Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 20, 2021

Britain Wants A Rerun Of The War On Afghanistan

Immediately after the Taliban victory an enormous dis-information campaign was launched to again badmouth them.

There are now suddenly all kinds of allegations that the Taliban are doing this or that bad. These are mostly based on hearsay and no or very little evidence is presented. Don't believe them without direct confirmation from original sources.

The launch of Amrullah Saleh and Ahmed Massoud as leaders of a new resistance against the Taliban must have been long prepared. One does not get op-ed space in the Washington Post and several big European papers just some three days after Kabul falls without some lead time and without serious 'western' backing.

While Saleh is an old CIA spy Ahmed Massoud has been prepared by the Brits:

After finishing his secondary school education in Iran, Massoud spent a year on a military course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.In 2012, he commenced an undergraduate degree in War Studies at King's College London where he obtained his bachelor's degree in 2015. He obtained his master's degree in International Politics from City, University of London in 2016.

The type of disinformation campaign combined with the well prepared launch of the 'resistance campaign', allegedly with SAS trained Afghan soldiers, and the regional op-ed placements let me conclude that he is run by the Brits. They are quite excellent in their 'strategic communication' disinformation business.

The conservatives speaking in their special parliament session were also the most angry about the outcome of their imperial war on Afghanistan and about their own inability to stop its end while claiming to be a 'Global Britain'.

As Richard Murphey remarks on Withering Britain:

This then is a massive moment for the role of the US in the world. It does not create a vacuum, but the risk that one might follow – which China will all too willingly seek to fill – seems very real at present.

And where does Britain fit into this? In a sense it does not. The US did not consults us, and is still not apparently telling us what it is doing in Kabul. We were not a player. There was no special, relationship. Our opinion was not worth having. It did not matter to the US. The pretence is over.

With that the vestige of British power, built on the coat-tails of the 1940s and the mutually advantageous myths formed since then, has gone. We are now just a rather remote, small, and fairly insignificant state who is just one amongst many. The delusion that we are otherwise has to go.

But will the delusion disappear? Will we, with its demise, stop building aircraft carriers that were strategically useless decades before they were designed? Will we stop thinking ourselves exceptional? And will an England thwarted become ever more aggressive towards its last vestiges of empire – those states it subjects to its rule within the supposed United Kingdom, which increasingly feels anything but that?

These are big questions. Only time can provide the answers. But I have a feeling that everything has changed. The image of British power has withered away. If all involved now deal with the reality for the these islands and their future that might be for the better. If at the same time we stop hectoring and abusing the world and actually learn to live with and work alongside it, so much the better too. But will we do that? That’s anyone’s guess. The wise will hope that we do.

That hope is, see above, in vain.

Stories about alleged Taliban acts 'against Afghan women' will now again get special features. Women have been used to sell the long war on Afghanistan since its very beginning. But how many women were actually killed by Soviet, British and U.S. bombs during the war?

On the abuse of feminism to promote the never ending war on Afghanistan, the badmouthing of the Taliban please read the excellent piece Afghanistan: The End of the Occupation which was co-written by a female anthropologist who has done field work there.

Posted by b on August 20, 2021 at 15:40 UTC | Permalink

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Completely in character for the homeland of Christopher Steele, the Skripal affair, the Assange saga, Balfour declaration etc.

They don't call it Perfidious Albion for nothing.

Posted by: expat | Aug 20 2021 16:02 utc | 1

I posted this before, but for anyone who missed it...

Posted by: wagelaborer | Aug 20 2021 16:06 utc | 2

Good article, I also agree with #1 abive. The sane world should assist Afghanistan (if it wants assistance) to get on its own feet again after decades of abuse by western countries, and the now continuing badmouthing.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 20 2021 16:07 utc | 3

Great frame sir. More on that below.

But I'd like to say that, imo, the "Fall of Kabul" was a Bay of Pigs moment in which the CIA/Military tried to 'force' Biden into 'air support' as was tried by Dulles et al to 'force' Kennedy to invade Cuba. Biden is taking a beating and probably will suffer a 25th Amendment stroke in the near future, the collateral damage of the CIA having "six ways to Sunday" to screw folks who don't go along with the program. (And of course, the resistance to the Taliban is planned.)

But the larger point of this piece and the extended quote is the wispy lament for the end of the Empire of Profit upon whose fortune was born of grave crimes against humanity. Imagine to not think of oneself as exceptional and above all others anymore. Imagine one doesn't have the right to invade and conquer on the whim of manifest destiny anymore.

Wither away? Empire should be struck in the heart with a wooden stake.

Posted by: gottlieb | Aug 20 2021 16:09 utc | 4

I quite agree. It does sound like a propaganda build-up to a new military intervention. But I doubt very much that it's only the Brits or even mainly them. As they say, Johnson couldn't organise a piss-uo in a brewery. He's incapable of the organisational effort of relaunching the war. The main people who are offended are the Washington War Party, formerly the NeoCons. But I'm sure the idea is to do something like in Syria, to carve out a tranche, and run disruptive special force and drone operations out of it. But it'll be the US doing it, not the Brits.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 20 2021 16:16 utc | 5


Julian Assange speaking in 2011

Трофеи Талибана

George W. Bush, 2006

Posted by: Anon | Aug 20 2021 16:16 utc | 6

sorry, it was "piss-up".

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 20 2021 16:16 utc | 7

" the Brits.... are quite excellent in their 'strategic communication' disinformation business." just ask julian assange, craig murray and etc....

i guess the queen and her consort have a lot more clout then people want to give her and her gang of thieves credit for... they were instrumental in the past of setting up afganistan as they did and are still trying for the same results 150 years later...

Posted by: james | Aug 20 2021 16:24 utc | 8

@ Posted by: james | Aug 20 2021 16:24 utc | 8

Her consort is already dead.

Posted by: vk | Aug 20 2021 16:31 utc | 9

The members of the british parliament (and especially those of the Tories) are angry because this was the first defeat for the UK in many many years. Rule Brittania, Brittania rulse the waves. That kind of stuff. It's simply that those members were pressuring prime minister Boris Johnson to recall parliament for this debate.

There is another dimension to this problem. The popularity of Boris Johnson is sinking like a stone. By being angry, by venting their frustration the Tory members of parliament were also signaling a message to the prime minister something along the lines of "You are very vulnerable and if we want to we can depose you from office".
There are rumours that later this year there will be a new election/contest for the leadership of the Conservative party. My personal opinion is that BloJob (= Bo. Jo.) would lose such a contest. The popularity of Bo Jo has sunk to under 10% while other people from the conservative party are much much more popular.
The Taliban overrunning Kabul could be the final straw on the back of the camel called Bo Jo.

After january 2021 A LOT OF foreign workers (from e.g. Romania, Poland, etc.) weren't allowed to return to the UK. This meant that there is a shortage of some 100,000 lorry/truck drivers in the UK right now. As a result of that there is serious threat that the supply of e.g. food to shops & supermarkets is about to break down in the autumn of this year. If that does happen then "our" Bo Jo is (politically) "toast". Will this "break down"actually happen ? We'll have to wait and see. Such a break down would be devastating for Bo Jo.

Posted by: Willy2 | Aug 20 2021 16:36 utc | 10

From the last linked article in this post, there's this interesting piece of information:

One piece of evidence [that the Americans are now anti-war] is the opinion polls. In 2001, right after 9/11, between 85% and 90% of Americans approved of the invasion of Afghanistan. The numbers have been dropping steadily. Last month, 62% of Americans approved of Biden’s plan for total withdrawal, and 29% were opposed.

That means the American people is not anti-war: they're anti-losing wars. If the USA had achieved a quick and triumphal victory against Afghanistan, the American people would be 100% pro-invasion of Afghanistan.

Americans are always like that: they just play the anti-war card when they're losing. The lesson is clear: the rest of the world must ramp up their military prowess, imposing their will on the Americans by force.

Posted by: vk | Aug 20 2021 16:46 utc | 11

What do Britain’s Owners want? How much money did Britain spend in Afghanistan?
There are still too many unknowns when it comes to Afghanistan. Every foreign power is in the wait and see mode. Please don’t trust politicians, as they’re just puppets, propagandists and parasites.

Majority (97+%) of UK’s money supply is created by private banks. The individuals who control the British money supply control the British Empire. Who controls the British money supply? The UK military’s overseas base network involves 145 sites in 42 countries in 2021. It is still an Empire.

Did U$A’s administration consult City or BoJo before withdrawal? Are they disappointed? They like Wall Street to create debt and U$A’s mercenaries to help them maintain their empire. They continue to run deficits and dream of a global empire. What is Britain’s driving force?

What is the real purpose of war? War is the fastest way to create lots of DEBT. Who wants to make us all, whether we be nations or individuals, slaves to debt? “the real value of a conflict, the true value, is in the debt it creates. You control the debt, you control everything.”

This interest-yielding private monetary system didn’t appear by itself. It didn’t become the dominant paradigm by itself. Who has been driving its ADOPTION? Why is this bad monetary system spreading in the world? Who is spreading? Why is the functioning of this bad monetary system not a subject of public debates? Also, it is not an election topic in any of the electoral campaigns? What monetary system will Afghanistan adopt? They still practice usury and have a central bank.

UK ~ Usury Kingdom. U$A ~ Usury, Slavery, Armaments

Who will suffer the most when the Financial Empire falls: UK or U$A?

Posted by: Max | Aug 20 2021 16:49 utc | 12

Empires always make us of civilization vs barbarians! as a framework for propaganda.

It's easy to manufacture consent for conflict when that framework is accepted by everyone. Hence, we get "forever war".

Caitlin Johnstone explains:

Corporate media is mind control at mass scale. People who identify as smart, independent thinkers have their minds altered by it every day, and they believe they came to those opinions on their own. Until this problem is addressed, none of our other major problems are going away.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 20 2021 16:49 utc | 13

4 - "the "Fall of Kabul" was a Bay of Pigs moment in which the CIA/Military tried to 'force' Biden into 'air support' as was tried by Dulles et al to 'force' Kennedy to invade Cuba."

good analogy. Pompeo among others was calling for, essentially, B-52 carpet bombing directed at the outskirts of Kabul.

In Kennedy's case, although a commission set-up in the aftermath clarified the events and responsibilities, a false story that JFK "cancelled" air strikes was seeded and perpetuated within right wing and Cuban exile communities which contributed to his later removal.

Posted by: jayc | Aug 20 2021 16:51 utc | 14

@ Posted by: Willy2 | Aug 20 2021 16:36 utc | 10

If there's one thing all the Conservative voters and sympathizers share in common is that they hate a Prime Minister who loses war(s). They can do whatever the fuck they want with the British people, just don't lose any war - that's the Consevative mantra. Anthony Eden (losing side, Egypt 1956) proved that. Margaret Thatcher (winning side, Falklands 1983) proved that.

Even on the Labour (trade-unionist) side, Tony Blair wasn't able to fully recover from the defeat in Iraq (even though it was not as devastating as with the Conservative PMs who lost wars, as he was still able to elect his successor).

Boris Johnson can do whatever experiments he wants to the British people, but he can't lose the war in Afghanistan. That's the absolute Conservative red line, the Conservative way.

Posted by: vk | Aug 20 2021 16:54 utc | 15

I wouldn't worry to much about the British, many of are still waiting for the return of the real Umphaah (not the 'empire' people in the overseas colonies are trying to run). That won't happen either.

Vk @11: why does it matter? Being anti-war because you think you will lose is mighty hard to beat with pro war propaganda. And the outcome is the same: won't sell war no more.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Aug 20 2021 16:57 utc | 16

Gravest global crisis since Crimea in 2014. 😡

Tough to let reality sink in … Allied military power lost Afghanistan after spending trillions of dollars. Writing had been on the wall for many years … payloads of US dollars delivered to Kabul does not win over the hearts and minds of tens of millions of Afghan people. Facts only illustrate level of incompetence and illusion. Borrell realizes dependence on sole power America is a dead end. Atlantic Alliance under NATO does not make a democracy when multilateralism is limited by Western countries.

From debate in HofC, the Tories urge regime change primarily in leadership … how to get rid of BoJo and Raab. Harsh criticism on ally America and role of NATO.

NATO has zill friends in the Afghan neighborhood. The SCO is a possible alliance with financial support of China.

Theresa May: A Unilateral Decision by the US

The ICC will investigate war crimes … the US lost the hearts and minds of Afghans from Obama’s troops surge … in Dec. 2009 advisor”>Holbrooke warned for taking the path of the Vietnam War.

Death by Drone: America’s Vicious Legacy in Afghanistan

How US-Funded Abuses Led to Failure in Afghanistan

Posted by: Oui | Aug 20 2021 17:12 utc | 17

I don`t beliefe this is Britain alone. The USA and the UK have a tight intelligence alliance within the framework of the "Five Eyes". One provision of the "Five Eyes"-agreement is the division of the world into spheres of responsibility among it`s members with the UK being in charge of - among others - the Near- and Middle East. Afghanistan aparently falls into the British sphere.

This is most probably a joint US-UK operation under British leadership on behalf of the "Five Eyes"-community/Washington.

Does anybody know where the AC-130 took of that until recently participated in the fightings in Afghanistan? I wouldn`t be surprised of the US air attacks re-commence once the evacuation at Kabul has been finished.

"If the USA had achieved a quick and triumphal victory (...)"
That`s not specific for Americans.

Posted by: m | Aug 20 2021 17:14 utc | 18

Cant fin'd the quote (from WaPo or similar) from some big US honcho saying "we must let Taliban know, in no uncertain terms, that if they don't behave our military will do something very very bad to them that they will regret very much...."

.... Like occupying their country and trying to bomb them into oblivion for 20 years?

Been there, done that, didn't work. Lolz. Wonder why Taliban was unimpressed with that threat.

Posted by: Abe | Aug 20 2021 17:16 utc | 19

Gottlieb, so-called 'air support' would not have had ANY impact.

This is a military-technical reality that is obviously unfamiliar territory for the layman general population.

First, what is there to 'support' when the Afghan army simply laid down their arms? And this happened in near-simultaneous time across all the major cities.

Second, air-support means close-air operations by GROUND ATTACK aircraft, in support of an actual battle.

Ground support aircraft are fighter-types that have LIMITED FLIGHT RANGE. A round trip flight even from an aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Pak, to Kabul and back, is over 2,200 km.

That is beyond the range of carrier-based FA18s. They can get refueled mdair, but pilot endurance becomes a factor. It is not a sustainable mission.

The flight distance from US airbase in Qatar is DOUBLE. Totally out of the question for ground attack aircraft.

And of course there was never any battlefield to provide air support to!

The only option was the long range B52, and that was briefly tried, but with zero military effect on Taliban. They were already in the cities.

The only thing they could do is randomly bomb cities. That may have happened in at least one case, where a central market was bombarded.

So 'air support' is definitely not any kind of issue. It was not an option after US pulled its aircraft out of Bagram air base.

Of course, some retards in the media were calling for more B52 bombing, even as the Talib were wslking

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 20 2021 17:18 utc | 20

The tories are learning the hard way Britain doesn’t count in US deliberations. They are not in the loop on US withdrawal plans. 2 Para on the ground at Kabul airport going into the city to recover British citizens while US leaves theirs to make their own way to the airport, have even had to post observers to watch the American military in case they pull out and leave them in the lurch as they did to their Afghan allies at Bagram Airbase. The French are also actively recovering their citizens.

So Britain and presumably France is getting a much needed lesson on where American “allies” stand and hopefully the war party on all sides of the Houses of Parliament are taking note and will modify their blood thirsty ambitions in Ukraine and Syria.

Posted by: Phil Espin | Aug 20 2021 17:20 utc | 21

RE reruns: I don't think they are going to get what they want. It seems clear there were plans for more, but the Taliban blitzkreig has foreclosed on anything but minor troublemaking. And in any case. not much can be done while those hostages are stuck at the airport.

There are of course plenty of disgruntled parties at this situation.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 20 2021 17:21 utc | 22

Sorry...even as Talib were walking into Kabul.

They simply don't understand the military-technical reality, which would have been explained to Biden et al.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 20 2021 17:21 utc | 23

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 20 2021 17:18 utc | 20

Yup - hence my use of little 'air quotes' around the phrase as it was relating to Bay of Pigs. But yeah whatever would be the equivalent in the Kabul situation, in which you are the expert.

Does seem the Establishment is shocked, shocked I tell you that the US followed thru on the Trump agreement, even though the conditions of the agreement were not met vis a vis negotiations between the Taliban and the former government of Afghanistan.

Appreciate your detailed knowledge in these matters.

Posted by: gottlieb | Aug 20 2021 17:28 utc | 24

On the mobilization of feminism for imperialist war aims in Afghanistan, I want to direct everyone to a very good academic journal article by Deepa Kumar (Rutgers) and Carol Stabile (University of Maryland), called "Unveiling Imperialism: Media, Gender and the War in Afghanistan."

You can download the article for free and without registering here:

Posted by: Prof | Aug 20 2021 17:36 utc | 25

@ Max | Aug 20 2021 16:49 utc | 12

I agree, its all about the bankers. The system was less dysfunctional in the past when economies were expanding rapidly and inflation was eroding the debts but those days are long gone. We need a complete overhaul of our system of credit and finance but I can't see it happening anytime soon.

Posted by: MarkU | Aug 20 2021 17:46 utc | 26

In addition to the referenced article in the text I suggest reading Thierry Meyssan's piece at the Voltaire Network, 7 Lies About Afghanistan. to get a more thorough understanding of the situation.

Posted by: Ed in Kanata | Aug 20 2021 17:50 utc | 27

Afghanistan may be facing starvation ( 14 million est.) from drought, as well as Covid deaths. Leaving US weapons behind may be irrelevant - if they execute pilots and fail to do maintenance (" Inshallah"). Even AR-15/M-16's need cleaning to fire unlike AK-47's.

Add to this a possible Khmer Rouge sort of scenario in which they murder most everyone who could improve society. They aren't going anywhere, I think.

What irony in feminists pushing a despised mostly male military to save Afghan women.

Posted by: Eighthman | Aug 20 2021 17:52 utc | 28

Ghani in UAE, the Talibans in Qatar.
Can't they just fix it on a football field, as with Chelsea/Manchester United?

Posted by: Mina | Aug 20 2021 17:59 utc | 29

There are now suddenly all kinds of allegations that the Taliban are doing this or that bad.

A CBC TV talking head pointed out gunfire in the background of a Kabul airport video. She did not say who was shooting whom, or even speculate, or promise to find out. If it was the Taliban doing the shooting, CBC would be all over it.

Posted by: Keith McClary | Aug 20 2021 18:05 utc | 30

b, thanks for the link to "Afghanistan: The End of the Occupation" by Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale. Indeed an enlightening read, with lots of information, but one huge omission in it is that they make no mention of the fact that the US was responsible for deliberately inducing Wahhabi extremism and war in Afghanistan the late 1970's.

So they are right to highlight that by 2001, "twenty-three years of war meant death, maiming, exile and refugee camps, poverty, so many kinds of grief, and endless fear and anxiety," for the Afghan people, but fail to properly attribute the responsibility for that suffering to insidious US scheming.

They write "By 2001 Afghans had been trapped in war for twenty-three years, first a civil war between communists and Islamists, then a war between Islamists and Soviet invaders [..]" attributing the war just to "a civil war" and to "Islamists" when it was a war externally instigated and fueled by the US via Wahhabi extremists.

The following is a copy-paste of what I've posted previously. Apologies for this repeat, but I feel it's important:

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."

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Aug 20 2021 18:19 utc | 31

Britain Wants A Rerun Of The War On Afghanistan

Cynthia Chung recently wrote an article on how the tail (British intelligence) wags the dog (US)

That is, that the Iraq and Libya wars were both based off of cooked British intelligence, which resulted in the attempt by the British people to prosecute Tony Blair as a war criminal for his direct role in causing British and U.S. troops to enter an illegal war with Iraq. This prosecution was later blocked by the British High Court claiming that there is no crime of aggression in English law under which the former PM could be charged. It seems there is no law against being a war criminal in Britain.

And it was none other than MI6 chief (1999-2004) Sir Richard Dearlove who oversaw and stood by the fraudulent intelligence on Iraq stating they bought uranium from Niger to build a nuclear weapon, the very same Sir Richard Dearlove who promoted the Christopher Steele dossier as something “credible” to American intelligence.

In addition, the Libyan invasion of 2011 was found to be unlawfully instigated by Britain. In a report published by the British Foreign Affairs Committee in September 2016, it was concluded that it was “the UK and France in March 2011 which led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi”. The report concluded that the Libyan intervention was based on false pretence provided by British Intelligence and recklessly promoted by the British government. This is the real reason why David Cameron stepped down.

This is what caused the United States to enter both wars, due to, what has now been officially acknowledged as fraudulent or deliberately misleading evidence that was supplied by British intelligence.

Afghanistan: Whatever the Future Brings, One Thing Is for Sure, Britain and the U.S. Should Stay Out

Posted by: Down South | Aug 20 2021 18:25 utc | 32

Her consort is already dead.

Posted by: vk | Aug 20 2021 16:31 utc | 9

Satan is alive and kicking, tovarich vk.

Posted by: clarity | Aug 20 2021 18:30 utc | 33

Canadian Cents @31

I agree, "Afghanistan: The End of the Occupation" is by far the best article I have read on the subject so far. Beats Pepe, although his live stream on moderate rebels yesterday was excellent, and in many ways complementary.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Aug 20 2021 18:35 utc | 34

Echoing other's praise of the brilliant article Afghanistan: The End of the Occupation. Thanks for providing the link.

Posted by: Bruce Dodds | Aug 20 2021 18:44 utc | 35

From the article "Afghanistan: The End of the Occupation" by Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale that b shared with us:

" So American money poured into Afghanistan. But it went the people in the new government headed by Hamid Karzai. It went to the people working with the Americans and the occupying troops of other nations. And it went to the warlords and their entourages who were deeply involved in the international opium and heroin trade facilitated by the CIA and the Pakistani military. It went to the people lucky enough to own luxury, well-defended homes in Kabul they could rent out to expatriate staff. [..]

Afghans had long been used to corruption. They both expected it and hated it. But this time the scale was unprecedented."

Related to that pervasive corruption is this great piece by former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter (thanks to Reveur who shared the link in a comment yesterday!)

The only truth about US disastrous Afghanistan war is that it was all based on lies

The two pieces go well together to form an understanding of things (along with the root starting point that I posted about at 31.)

Jörgen Hassler @34, you might like the Scott Ritter article, too, if you haven't read it yet.

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Aug 20 2021 18:46 utc | 36

It would seem that the British public are not as unhinged as their bellicose parliamentarians.

A YouGov poll asking if the US, Britain and other white western countries should re-invade showed only 20% for and 47% against. Excluding don't knows that's 70-30 ratio against.

Interestingly Tory voters were more opposed to restarting the war, with 20% for and 58% against. Labour voters were 21% for and 42% against. Probably as a result of what one prominent British Muslim journalist described as "The weaponisation of feminism".

Posted by: Irish Sean | Aug 20 2021 18:51 utc | 37

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Aug 20 2021 18:19 utc | 31
I noticed that too.
And also saying that Americans lost from a small country is not fair. The area of Afghanistan is comparable to France or Texas. Nobody talks about France or Texas as small.

Posted by: hopehely | Aug 20 2021 18:51 utc | 38

This pro-Taliban because they are /anti-u.s/ attitude is strange. There is a legitimate fighting force in Afghanistan that is not the Taliban and historically they have been the Panjsheri army which have never ceded to the Taliban. Why is it surprising that they would put up resistance when their location is a natural fortress from which they can isolate themselves from the Taliban onslaught? The article is just speculating on the motives of Masood and Co. without any evidence other than the WaPo wrote a piece on them. If there is actual evidence that the West is supporting the Taliban as there is ample evidence that Pakistan has historically supported the Taliban for its own geopolitical interest, then OK, let it be presented. But this kind of analysis on people's motives without any tangible evidence is an attempt to poison the well.

The Taliban come from a hardline Islamic school of thought that is a unique mixture of Deobandi and Pashtun tribalism. The outcome of this is highly repressive and although the Taliban are behaving, anyone who has spent time with this culture knows its deep rooted and I don't expect the hardcores will sit around and watch their values become compromised for foreign aid.

Posted by: Me2 | Aug 20 2021 18:51 utc | 39

@ MarkU (#26), great that you see we need a “complete overhaul of our system of credit and finance.” It is not the bankers, but the Global Ruling Clans. However, the bankers are their lackeys and accomplices. Monetary system is one of the core element of the control and dominance. Why should a small private clans of people (Money Power) profit by renting humanity its money supply?

Change most of the time comes as a surprise. What can we learn from Afghanistan’s fiasco?

Initially, when Trump’s team was negotiating, the Empire communicated they will have a negotiated settlement (the art of the deal). Early this year, Biden’s team still thought of the negotiated settlement and that the Talibans won’t takeover. A few months ago it was revised that the Taliban will takeover in 3 to 6 months, then to 1 month to 3 months, and finally to ...? What are the key takeaways?

The forces of change are in motion, accelerating,... and will surprise us!

Posted by: Max | Aug 20 2021 18:52 utc | 40

gottlieb @4 "Empire should be struck in the heart with a wooden stake."

Thanks, I think that's so apt!

Matt Taibbi's characterization of Goldman Sachs can is quite applicable/expandable to the Anglo-American Empire (which many would say it has a leading role in):

"Great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."

The UKUSA yakuza syndicate are all about looting, plunder, and lies.

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Aug 20 2021 18:59 utc | 41

Professor Marandi has a short article revealing that Iran has been in contact with the Taliban for 20 years. This relationship appears to have been led by Soleimani. Thus what we see now is in some part more fruit of Soleimani's work and vision - the vision of making western occupation pay a high price and ultimately of course, be driven out of western Asia.

Marandi offers no sources. He is an utterly credible source himself, as all who have studied his analyses and interviews know. And he is undoubtedly deep in knowledge of the workings of Iran. I have no reason to doubt Marandi's clam that Iran has been in Afghanistan since the US came (although I can suspect the eulogizing may be slightly exaggerated, I have no standing to doubt it, especially compared to the stature of the General). Marandi is revealing something that has been known but of limited distribution, and certainly not publicized.

His article is available at Almayadeen and here at the Saker:

The Flight from Kabul and the Legacy of General Soleimani

Therefore, when the Taliban was defeated and remnant forces fled the country, Iranian allies took key positions in the Afghanistan government. There seemed to be no need or justification for dialogue with this seemingly spent force. However, General Qasem Soleimani believed that the Taliban continued to have popular support among a significant segment of the Pashtun tribes and populations in southern Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan, and he felt that the only path to long-term regional stability was for all the parties to engage in dialogue.

General Soleimani also believed that under such circumstances, the only force that was prepared to significantly drive up the cost of the US-led occupation, a key strategic Iranian objective, was the Taliban. He knew that under such circumstances the occupation of both Iraq and Afghanistan would gradually become extremely problematic and unpopular in western countries and that ultimately, such a huge burden would hit western economies hard and force them to withdraw their forces from both countries.


2011 was a significant turning point in the relationship, and high-ranking delegations began visiting Tehran. As time went by, the relationships became warmer and even personal, so much so that when General Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes and their companions were murdered at Baghdad International Airport by the Trump regime, a high ranking Taliban delegation traveled to Tehran and visited his house to pay condolences to his family.

Marandi shows that Iran clearly understood the US departure aimed to sow chaos behind it, and yet this has been neutralized.

(Personally, I don't fully understand how this was achieved, but I suspect that the US doesn't quite understand it either.)

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 20 2021 19:03 utc | 42

Posted by: Roberto | Aug 20 2021 19:11 utc | 43

In watching Western media the past few days, it is interesting to watch all the flavors of reactions.

They are almost all either delusional, suffering crippling cognitive dissonance or in one of the five stages of grief.

The delusional ones honestly believe the US was winning the whole time and Biden just pulled the rug out from the military just as victory was imminent.

The cognitive dissonance in others is almost uncomfortable to watch. They too believe the US was winning and leaving Afghanistan on US terms. Strangely, the US is not acting like the victor. They want to exfiltrate all Americans and their collaborators. But, they are frustrated and furious that cannot happen on their terms. They simply cannot square the circle where the US won the war , yet must ask permission from the Taliban to evacuate. How can this be?

Then, there are the pundits who must admit it looks as though the US lost. And lost badly. They all appear in mourning and display the stages of grief:


They all seem to be in some stage of grief except the last stage; acceptance.

There is a certain "Gone with the Wind" melancholy in America grieving the empire since realizing it is all over.

Posted by: Mar man | Aug 20 2021 19:14 utc | 44

Concise and accurate analysis, b, thank you. This is impossible to find anywhere else, just self serving propaganda and disinformation.

I understand the reason for the 'border' between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Durand line, was set in its present position, dividing the Pashtuns, is because it is a one day march by cavalry and mounted infantry from Kabul.

The British, like the US today, never intended to leave, just meddle and manipulate. This is why the MSM mantra is now 'press freedom' so the manipulation and destabilisation can continue.

What needed is press freedom and real free speech in 'the west'. AS IF we have never heard the name Julian Assange. Free speech is indivisible, you either have it or you don't.

Posted by: Paul | Aug 20 2021 19:34 utc | 45

Unconfirmed reports of bad actions?

They are probably not doing what we would do. They fought us for that reason.

How "bad," and how much of that was ever our business, and how much is our business now after we tried and lost?

Leave them alone. They won. They get to run their own country the way they want, and it will NOT be the way we want; that is what we fought about, and we lost.

Posted by: Mark Thomason | Aug 20 2021 19:43 utc | 46

After one has read this here recommended, mendacious, demagogic Elaborate "Afghanistan: The End of the Occupation", one should perhaps also once take note of that

Posted by: Humml | Aug 20 2021 19:47 utc | 47

Even if all these claims were true, what would it change? In 19 years, these idiots couldn't managed to beat down and eradicate the Talibans. How do they plan to do it now, when they've been so inept for so long?
Heck, even if the plan is to have the people turn on the Taliban and not defending them when a new invasion occurs, it'll take years of abuses to go there. War drums now are way too early to be of any use, so even strategically, it's kind of silly.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Aug 20 2021 19:56 utc | 48

"On the abuse of feminism to promote the never ending war on Afghanistan," as Western news media are doing, George Galloway recently made a good point about this by asking "Did the Western media shed any tears for the women in Syria?"

Wahhabi extremist groups (AQ/ISIS/etc.) occupied large parts of Syria, and continue to do so in Idlib. During all this time, have the Western news media wringing their hands about Afghanistan expressed any concern about the rights of the burqa-clad women living in Idlib under the rule of extremists protected by the US/UK/NATO?

To add to what expat @1 brought up, for those that haven't seen this yet, here's a wonderful 8-minute diatribe in which Vijay Prashad rails against Britain's hypocrisy and perfidy in relation to the Global South:

He starts: "Britain ... Well, what are we to even say about this Britain ..."

Britain denies its colonial crimes from India to China

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Aug 20 2021 19:58 utc | 49

As late as August 10th 2021 despite the swift Taliban takeover of major cities and towns the UK government was still trying to form a military coalition with other Nato countries to keep troops in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US forces. UK defence secretary Ben Wallace and an assortment of ex military MP’s and military personnel were advocating a return to Afghanistan to support the Afghan military and contain or defeat the Taliban to prevent Afghanistan becoming a failed state. Chairman of the Defence Select Committee Tory MP Tobias Ellwood the country claimed that the country was being handed "back to the very insurgency we went in there to defeat." Needless to say he chose to ignore the failure of the British Military to defeat the Taliban in Helmand Province from 2001 to 2014 when their command was handed over to the US Military in April 2014. This again vividly illustrates the militaristic voyeurism and aggressive imperialist impulses of the UK ruling class who seek to provoke confrontation and conflict in the world’s hotspots in excess of US repositioning and retrenchment.

Posted by: rick | Aug 20 2021 20:03 utc | 50

@ Canadian Cents | Aug 20 2021 19:58 utc | 49

"Did the Western media shed any tears for the women in Syria?"

I have a PHD friend who doesn't know the difference between Afghanistan and Syria, but is worried about the "muslims". The answer is no, they are zombies, for real or when it suits them.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 20 2021 20:04 utc | 51

Hope not too off topic.
The other NATO forces seem not to have been included in the US decision loops--emphasis on loopiness.

But Bagram seems especially egregious insofar as it must have been the primary exfiltration asset for all of NATO.

It seems unlikely that Biden would have been down far enough into the weeds to have ordered that Bagram be vacated in the middle of the night, without so much as informing the Afghan military. If Biden knew about this at all, it would probably have been something recommended to him for approval or after the fact.

It is plausible that the evacuation of Bagram was presented to Biden himself as a fait accompli to block his decision to withdraw? And instead he was angry or macho enough to order that the withdrawal proceed anyway?

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Aug 20 2021 20:17 utc | 52

With that the vestige of British power, built on the coat-tails of the 1940s and the mutually advantageous myths formed since then, has gone. We are now just a rather remote, small, and fairly insignificant state who is just one amongst many. The delusion that we are otherwise has to go.

Hubris and a delusion of grandeur that has reached epic proportions is the west’s Achilles heel. The Anglophone countries are the worst offenders when it comes to this.

The west’s evangelical mission to spread first Christianity and then liberal capitalism to the world has failed. It’s over. But this twisted dream (a nightmare for people and countries that have experienced it firsthand) won’t die and lives on in the diseased minds of the western ruling class.

As the west declines this pathology is bound to get even worse. At least the Brits are toothless whingers who can’t do more than make fools of themselves and gripe from the sidelines…but imagine how a President Pompeo and an administration of rapture nuts might “deal with” China and other “threats” to US national security.

Posted by: Antibody | Aug 20 2021 20:22 utc | 53

"The End of the Occupation" was an excellent piece on Afghanistan: I highly recommend it!

Posted by: S Brennan | Aug 20 2021 20:24 utc | 54

@ Paul Damascene | Aug 20 2021 20:17 utc | 52

Maybe a plot in the US infighting to discredit Biden to get him out, but it was too successful and discredited the US in the eyes of everybody?

Evacuation of Bagram in the dead of night as the first step stinks of sabotage to create chaos.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 20 2021 20:27 utc | 55

It is plausible that the evacuation of Bagram was presented to Biden himself as a fait accompli to block his decision to withdraw? And instead he was angry or macho enough to order that the withdrawal proceed anyway?

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Aug 20 2021 20:17 utc | 52

I dunno about Bagram in particular, but I did indeed have a feeling that Biden was engaged in some sort of payback; as in an attempt was made to hand him a mess, and get the bombing started, and him choosing to double down and embrace the mess, or call the bluff is what I would say.

But it is murky. The Taliban offensive seems to have an Iranian hand behind it, and forced Biden's hand. I think the plan entailed hanging onto parts of Afghanistan, along the lines of Syria. That is gone. It was not a good idea to start with.

Bombing at this point would put the bombers at risk for one thing, Iran has the means to take them down, and would no doubt find a way to supply them.

And in the meantime it's a hostage situation until the evacuation is complete.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 20 2021 20:32 utc | 56

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Aug 20 2021 20:17 utc | 52

It seems to me that Biden wants some sort of real reform here, it might be pernicious, what he wants, or not, but any real change will be fought. And the first thing Biden will need to do is take down the blob, the defense conglmerate, humiliate it, and Biden has "allowed" that to happen. That's why I say he called their bluff. But he needs a "base", a public following, not there yet. Hard to be optimistic.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 20 2021 20:42 utc | 57

The United States will NOT leave Afghanistan alone.

If the Taliban can create a successful state within 20 years (or within a shorter time), after 20 years of occupation by the United States and its vassals, it would unquestionably demonstrate the superiority of 'their' way over that of the West.

This is the same reason why there are continuing sanctions and destabilizing efforts against Cuba, Sudan, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran and others: their prosperity or even just a lack failure would be detrimental to the propaganda machine.

Posted by: Sid Victor Cattoni | Aug 20 2021 20:44 utc | 58

@Posted by: Grieved | Aug 20 2021 19:03 utc | 42

Thanks for the excellent article. Iran's whole history is one of being the regional power, a position that it is slowly rebuilding. We can see why the US wanted Soleimani dead, he would have been a great leader of Iran and an even greater force for peace and freedom from the imperialists. A real statesman vs. the children in the US and UK governments.

Posted by: Roger | Aug 20 2021 20:45 utc | 59

Great article b, thanks.

The U$A could do the right thing, and offer support in fostering peaceful solutions thru economic support, but, IMO, the greedy bastards that rule, won't allow it..

Peace isn't as profitable as war and strife.

Ending our sanctions would be a good start...

Posted by: vetinLA | Aug 20 2021 20:48 utc | 60

MoB: i appreciate your in-depth, unbiased, honest analysis/reporting. while i don't agree w/your covid stance.. i feel it's authentic & not political. thank you.

FYI: please don't sell out like all the other alt websites.. people i had high regard for & thought had integrity, only to sell out.

telling truth may not be as lucrative but atleast when it's time for you to kick the can.. you'll have no regrets.

Posted by: Nomad | Aug 20 2021 21:01 utc | 61

@ vk | Aug 20 2021 16:31 utc | 9 quote - Her consort is already dead.

vk, it is one of these rare moments when you reply to me!! true.. i mis-spoke... what i meant to say is the queens pyramid structure is still in place - city of london and etc. etc... one big spiders web and the royals are very central to it all...

Posted by: james | Aug 20 2021 21:05 utc | 62

@ 42 grieved.. thanks for that article which gives a perspective on irans involvement in afganistan, and from the iranians pov - ksa's role as well.. interesting...

Posted by: james | Aug 20 2021 21:14 utc | 63

Bemildred @ 56, 57:
Thanks for the thoughts.
Am skeptical but not excluding the possibility that Biden was aiming for reform.
But I do find it plausible that he has seen up close the many ways that the War Borg sandbags Presidential attempts to end wars.
He may have been macho enough to go mano a mano with these guys.
I do think that if that was the intention (assuming he has all his faculties) he would have started firing people already. Surely doesn't lack for cause.

Of course they likely have plenty of Kompromat on him. Which may explain why he was not prepared to confront directly the lies and corruption on the US side. So, rhetorically, he has one hand tied behind his back. Instead, he leaves most of the tropes intact.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Aug 20 2021 21:15 utc | 64

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Aug 20 2021 21:15 utc | 64

Yeah, that's about right. Thanks for your thoughts too. He has always appeared to me to be a low-class bagman and fixer, but also not just a soldier and around a long time and now "the boss". Nobody has given him a black eye yet, either. Something to keep an eye on.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 20 2021 21:24 utc | 65

It's a bit creepy that we're talking about the Afghan chapter of the Fake War on Terror but no-one has mentioned "Israel".

If you live in a Western Democracy (cough cough), ask yourself how many of the pro-war psychopaths in your country are NOT corrupt, mendacious and Good Friends of "Israel?"

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 20 2021 21:24 utc | 66

Norwegian @55

Agreed. The best explanation I can think of for the corporatist media's neglect of the Bagram decision is precisely because as a military decision it is indefensible, and therefore it would be the military not Biden who would have to wear it.

Suggests that as much as MSNBC, CNN, NYT, WaPo, etc seemed to be an extension of the DNC and Intelligence agencies during Trump era, they'll immediately turn on a Dem Pres. who threatens the War Party.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Aug 20 2021 21:24 utc | 67

Scott Horton:

Blame Bush and Obama for the Afghan Disaster

Former President Trump, President Biden and their partisans are rushing to blame each other for the debacle unfolding now in Afghanistan. The “National Unity Government” and its military and police forces have completely evaporated in the face of the Taliban’s rapid takeover of the entire country in the last few weeks. This culminated in President Ashraf Ghani’s fleeing the capital of Kabul on Sunday as the Taliban walked right in and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar seemed to have assumed power.

But Trump and Biden shouldn’t blame one another. It was George W. Bush who refused to negotiate al Qaeda’s extradition. Bush then let Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri escape to Pakistan while he chose instead to focus on regime change in Kabul and later Baghdad. It was Bush who decided on the strategy of building and training up an Afghan National Army to secure the new regime in power and take the fight to its rivals. American officers, with no one to fight, found and made enemies where there were none before. By 2004, the Taliban, whose surrender Bush had refused to accept, returned to insurgency against the occupation. Of course, the more the U.S. built up a new government and army, the more the people hated and resisted it. As they say about their enemies, the Americans only understand one thing, force, and when confronted with this resistance they only escalated again and again, killing more innocents and combatants alike, and driving even more people into the insurgency.

We become what we hate. We create the enemies who will destroy us.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 20 2021 22:01 utc | 68

@ Paul Damascene - It's difficult to believe that Joe Biden had either the courage or intelligence to face-off against the MIC, etc., but - so far - and maybe due to the hostage nature of the Kabul airport situation - no real action or reaction. Interesting, too, that he sequestered himself after his one speech on the subject. That's what I would recommend, if the idea is to let all of the various 'leaders' and official commentators talk themselves into a lather (rinse and repeat ). Let them pump out the garbage a la Trump's style; maybe come back with a bit of reason about the time that this news cycle has begun to wane.

As to the Bagram AFB exodus, that does seem like a mousetrap move by the US military command. Cannot have been a simple FUBAR and was definitely not a lower-level decision.

At any rate thanks to B for another good article, and thanks to y'all for the many good analyses and observations.

Posted by: Paul Spencer | Aug 20 2021 22:13 utc | 69

Posted by: Max | Aug 20 2021 16:49 utc | 12 et al

re: What do Britain’s Owners want? What is Britain’s driving force? UK ~ Usury Kingdom. U$A ~ Usury, Slavery, Armaments...

Owners? aka The Crown...all other .gov officers and principals are subordinate
to The Crown, i.e. a family affair [dynasty] about 250 years old.

The rest...An old maxim states: Anywhere in the world there is lots of or persistent CHAOS [pardon the caps], lift a corner of the rug and you will find an Englishman. HaHaHa just joking.

There is a senior maxim: There are 2 ways to take control [of any organization of peoples, i.e. nation, region, landmass, world]...

1. Infiltrate "by any means" toward the top levels of an org.
2. Cause chaos "by any means" to the point where you can enter as the "man on a white horse" or solution or savior.

Daresay, if one understands the subject of England yet never heard of the Hakluyts' work product [an uncle Richard and nephew Robert abt year 1600] and the ongoing [since then] survey of the world's resources [ALL resources], to keep searching.

Warning: I'm pretty good at lies, fairytales and stuff.

Posted by: chu teh | Aug 20 2021 22:17 utc | 70

DownSouth @32 I don't know how British law works, but under the US Constitution any treaty signed by the USA becomes law.
The 1928 Kellog/Briand Pact outlawed war. Both the US and Britain signed it. Therefore going to war is illegal, for the USA at least. I assume it is also illegal for the UK.
They used that law to prosecute Germany for the crime of aggression in WW2.
The US and UK also are signatories to the UN Charter, which also outlaws wars of aggression.
It's about time we hauled them all to court. We are ruled by crooks and criminals. I read B's link and it seems that the Afghan people are more opposed to corruption and graft than Americans are.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Aug 20 2021 22:22 utc | 71

@ Posted by: Paul Damascene | Aug 20 2021 21:15 utc | 64

Joe Biden isn't planning anything. The USA was defeated. There was no pull off.

Posted by: vk | Aug 20 2021 22:23 utc | 72

It is interesting how many speak of the expenditure ($2.2T) as though it were lost or wasted. The first thing is that it's such mum-and-pop investor logic: "how could you spend that kinda dough and have nothing to show for it?" The second is that one key function of the war was to redistribute public money legitimately (i.e. legally). From that perspective it makes sense to see the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as structurally parallel to the GFC bailout in 2008/9 and the extortion racket perpetrated by Big Pharma in 2020/21. What they have in common is the direct transfer of public funds (and those yet to be extracted) into the accounts of shareholders (which explains the unending asset boom).

Empires are protection and extortion rackets to varying degrees. Their medium to long term goals are the maintenance of skim operations by establishing symbiotic links with local elites. Their historical differences are accounted for by the institutional mechanisms and redistributive frameworks through which the surpluses are channelled. In the process all kinds of feedback loops are created which cannot be turned off without collapse. For example, the Athenian archē fed back surpluses extracted from regional elites in the form of tribute (phoros) which paid wages of citizen rowers in the Athenian navy. In this way their empire supported the non-elite democracy in Athens but it also funded the very instrument of enforcing imperial extortion. Empire needed navy which needs rowers who need pay derived from empire which needs navy and so on. Arguably the petro-dollar system and its relationship to the Pentagon budget as a MIC life support system is similar. The Athenians even experimented with reserve currency enforcement too (the so-called decree on weights, measures and coins).

In short, I need hardly explain to learned colleagues here that the function of governments in the global north over the last 50 years has been to facilitate the redistribution of public surplus (income tax, etc) into private hands. To that end populations in western countries are no different to those elsewhere from the point of view of that redistribution except that military coercion is more frequently deployed against them. Even local scams, like last year's JobKeeper program in Australia, ostensibly to keep people in jobs during pandemic lockdowns, has been revealed now to have involved the transfer of huge sums of public money into vested interests like retail magnates, elite private schools and pentacostal megachurches, and all mandated by bipartisan legislation.

Was it not ever so?

Posted by: Patroklos | Aug 20 2021 22:37 utc | 73

Gravest global crisis since Crimea in 2014. 😡

I missed the dramatic footage from Sevastopol Airport of despondent Ukrainians grasping the wheels of the over-full airplanes... Ships chock-full of refugees leaving ports. Protests on the streets... Perhaps this qualifies

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 20 2021 22:48 utc | 74

Some commenters here are practically lamenting the Bagram withdrawal from several weeks ago, and imagining all kinds of tinfoil scenarios.

As I said earlier, military-technical realities are not well understood by the general public.

First, there was a deal with the Taliban for the US to get out by May 1. That deal stipulated that neither side attack the other. The Talib held to their word fastidiously and did not attack US forces at all, right up to the present.

Biden then made the political decision to accept the deal and to complete the pullout, albeit with a little more time added. The plan was for the US to get completely out, but that the Kabul puppet government would hold on, and, crucially, that the US would continue with over-the-horizon air support, presumably from neighboring countries that would agree to host a US airbase.

That came to nothing, because EVERYBODY, including, crucially, Pakistan, said NO WAY!

The whole plan hinged on this: a pullout from the country, but keeping their hand in anyway.

That was just delusional wishcasting of course, as we now see. But it was hardly clear some weeks ago, when the US proceeded to pull out of Bagram.

That pullout was completely logical. Even the part about not telling the puppet government made sense, for a number of reasons. One, they could not really be trusted, as a lot of information has clearly been leaking from the puppets to Taliban, who of course have had their network of collaborators on the inside for a long time.

Those military assets, most crucially the combat aircraft, simply had to go, once the decision was made to pull out. You do not leave these kinds of assets like you would leave a humvee. Never mind the human assets, such as the highly trained pilots.

It is completely ridiculous now, to yap in hindsight about how this was a 'mistake.' No it was not a mistake. They had a plan, but that plan came to naught.

And I have already written here why that plan came to naught. Because nobody in the region agreed to go along with the US, or allow them to base in their country.

That in itself is a very clear signpost of how the geopolitics has shifted. The former Soviet 'stans in particular were the real prize of the Afghan adventure all along. That's why the US went in there. To make new Lithuanias and Polands out of them on Russia's doorstep.

For a while, the US had some success here. Some of the 'stans agreed to host US bases, but then later kicked them out. Why? Because they quickly found that the US works on the principle 'give them an inch, and they will take a mile.' A lot of color revolutions were stirred up by the US in those 'stans. They learned their lesson.

At the same time, Russia was rising again as a world power. Many of these same 'stans are still connected to Russian energy grids and road and rail networks. Millions of their nationals work in Russia and those remittances they send home are important. Also, they allied with Russia and China to fight terrorism in the region, which, curiously, kept increasing with the increasing US presence.

At the same time, China became a formidable world power. Iran also has been steadily rising, even under the 'maximum pressure' brought on by the west, and serving mostly the Zionist-colonial interests.

All three of these major powers have worked for years with the Taliban---about which we are only hearing now. For instance the Marandi piece that Grieved mentioned.

The SCO has now fully blossomed into a major force on the geopolitical stage. The coordination has been astonishing. Up until the very day the Talib walked into Kabul, the 'stans in the SCO were blocking Iran's ascension. It had been stuck in observer status for many years.

Now they have suddenly dropped their objections and Iran is in. As I said here already, we will see more and more snippets of this backstory unfold and how all this came about.

But the 'stans are crucial. The same ethnic people, Tajiks and Uzbeks, are nearly as numerous in Afghanistan as the Talib's tradiitional Pashtun base.

These are the border areas of the north, where these Tajiks and Uzbeks were the Northern Alliance that was always at war with the Talib. Yet this time around, they waltzed in and were welcomed.

The hand of the Russians was clearly visible, as Bhadrakumar noted, highlighting defense minister Shoigu's statement, that 'for us, the important thing is that the Taliban have secured the northern border areas' [with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan].

This is an astonishing statement. It is practically saying, 'we are relived that the Talib have succeeded.'

The lightning advance came only AFTER that painless handover of the key norther areas.

All of this caught the US flat-footed. They had no inkling of the coordination among the Talib and the majors powers. They really believed their own fantasies that they would get an airbase in the 'stans, from which they could prosecute their over-the-horizon air war, while their Kabul puppets hung onto power.

As I think Patrick Armstrong put it, 'they build their paralell universe and then try to move into it' lol! 😸

So all of this was according to plan. But as Robert Burns put it in his 'best laid plans of mice and men,' things don't always work out that way.

Also curious that some would actually be wailing about the Bagram pullout, and the well-deserved US faceplant, lol!

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 20 2021 22:48 utc | 75

Fred Reed on the US military:

Americans are not heartless but calculatedly uninformed. Wars are also extremely profitable for those who provide the bombs, fuel, vehicles, and so on. If the US loses a war, the contracts stop, and equally if it wins. Keeping it going for decades provides a steady revenue stream. What’s not to like?

Finally, or as much as I am going to worry about, there is the 1955 Syndrome, the engrained belief that America is all powerful. This is arrogance and self-delusion. In the Pentagon you encounter a mandatory can-do attitude a belief that the US military is indomitable, the best trained, armed, and led force in this or any nearby galaxy. In one sense this is necessary: You can’t tell the Marines that they are mediocre light infantry or sailors that their aircraft are rapidly obsolescing, their ships sitting ducks in a changing military world, and that the whole military enterprise is rotted by social engineering, profiteering, and careerism.

But look around: The US has failed to intimidate North Korea, chase the Chinese out of its islands in the South China Sea, retrieve the Crimea from Russia, can’t intimidate Iran, just got run out of Afghanistan, remains mired in Iraq and Syria, failed to block Nordstream II despite a desperate effort, and couldn’t keep Turkey from buying the S-400. The Pentagon plans for the wars it wants to fight, not the wars it does fight. The most dangerous weapons of the modern world are not nukes, but the Ak-47, the RPG, and the IED. Figure it out.

And now the US comes home, leaving Afghanistan in ruins for decades. Use and discard.

Despair in the Empire of Graveyards

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 20 2021 22:52 utc | 76

@69, Paul Spencer

You said:

"if the idea is to let all of the various 'leaders' and official commentators talk themselves into a lather (rinse and repeat ). Let them pump out the garbage a la Trump's style; maybe come back with a bit of reason about the time that this news cycle has begun to wane."

=== I reply:

If I was President Biden, that's what I would do. There are two major scenarios:

a. The Taliban do something really stupid, and give the media their feeding-frenzy click-bait, or
b. The Taliban plays it cool, and do what they said they'd do

The U.S., for the moment, has lost the initiative, and has to play the reactionary game. If I was the President, I'd say nothing, and see what the tea leaves offer up.

If the Taliban are smart, and I think they are, option B above gives the President the latitude he very much needs to redirect attention to the two things that most affect the United States:

a. The middle class has been factored out of the production equation by automation and globalization. No economy can function without a viable middle class to provide demand.

b. The environment can't stand much more extraction. It's broken, and failing.

The rest of the global events are side-shows by comparison. Afghanistan is a minor loss in a losing war against loss of control. Loss of control over the world, and loss of control over the rate/impact of environmental collapse.

Biden, and most of the U.S. doesn't agree with the environmental dimension of my presentation. That does not, at all, lessen its reality.

Afghanistan, as interesting as it is to talk about and speculate over, will be a rapidly-overtaken blip on the radar-screen of incomings.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Aug 20 2021 22:55 utc | 77

I donn't think the brits have a chance to restart anything with or without USA.

NATO is totally shot with prestige in entire Asia, so getting anyone else on board is unlikely, besides some token forces.

THe UK has long ago lost their dignity and the desperate ranting against Russia and their disgusting collusion in destroying Julian Assange is enough for me to say they have crossed a line they can never return to.

Like others said here, NATO cannot use and sensible air power, unless they recapture an airbase quickly and stage from there. A logistical demand way above their heads and especially in these days. For sure, the Taliban is aware of this possibility these days and not asleep.

Covertly, maybe they could smuggle some arms to Masood, but the situation is not like it was with Societ Union. Firstly, precious Anti-aircraft wquipment would be mostly useless as Taliban does not depend much upon air power and secondly, since Taliban can easily encapsulate the entire Pansjir valley now and simply starve them out witout shedding much blood. Thirdly, Pakistan has said a clear NO to ANY bases on their territory and there is no logistical grounds to start from. However, finally (and not the least), you bet Taliban will interrogate every single person who colluded with the ISAF. Although I believe they will not execute many of them, they are bound to run hard investigations to root out any residual egents AND keep an eye on them.

Taliban is sitting with all cards and if they do not become too cocky or complacent, I see little the Hegemon or it's UK lapdog can do.

Posted by: Harald | Aug 20 2021 23:05 utc | 78

@75 Gordog

You said:

That in itself is a very clear signpost of how the geopolitics has shifted. The former Soviet 'stans in particular were the real prize of the Afghan adventure all along. That's why the US went in there. To make new Lithuanias and Polands out of them on Russia's doorstep.


How the geopolitics has shifted, indeed!

Gotta confess, tho, I have a very, very hard time believing the U.S. had no idea all this was afoot. While it's such fun to ridicule people whose views and values are different than mine, there's a little voice I hear that says "you may not like them entirely, but don't think for a second they're stupid".

My guess is that President Biden, and former President Trump had a pretty good idea where the winds were blowing, and knew that it was time to depart. The Afghanis observed and knew how to play the "extract baksheesh" game, just like the Iraqis learned it. Trump hates to be played, and he must have known quite well that the Americans were getting played.

"They laugh at us". Remember him saying that? Yes, he was referring to EC, but he easily could have pointed to any of the theaters of meddling we pour money into.

The problem is that powerful people, who control a lot of the U.S. decision-making apparatus, make a lot of money by playing the U.S. yokels. Gravels me to say it, but that's what we are. Ultimately, it's us the yokels that are getting played, and the Afghanis just a small piece of the take. A very small piece, and that helicopter had, what, $150 mil in cash, of _your_ taxes in it when it left for UAE?

About those shifting geopolitics. As you said, "look at the map!". The jig's up, the world knows how the U.S. works.

China and Russia have figured out how to seal the ends of the continent (China and Afghanistan/Iran) and now the U.S. is shut out.

And facing the core problems I set out above, prior post.

This is an epochal shift for the Empire. You got that dead-right. But concurrently, and on a global scale, we're at the beginning of a much more epochal shift about the basis for an economy.

How do you run an economy when the foundation of that economy, the natural world, is collapsing under your feet?

Someone said here @ MoA, and I wish I could attribute credit, that it might be better to let the Afghanis retain their subsistence economy, and forget about the Great Game and transport corridors and copper extraction.

Sorry to monkey-wrench the dialog, folks, but the more analysis I do, the less I like the options we've set out for ourselves.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Aug 20 2021 23:22 utc | 79

Bemildred @ 68; Thanks for the Horton snippet, and your last line;

"We become what we hate. We create the enemies who will destroy us."

Both truths....

Posted by: vetinA | Aug 20 2021 23:24 utc | 80

Iranian Involvement

I have to agree Iran played/is playing a big role in Afghanistan, in particular after the death of General Soleimani. I hate to use the overused term "game Changer", but access to ATGMs for light infantry/guerilla forces is kind of a game changer. They add a lot of punch to units that might otherwise have only access to small arms and rpg, being able to hit armor, fortified positions and even provide some air cover against helicopters and low flying attack planes. Before Soleimani's death I found very little evidence of ATGM in Taliban hands, which i considered odd since the Syrian Conflict is saturated with them. After Soleimani's death, all sorts of ATGM attacks including the downing of three helicopters with them.

I believe this is partially what led Trump and Biden to withdraw, fighting a guerrilla force that is properly equipped with anti-tank guided missiles is a whole different beast then what coalition forces were fighting before. It also makes any attempts at holding onto airfields, whether Kabul or Bagram a much, much dicier proposition.

Posted by: Haassaan | Aug 20 2021 23:35 utc | 81

Both truths....

Posted by: vetinA | Aug 20 2021 23:24 utc | 79

Thank you. A hard lesson, and I'm not giving it up. Much appreciated. I enjoy your comments here as well ...

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 20 2021 23:49 utc | 82

Posted by: Haassaan | Aug 20 2021 23:35 utc | 80

I had not heard they had ATGMs, that would explain a lot. A good point in any case.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 20 2021 23:54 utc | 83

US political and military leadership can't say they hadn't known the real situation for a long period of time. Here is a credible 2012 report published in Armed Forces Journal:

I assume the leadership of the other 137 vassal states involved in the Afghanistan fiasco were also aware of the real situation or, more likely, they chose to be wilfully ignorant.

They preferred to believe their own propaganda. Unfortunately they never learn any lessons.

How do they ever get [re] elected?

Posted by: Paul | Aug 21 2021 0:16 utc | 84

@82 Bemildred

For starters one can just Google Search ATGM Afghanistan, although those articles don't specify where they may have come from, and I am only hypothesizing they came from Iran based on when they started showing up on the battlefield.

Further use of ATGMs can be found by snooping around on Reddit, or links provided from Commander Salamander's blog, 4chan or even Quora, although that can be rather time consuming as incidences of their use seem rare and only directed at Afghanistan's ex-army forces and never at coalition forces.

Posted by: Haassaan | Aug 21 2021 0:17 utc | 85

Tom P, the helter skelter pullout and the chaos at the airport proves they didn't see it coming.

It's obvious now that they never expected to pull out 5,000 'diplomats' and thousands more 'translators.'

Even days before Kabul fell, the official 'intel' estimate was at least 90 days.

Does that sound like competence?

Sorry, but they never saw the train that hit them.

I suggest you spend some time with Martyanov and Armstrong to learn a little about the disneyland in DC gang. These people are not reality-based.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 21 2021 0:17 utc | 86

Here's a link about Talib shooting down helos with ATGMs.

In there is a further link to the original NYT report.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 21 2021 0:23 utc | 87

REF: "Afghanistan: The End of the Occupation"

I'd like to amend my comment: S Brennan | Aug 20 2021 20:24 utc-54, to take into account the remark made by: Canadian Cents | Aug 20 2021 18:19 utc-31 who correctly stated:

"one huge omission in it [see REF. above] is that they make no mention of the fact that the US was responsible for deliberately inducing Wahhabi extremism and war in Afghanistan the late 1970's...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...Afghanistan"

Carter had far more blood on his hands than many know...East Timor anyone?

Brzezinski: "Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahiddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely 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".

Winston Churchill once referred to Poland as the Hyena of Europe..not a fair remark, but in light of Brzezinski's behavior, not entirely unreasonable either.

Posted by: S Brennan | Aug 21 2021 0:47 utc | 88

It is worse than an evil conspiracy, Americans: it's just sheer incompetence:

US airlifts Americans from 200m beyond Kabul airport perimeter, after US general allegedly ‘embarrassed’ by British rescue ops

Are you still not convinced that this was an outright military defeat?

Posted by: vk | Aug 21 2021 0:49 utc | 89

VK, yeah a lot of infighting now among the 'allies' lol!

A sure sign that things are tango uniform. 😺

Yesterday, the US turned away a Dutch troop transport plane that came to get their people. The plane ended up flying back EMPTY!

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 21 2021 1:01 utc | 90

Below is a link to a blogger I hadn't seen before. Linked by someone at NakedCapitalism.

I don't know if I agree fully, that the last days of Afghanistan qualify as the great denouement of the legitimating claims of the modern technocratic ethos in its current incarnation. We may well go back to business as usual (such as it is in the Trump-Biden era). But food for thought anyhow.

Similar feelings maybe existed when the Vietnam war ended. Coincidentally, or really not, I wandered into a used bookstore (what's that?) waiting for some unhealthy to-go food this afternoon. Randomly walking to avoid other shoppers, I found myself staring at a display of a Hunter S. Thompson compilation of dispatches from around the time of that event. Hmm.

At least it is a cause for some minimal introspection or I-told-you-so's among some formerly-left liberals, who, at least in the US, gave up trying in the last few years.

Posted by: ptb | Aug 21 2021 1:06 utc | 91

S Brennan 87 "Winston Churchill once referred to Poland as the Hyena of Europe"

Something that has come of Russia opening up to the public WWII records and according to Putin in western records...

Poland blocked soviet Union from from sending supplies troops ect when it became obvious Hitlers Germany would invade Czechoslovakia. Poland considered itself and ally of Hitlers Germany and of memory from Putin said, joined Germany in the invasion of Czechoslovakia. Hence Soviet Union grabbing a section of Poland for a buffer when the fools were themselves invaded and occupied by Germany.
Poland seems little changed.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 21 2021 1:06 utc | 92

Joe threatening to call in air strikes on our own positions at the airport is a stroke of genius.
I bet the Taliban are trembling in the former presidential palace. 10K Americans (or more!) sit stranded in Kabul while Pashtun horsemen joyride above the city in abandoned Blackhawk helicopters and Joe's handlers have him waving his flaccid member at them in impotent rage. Inflammatory speeches endanger our people. Dien Bien Phu in the making. Our gazillion-dollar military and Intel Community got 'owned' by savages in sandals, for Gawdsake! No embarrassment or humility rendered and no resignations tendered. The grift goes de da de dee la de dah de day....

I, fool that I am, put this on three State Department reposts of Bidet's speech.

Posted by: FiveGunsWest | Aug 21 2021 1:14 utc | 93

Posted by: Haassaan | Aug 21 2021 0:17 utc | 84

I believe you, and I never google much of anything. I read an ever changing list of blogs mostly, and links, and a few news sites and news feeds.

I am surprised now I think about I have not heard more about ATGMS there, but then that's because of the "deal", I expect. Back when I still read reddit ATGMs were a very popular subject.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 21 2021 1:16 utc | 94

Paul 83 "How do they ever get [re] elected?"

Media. Whoever controls the media controls 'democracy'.

Throughout history the old standard for a good leader was he/she brought peace and prosperity to their nation/country. This recent bullshit of democracy being the standard (put forward by the yanks?) is a very recent and hopefully short lived aberration.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 21 2021 1:26 utc | 95

RPG7s can be used to down helicopters - I believe it was the SAS who worked out how to do it and then trained the Mujahideen in the method so they could destroy Soviet helicopters. It uses the self-destruct feature built into the RPG7 that detonates at 900 metres. Identify possible landing sites then place an operative with a couple of RPG7s 900 metres from the landing site then wait for the helicopter land - one dead helicopter.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Aug 21 2021 1:36 utc | 96

>>>>: Peter AU1 | Aug 21 2021 1:06 utc | 91
The even dumber thing the Poles did was the government escaped to Hungary or some such state resulting in there being no Polish government in Poland so eastern Poland became terra nullius so the Soviets didn't invade Poland, they just colonised it as for example the British did in Australia

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Aug 21 2021 1:41 utc | 97

Paul Damascene @ 52
It is plausible that the evacuation of Bagram was presented to Biden himself as a fait accompli to block his decision to withdraw? And instead he was angry or macho enough to order that the withdrawal proceed anyway?

I would not put that past General Milley and his cohorts. While most of them opposed Trump very publicly it is plausible that the establishment could have made that move very privately. Books will be written, lies will be told by all of them in the future.

Meanwhile, they should hope the Taliban does not lose patience with them, they are in a very precarious position. Certainly a move on the airport will be portrayed as another 911. In the end, whatever happens the deal is done.

Unfortunately, there are no adults in the room to take the car keys away from this collection of losers.

Posted by: circumspect | Aug 21 2021 1:43 utc | 98

Please allow me to post a belated echo of those praising the work "Afghanistan: the End of the Occupation."

Unfortunately, the ranks and the satrapy of the Evil Empire will not read it, because (a) they don't read -- it makes them think, and (b) they wouldn't like reading it -- it would make them think.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Aug 21 2021 1:48 utc | 99

FiveGunsWest @92:
I like the cut of your jib. Never forget that ridicule is one of the most potent weapons we have. In regard to accountability, it will never happen. WWII Japanese officers would have committed suicide after an Afghanistan occurrence. Some Russians and Germans would have done the same. American officers and officials aren't built that way. After failure they expect a promotion and a special award.

Posted by: Donnie | Aug 21 2021 1:54 utc | 100

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