are spent in US bonds/treasuries...which equates forgetting about that which ammounts for the most of the Afghan reserves, money lost, the Americans do not lost time with this ever, first thing they secure is that your money is "safe" at theur banks, ask Venezuela, the same one could say about the Britons...

How do you know it is not Palantir washing Afghan reserves by buying gold in the millions of dollars before the black swan event? Then they will say it was wiped out by a cyberpandemic event, like the one they simulated on 7th July...

Forget about that money, like the Spanish Empire forgot about its galeons full with gold that the Britons pirated, it will never return, as they are who set the rules of the current "monetary financial system" and rob at wish without any international institution saying a word ever, not even Interpol....

Of course, the stranded guys in the Tajikistan Embassy try to grab something as Ghani left with all what he could leaving them at two adressing Interpol, but to no avail..

Taliban will have but to borrow from the Chinese, I hope that in better terms than we do with the IMF and WB, an advantage you may have as an emergent nation at this moment of history for to start anew, with new partners....

We are all already sentenced and have no remedy, our elites sold us out, there is nothing of value in our countries the US has not grabbed through his vulture fund BlackRock after they ruined us with the pandemic, while his CEO Larry Fink vaccinates us in mass and his MSM deviates attention form reality...

Do you have a room or apartment to rent in Kabul ( or Kandahar for that matter, I am no for capitals, ever...) ?

Posted by: Asha K. | Aug 18 2021 18:47 utc | 27

Asha @ 18, thanks for the link to that mighty motorcade of that 'resistance' in Panhshir!

Well, looks like they're off to a flying start, 😹!

They've got the Yamaha 50cc scooters...they've got the flags. Pretty serious business!

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 18 2021 18:47 utc | 28

b.. good post.. thanks... although i agree with @23 gordog this country probably survives at a grassroots level thru goats, barter and etc, i also think the big picture needs to be taken into account as @ 24 Sid Victor Cattoni articulates so well... so maybe it is a bit of both.. bottom line, money or some form of exchange is needed... getting out of the us$ would be a step in the right direction..

bottom line afganistan is in such a fluid state of transition, it is hard to know what it is all going to look like 1 month, or year down the road... i don't have much of any bead on where it is headed.. i wish it all the best... getting out from under the usa is absolutely necessary..

Posted by: james | Aug 18 2021 18:49 utc | 29

The Tallies would be well advised to avoid any kind of Washichu governance. They are tribal people. Let them sort it out. I'm sure life was like this before the pilgrims and their Jesus in America.

Check out the FiveGunsWest Yippie coverage of events with Abdul and Anwar Krumplemeyer and Caitlin Johnstone

If you don't like how I handled Afghanistan then You're Not Black - Joe Biden

Posted by: Jimmy Flies By | Aug 18 2021 18:51 utc | 30

Just a thought. All those foreigners huddled at Kabul airport, given that they killed Taliban where-ever they could, do you think the Taliban will really just let them go? Wouldn't they be great hostages, to negotiate a release of central bank reserves?

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Aug 18 2021 18:54 utc | 31

The U.S. has blocked Afghanistan's Central Bank (DAB) reserves and any large cash flow. Afghanistan's former(?) Governor of the Central Bank Ajmal Ahmady, who fled on Sunday, explains what issues that creates:

What idiots! This is provoking a hostage taking situation. Were I in their sandals, it'd have been done as soon as that American smooth move ex-lax moment was revealed where the Xtians stole my money. Then a head a day until I got what I wanted...or more to the point what is mine. Fucking with their money is an act of war, no? US foreplay before a rough fucking but they never tip.

Posted by: Jimmy Flies By | Aug 18 2021 18:59 utc | 32

What are terms of a loan from IMF?

In order to get a new loan from IMF the Angolan govt had to sell their nation by letting them buy businesses and determine its policies. This is not a loan but LOOTING.

“As part of the IMF program, Angola has pledged to sell 195 businesses or stakes, including partial holdings in national oil company Sonangol and diamond firm Endiama, to boost its public finances and reduce the role of the state in the economy. The government also aims to remove fuel subsidies and increase public transport tariffs”

Nations need to do currency swaps to build their economy. They need to create sovereign money as an asset to the people instead of money-as-DEBT by private banks.

What are terms of a loan from China?

Posted by: Max | Aug 18 2021 19:00 utc | 33

@ jimmy flies by.... i wish they would start with the ceos of wall st... that would be the best place to start...

Posted by: james | Aug 18 2021 19:01 utc | 34

And so you see the immense power of banks on display. Guns are not enough to rule.

Also, why wouldn't the Taliban be allowed those $9 billion in assets (rhetorical question)? They already have plenty of military gear, so there's no concern that they would buy a bunch of weaponry with the money and then overthrow someone. It seems like plain and simple theft by the exiting parties/banks.

Good luck to the governing powers in Afghanistan in this new economic struggle, but I have a feeling they have prepared for this conflict as well. Perhaps they can leverage pipeline access for banking access. Who owns and operates that gas pipeline now anyway? Is it operational?

Posted by: Rutherford82 | Aug 18 2021 19:03 utc | 35

The most important result is that Afghanistan will have sovereignty and civil peace for the first time in forty years. If the Taliban convene a loyal jirga and continue making deals with all the major players, then they will be known for setting Afghanistan right again. That will make development possible over the long term, especially if Russia and China can help shape the trajectory of things. But the nature of that development will depend on bigger matters than the Taliban can address at the moment: land reform, infrastructure, education, industrialization, social welfare, etc. This will take a long time to figure out. But peace and sovereignty are prerequisites of any progress. The US model of neoliberal development (free trade, privatisation, social welfare retrenchment) at the barrel of a gun is now thoroughly trashed. This is another story that hasn't been addressed too much. I wish I could post a few academic PDFs here on that topic.

Posted by: Prof | Aug 18 2021 19:08 utc | 36

@27 Max

Like those ideas, Max. Help educate us, so we can better critique your ideas: (kiddin', but sorta serious)

a. "They would do better by creating a council of wise people (board of directors)." This is sort of the Chinese model, right? How do you see the "wise people" thing working in a heavily tribal nation? Anybody got insight on this?

b. They need to DEFAULT on their external debt and blame it on the NATO.
Q to anybody: any reason NOT to default? They have no relationship to the West, or do they, going forward?

c. They need to announce a new currency and let it be equal to one Renminbi, with capital controls like China.
Q to Max: can Afghans even print a currency that won't be counterfeited? And what's this currency backed by? Who will believe in it?

d. All nations that freeze their assets be disbarred from any future trade and relations, until they return those funds at an interest rate of 15%. .... Max, if they default, ain't no way they're getting their money back. Good for the goose, etc.

e. Now they can start building their economy with sovereign money, currency swaps and ZERO interest rate. Max: what discipline is there to encourage wise use of money (which they won't have much of, if it's backed by anything) if there's no interest rate? How do you get wise resource allocation? (not that we do here in the U.S.; just sayin')

Keep it going, Max. For all you know, the Council of Wise People is filtering this blog.


Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Aug 18 2021 19:13 utc | 37

9Billion USD stolen from the country sounds like a very reasonable reason to hold a pretty serious grudge.

If the USA are concerned about international Islamic Terrorism and Afghanistan becoming its next central station, stealing 9Billion USD of its rightful treasure seems like a perfect way to make sure it happens.

Or are they doing this for leverage? I read there are still 10-15,000 US citizens looking to leave Afghanistan. Plus a few thousand soldiers, trapped in an airport, surrounded by tens of thousands of soon to be a lot less conciliatory Taliban fighters. Air cover isn't gonna help them much once the Taliban break through the fence.

Am i the only one seeing where this could go?

Posted by: Et Tu | Aug 18 2021 19:13 utc | 38

Afghanistan is massive. And we live in the 5G age. If the Taliban can provide 10 years of stability, Bin Laden's vision of a Eurasian Dubai could be on the cards.

Posted by: Jezabeel | Aug 18 2021 19:19 utc | 39

In my acperience,/Nûristan" (formerly "Kaffiristan ('the land of the non-be3iver Kaffirs) fall outside the mold. Those paces to the east and north of Kab:bû:l are very well protected. -- Oh, how much the Pashoons would wish to hook up wit them! Several Chinese anthropologists have studied thhose minorities an infiltrated them with Chinese Muslims.

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Aug 18 2021 19:24 utc | 40

@ Tom Pfotzer (#38), keep it going... will respond later. Need to go now. :)

A good team with integrity, intelligence and imagination, that loves their nation/company, can create success. Apple is a good case study in this arena. They came back from bankruptcy!

We can make America great too! Where there is will, there is a way!

“Mankind will never see an end of trouble until lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power become lovers of wisdom.”

Posted by: Max | Aug 18 2021 19:29 utc | 41

@23 Gordog:

You said: "Most of the Afghan economy is gray market. The vast majority of the populace is rural subsistence folks that live off their goats and such.

The only people who relied on the dollar economy in Kabul were profiteers and regime skimmers, from Ghani down.

This is a resilient society that has survived for decades amid chaos and armed conflict. The peace and stability will only make things better, not worse."

===== and I say:

A very good point. Need to keep that in mind as I develop all my Galactic BRI Economic Development plans.

I wonder what their actual foreign exchange requirements are (to buy imports like gasoline, scooters, bolts, portland cement, etc.). Anybody seen any import stats on Afghanistan lately? ... hmm, couldn't I just look that up for myself? ...

... aaanndd here it is:

Afghanistan Imports

Key para is:

"Afghanistan main imports are: petroleum (33 percent of total imports), machinery and equipment (15 percent), food items (14 percent) and base metals and related articles (9 percent). Main import partners are: Pakistan (14 percent of total imports), Russia (13 percent), Uzbekistan (11 percent), Iran (9.1 percent) and China (9 percent). Others include: Turkmenistan, Japan and Kazakhstan. "

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Aug 18 2021 19:30 utc | 42

I agree with Gottlieb.. That sentence was extremly misguided. They shot and killed 3 and put children in the hospital with gunshot wounds. Nothing that the puppet state would not do themselves if places were reversed, but no need to cloud what had happend here.
And while i would have supported Bernhards optimistic stance here yesterday, today it transpired that Talibs will NOT go for a true inclusive system.
No democracy of any kind, but a leadership by talib theocrats was just annouced. A U-turn as opposed to yesterdays declaration of women in goverment.

And why shouldn't they? Had Ghani stayed and pulled their forces to Kabul to form a even half way effective defense they could have the leverage. Now, the victor belongs the spoils.
And with economic crisis looming, this dont look as promising now anyway.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Aug 18 2021 19:30 utc | 43

Telesur has a different take on the resistance. When I read this article, I think the possibility of genuine civil war in Afghanistan is greater than previously discussed.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Aug 18 2021 19:33 utc | 44

Start by selling the Black Hawks, drones and other stuff to Russia and China, before needing spare parts.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 18 2021 19:34 utc | 45

To add: Jihadis from Turkey, Palestine and idlib now are embolded. Every westerner here who is gloating at the failure of the US should know better. As Andrei Martyanov said, this is a hugely positive development for muslim extremism, political Islam and a threat for everyone else, no matter if Russian, European or US. No matter the political side you are on.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Aug 18 2021 19:35 utc | 46

@ jimmy flies by.... i wish they would start with the ceos of wall st... that would be the best place to start...

Posted by: james

I do too. Great point. If the US were in charge of this they'd pass around the conch for speaking.

Posted by: Jimmy Flies By | Aug 18 2021 19:42 utc | 47

Where there is will, there is a way!
Posted by: Max

Where there's a will, I want to be in it!

Posted by: Abdullah Goldberg | Aug 18 2021 19:47 utc | 48

Money will soon have no value, unless you transform it in gold as it does Palantir for the US Gov...But the Gold markets are not avaialbel for us peasant,s and thus neither for the Taliban, welcome to the club, guys!

Afghanistan, as a country mainly of peasants and pastors, is currently in a better posiiton than anybody else in the West, may be Russia and China, who have been preparing for this event from time ago as long time planners.

Already past year, people informed, like doctors in conceptual intelligence and the kind, were advising through their Twitter accounts ( who then became for profit webinars...)to invest in gold and silver, plus buying some meat, like a head of cattle, to make parts to share amongst friends and relatives to then keep at a freezer, as he was advancing the current supply crisis and black swan events we start envisioning in the horizon..

When the shit really hits the fan, internet will be shut down, so that you can not test what is happening with your bank account, and, when power returns, "you will own nothing", but, in their opinion ( that of the robbers, of course...) "you will be happy", what will place you ,as new indigent, at expenses of the government for a meager subside, which you will get under condition that you go to innoculate yourself every week with new crippling meds that will terminate you soon enough so that you do not ammount much spending for the state by having the occurrence of living many years...Anyway, as you will be an increasingly infectious thingy as your natural immune system decay, you will not be admitted into any health facility, that will anyway remain, once all privatized, for the rich only...

This is the future for Europe...

In this scenario, you tell me, what will differecne us from the Afghan people? At least they have an opportunity, they live in tribal clans in which they care and protect each other, have cattle and can harvest from the land...w

We have been thrown against each other in our neighborhoods, in our job places, amongst friends, even amongst families, even amongst married couples now that they want to "vaccinate" even newborns, on the "vaccine divide"...
With so much hatred spread 24/7 by the media through two years, and everything falling apart, it will be worst than the jungle...

Juts wait when there is no more travel, no more vacation, no more shopping, no more selfies, no more electricity, no more food...except a meager ration and "vaccines"...
The Taliban are accustomed to go over there without having a shower every half a day and that only gets them better prepared for what is to come...

They will definitely prevail, this is why I am seriously considering moving myslef there...

As illustration...and warning...

Posted by: Asha K. | Aug 18 2021 19:49 utc | 49


The jihadis in Syria might be inspired, but they haven't done, and won't do, what the Taliban did, because they have very different projects. The Taliban is a "nationalist Islamist insurgency" which has shown how to negotiate complex political divides. The jihadis are different -- they have little interest in Syria as a nation and more interest in a regional caliphate like IS. They also clearly failed to handle any major political divisions to make their project workable. They lost because they were politically clueless and nothing but butchers. Asad won the political battle in Syria. There is nothing the jihadis can do to turn the tide in Syria. You can't conflate these things.

Posted by: Prof | Aug 18 2021 19:50 utc | 50

Perhaps I am delusional, but I see mucho Russian influence in the amazing events in Kabul. The bloodless takeover of Kabul echoes what took place in Crimea - "little green men" came out of the woodwork, and the Ukie troops were offered safe passage out, or the opportunity to join.

Also tracks the Russian strategies in Idlib, the Donbass caldrons, etc where a bloodless exit and negociation is always prized.

There is IMHO much deeper thought invested in what we are seeing, and with the (already well planned) support of China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan it seems to me that Afghanistan will do just fine...

Well played!

Posted by: Simplicius | Aug 18 2021 19:52 utc | 51

The fact that Afghanistan needs money from outside sources to run its economy makes it likely that the Taliban will behave responsibly and do whatever they can to avoid chaos, civil war and mass starvation. Potential investors, such as China, Russia and Iran will not throw money into a boiling cauldron. Naturally, the U.S. will do everything possible to bring about the failure of the new government, even if it turns out to be a model of Jeffersonian democracy. The Taliban, being clever and not simply religious fanatics, are well aware of these circumstances and will act accordingly. Of course, there may be some nastiness along the way, but I expect (hope) this will be the exception, not the rule.

Posted by: Rob | Aug 18 2021 19:57 utc | 52

vk | Aug 18 2021 17:15 utc | 1

I fully agree. This is also the reason why the Taliban will do anything to avoid terrorist activities on their territory. They will probably also grant licences to the Chinese for the exploitation of various mineral deposits as soon as possible.

Posted by: pnyx | Aug 18 2021 20:03 utc | 53

@51 The jihadis in Syria also relied heavily on Captagon for their inspiration. The Taliban seem to be a more sober minded group.

Posted by: dh | Aug 18 2021 20:07 utc | 54

I agree with Gordog. There is no need to deal with Saleh, holed up in a valley with no supplies or backup. There are people in mental hospitals all over America claiming to be president, and no president ever goes in to take out the competition.
He's a clown. Kill him and he's a martyr. Which is better for the Taliban?
They need to focus on feeding the people and keeping order.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Aug 18 2021 20:09 utc | 55

Some of Max's postings contain some questions and terminology that might be useful for us to know as we contemplate all the stuff Afghanistan has to deal with as it finances its growth and development.


For those of you, like me, that have heard of currency swaps but don't know what they are:

What is a Currency Swap?

A currency swap is a transaction in which two parties exchange an equivalent amount of money with each other but in different currencies. The parties are essentially loaning each other money and will repay the amounts at a specified date and exchange rate. The purpose could be to hedge exposure to exchange-rate risk, to speculate on the direction of a currency, or to reduce the cost of borrowing in a foreign currency.

Currency swaps are relevant to Afghanistan because ... at the outset, their currency - if they create one - will fluctuate a lot in value, making it more difficult to "make a deal" between a buyer and seller of ...say, a big cement plant, that takes a year or 2 to build.

Things can change a lot in that timeframe. So Afghanis need a way to remove the risk for an outsider lending money into an economy that's getting thrashed around by ... all the things that go wrong when you start a new nation.


The other question Max asked, is "What are terms of a loan from China?"

Here's a quick summary of the report that follows:

And here's the full report. It's a PDF.

My read of the detailed doc is that the Chinese are getting really good at loaning to unstable partners. They use a variety of devices to:

* insure confidentiality of loan terms,

* obtain security interest in some valuable asset in case the lendee defaults,

* to route national income related to the financed project thru escrow (3rd party) bank accounts so that China has first-access to national income flows in case funny biz happens, and

* they also include loan terms to "stabilize" the economic operating environment for the financed project, such that laws passed by the lendee nation that affect the project are waived, and costs to the project for external inputs are guaranteed by the lendee to be "stable". That prevents gimmicks by the lendee to extract value from the project at the expense of the lendor/project operator (e.g. China).

None of the terms are surprising or particularly onerous unless the lendee is incompetent or dishonest, or suffers a big unforseen calamity. Then the lendee has trouble, as they would under any loan.

And let's be clear: loans are risky to everyone involved. It's not a pretty business. But China seems to be getting good at it, and they're issuing thousands of loans all over the world.


One para from the Quick Summary linked above:

"The results will disappoint those who have argued that BRI is little more than debt trap diplomacy for the study found that China’s terms were generally not so unreasonable, even considering that sometimes there was no alternative source of funding from the West. At the same time, however, there were several features to worry about."

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Aug 18 2021 20:14 utc | 56

"In a readout of a Monday phone call between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his
American counterpart, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the foreign ministry ironically
noted the "de facto regime change" underway in Afghanistan, a phrase that once applied to
Washington's campaign to unseat the Taliban."

Outreach to the Taliban pays dividends to Putin

Posted by: Anon | Aug 18 2021 20:15 utc | 57

@ Sid Victor Cattoni | Aug 18 2021 18:31 utc | 24 who suggested de-dollarizing

I agree and think it will happen.

I continue to write that humanity is in a civilization war between public/private finance and look at all the comments and the posting b provided focused on how Afghanistan gets money to operate their economy.

What if China were to step in and do two things. Provide AIIB backing for re-development loans and provide a digital currency (like the test China yuan one) tied to the yuan instead of the dollar.

What does Afghanistan have to buy in dollars that they can't with the yuan

I think we are getting to the crux of the civilization war and how Afghanistan is handled will show some or all of the new way forward with finance as a social utility instead of a profit center for the elite.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 18 2021 20:19 utc | 58

the taliban aren't the 1st village people to totally pwn the USM.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Aug 18 2021 20:20 utc | 59

Posted by: gottlieb | Aug 18 2021 17:43 utc | 4

There is nothing wrong with a theocracy if it is just and ruled by just men.

My ideal set of rule is a theocratic kingdom🤷‍♂️

I see no problem with neither Islamic or Orthodox Christian theocracies, it all depends on the honesty and wisdom of the supreme leader and his councils🤷‍♂️

A unjust ruler must be dealt with by the citizens, not u.s invasion and plunder.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Aug 18 2021 20:37 utc | 60

"They should also ask Ajmal Ahmady to return to the Central Bank." and perhaps remind him he has a duty to preserve life and order. To damn well straighten out this (his?) mess and quick. Just sayin.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Aug 18 2021 20:47 utc | 61

Posted by: Per/Norway | Aug 18 2021 20:37 utc | 61

I appreciate you.

John Adams often talked about 'virtue' being a requirement of the 'men' who served in government. And certainly the white-anglo founders of the USA were 'devout' yet they chose an expansive non-interfering, nondenominational Creator to worship, while the three religions of the Book are quite primitive in their Manichean world views.

Posted by: gottlieb | Aug 18 2021 20:49 utc | 62

"There's no other way: China and Russia will have to bleed their treasuries to keep Afghanistan afloat for the foreseeable future, as the USA clamps it down from the financial system. It will be painful and costly for Russia and China - but that's the price of Eurasia."
vk @ 1, thanks.
Right to the point yes. But a bit negative. You could say this defines the BRI. Investment in your neighbor hanging solid infrastructure.
Everyone wins. Maybe not the environment but that is OT.
The alternative is the opium field economy.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Aug 18 2021 20:55 utc | 63

Since the Afghans have a rich country, they can become overall exporters later. What is needed is stability until then.

The use of dollars was to make them dependent on a different monetary system, rather than their own. The idea of belonging to the Central Banking System (Rothschilds at the BIS) is only to be contemplated if they want to be badly served, and where International "financial systems" (Black rock et al) can freely speculate again.

The alternative - keeping outside the BIS/Central Banking system, has led to the attacks on renegades (Libya, Iran etc.). However in this case the BIS/Central Bank system has already tried its worse to subjugate the Afghans. It has now suffered a major setback.

So I expect that loans, which could come from China, Russia would be denominated in local currencies. ie. a loan in Yuan, or Roubles would BE in Yuan or Roubles, not dollars. Thus tying Afghanistan closer into the SCO/BRI/Eurasia. I assume that semi-nomadic groups are more used to using other peoples currencies than the west is.

It is obvious that the US dollar and US treasuries are lost to the Taliban. They might be recuperable by pseudo-Guaidos in US courts, but that is all. Which is what the "hopefuls" are aiming for - personal richess. I am waiting to see the first one trying to climb over a fence to stake his claim, as Guaido tried to do.

The gold has gone to fill up the private collections of a few billionaires and bankers in the west. Particularly the Bactrian Gold. They will probably have a few private auctions to dispose of the items.

As to the question of what Government, it will still have a tribal basis.

Which means that it could lean towards a consensual system through discussions.


I am not sure that Max's idea of them printing and using their own money, could be done as many countries have their money printed by others. The "backing" of the money could be be done by using Lithium and rare earths as collateral. Some thing migh be better than gold.

****** *******

I made a mistake on the previous thread in that I assumed the Taliban were not used to Twitter and other forms of social contact by phone. Sorry.

Apparently they had a "complaints" department through which ordinary people could complain, and after which the Taliban would look into the problem. Robbery, etc.

This was Twitter based. Twitter has now seized or closed ALL accounts that even might be connected with the Taliban or Afghanistan or anyone with an Afghanistan sounding name. By doing this it will make CIA disruption groups harder to localize. (There has been at least one case of 40 or so yobs dressing as Taliban and going round robbing people. I don't know what has happened to them since). Deliberate sh*t stirring by the US.

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 18 2021 20:57 utc | 64

Taliban has surprised as much in power as they surprised everybody during their campaign.

I sincerely think this will become a promising land and (hopefully) a staunchly independent neutral land and conduit for communications to tie the East and West together.

The ugly unipolar realm of the Hegemon in DC is being eroded away without too much bloodshed.

Iran will soon find an outlet for it's oil supplies to China through Afghanistan and becoming much less dependent upon long and vital sea lanes.

USA is finished in the Middle East also. It is only a matter of months.

Posted by: Harald | Aug 18 2021 21:01 utc | 65

"If you can get advanced weapon training (helicopters, heavy weapons, etc), a monthly stipend, healthcare, 3 hots and a cot for pretending to be a recruit, and the Yanks aren't going to say no, you take that deal.

And now the Afghan army dissolves back into Taliban regiments, flying choppers the Yanks trained them to fly, manning weapons given them, and there’s no resistance as they take the capital. I’m not surprised. You shouldn’t be either." - MK @ 8
Lol. There was some resistance force somewhere that to be admitted they preferred you served like this.

IE Against them. Free training and experience. Intel. Money and tech. Etc. What a world. Lol.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Aug 18 2021 21:04 utc | 66

I won't link to it but the Washington Post is pushing an op ed by Ahmad Massoud called, "The mujahideen resistance to the Taliban begins now."

What this means is that the hawks/neocons/liberal interventionists want to deny Afghanistan any future for defying the empire.

The Taliban should simply mop up any opposition and get the borders firmly under control.

Posted by: Prof | Aug 18 2021 21:07 utc | 67

Nick @ 14
Propaganda trash, why you always so biased towards Russ a and China?

Because we are Americans and we like to be on the winning side.

Posted by: circumspect | Aug 18 2021 21:10 utc | 68

Simplicius | Aug 18 2021 19:52 utc | 52

Well noted, the Russians have experience to back them up. They must be collaborating with the Chinese, but clearly the "thinking" rests solidly on Russian thought processes. Continuity !

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 18 2021 21:12 utc | 69

Asha K. @ 18
Well, they paraded today along the Panjshir motorway, one by one in motorcicles to form a longer demonstration....These guys talk about dozens...

Looks more like a Trump motor parade. Hard to see but where are the weapons and humvees? I guess we will airmail that stuff later

Posted by: circumspect | Aug 18 2021 21:19 utc | 70

Surely the poppies are no longer as lucrative since the advent of Fentanyl? One doesn't hear as much about heroin as one did a few decades ago. I'm sure it's still there but the problem seems to be local use rather than Air America shipments. My guess is that mineral resources will ultimately be the key.

Posted by: Patroklos | Aug 18 2021 21:30 utc | 71

@Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 18 2021 20:57 utc | 65

In fact, in the first hours of the take overn may be minutes, they have already broadcasted and emergency number service in case any perosn would find itself in trouble.
Saw it at Twitter...

Posted by: Asha K. | Aug 18 2021 21:46 utc | 72

This guy who seems to read pashto, since he reports news from Afghan accounts, is finding this development super interesting...

Oh wow. Pakistan has reportedly released Mullah Rasul from prison after he served 5 years in a Pakistani prison. He was arrested by Pakistani authorities after he broke away from the Taliban and formed a new faction. Now he's back to Afghanistan. Super interesting.

Posted by: Asha K. | Aug 18 2021 21:47 utc | 73

Prof @68

I can understand why you would have that view of Massoud’s article, but I wonder if we should just ignore any talk of organized opposition to the Taliban. From the Telesur article I linked to above (definitely not the WaPo):

“Former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself Afghanistan’s acting president on Tuesday, met with Ahmed Massoud in Bashir City in Iraq. From there, they will gather supporters, tanks, and planes to fight the Taliban. Both called on Afghans to work toward a revolution against the Islamic Emirate.”

“Therefore, Afghanistan is back in a civil war scenario between the Taliban and the Panjshiri, a Tajik ethnic community which played an important role in the resistance against the Soviet occupation (1979-1989). They inhabit the mountainous areas north of Kabul.”

Russia has not acknowledged the Taliban government yet. Chechnya’s Kadyrov said that like Bin Laden, the Taliban is another American project and a US scam against Muslims. (From RT) Do we just dismiss all of that?

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Aug 18 2021 21:52 utc | 74

Ghani has made an adressing from UAE insinuating he is consulting his return to Afghanistan...

Not without the money back!

@Natsecjeff says he has nothing more to do in Afghanistan, since he lost his honor and the respect of the people..

Posted by: Asha K. | Aug 18 2021 21:53 utc | 75

For the boradcasted drmamtic exodus we witness at Kabul airport, it seems that once the borders open there is currently a major flood of people returning from Pakistan to Afghanistan, than viceversa...

Posted by: Asha K. | Aug 18 2021 21:58 utc | 76

@Harald | Aug 18 2021 21:01 utc | 66

"Taliban has surprised as much in power as they surprised everybody during their campaign."

In reality,  Taliban is being surprised more than every other one else of the fast enfolding of events. It is true that Taliban is much more matured, now, but source of power shift is some ever else. 

We have seen several times in Iran history ( at least 5 times!),  how an empire collapses by sudden, however majority of historians do not see the reality of imploding of empires, and attribute implosion to external powers.  

What I mean, this is the Financial imperialism of west is imploding. Listen to screeching sounds coming  from Joseph Borrel, Biden, Trump, Blinken, Stolenburger NATestan, ..., and Justin time Trudeau.


Posted by: arata | Aug 18 2021 21:59 utc | 77

karlof1 @25

"Pepe confirms Tom Pfotzer @12 and Gordog @15 assertions that its China and Russia running the show behind the scenes."

So, Afghanistan has gone overnight from being a US puppet to Chinese/Russian one. Ain't that a bit disheartening for people who hoped Afghanistan would gain some autonomy?

Posted by: Robert Macaire | Aug 18 2021 21:59 utc | 78

The Massoud J., seems to have the support of France, he even appeared earlier this year on France24 wanrning of "civil war in Afghanistan"...

This analyst wonders how far is France willing to go with this...

Another adventure by Petit Napoleon?

Posted by: Asha K. | Aug 18 2021 22:09 utc | 79

Gordog #29

Well, looks like they're off to a flying start, 😹!

They've got the Yamaha 50cc scooters...they've got the flags. Pretty serious business!

The pearl clutching hysterics in yankistan will be hailing the new Peshmerga heroes and asserting that there were women on those bikes too!!!

I think the rapid grab of Kabul stymied just this trick and all that is left is the 'northern alliance' to needle the new Afghanistan government. What exactly is their border location and are they a significant obstruction to obor - that is the big question.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 18 2021 22:10 utc | 80

Uncle tungsten @81 there is the question of their connections (saw a photo w BHL toi confirm French interest). Are they backed by Iran and/or Turkey? Where do Pakistan and India fit in?

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Aug 18 2021 22:15 utc | 81

Some photos of the meeting Haqqani/Karzai/Abdullah from TB sources....

Posted by: Asha K. | Aug 18 2021 22:16 utc | 82

If CIA spooks all met in a bar...

Imperialists and their thugs are having a bad day.

Does their beer have any less taste?

Is it a bad time and place to relate a pithy story?

If someone walked in licking a Biden-icecream-cone
would they go out faster than they came in?

Posted by: librul | Aug 18 2021 22:32 utc | 83

Tom Pfotzer | Aug 18 2021 19:13 utc | 38 Re C) Currency.
Many countries outsource creation of coins and bills. China?

Posted by: David G Horsman | Aug 18 2021 23:03 utc | 84

Max: I might have an answer to your "Sovereign Money" problem, and it's staring us right in the face:


Use copper as the basis for Afghanistan money.

Afghanistan has plenty of copper reserves.
Copper spot-price now is $4.50 / lb.
Most of Afghan economy is subsistence with some industry
Afghanistan needs development investment to fund infrastructure
Loans need collateral. Copper is great collateral


mint copper coins. Copper is worth enough such that the coins would have trust-able value just based on their weight. No trusting fiat.
Sovereign money. Coined by central bank.

Foreign exchange is readily available: bring your copper coins to an exchange point, get currency of preference, less txn costs, on the spot. Put your coins on the scale, multiply by copper spot price (officially set by central bank, made real by what independent exchanges are willing to pay. Automatic BS detector.

Afghanistan's intn'l credit (loans 3rd parties willing to make) is based on physical copper reserves (warehouse full of copper billets), inventory is checkable .vs. what's already pledged as collateral. Diff between physical inventory and what's-pledged is available credit


get a percentage of physical copper from China mining co-op. 60% (or some reasonable pct based on investment required to extract and associated risk/profit) of extracted copper per period is payable to Afghanistan as copper billets.
Billets go into Central Bank warehouse.

CB gets a coin-minting machine. Turns billets into coins.

Gov't buys public works: buys mat'ls with copper billets, buys labor with minted copper coins.

People exchange coins among themselves via trading transactions. Trust copper money because they can weigh it, and know weight-to-value index at all times. Little people have sovereign money, and plenty of it if Gov't buys labor for projects.

Gov't collects taxes in copper coins. Re-cycles them into the economy. Valid currency. Currency buying-power is based on spot-price.

Spot price trends upward (demand-supply dynamic). Money is valuable not just as currency, but as an investment.

For orgs that need big amounts to function (industry) gov't issues "copper certificates" convertible into billets on demand. Fraud / conterfeit risk is here, but it's confined to big players, and relatively less-common, maybe the risk is manageable. (over my pay grade, specialists need to weigh in here)

There ya go. What do you think?

Hope the Wise People Council is still monitoring this thread.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Aug 18 2021 23:13 utc | 85

@85 David G. Horsman

David - Saw your post; good idea. Pls see #85 and weigh in.

Certainly China could mint the coins, or better yet supply the coin-minting equipment. It doesn't seem that that complicated - it's a rolling and stamping operation, right?

Rolling mill to convert billet to sheet @ right thickness.

Hydraulic press and some dies (cut the coin from the copper sheet, trim/dress the edges, stamp a pattern on the front).

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Aug 18 2021 23:30 utc | 86

BTW, did you know that Afghanistan has an oil refinery? It's right over the Afghanistan-Uzbekistan "Friendship Bridge", which was built by the Russians in '68, I think. It handles vehicles and railroad trains. Looks like the crude oil comes over that bridge from Uzbekistan.

Here's a link:

Afghanistan's Oil Refinery

It makes diesel, kerosene, heating fuel oil, gasoline, and asphalt. All the right stuff.

Boggles me how small that thing is. You could fit it into the trunk of your car. (slight exaggeration).

Wonder how many billets of copper I'd have to trade to get another one of those.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Aug 18 2021 23:38 utc | 87

While speculating with a western mindset about how best the Taliban might finance their economy please bear in mind that the Taliban aspire to establish a Khilafa system of government.

Sharia law and its implications for Islamic finance, like the prohibition of ribat come into play.

This means no deals with the IMF for loans.

Also no loan deals with interest from the Western bloc.

It also implies the return of a gold backed dirham or dinar if the Taliban are truly serious about adhering to the tenets of a Khilafa state.

This suggests that financing will be limited to sources from:

- The Islamic world (Sunni nations)
- China

I hold out no hope of funding from the Europeans and the "wannabe Europeans" Russia. Neither Iran.

However, it seems between the Gulf Sunni States and China, there might be enough funding and trade avaliable to sustain things.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Aug 18 2021 23:48 utc | 88

Back to comment
@ Gordog | Aug 18 2021 16:52 utc | 220
European Parliament has no impact, even on European politics. All is packed in Nato's puppet "Commission"

@ karlof1 |208

"In other words, it fails to take into account the material power of an ideology – in this case, the power of faith

And again, for all the believer of Empire will Strike back, just read from an insider

An Army with no ideology, fake intelligence, obsolete weaponry and fully rotted from his process

My opinion :
Remake of "The Hateful 8" on the run in DC.

* Fox News has obtained the June 11 memo sent around the State Department which gave the green light on the "discontinuation of the establishment, and the termination of, the Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau (CCR)."
* Afghanistan blame game intensifies as White House, Pentagon and intel point fingers
*Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on Wednesday took an apparent shot at the intelligence community, which he said never predicted the Taliban could take over the country as rapidly as it did.
*leaks to The New York Times and NBC News indicated that intelligence officials had warned the White House and Pentagon that Afghanistan could rapidly collapse.
*President Biden had touted the abilities of Afghan troops before the withdrawal but has since blamed them, as well as a Trump-era peace agreement,
*General Mark Milley admitted that Afghan pilots flew several US aircraft out of the country. They think they were flown to Uzbekistan or Tajikistan but they are not sure.
They also have no idea how many were taken.
*Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said heads should roll at President Biden's State Department following the botched Afghanistan troop withdrawal
*Lloyd Austin said that while the main priority is to increase evacuations from the airport in Kabul, U.S. forces won't be able to go out and fetch large numbers of civilians eligible to fly out

Posted by: Rêveur | Aug 18 2021 23:51 utc | 89

@Robert Macaire 79

So, Afghanistan has gone overnight from being a US puppet to Chinese/Russian one. Ain't that a bit disheartening for people who hoped Afghanistan would gain some autonomy?

Yeah, because Russia and China are known for their vast global network of colonies and puppet states. Give it a rest, buddy.

Posted by: Antibody | Aug 18 2021 23:55 utc | 90

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Aug 18 2021 21:52 utc | 75

Chechnya’s Kadyrov said that like Bin Laden, the Taliban is another American project and a US scam against Muslims. (From RT) Do we just dismiss all of that?

Yes, we do.

Russia has always had an uneasy relationship with the Islamic world, so their perspectives need to be taken selectively.

Khadyrov is Putins "pet Muslim".

He holds no opinion other than what Putin allows him to hold... Or else!

His views on the Taliban are entirely political.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Aug 18 2021 23:58 utc | 91

On the "never happen" list; The U$A offers to assist the Taliban in creating a stable transition, as partial reward for all the suffering and death we've caused by our greed, and let China and Russia take the lead, since the country is in their sphere of influence...

Posted by: vetinLA | Aug 18 2021 23:58 utc | 92

Afghanistan has resources. China has resources. China is very interested in Afghanistan's resources. Money? No problem. This is the East, where deals replace money in markets.

Posted by: Tom Hickey | Aug 19 2021 0:18 utc | 93

Afghan GDP was US$19.29 billion in 2019 at market exchange rates, it boggles the mind that US$2,000 billion (US$2 trillion) could be spent over 20 years by the US - that's US$100 billion per year - five times Afghani GDP per year! Most of that spent at US labour extortion rates and on US weaponry and of course huge amounts of MIC/CIA/NGO complex profits/graft. That doesn't even include the money spent by the other occupying nations.

China's GDP was over US$14,000 billion in 2019 at market exchange rates, so I am sure that they can spare enough to help aid to help the Afghanis rebuild - of course at Chinese and Afghani labour rates and with many times less graft plus maybe food aid from Russia, and of course with most of it staying within Afghanistan.

Posted by: Roger | Aug 19 2021 0:25 utc | 94

Arch Bungle @ 89

the "wannabe Europeans" Russia

Russians are not "wannabe Europeans". Many, if not most, hold Europe in contempt due to its submissiveness to the US, and its cultural and moral decline.

Posted by: Cossack | Aug 19 2021 0:34 utc | 95

Uncle T @ 81: here's this speck of a province on the map.

Total population of the entire province is only 173,000, one of the smallest in the country---and judging by their little motor-scooter show of 'force,' the Saleh and Massoud clownshow commands very little actual support, and zero firepower.

As you can see on the map there is no way in or out, except through Talib territory. Nowhere near any borders. It is impossible to get anything in or out with Talib controlling all roads in.

Bigger picture is ALL of Afghanistan's neighbors are on the same page, Pakistan, the 'stans [which are being directed by Russia], Iran...

It is absolutely absurd to take this CIA psyop seriously. The Talib need to do absolutely nothing. At some point these clowns will simply be ARRESTED.

Whispering rumors that get picked up by media is standard procedure since the Mockingbird days. Also remember Udo Ulfkotte who wrote a book about 'journalists' on CIA payroll [then dying of a 'heart attack' at the ripe old age of fifty-something shortly thereafter].

Like I said, this is a complete nothingburger. Look at the long list of nothingburgers in my comment 15, that were all being blared far and wide just days ago. Where are they now?

The 'civil war' idea is preposterous on its face. But it looks like there is still some copium going on here on the thread, lol! Good to know! 😺

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 19 2021 0:42 utc | 96

The cost of the Iraq war and occupation is estimated at US$2 trillion as well (with another US$ 2 trillion+ for all other "War on Terror" expenses excluding Afghanistan). Prior to the first Iraq war, Iraq GDP was about US$180 billion, then collapsed due to sanctions to US$40 billion, and has now recovered back to about where it was before the first Iraq war.

So, at US$111 billion per year for eighteen years (from 2013 start of second Iraq war to 2021) the US expenditures probably equalled Iraqi GDP or perhaps a bit higher. Not as bad as Afghanistan, but still pretty atrocious given that Iraq has only recently returned to the GDP level it had in 1990. In the interim, its population has increased from 17 million to 39 million - so on a per capita basis about half the income of 1990. All that money just to make Iraq poorer, and place it within the sphere of control of Iran!

The average Iraqi was better off by a factor of two with Saddam Hussein in power in 1990 before the invasion of Kuwait, and that's with much lower oil prices than today! Just astonishing. In 1990 Iranian GDP per capita was one fifth of Iraqs, now they are pretty equal - even with the US sanctions on Iran. Iran's population is more than twice that of Iraq

Posted by: Roger | Aug 19 2021 0:43 utc | 97

An oil (and possibly gas) pipeline from Iran to China can go in a pretty straight line from Iran's eastern border, through Turkmenistan, then northern Afghanistan and into China. Any new road and rail networks could be used to add capacity during a crisis period between China and the US.

That would pretty much remove any US energy embargo as a threat against China and provide transit revenues to Afghanistan, as well as Turkmenistan, and remove Iranian dependence upon the Straits of Hormuz (already partially achieved by the new export terminal in the Gulf of Oman and the under construction Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline). A win-win on all Eurasian sides and possibly all within the SCO. All those expensive US surface ships would become an even bigger white elephant.

Posted by: Roger | Aug 19 2021 1:07 utc | 98

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 19 2021 0:42 utc | 97

I agree that this "tiny spec of a province" has little chance of posing a problem to the Taliban *all things being equal*.

However, do bear in mind that all things are not equal.

The US still has the capability to reinforce fighters in Panjshir with special forces and air power and thus maintain a long term presence in that "speck", blocking the Wakhan corridor and stymieing BRI routes between China and Afghanistan.

If the Americans decide to enlist ISIL/ISIS in Afghanistan and funnel in hundreds of thousands of ISIL operatives like they did in Syria (remember? one day they were nowhere, the next they were everywhere), then the Taliban will have a major problem on their hands.

Don't assume that the small number of fighters in that valley are the limit of what can be fielded should the West decide they cannot give up all influence in Afghanistan. They have a long history of performing the same alchemy that turns a small splinter cell into a civil war.

It all depends on what the West will do next.

Stay tuned for news of the US/UK flying in supplies to Panjshir, that will be the sign.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Aug 19 2021 1:21 utc | 99

I wrote here several days ago that the blitz Taliban takeover was a well-coordinated plan led by the big regional powers, namely Russia, which managed to get all of its former 'stan republics on one page. Also China and Pakistan of course. But primarily Russia, which is a major military and diplomatic world power.

I'm not going to find those quotes now, but I said that what we are seeing is a REGIONAL solution that is being created by all the regional players in concert.

And at the top of the list of objectives is that EXTRATERRITORIAL players [US and Nato] are OUT!

Then just yesterday we find out that Russia's man in Kabul, Mr Kabulov [appropriately enough] says the Russians have been talking to the Talib, about 'many things' for SEVEN years! Pepe was as astonished at that news as some of here at the Cub MoA.

Then we had the Tajik and Uzbek objections, which stood for years, of Iran joining the SCO, being removed and Iran getting a phone call from Mr Patrushev, Putin's national security advisor, telling them they are in. On the same day that Taliban walk into Kabul and US flees helter skelter to the airport.

So all of that has unfolded as predicted in this space days ago.

Eurasian integration is happening, as Pepe and others have long been insightfully reporting. This is a GOOD thing! Afghanistan is not going to be any kind of 'puppet.' Just like the other countries in the region are not any kind of 'puppets.'

The US has been a global wrecking ball for the last twenty years [longer, If we start with the destruction of Yugoslavia, the moment the Soviet Union imploded, and also the First Iraq War].

The US was also a wrecking ball for decades before that, in Vietnam, in Korea, in Indonesia, and many other places.

There is also a wrecking ball right here at home.

A very very big one. Ordinary folks have seen their fortunes shrink while the billionaires and wall street moneychangers have grabbed everything. The ladders of upward mobility that we had in our youth are gone for our kids. There is only lifelong debt and wage peonage ahead.

There is no reason to mourn the TOTAL DESTRUCTION of the west's so-called 'rules-based order.' Only good can come from that.

The Global Times today has an interesting opinion piece: Taliban victory a major failure of Western civilization’s expansion

The victory of the Afghan Taliban is a major failure of Western civilization that started with its expansion 500 years ago.


The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has a symbolic significance. That is, the use of force to transform or conquer so-called backward civilizations will no longer work because the world today is completely different from 500 years ago when the West conquered South America.


...the West has been undertaking religious and ideological missions all this time.

In addition, it has been plundering wealth and markets all over the world relentlessly. This has caused endless wars around the globe and left heavy burdens on developing countries politically, economically, and geographically.

In particular, the West's forceful promotion of its political standards has constrained developing countries from seeking a stable development path that suits their own cultural and historical traditions.

There is nothing to argue with there. This is all pure historical fact. It is time for us in the west to rein in imperialism and neo-colonial plundering of the developing world.

It is time for us to stop throwing our weight around. Not only because it no longer works, but because we also get cuffed in the nose---like those desperate runway scenes make clear to the entire world.

We are now nothing but a laughingstock. And rightly so. We cannot possibly command any respect because obviously our so-called 'leaders' are INSANE! They are not living in the real world. They are living in a disneyland of their own imagining.

It is time to let go and GET REAL FOLKS!

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 19 2021 1:23 utc | 100

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