Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 06, 2021

From The Periphery To The Core - Taliban Capture First Provincial Capital

With regards to Afghanistan the Russian Foreign Ministry seems to be a tad too optimistic:

MOSCOW, August 5./TASS/. The offensive by the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) in Afghanistan is losing steam and it has no resources for seizing major cities, including Kabul, Russian Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Alexander Bikantov told a briefing on Thursday.

"The Taliban has no resources to capture and hold the major cities, including the country’s capital city Kabul. Their offensive is gradually running out of steam," he said.

Government troops have managed to regain control over the lost districts in some provinces, the diplomat stressed.

As of July 26 the Taliban controlled 223 districts and contested another 110. The government controlled 74 districts.


That some district centers change hands more than once does not say much about Taliban resources. They certainly seem to have all they need and are gaining more with each district and province they take.

As for Mr. Bikantov's claim that the Taliban can not gain and hold major cities: The Taliban are currently contesting Lashkar Gar, the capital of Helmand province and also Kandahar. The recent attacks on those cities only slowed down because the U.S. has broken its agreement with the Taliban and is bombing their positions around those cities with B-52 bombers.

But the U.S. can not bomb everywhere and so today the first province capital, Zaranji of Nimruz province at the Iranian border, fell without much resistance. As of 2015 the city had some 160,000 inhabitants. It is not a big one but certainly significant.

Another city that is on the verge of falling is Sheberghan, the capital of Jowzjan province and the hometown of the Uzbek warlord 'General' Dostum. Earlier today the Taliban entered Dostum's house and later burned it down. Fighting within the city continues.

Dostum is well known for his brutality (and drunkenness). When the CIA in 2001 helped the Northern Alliance warlords to defeat the Taliban some several thousand Taliban surrendered in the northern provinces. Dostum brutally killed many of them:

More than 3,000 Taliban prisoners--who had surrendered to the victorious Northern Alliance forces at the fall of Konduz in late November--were crammed, sick and starving, into a facility with room for only 800.
However awful their conditions, they were the lucky ones. They were alive. Many hundreds of their comrades, they said, had been killed on the journey to Sheberghan from Konduz by being stuffed into sealed cargo containers and left to asphyxiate.
The militia leader whose forces allegedly carried out the killings is Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, one of Afghanistan's most ruthless and effective warlords.

Up to 200 prisoners were put into each 40 foot shipping containers and transported for days without opening the doors. Up to a thousand are said to have died.

But not all of Dostum's prisoners were suffocated:

A witness close to General Dostum's inner circle said he had seen three or four bullet-ridden containers and blood running from them. He blamed ethnic Hazara soldiers, but soldiers now guarding Qala Zeina said it had been Uzbek troops belonging to General Dostum.

The U.S. rejected to investigate the prisoner massacres and later made Dostum the Afghan defense minister. But in this round of the war Dostum, who only yesterday came back to Kabul from Turkey to direct the defense of his hometown, will be on the receiving side of revenge.

The Taliban are winning. Only where Afghan special forces, who can call in U.S. air support, defend the cities do the Taliban have difficulties. But there are not many special forces battalions around and the Taliban will concentrate on those cities that receive no additional government support.

With each city they take they gain in resources and men. Army and police units surrender and change over to the Taliban side. The first the Taliban did in Zaranji today was to open the prison gates. All previously arrested Taliban will rejoin their troops. Each army post and police station they overrun leaves them with more Humvees, ammunition and weapons.

There are also persistent rumors that a significant number of Pakistani Pashtun men are now fighting on the Taliban's site. Some officers of the Pakistani military may have laid off their uniforms to slip into Taliban dresses. It would not be the first time for them to do that. It may explain the very methodical operations during this Taliban offense.

The Taliban still need a large number of troops to gain the towns, districts and provinces all over the country. But after each such win they can reorganize. They leave a few administrators and a small number of troops behind and then move their main forces elsewhere. The more towns and cities have fallen the bigger is the concentration of forces the Taliban can achieve.

That Zaranji  in the very west and Sheberghan in the very north are in the news today is because the Taliban work from the periphery to the center.  That is why the big cities will only come under serious attack after the smaller are under Taliban control. Kabul will be the last city that will be fought over and the Taliban will likely be able to concentrate some 50,000+ men to fight that battle.

Kabul is already infiltrated and unsafe. Earlier this week some Taliban attacked the home of the Afghan defense minister. Today they assassinated the top government spokesman. There will be many more such incidents before the big push for the city will come.

The Russian foreign ministry spokesman seems to have not understood the Taliban's approach.

Posted by b on August 6, 2021 at 15:58 UTC | Permalink

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Thanks B for the Afghanistan sitrep.

Posted by: Lucci | Aug 6 2021 16:22 utc | 1

Thanks for the Afghanistan update b.

Given the information you provided it certainly looks like the Taliban are unstoppable in spite of the B-52 bombing.

I keep waiting for a huge false flag effort somewhere to launch a war to change the empire narrative from disintegration to fighting on.....but can't figure out which country that could occur in. I don't believe that an argument can be made for the US going back into Afghanistan with some grand scheme to fix anything, regardless of the false flag carnage...but carnage can do powerful things....sigh

Make love, not war!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 6 2021 16:27 utc | 2

Thanks B. Your SITREPs are always top notch.
Keep em coming.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Aug 6 2021 16:46 utc | 3

Thank you, b.

What troubles me is the use of B-52s. To me, that would signify the use of carpet bombing, as done against Japanese and Korean people. It would be totally indiscriminate. It is a war, but also how the US fights them.

Posted by: Michael M | Aug 6 2021 17:04 utc | 4

>>Taliban has no resources for seizing major cities

This person unfortunately does not have good knowledge on the topic.

Taliban captured 3 provincial capitols several years ago with US and NATO still in the country, and were forced to withdraw from the cities only after the US/NATO relocated troops to stop them.

US troops are now gone from the country.

Moreover, Afghan troops often switch sides, siding with the winner, and filling his ranks.

The more the taliban capture new areas, the more they get recruitment, resources and money, while denying those to the government.

About half of Afghanistan's provincial capitols are surrounded, so they are gone, one way or the other.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 6 2021 17:23 utc | 5

thank you barkeep for your well contextualized update.

My context is 911, the uninvestigated crime in which the guilty were identified in a New York minute and the PNAC Wet Dream Forever War was launched that has murdered millions and made billions. The invasion/occupation of Afghanistan is a crime against humanity.

All roads lead back to 911. After decades of lies, false promises and free-fall of society isn't it odd how so few are interested in the truth?

Posted by: gottlieb | Aug 6 2021 17:29 utc | 6

The Taliban's great advantage is they don't need occupation garrisons as b points out. War is a very messy business that often allows psychopaths to gain leadership positions and control as with Dostum. NATO troops didn't behave much better, which is why Afghans that aided them are seen as traitors and treated as such. All previous Colonial Wars of liberation share the same features. For example, look at what the British did to Kenya and its people before finally leaving or the Outlaw US Empire in Vietnam. Indeed, how much difference is there really between the NVA/Vietminh and Taliban. Was there wholesale massacre in Ho Chi Minh City once the colonial power ran away? No. Did the colonial power renege on its promise of reparations that caused the repatriation of POWs to cease? Yes, but that's never mentioned in any movie about their rescue. The Outlaw US Empire invaded Afghanistan for, as Chomsky puts it, Reasons of State, not to capture Bin Laden. The locals are finally forcing the invaders to leave. But as usual, those that planned and benefited from the invasion won't suffer any consequences; only their cannon fodder will.

In their negotiations with Russia and China, the Taliban have said the right things and have generally matched those words with their behavior. Both Russia and China fought vicious Civil Wars within the last 100 years and understand how/why retribution happens; and with the massive Russophobic attacks and open Western support for NeoNazism, Russia has current proof of why there's a valid reason to completely eliminate such an enemy. And as we all know, facts on the ground help move negotiations. Imagine the affect one BukM2 system would have after it shot down a B-52 sortie. IMO, what stands for the official Afghan government is being ordered to stall negotiations, but for what purpose for Afghanis? Afghanis have nothing to gain from continuation of the war and everything to gain with peace. IMO, every additional death linked to the war is the Afghan government's responsibility since it's the side needing to capitulate, resign and aid the transition to a coalition caretaker government capable of securing the country so preparations for Winter can commence.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 6 2021 17:29 utc | 7

Maybe the Russian spokesman was just dishing out some ol' Maskirovka to feed the Nato generals' egoes, lest they up the ante and flare up another full scale war in Russia's neighbourhood, while fully aware of the reality. Russia has met with the Taliban on more occasions. A lot of time to practice chess in those Afghan valleys...

Posted by: Et Tu | Aug 6 2021 17:48 utc | 8

So is somebody using the Taliban at the borders of IRAN and Uzbekistan as a bargaining chip against those two countries? They will be very useful to damage the security of both nations especially with their anti-shia vestiges.

Posted by: Hshshs | Aug 6 2021 17:58 utc | 9

wrt the use of B-52 bombers it is not as you imagine with indiscriminate carpet bombing. this concept was used very effectively during the initial invasion of Afghanistan and works like this. The B-52 can fly a very long time and with in flight refueling could probably stay airborne for days on end if desired.

The BUF goes to Afghan airspace and loiters at a couple of miles up, when a target is identified, the bomber goes to that location and drops a precision guided bomb from. no longer do fighter bombers have to launch from a nearby location, go to the target and drop ordinance and then immediately return to base. Further more, if the first bomb does not take out the intended recipients they simply come back and drop another one. Indeed it is quite cost effective.

Posted by: dan of steele | Aug 6 2021 18:04 utc | 10

Dostum went back to Afghanistan yesterday? Has he become senile? It's hopeless, he won't be able to turn the tide, he'd better fuck off to another country with his stolen money...
As for the big cities, they aren't worth much when the entire countryside and smaller towns and cities are in enemy hands. For a starter, they won't have enough food for a long siege.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Aug 6 2021 18:22 utc | 11

dan of steele is right. The BUF's nowadays carry precision guided bombs, up to about 100 500 lb bombs.

The real question is, If Pakistani military are aiding the Taliban, why is Pakistan allowing the BUF's to transit its air space?

Posted by: bob sykes | Aug 6 2021 18:28 utc | 12

Or Russia is signaling that this phase of offense is winding down. Which would be a time for consolidation and waiting out the US. Next fighting season might be a more strategic time for going after big cities.

Posted by: Lex | Aug 6 2021 18:31 utc | 13

@ 'dan of steele':

Nice bedtime story.

The practice of deliberately bombing cities and civilians has long been the go-to tactic of the US and its allies in each and every one of its wars, starting from WW2. It's called terror bombing.

It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed...

---Winston Churchill, 1945

After the February 1945 bombing of Dresden, the AP reported:

Allied air bosses have made the long awaited decision to adopt deliberate terror bombing of great German population centers as a ruthless expedient to hasten Hitler's doom.

This has been standard practice in every war since. Former head of Strategic Air Command Gen Curtis Lemay on the bombing of Korea:

Over a period of three years or so, we killed off — what — 20 percent of the population?

The War Crime north Korea Will Never Forget---WaPo

Dean Rusk, a supporter of the war and later secretary of state, said the United States bombed 'everything that moved in North Korea, every brick standing on top of another.'

After running low on urban targets, U.S. bombers destroyed hydroelectric and irrigation dams in the later stages of the war, flooding farmland and destroying crops.

The same deliberate terror bombing has been practiced in every US war since: Vietnam, Iraq War 1, Serbia, Iraq war 2, Syria, Afghanistan etc etc.

How anyone can believe such bullshit that the US military is a bunch of wallflowers that take white-glove care about where their bombs are dropping, is literally unbelievable! 🙀

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 6 2021 18:33 utc | 14

Further to my comment about terror bombing:

The North Vietnamese were able to take out more than 30 B52s---among the 10,000 total US aircraft destroyed in Vietnam. Plus over 2,000 US-supplied aircraft to the South Vietnamese.

When the adversary is able to shoot back, the US doesn't do so well. Unfortunately, the Taliban are not likely going to get BUK SAMs, as Karlof wistfully notes. But neither is the US bombing likely to have much of an effect on a guerilla force like the Taliban.

They blend in with the population who supports them. That is precisely why the Afghan civilians have been, and will continue to be, targets of air strikes.

Every air combat professional knows that aerial warfare alone has never won a war. That is why terror bombing of cities and civilian targets is practiced---to try to break enemy morale.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 6 2021 18:49 utc | 15

Gordog #14

Unfortunately true point. The US airforce has been carrying out terror bombing almost non-stop sine WWII. Korea and Vietnam received the worst level of air terror but more recently US war planes have terrorized Serbia, Iraq, Syria and Libya. It doesn't stop.

However, in this latest terror bombing assault in Afghanistan I am puzzled about one thing. The US air bases in Afghanistan have been abandoned. Whose air space is now being used to allow US terror bombing to continue? Looking at the map, it must be over Pakistan. Why is Pakistan allowing this?

I would think that Pakistan, from its own selfish interests, would want to have good relations with the incoming Taliban government in Afghanistan. Why they continue to permit the US to use their sovereign skis to terror bomb Afghanistan is something I do do not understand?

Posted by: ToivoS | Aug 6 2021 19:15 utc | 16

ToivoS @16--

India's airspace, as previously discussed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 6 2021 19:23 utc | 17

The Financial Empire wants to bleed China & Russia.

In the Cold War, the Financial Empire challenged the Soviet Bloc and worked towards capturing its members. In the coming war, there are two blocs: 💲 Bloc and the Non-$ Bloc. The Empire is positioning its pieces on the global chessboard to take on China, Russia and Iran (Non-$ Bloc). It wants to bleed these nations before launching its strikes, to lower their economic growth, progress, cultural confidence, ... and increase economic insecurity, resource wastage, distractions... How does a predator capture a prey? Injuring followed by strike...

“Turkish secret services are recruiting 2,000 combatants among the jihadists stationed in the Turkish-occupied area of Syria to send them to Afghanistan. Moreover, Turkish secret services have already resorted to using Syrian-based jihadists in the Libyan war and in the Upper Karabakh conflict. If pulled out from Armenia, the “Syrian” jihadists are regularly replaced by others in Libya.”
– Voltairenet

Why are terrorists being moved to Afghanistan? Is this fake news? What are Empire’s plan for Afghanistan? A terrorist training center?

It will be interesting to see if China, Russia and Iran can stabilize the situation in Afghanistan, Syria and Iran. If the Non-$ Bloc doesn’t move aggressively on multiple fronts they will be at a significant disadvantage. They can start by cutting off Taliban’s money and weapon supplies, to bring them to negotiating table and stabilize Afghanistan.

Who is funding and providing weapons to Taliban?

Posted by: Max | Aug 6 2021 19:26 utc | 18

The strategy of "from the periphery to the center" works in Afghanistan because it doesn't have an exit to the sea (where the imperial powers' true strength lies) and because Afghanistan is surrounded by hostile or neutral powers to the central government.

Posted by: vk | Aug 6 2021 19:31 utc | 19

Thanks for revisiting the theatrical Afghan Theatre, b. The upbeat 'secondhand news' we've been getting in Oz MSM since the US performed its midnight withdrawal has been mostly based on isolated incidents involving Taliban defeats delivered in a manner which insinuates that such defeats have become commonplace. However, these reports have carefully excluded any reference to the "Who controls what" maps.

So I'm inclined to agree with Et Tu...
Maybe the Russian spokesman was just dishing out some ol' Maskirovka to feed the Nato generals' egoes, lest they up the ante and flare up another full scale war in Russia's neighbourhood, while fully aware of the reality. Russia has met with the Taliban on more occasions. A lot of time to practice chess in those Afghan valleys...
Posted by: Et Tu | Aug 6 2021 17:48 utc | 8

Also there's a lot of emphasis in the 'news' on the growing refugee problem which is Tr-r-aditionally an excuse for the Christians to do some R2P carpet bombing (to make the refugee crisis worse).

The cited statement from "a Deputy Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman" is delightfully vague and contradictory - which is VERY unusual for Russia and sounds, to me, as though Russia has already figured out how to rid Afghanistan of Christian daydreamers, mass-murderers and bullshit artistes.
I heard yesterday that the Sleazy Poms are thinking about returning to Afghanistan to save ... something... vague and nebulous.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 6 2021 19:51 utc | 20

Toivos @ 16, about US bombers overflying Pakistan:

Yes, that is indeed a very good question!

There is no other air route to Afghanistan that would be open to the US. Karlof mentioned India, but India doesn't have a border with Afghanistan.

Gilgit-Baltistan, bordering Afghanistan to the north, is controlled by Pakistan. See map.

India controls Jammu and Kashmir to the south. Both of those regions comprise the disputed Kashmir area.

So it would have to be Pakistan allowing the overflights, and they would simply come in from the Arabian Sea in south Pakistan and not over India and then the Gilgit-Baltistan region, which is a lot more more unnecessary flight distance.

I do wish someone, somewhere would address this question, as it does seem rather curious.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 6 2021 20:02 utc | 21

gordog@21...i'm with karlof on this...india, khan has been clear about his connection to china & the bri...khan understands how important the bri is to both, india otoh tries to play both sides bt primarily panders to the united snakes.

Posted by: emersonreturn | Aug 6 2021 20:09 utc | 22

The quote from the Russian Foreign Ministry does seem puzzling.

Under Putin's command, the Russian government has become well known for speaking truthfully (outside of diplomacy) and negotiating in good faith. Russians study war like scholars study science or mathematics and are arguably the best military analysts in the world.

So, why would Russia make statements inconsistent with observable facts?

1. As others have noted, Russian military deception, sometimes known as maskirovka is certainly a possibility.
2. Perhaps the Russian Foreign Ministry is telling the truth. The Taliban does NOT, all by itself, have capabilities to accomplish so quickly what we see happening.

How can that be? Perhaps the answer is here in the article: Pakistan is secretly helping the Taliban tremendously and the Russians are hinting they know it.

Posted by: Mar man | Aug 6 2021 20:14 utc | 23

Emersonreturn, you can be 'with Karlof' all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that India doesn't have a border with Afghanistan.

So how are the airplanes going to get there? Beam me up Scotty hasn't been invented yet.

I suggest you look at the map I linked and read up on Gilgit-Baltistan. It is ADMINISTERED by Pakistan.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 6 2021 20:28 utc | 24

I don't understand your hostility. I merely stated what the B-52s were doing in Afghanistan. I am certainly not a fanboy of turning people into pink mist. I only stated that they were not carpet bombing.

as for flying over countries without permission....just what could Pakistan do about it? shoot down a US B-52? Even if they were successful, which I doubt because those airplanes have all kinds of radar and ECM which gives them considerable protection from SAMs and such, there would be hell to pay. And how would it benefit them?

only near peer nations can threaten these actions and most often inaction is their choice as well.

Posted by: dan of steele | Aug 6 2021 20:37 utc | 25

The "terror bombing" that a poster mentioned above is actually a strategy that goes back to America's Civil War with General Sherman's "March to the Sea". The more general term for it is "Total War", in which civilians and civilian infrastructure are targeted. The US has used this strategy in all wars since the Civil War.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 6 2021 20:59 utc | 26

@ 25:

Look, I'm not here for petty squabbles or being accused of 'hostility' that is imagined by the accuser.

I'm also not here to exchange 'opinions' with a lay person who hasn't the first clue about how air combat or air combat technologies work.

You simply dropped a load of nonsense here without actually knowing anything about the subject professionally, other than what you read in some silly media.

I gave a historical perspective on the subject, about which I know plenty, on a professional level. That is called answering nonsense with facts!

Second, I would ask you to be respectful going forward and not bandy about petulant accusations of 'hostility.'

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 6 2021 21:03 utc | 27

Posted by: Max | Aug 6 2021 19:26 utc | 18

They can start by cutting off Taliban’s money and weapon supplies, to bring them to negotiating table and stabilize Afghanistan.

Why would they repeat the same stupid tactics that failed the West?

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Aug 6 2021 21:06 utc | 28

Hate to wade into this, but Gordog @ 25 --

Even supposing you are as expert as I grant you to be, if Dan puts forward a view, we would all welcome your counter arguments, but I have to say that one of the things I most value about the list is that the 'flame wars' stuff is limited to a few transitory participants of this community.

Based on the quality of technical contributions you have made, I would not want to see you in that company.

Insofar as your expertise *does* exceed the average here, it behooves you to deploy it graciously.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Aug 6 2021 21:16 utc | 29


A good addition to your library would be Sven Lindqvist's A History of Bombing. Lord Wolseley arguing the British position at the Hague in 1899, where:

"The small countries wanted to be ahead of the game; they argued for a total prohibition of air war. The great powers, especially Great Britain, opposed prohibition.... Lord Wolseley argued the British position: 'Dropping bombs from balloons would, if proved possible, confer an enormous advantage on a power like Britain that possessed only a small army.'" (Pg. 24)

Lindqvist records a remarkable number of Sci-Fi books published prior to WW1 that depict complete mastery of Earth by only English speakers who, like the soon to rise Nazis, were to ethnically cleanse all other ethnicities and languages via bombing.


Seems Russia's UN Ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, and I are on the same page. "Afghanistan risks slipping into a full-scale protracted civil war amid the absence of progress on peace negotiations":

"'It is clear that there is no military solution to the Afghan situation, but, in the current situation, given the absence of progress on the negotiation track, the prospect of Afghanistan slipping into full scale and protracted civil war, unfortunately, is a stark reality. Therefore, the most important goal today is to swiftly launch substantive negotiations....'

"'We are convinced that now it is more important than ever to consolidate all international and regional efforts and every measure should be taken to find a sensible solution taking into account the interests of all ethnic and religious minorities.'"

Note the muteness of the Biden Team. Note the behavior of the Afghan government negotiation team. Generally when one's losing badly on the battlefield and there's little hope of a grand reversal, one tries to get the best surrender terms possible, but that doesn't seem to be happening; I've already provided my reason that's not occurring.

The increase in violence is a direct result of impasse at the negotiating table that only serves the interests of the Outlaw Anglo Empire.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 6 2021 21:20 utc | 30

"Some officers of the Pakistani military may have laid off their uniforms to slip into Taliban dresses."

While I know what you mean....there's a slightly confusing mental image of a soldier "slipping into a dress", lol.

Posted by: Guy Thornton | Aug 6 2021 21:27 utc | 31

@ Arch Bungle (#28), Who is funding and providing weapons to Taliban?

Are Six Eyes providing them counterfeit money, like they have done at other places. Who is the chief counterfeiter of other nations currencies? The Financial Empire.

The Empire’s favorite trick is to create problems for its foes and friends, to dominate them.

Posted by: Max | Aug 6 2021 21:27 utc | 32

William Gruff @26--

Such genocidal tactics existed long before Sherman's March. Just review the Punic Wars or how the Spartans treated the Helots. In his book, Lindqvist questions why certain mass killing devices are outlawed while others are permitted. It also seems odd that the greatest efforts by humans to outlaw many forms of warfare and warfare itself predate WW1, but very few have since occurred despite the many millions of innocents killed. Until humans evolve enough to solve the problem themselves, the only way wars will be prevented is if an alien entity exerts its hegemony, as in The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 6 2021 21:31 utc | 33

It seems to me that the scenario dan of steele posits, namely

as for flying over countries without permission....just what could Pakistan do about it? shoot down a US B-52? Even if they were successful, which I doubt because those airplanes have all kinds of radar and ECM which gives them considerable protection from SAMs and such, there would be hell to pay. And how would it benefit them?

is entirely plausible. It's not as if we'd ever shown much respect for the rights or even the territorial integrity of our allies, satrapies, etc. in the past.

Posted by: corvo | Aug 6 2021 21:49 utc | 34

@ 'Paul Damascene':

You say you 'hate to wade into this', yet you did anyway.

I will say again that I am not interested in petty squabbles.

And I WILL respond to every under-the-the-belt comment that is directed AT me.

I play fair. I never attack anyone first, and always address people respectfully, as a rule.

There is nothing in my original reply to 'dan of steele' that warrants the label of 'hostility.' It was a factual and informative reply without ad hominems.

To which a number of commenters have already responded, mostly in agreement. That means the SUBSTANCE of my reply was useful to the discussion.

Petty squabbles and ad hominems are not!

You don't mind calling me 'ungracious' and a 'flamer'...and even lumping me under some 'fly-by-night' category.

I will repeat again:

Please direct any future comments to me in a respectful tone.

I am more than happy to debate and to respond respectfully and helpfully to everyone. I think that fact is beyond dispute.

But I will not turn the other cheek when spoken to disrespectfully or inappropriately. Please remember that going forward.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 6 2021 21:50 utc | 35

thanks b...

for the record it is @ 12 bob sykes which i quote - " The real question is, If Pakistani military are aiding the Taliban, why is Pakistan allowing the BUF's to transit its air space?" not that it matters very much... and i do agree with @25 dan of steele response to this question which @ 34 corvo highlights... what can pakistan do about it? very little as i see it - unfortunately....

Posted by: james | Aug 6 2021 22:07 utc | 36

Since it involves most of the actors in the current fracas, the book by Grousset, The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia can be read freely here.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 6 2021 22:17 utc | 37

Generally when one's losing badly on the battlefield and there's little hope of a grand reversal, one tries to get the best surrender terms possible, but that doesn't seem to be happening; I've already provided my reason that's not occurring.

The increase in violence is a direct result of impasse at the negotiating table that only serves the interests of the Outlaw Anglo Empire.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 6 2021 21:20 utc | 30

"best surrender terms possible" -- easier said than done. Big wigs on the side of "internationally recognized government" have a gamut of retirement options -- Jedda, Dubai, perhaps Istanbul, or some cute locations in the countryside of Morocco. What is their future in Afghanistan?

It is like Hadi negotiating with the Huthis. Hadi demands total disarmament etc. And if it does not work, he can stay in ar-Riyad.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 6 2021 22:20 utc | 38

The B-52s are coming in from Al Udeid,Qatar

Posted by: V | Aug 6 2021 22:26 utc | 39

Corvo: about US combat aircraft overflying Pakistan.

Pakistan bends again as it grants US warplanes access to its skies; June 1, 2021

In a second major move in recent months to fix ties with the United States, Pakistan has granted permission for American warplanes to use its airspace in support of forces fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The reinstatement of a 20-year-old arrangement saw Pakistani airspace used by American warplanes on at least one occasion during the first week of May to bomb Taliban forces engaged in a major anti-government offensive in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, several renowned Pakistani journalists recently revealed on social media.

This is a delicate issue obviously for Pakistan and Prime Mininster Imran Khan. Perhaps he is allowing these on a case-by-case basis, at least until the formal US withdrawal deadline of September 11.

After that, we may see a change. Surely China and Pakistan's other SCO partners are not in favor of letting the US continue sowing chaos in Afghanistan---even by means of long distance bombing.

Pepe Escobar and our host here have all written about the political dimensions of what appears to be a nearing political solution. And that solution is going to be managed EXCLUSIVELY by the regional players.

That means Russia and China, the Central Asian stans, and the SCO---all of the former being members of that security body. I agree with these anlyses. We are seeing a homebrewed political solution for Afghanistan that is NOT going to include extraterritorial players.

As for the idea that the US would overfly Pakistan without permission, that's not how that works, folks!

The US has been denied such rights in the past, notably by Turkey in the runup to the 2003 Iraq invasion. Even the US is not prepared to trample allies. Only Israel behaves in this illegal way, with its overflights over Lebanon. But that is a different ballgame.

As for taking down a lumbering B52 with SAMs, that would be duck soup for any medium-range SAM system like the Buk. I had already mentioned, and linked to the wikipedia article about US aircraft losses in Vietnam.

Most of those 31 B52s were brought down by Russian-supplied SAMs...MiG21s may have brought down one or two only.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 6 2021 22:27 utc | 40

I was curious about the abbreviation BUF so I did a little research.

" was during Operation Arc Light that the Stratofortress gained its famous nickname, becoming the “BUFF” an acronym for “Big Ugly Fat F*cker”, that in polite company and in official USAF fact sheets it is deciphered as “Big Ugly Fat Fellow”.

Carry on.

Posted by: dh | Aug 6 2021 22:30 utc | 41

@William Gruff, 26

The US has used this strategy in all wars since the Civil War.

Is "extravagant violence" or Total War not the preferred US strategy for wars, learned in the conquest of North America? The book "The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier" by John Grenier traces the colonists' embrace of three practices - extirpative war making (attacking Indian villages, homes and food stores, killing Indian women and children, and razing Indian fields), the creation of specialised units for Indian fighting (rangers), and the use of scalp hunters to motivate privatised, commercialised campaigns through the issuance of scalp bounties. In addition, there is the use of a bioweapon (smallpox infected blankets) in the eighteenth century and the use of death marches in the nineteenth century.

Posted by: cirsium | Aug 6 2021 22:43 utc | 42

I am curious to know if Turkmenistan might be allowing US warplanes to fly through its airspace, either by hosting US airbases where they can take off or by condoning US or US-allied aircraft flights through its airspace from Azerbaijan and Turkey.

If US flights into Afghanistan are coming from the northwest, my conjecture has some substance. Debate as to whether Pakistani PM Imran Khan is allowing US warplanes through his country's airspace becomes moot.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 6 2021 23:21 utc | 43

Seems highly likely that USA recommits troops to Afghanistan if there is a war with Iran.

The possibility of such a war has increased in the past week with laying blame on Iran for the latest "mysterious attack" on Gulf shipping and exchange of fire between Hezbollah and Israel.

See more here


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 6 2021 23:32 utc | 44

Piotr Berman @38--

Thanks for your reply! At least you offered an alternative reason why the negotiations are stalled. No one else seems at all interested. But is there validity in the Ambassador Nebenzia's prediction of Civil War? Given the Taliban's continuation of battlefield success and the huge problem of civilian casualties caused by the attempt at providing air support by retreating NATO forces that only serves to push (well documented) the victims into the Taliban camp, I see no force capable of preventing Kabul's fall and complete Taliban victory, which means those in the current government will have no opportunity to shape Afghanistan's future. IMO, if they're going to eventually abandon ship, why not do so now and minimize casualties? Or do they not care? (I know the Outlaw US Empire doesn't give a damn.) At least the regional nations appear to give a damn.

Pakistan needs Afghanistan to commence pacification so BRI projects can move ahead to the project's benefit. Khan indeed has a delicate task trying to keep the Outlaw US Empire at arms length when he'd really like it to disappear. IMO, the situation b reports will differ little in the weeks ahead until Kabul comes under siege, although I don't think that's what the Taliban want to do as that would concentrate its forces in an area where air attacks would be more effective.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 6 2021 23:41 utc | 45

Jen @43--

Turkmenistan has declared itself to be a Neutral Nation. If it wants to remain Neutral, it cannot host any other nations forces or allow their transit through the space it controls.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 6 2021 23:42 utc | 46

re: Zaranj . . is not a big one but certainly significant.

Zaranj is significant because of its position lying just inside Afghanistan on the border with Iran, on the route north from Iran's Chabahar Port, developed by India, into Afghanistan.
The Iran railway line to Zahedan – which is situated close to the Afghan border -- would help transport goods faster to Afghanistan. India completed the construction of a 218 kilometre stretch of road in Afghanistan in 2008 -- the Zaranj-Delaram Highway that links up with the so called Garland Highway in Afghanistan as it connects Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat and Kunduz.
So now with that route under Pakistan/Taliban control, India will probably not be able to compete with China's route to the east from the Pakistan port of Gwadar on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. CPEC is the flagship of China’s Belt and Road (BRI) Initiative.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 7 2021 0:12 utc | 47

Why does Russia keep the Taliban on a "banned" list?

Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | Aug 7 2021 0:13 utc | 48

@ 39 v.... from qatar to afganistan sounds like quite a distance, unless they can fly straight over iran, which sounds very unlikely...

@ gordog... thanks for your ongoing posts here!

@ 41 dh... thanks for explaining that acronym...

@ 43 jen... here is a wikileaks cable from 10 years ago . Turkmenistan: WikiLeaks Cables Provide Details on US-Turkmen Cooperation

@ 44 jackrabbit... i don't see it myself.. it is the same cabal of warmongers rattling their bells.. it never stops thanks the readiness of the msm!

Posted by: james | Aug 7 2021 0:18 utc | 49

It is a pretty fair bet that Dostrum will now discover the urgent need to return to Turkey for, ahem, "consultations".

Not many other options open to him; the other warlord trick of changing sides at the last minute isn't going to sit very well with the Taliban.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Aug 7 2021 0:21 utc | 50

The North Vietnamese were able to take out more than 30 B52s

Probably more than that.
I was commercial fishing on Guam, where B52's took off and landed during the war.
Numerous times, while offshore, I observed B52'a struggling to get back to base, quite shot up.
And I was a simple fisherman.

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Aug 7 2021 0:21 utc | 51

Chances are good the B-52's are tearing up the civilian population far more than the Taliban. Especially if the Taliban is fighting by the "grab the enemy by the belt buckle" tactic used in Vietnam to neutralize US air supremacy on the battlefield.

Nothing to worry about here, the Empire does not give a shit about that situation. It will only be reported as a heroic use of the US military destroying Taliban forces with large body counts. The submissive and paid off agents of the fifth estate will report gleefully on the progress.

At this point I actually think they treat the Palestinians better and that is not saying a whole hell of alot.

Posted by: circumspect | Aug 7 2021 0:42 utc | 52

1. Using strategic bombers for tactical tasks are stupid at all!
2. Nobody can win a war with air force only.
Common joke from late 70er cold war:
Two Russians tank obrists in Paris in a coffee shop x+96h:
"Btw., who has won the Luftkrieg?"
Maybe something is changed now. But the Russians never changed the principle air defence of troops is part of troops. Air defence of country and strategic air defence is a different task. But all of this is part of an integrated air defence in theory.
Today in Germany there is no such thing like air defence at all. Look at "Fliegerfaust 1"! LOL! AKK rules!

Posted by: Wolle | Aug 7 2021 2:05 utc | 53

@ karlof1 | Aug 6 2021 23:42 utc | 46:

Turkmenistan might want to ask Laos how neutrality worked out for it.

If neutrality can be violated, it will be violated. And this is to say nothing about states that maintain "neutrality" with compulsive mendacity, e.g., Sweden.

Posted by: corvo | Aug 7 2021 2:24 utc | 54

There are a few different power centers in Pakistan, and the Prime Minister has a tricky job threading the needle trying to not antagonize any of them at the risk of civil strife.

The Pakistan Taliban operate with some autonomy from the central government and have a large presence within the Pakistani military. Having military personnel supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan and allowing for B-52 overflights aren't incompatible.

Pakistan would have no problem, technologically speaking, shooting down B-52s, but geopolitically the issue is thorny.

As far as the Russian statement goes, I think Mar Man sums it up pretty good @23.

Posted by: Haassaan | Aug 7 2021 2:44 utc | 55

This is a bit misleading. The towns that the Taliban have taken over are remote and sparsely populated.

The number of districts that the Taliban control may be large in number but in terms of population is likely around only 20 %of the total.

Taliban are created and supported by Pakistan. It remains to be seen whether Pakistan can carry through their support to the stage where the Taliban become the government of Afghanistan.

Posted by: jiri | Aug 7 2021 3:17 utc | 56

Posted by: corvo | Aug 7 2021 2:24 utc | 54

I think it's safe to say that Sweden has ceased to be neutral for some time now. It is an appendage of NATO, but poses as neutral for propaganda purposes.

Posted by: Constantine | Aug 7 2021 3:19 utc | 57

James @ 49:

Thanks for that link to the Wikileaks cable. As I suspected and as Corvo @ 54 suggests, the fact that countries can declare "neutrality" means squat and has done so since the 1940s when Sweden claimed "neutrality" during WW2 while collaborating with Nazi Germany.

Fighter jets can fly a circular route from Qatar through Saudi, Egyptian or Jordanian then Israeli airspace, then through Turkish, Georgian and Azerbaijani airspace, over the Caspian Sea and through Turkmenstani airspace and into Afghanistan if they carry enough fuel. They can refuel during flight as well if necessary over any of the aforementioned countries.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 7 2021 3:20 utc | 58

Government controlled and contested area in the far south western corner is interesting.
Map of ethnic groups through the region

Baluchi group run through into that area. From what I have read, they are allied to India. A pain for Pakistan, Iran and it seems Afghanistan.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 7 2021 3:34 utc | 59

@ Gordog et al.

Apart from air-to-air casualties what surface-to-air systems did the NVA use to take out B-52s in the Vietnam War? And, as a follow-up, without using Russian BUKs etc, do the Taliban have any anti-B-52 weaponry that might serve to obtain the odd symbolic trophy?

Posted by: Patroklos | Aug 7 2021 3:35 utc | 60

Haassaan @ 55: All good points!

Pakistani politics, as in most any large country, are not monolithic.

And of course Pakistan could easily shoot down B52s, as could any country with medium-range SAMs. They are far deadlier today than 50 years ago in Vietnam.

Pakistan's fighter jets [they have very good pilots] could also easily knock down such a large and cumbersome intruder from quite a distance, using air to air missiles.

Would they do it? That's a loaded question. Any country takes its sovereignty very seriously. A trespasser is a trespasser. They are taken out, if they persist on trespassing. Maybe not the first or even second time, but at some point, the Pakistanis, a nuclear power, are going to pull the trigger.

Duncan Idaho @ 51, who doubts that only 31 B52s were lost in Vietnam. I agree, lol! That's almost a given, considering the US propensity to cook numbers, especially combat losses. 😼

Btw, there is a B52 museum in Hanoi.

This was the main vengeance weapon of the US in the war, wiping out, by conservative estimate two million human lives. Over seven million tons of bombs were dropped on Vietnam, more than twice the total Allied bombers dropped on Germany!

One B52 equals about six B17 flying fortresses, in terms of bomb load. So yeah, Circumspect @ 52 is absolutely right: those B52s are meant for the terror bombing mission, against villages where Taliban live among their families and other locals. That's how that works, notwithstanding US media fairy tales.

There is no other reason to use such a vengeance weapon, except terror. Close air support with fighter jets, or even better a low flying ground attack aircraft like the A10 'Warthog' is much more effective for actual battlefield engagements. But that is not possible now, since they have been pulled from Bagram.

The Vietnam era B52 pilots called the Russian-made, but Vietnamese-operated SAMs 'flying telephone poles' due to their size. But it was hardly a laughing matter. That was the S75 'Dvina', seen here.

Jen @ 43 wonders about Turkmenistan possibly offering overfly privileges to US, or even bases. Simply put: not a chance.

Everybody in the region wants to see the US GONE! Especially the former Soviet stans. Turkmenistan is not in the Russia-led military bloc, CSTO, but it has close political and economic connections to Russia, including lots of migrant workers whose remittances are important to the economy.

Also, there is no chance for US to fly over Turkmenistan anyway without getting overflight permission from Azerbaijan and Armenia also, the latter being a CSTO member so no way. Azerbaijan is also very close to Moscow---including a very close personal relationship between Aliyev and Putin.

As I said earlier, the US is done in Central Asia. Only Pakistan may 'bend' a little for the time being, but even that is merely borrowed time.

The end is surely in sight for 'Buffs' dropping five hundred pounders by the dozen on village rooftops!

And speaking of Vietnam, a bon mot from legendary WW2 fighter ace Robin Olds, who also notched four victories in Vietnam:

The best flying job in the world is a MiG21 pilot at Phuc Yen. Hell, if I was one of them, I'd have got 50 of us!

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 7 2021 3:44 utc | 61

Gordog can probably do a better job answering this, but I believe the Vietnamese used primarily the Soviet made S-75 which NATO called SA-2. Pakistan still uses a somewhat modernized version made by China (HQ-2?).

I am not aware of any shoulder fired or small systems that can reach that altitude, and I don't think the Taliban has access to anything more potent.

Posted by: Haassaan | Aug 7 2021 3:49 utc | 62

@ Gordog

Thanks for that information. I find it hard to believe that the Taliban don't have the capacity to take out at least one B-52 if only for the symbolic value.

Posted by: Patroklos | Aug 7 2021 3:50 utc | 63

Jen, fighter jets can't fly anywhere near such distances...for simple reasons of pilot endurance.

Bombers can, because they can carry relief crew, have toilets on board etc.

Turkmenistan is a dead letter.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 7 2021 3:59 utc | 64

Patroklos, Taliban have only light wrapons. A B52 is the size of a 767 and flies at 30,000 ft or higher.

Taliban simply don't have the equipment needed.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 7 2021 4:11 utc | 65

If I recall correctly it took the Taliban 4 years to gain control of most of the country after they became a force. In the interim they were flying jets, had artillery and tank units, and eventually built a capable conventional force. The picture of the knuckle dragging idiots painted by the empire back them was just artwork for the minds of the manipulated. Socially that was correct.

If they did have access to surface to air missiles they would learn to use them rather quickly. I do not think that is something we left laying around the countryside as they were not needed in the current post 911 chaos in the country. Anything else they get their hands on they are capable of using to great effect.

If the Chinese and the Russians really wanted to make trouble they would hand them some systems but they see the inevitability of the Empires collapse in the region so I doubt if they feel that is needed.

Posted by: circumspect | Aug 7 2021 4:21 utc | 66

Also want to stress that it would never actually come to US aircraft flying into Pakistan without permission.

Once Pakistan says 'enough,' that's the end of it.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 7 2021 4:24 utc | 67

I completely agree with the Russian assessment. The only solution is the continuation of the Dona talks. The Taliban will never agree to this. They are drunken by victory.

Posted by: m | Aug 7 2021 4:33 utc | 68

Thanks b. Thanks Gordog and Karlof for the information provided in your comments. My question: What exactly is "precision bombing"? Some reports allege that as many as nine other human beings, in addition to the target, are killed on average in a drone strike. If children are killed the drone operator's are to identify them as goats. Daniel Hale, a drone operator turned whistleblower, is currently serving a four year prison sentence for informing us of these truths. IMO TPTB most hate Julian Assange for his release of the Collateral Murder Video.

Posted by: Michael Crockett | Aug 7 2021 6:33 utc | 69


Yes,seems quite a distance. I just know that at least 4 B-52s have been deployed since April at Al Udeid to "assist US forces retreating from Afghanistan". That's according to many military sites, MSM etc. You can easily look that up.

Posted by: V | Aug 7 2021 6:47 utc | 70

Et Tu #8

Maybe the Russian spokesman was just dishing out some ol' Maskirovka to feed the Nato generals' egoes, lest they up the ante and flare up another full scale war in Russia's neighbourhood, while fully aware of the reality. Russia has met with the Taliban on more occasions. A lot of time to practice chess in those Afghan valleys...

Agreed, taking regional capitals necessitates concentrated personnel and the the B52 war criminals will massacre the Taliban forces (and the rest but why would they care). Taking capitals is easy - siege. with just a few fighters somewhere on the outskirts sniping every movement.

In addition choking off Kabul will be the main gig and slowly picking off the heads of government. Think how the Syrian Army got decimated in the early war there with tunnels under barracks and so on. The Taliban are not running out of steam, they are conserving it for the long run. I should add that the minute they get control of the opium channels they might well acquire some gear to assemble a missile or two. This will give them total control over Kabul airport and the Turkish opportunist goons have been warned so don't expect that to be a gentleman's fight.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 7 2021 9:03 utc | 71

I hope the Taliban shut down the opium business when they get control over the country again.

Posted by: Sveno | Aug 7 2021 9:29 utc | 72

So far no one has asked why the Taliban have concentrated on both Sheberghan and Zaranj. Nor why the US has bombed a relatively small Provincial Capital.

Except Don Bacon | Aug 7 2021 0:12 utc | 47

Please see his post for the southern part (Zaranji) and its connections to the BRI.

"Zaranj is significant because of its position lying just inside Afghanistan on the border with Iran, on the route north from Iran's Chabahar Port, developed by India, into Afghanistan.
The Iran railway line to Zahedan – which is situated close to the Afghan border -- would help transport goods faster to Afghanistan."

Forget about the access to Kabul and all stations East, the possible aim here is to control the eastern side of the Afghanistan "circular" route which runs northwards towards - Sheberghan. Which is itself well situated for connections to Tajikstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

The map link below (Note "Sherbagan Gas field"). It gives an overview.

"By the Afghan Ministry of Finance. 2nd map. You will have to scroll down a bit as I couldn't find a "separated" map. Zaranj is underneath the blue rectangle on the lower left ("Top priority....")"

Why bother with Kabul as their first aim? Why not tie up a North-South BRI road that bypasses Pakistan with connections for Iran included?

As far as I can see the road is not yet completed (still only planned) but with Chinese finance it would rapidly become a reality. The finance collateral is assured by controlling that route.

Note also the TAP/TAPI Electricity and pipeline.

I would suggest that the Taliban have a clear idea of what and where their future interests might lie. It also explains why the US are getting uppity about infrastucture in those areas.

Someone is planning this carefully.

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 7 2021 10:44 utc | 73

oops to 73 "eastern side of the Afghanistan "circular" route..." should read "Western side...."

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 7 2021 10:46 utc | 74

Off topic, but relevant to many conversations here on missile defense:

US Patriot Missile systems don't work and "fail everywhere."

Posted by: Prof | Aug 7 2021 11:43 utc | 75

Yup, lots of people lacking knowledge on Afghanistan.

Taliban Capture Second Afghan Provincial Capital In 24 Hours

Capitol of Jowzjan Province falls under Taliban control. The city is home to notorious warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 7 2021 12:43 utc | 76

The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 7 2021 12:46 utc | 77

Aleksandr Bikantov probably hasn't looked at a map lately.

Afghanistan isn't a primarily urban country. It has no strings of cities like the Ruhr in Germany or the National Capital Region in India. The cities are isolated from each other, dependent on road links - there are almost no railways- and tenuous air links for communication. They can be isolated and left to wither on the vine, with the local authorities given the choice of starvation or surrender.

The Imperialist States of Amerikastan breaking its agreement was not only predictable, it was inevitable. I keep thinking about those who claim the traitor Gorbachëv should have got Amerikastan to sign a written agreement to not expand NATO to the east. As though that signature wouldn't have been violated by Amerikastan before the ink was dry on the paper.

Undoubtedly, the Taliban is also aware that Amerikastan breaks its promises. Therefore it will have been planning for this eventuality. And it is likely to the point of near certainty that local levies - little better than farmers with old AK 47s - are being used for these campaigns, while the (very well armed and trained) elite units are held back for

1. The final battles and
2. The inevitable "inexplicable" upsurge by ISIS as the Taliban near victory.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Aug 7 2021 12:54 utc | 78

If you watch interviews with General Tariq khan, who is famous for Pak army's incursion into waziristan to root out the pakistani taliban, and is in fact an ethnic pashtun from waziristan. He states that
a) the pakistani taliban were not part of the afghan taliban and were in fact just opportunistic gangsters who were trying to exploit the tribally governed pashtun areas of pakistan
b) the taliban will take over afghanistan and they are the rightful rulers of afghanistan
c) there is nothing pakistan can do to stop americans flying over their airspace

Pakistan is more pashtun than afghanistan and ultimately... well, my belief is that the afghan pashtuns will in fact have to join us at some point in the future. The stupidity of the some afghan pashtuns is legendary but on the pak side we have some heavy hitting pashtuns all the way from driving our nuclear programme forward, to their exploits within our army and ultimately just take a look at our prime minister... who is an ethnic pashtun... and historically not the only one. So while there is a western/indian takeover of afghanistan currently, propagating the view that Pakistan is bad and they support the taliban and taliban are terrorists ..yada yada. when the taliban capture afghanistan there are going to be some major changes. Pakistan belongs to the pashtuns as much as any other ethnic group that resides within these borders.... and the taliban are our brothers.... if they go on to takeover pakistan itself well heh heh I believe, for a number of reasons, it may not be such a bad thing and would in fact be the silver lining in the saudi led wahabbism of islam in the region.... which the dummies in the West and Indians as well as many afghans believe Pakistan is responsible for.
I suppose if you think Pakistanis are a dumb people then I can understand your fear of the talibanisation of both nations :D

Posted by: Ali | Aug 7 2021 12:54 utc | 79

Posted by: jiri | Aug 7 2021 3:17 utc | 56

>>The number of districts that the Taliban control may be large in number but in terms of population is likely around only 20 % of the total.

Please do not spam the thread with useless assertions and stupidities. Taliban controls about 50 % of the afghan population right now. As per Long War Journal data.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 7 2021 12:58 utc | 80

Karolff 17:

India has no common borders with Afghanistan. Pakistan and China are in the way.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Aug 7 2021 13:02 utc | 81

Posted by: jiri | Aug 7 2021 3:17 utc | 56

>>The towns that the Taliban have taken over are remote and sparsely populated.

Only 26 % of the afghan population lives in cities.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 7 2021 13:21 utc | 82

Posted by: Ali | Aug 7 2021 12:54 utc | 79

I would comment about Pakistan not able to prevent American flights over its territory. This is probably true. Air defenses are very expensive, Russian build a layered defense of their main base in Syria that probably can resist most possible attacks, and which was tested by drones that are a weak point of Patriot-based defenses (and probably, S-400 too), you must have multiple systems.

The systems that can tackle high altitude flights are few billions a piece. Using a large number of shorter range system may work too, I guess it is what Iran has. Pakistan probably has a protection of its heartland with Lahore and other big population centers, good enough for an attack from India, and Indian plane went down some time ago. But why it should invest in the enormous and comparatively empty expanse of Beluchistan that separates Afghanistan from Arabian Sea and American bases in Arabian peninsula and Diego Garcia?

Concerning Russian opinions on the perspective of Taliban and the others in Afghanistan. Everything being equal, they do not care too much, but their doctrine is to give some deference and face to the guys officially in charge. "Surely, they can shape up and stand up to the task". Help is not probable, but no ill wishes or officially pronounced dire predictions. BUT, there were YouTube's about Russians showing interest in TAPI project which is in their interest, if not exactly in Chinese interest. And in that directions, allegedly they already talked with representatives of Taliban.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 7 2021 13:50 utc | 83

re: Stonebird | Aug 7 2021 10:44 utc | 73
Thanks for that pullback to reality as a counter to all the bomber crapola.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 7 2021 13:56 utc | 84

Surely the best solution for everyone would have been the removal of Western forces from Helmand and other areas of the Pathan highlands that like Vietnam are totally opposed and unable to be pacified. Leave forces to defend other areas without ethnic Pathan populations and lowland urban areas which can sustain non-Taliban governance and give political devolution and recognition of whomever emerged as the ruler of the Taliban areas.

This pullout which basically opens up the red carpet for the Taliban to take the whole country seems like a potential disaster with the US being put in a difficult position in terms of recognising the legitimacy of the new government which means they'll prop up the weaker side of a civil war and prolong it or bomb the shit out of Afghanistan for years like they did with Iraq in the period between the two invasions.

Hopefully the Taliban keep their ethnic abuse to a minimum and the Us just quietly buries Afghanistan in sanctions and leaves the bombers at home.

Posted by: Altai | Aug 7 2021 14:18 utc | 85


There is no carpet bombing in Afghanistan at this time.

Dan of Steele, who btw is former U.S. Air Force and knows his stuff, is correct.

The Afghan Special Forces, or the U.S. advisors with them, have forward air controllers (FAC) capabilities to direct the BUFFs where to drop a bomb. That's why we see bombing only around those cities that have received Special Forces support (Lashkar Gah, Kandahar).

So far there is no report of mass or carpet bombing and where atrocities have occurred (a hospital In Helmand was bombed y-day) it was the Afghan air force which did it.

Posted by: b | Aug 7 2021 14:47 utc | 86

Posted by: Michael Crockett | Aug 7 2021 6:33 utc | 69

"precision bombing" was invented to dispel the (correct) notion that bombing indiscriminately kills random people, which it does. The whole idea of bombs is about big explosions, making a big mess - "carpet bombing" is such an evocative term - with lots of dead people. So then, on it's face bombing, all bombing(*), is a war crime, a crime against humanity. "Precision bombing" is about pretending otherwise.

(*) - Except you are allowed to shoot back, if you hit the shooters, and not somebody nearby.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 7 2021 14:53 utc | 87

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 6 2021 18:49 utc | 15

Every air combat professional knows that aerial warfare alone has never won a war. That is why terror bombing of cities and civilian targets is practiced---to try to break enemy morale.

Yes, and the date of your post is nice hint that supports the argument.

Posted by: hopehely | Aug 7 2021 14:59 utc | 88

The cheepest SAM are likely old Soviet ones, but recently upgraded S-125 (NATO: SA-3, Russian upgraded version S-125 Pechora-2M, Russian AD doesn't use them anymore, so there seems to be a stockpile for upgrade and sale, it is also upgraded in/for NATO ) or Kvadrat/Kub (NATO: SA-6).

The link goes to a firma in Lithuania, offering upgrades for Soviet Radar/SAM etc., likely run by or together with Ukrainian personnel. You may dig a bit deeper in this site, as it offers technical data for both systems mentioned.

I wonder, whether Pakistan may get paid for the right to fly over, either lump for a certain time or for each flight.

And the plane of Ayatollah Mike was likely shot down over Afghanistan as well. Here the Iranian may have helped. But this topic remains rather foggy.

Posted by: BG13 | Aug 7 2021 15:05 utc | 89

@ Posted by: b | Aug 7 2021 14:47 utc | 86

Since the debate here degenerated to an endless discussion about the B-52, I'm going to comment what I wanted to comment but initially decided not to because at the time I thought Dan of Steele's comment would be enough to stave if off.


Even if there was carpet bombing, it would not guarantee victory for the USA in Afghanistan. Carpet bombing is only useful when you have a conventional warfare scenario, with a regular army on the ground fighting for position. The Soviets demonstrated during WWII that the Air Force is best put to use as a complementary force for the Army. The USA demonstrated it some 60 years later during the destruction of Libya (the OTAN air force "cleaned" the path so that the radical tribes could advance easily past Benghazi, which they did until they reached the capital, raping and killing its head-of-state Kaddafi).

The B-52 is not a Deus ex Machina. People should stop talking about as if the USA could do what it wanted, win any war whenever it wanted (if only it wanted), just because it can deploy some five B-52s. That's not how the real world works. Unless you're talking about nuclear winter, you cannot speak of a useful and decisive victory in war without a serious ground, regular force on your side.

Posted by: vk | Aug 7 2021 15:16 utc | 90

Don Bacon | Aug 7 2021 13:56 utc | 84

At a rough guess the Chinese have decided two "roads" from Gwadar are better than one.

The "Western" road is becoming the more sure route as Pakistan may be subject to pressure and US meddling.

The Russians wouldn't mind either, as a financial bait for the Taliban could induce them have a personal interest in trade not war.
Iran ditto. Which is an interesting concept - religion set aside.

The biggest mistake made is thinking that the Taliban have learnt nothing in twenty years and are EXACTLY the same as when the US bombed them the first time. I doubt very much that Tora Bora has been forgotten, and the majority no longer live in caves. If they ever did.

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 7 2021 15:40 utc | 91

The Summer before Afghanistan got destabilized in the late Seventisi ancountered a few mollahs in a kebab shop out by the Wakhan corridor. They asked about my religion, and I replied I was "a Kaffir". OK with them. They asked me what we call "God/Allah" in my Scandinavian homeland, saying they called God "Kod". I told them we also said "Kod" -- like in "cod-piece/Schamkapsel" , and they agreed we must belong to the same faith. Those near-Himalayan roadside stops served excellent wines to Kaffirs and the true believers alike -- à la Omâr Khayyâm.

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Aug 7 2021 16:06 utc | 92

Also, many Talibanha do remember that China provided the best developpement projects in Afghanistan 1956-1978.

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Aug 7 2021 16:10 utc | 93

@ 91 stonebird... ''living in caves'' is for the easily persuaded back home... people in faraway countries that condone bombing, or droning and killing innocent people - those are the folks ''living in caves''.. must be a lot of caves in the usa... washington dc is like one big cave... may as well call the white house a cave too, while i am at it!

Posted by: james | Aug 7 2021 16:10 utc | 94

Posted by: vk | Aug 7 2021 15:16 utc | 90

Even if there was carpet bombing, it would not guarantee victory for the USA in Afghanistan...

It seems the question often comes down to how we define victory. In my opinion, America's strategic objective in no way involves the equivalent of a parade down the Champs Elysees. The main goal is preventing what Stonebird has detailed a few posts above, or more broadly, the successful integration of an entire continent.

This calls for destructive measures. Material destruction, economic warfare and diplomatic isolation is an end in itself and it would be oddly out of character for the US not to pursue this course. It would also make sense to encourage a durable civil war to further devastate the nation.

Posted by: robin | Aug 7 2021 16:15 utc | 95

Tollef 93

Taliban is already plural. Singular is Talib/Taleb, the Arab word for student. Taliban is the Persian/Dari (etc.) plural with -an, which is used for living creatures. (Same plural ahppened to appear in Old English, e.g. brethr-en) Plurals in -ha are used only for things, abstracta.

Posted by: BG13 | Aug 7 2021 16:23 utc | 96

Posted by: b @86
There is no carpet bombing in Afghanistan at this time.
US sends in B-52s in desperate bid to stop the Taliban seizing key Afghan cities - where British troops fought and died

When a bunch of B-52s drop a load I would call it the proverbial carpet of led. We do not know the amount of bombings and I certainly do not know if they would qualify as "carpet bombing" under some legal guideline.

US tactics and the same all over as is the inability of the heavy jet bomber to magically address dumb bombs to each person it targets. I could continue, enough is enough.

It is reported they are using Reaper drones and the C-130 specter gunship as well. What is the range of that drone? 740KM? That could be wrong or the could be coming from a spot in country. With a range of 1300 nautical miles I would guess it would require several refuelings for the C-130 unless that is operated in country as well.

The article seems to say the missions are operated by the USAF so where are the smaller craft coming from?

Posted by: circumspect | Aug 7 2021 16:40 utc | 97

A US ambassador gor´t cilled in Afghanistan in ca. 1980. Diddn't matter much, since the real US envpy was a man who had been stydying ethnic conflicts in Afghanisan of´ver the preceding 30 years --and adviced the US how to explploit them.
He was opposed by the leader of the Afghan Academy of Sciences -- Niórwegian Pashtu scholar Munthe aus und zu Sommerfeldt , who mysteriousky died before lecturing on foreign interference in the Pashtun areas.

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Aug 7 2021 16:48 utc | 99

Iran is sending Afghan Governmental troops who took refuge in Zaranj, back to Kabul by air. (Vehicles not included)

Whose airline?

circumspect | Aug 7 2021 16:40 utc | 97
Where from? ; good question. CIA base or related left-over mercenaries...... contractors?

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 7 2021 16:51 utc | 100

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