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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CORRECTION: Von Munthe og Morgenstierne was the leader of the Afghan academy og Sciences -- in a beautiful building, by the way to the King's palace in Kabûl.

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Aug 7 2021 16:53 utc | 101

myself @ 97
One other thing I would like to add about the link to the article. If what is reported it true, the Taliban will reclaim the aircraft and leftover aviation assets and put them to use in their push to gain control of the country in a similar fashion of their first attempt.

Posted by: circumspect | Aug 7 2021 17:00 utc | 102

@102 That is the kind of asset, along with Afghan army vehicles and left over US equipment, that the US is busy bombing.

Posted by: dh | Aug 7 2021 17:07 utc | 103

Here from Long War Journal is the latest status of control in Afghanistan.

Red - Taliban control - now add Nimroz in SW - (bomb all that, Biden)
Grey - US puppet control
Yellow - contested

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 7 2021 21:36 utc | 104

Having read the b's report and the comments and I have concluded the continued bombing of Afghanistan has elements of spite and a scorched earth policy. The Taliban have won the war. The bombing will ensure there are no spoils of war and no peace dividend.

Continued US bombing and meddling will hinder the BRI construction but will lead to a closer rapprochement between the new Afghan government and Russia and China. The BRI running through Afghanistan to Iran and Pakistan is anathema to Uncle Shmuel.

Imagine China's BRI having access to the Indian Ocean? Sir Halford Mackinder's nightmare.

Here is a quote from a recent China Daily article:

"the US Senate recently set aside US$300 million to encourage journalists around the world to produce “negative articles related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative”, clearly an incentive for unscrupulous journalists to fabricate negative reports about what is essentially an international development program to expedite development with local partners…."

Sabotaging the BRI is the main US priority, along with ensuring the thief gets to keep the stolen property in Palestine.

History tells us both priorities are doomed for failure.

Posted by: Paul | Aug 7 2021 22:07 utc | 105

History tells us both priorities are doomed for failure.

Posted by: Paul | Aug 7 2021 22:07 utc | 105

If I'm reading you correctly you're saying that undermining a rival power's economic development is doomed to failure? And that a land-grab is similarly doomed? I would have thought that history tells us sabotage and land-grabs have been widespread since the Neolithic Revolution and periodically (every two centuries or so) lay the foundations for entirely new histories. Forgive me if I missed the sense of that last apophthegm.

Posted by: Patroklos | Aug 7 2021 22:26 utc | 106

Gordog @ 64:

". . .Turkmenistan is a dead letter. . ."

They have lovely horses, though! Akhal-teke, I think they are called.

Posted by: juliania | Aug 7 2021 22:30 utc | 107

The inevitable result of our corporate empire's meddling in the affairs of other nations. That's Afghanistan's ongoing problems today, just like many other nations we've "helped" by coveting their national resources for the benefit of the greedy few who own our nation.

So long as greed is considered an asset, the assaults' will continue.

Posted by: vetinLA | Aug 7 2021 23:44 utc | 108

Odd that we hear little of negotiations despite poor Taliban prospects for peace even if they win.

karlof1 | 7 and 30: Afghanis have nothing to gain from … war … Russia's UN Ambassador … “the most important goal [is] substantive negotiations”… impasse at the negotiating table …only serves … the Outlaw Anglo Empire.
m | 68: The only solution is the … Dona talks. The Taliban will never agree … drunken by victory.
Stonebird | 73: Taliban have a clear idea of … where their future interests might lie.

It appears that a partition would work best:
1. Taliban controls provinces that prefer that (Pashtun South and East?);
2. Afghan government controls provinces that prefer that (West and maybe North?);
3. Other provinces form a DMZ under UN control (transitioning to a secular democracy?);
4. Economic viability of each division to be ensured, plus trade/pipeline/road routes.

It seems likely that UNSC members would now approve varying schemes.
Can anyone propose partitions and what the parties and powers might think of various plans?

Posted by: Sam F | Aug 8 2021 0:01 utc | 109

Once again, the brilliance of the American/West/NATO planning bears fruit while all Russia can do is helplessly complain in the UN.
Afghanistan will be mired in civil war for the next 20-30 years and used as a spring board from which "ISIS" and Taliban terrorist fighters will infiltrate Central Asia causing chaos and preventing BRI from taking shape.
As much as I hate to say it, I have to admire USA/West/NATO who are once again winning and getting their goals of destibilising Central Asia while China and Russia can do pretty much nothing but react and complain at the UN. And Russia and China KNEW this was going to happen. Putin the Pussy loses again.

Posted by: Hoyeru | Aug 8 2021 0:16 utc | 110

Methinks it is now a battle between forces of chaos and stability. All the countries of the region, I am sure, would prefer stability. Chaos is preferable to stability in the minds of others because it prevents an organization of defense against exploitation, or prevents anybody from developing the economic and territorial resources which belong rightfully to those poor suffering people.

Posted by: UnionHorse | Aug 8 2021 0:20 utc | 111

@109 Your partition solution overlooks the influence of Islam on ordinary Afghans. The Taliban want an Islamic state. Nothing less. Some Afghans may prefer a secular state or secular regional governments but the Taliban will not share power with them.

Posted by: dh | Aug 8 2021 0:53 utc | 112

Sam F @209--

Both China & Russia have pledged to uphold Afghanistan's territorial integrity, so no partitioning.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 8 2021 1:12 utc | 113

About carpet bombing, precision bombing, smart bombs, surgical strikes...and other unicorns:

There has been no carpet bombing by B52, or any other kind of bomber, since Vietnam. Even in the First Gulf War, at which time precision-guided munitions were just beginning to be used, there was no carpet bombing.

As mentioned upthread, heavy bombing is intentional terror bombing, specifically used against civilian targets. The advent of 'precision' munitions doesn't change that---it simply means you can hit those civilian targets with greater accuracy, and thus achieve the goal of terrorizing the population more efficiently.

The first widespread use of precision munitions was the US-led bombing of Serbia in 1999. Yet far from seeing a decline in collateral damage, we saw that these precision munitions only more effectively achieved their goal of terror.

The bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade is a prime example of the efficacy of precision weapons.

Another is the bombing of the Belgrade television studios. In the case of the former, the embassy strike was claimed to be 'accidental,' while the latter was admitted to be deliberately targeted---justifed as hitting a 'propaganda' target.

Which is pretty rich, considering the bombing campaign itself was illegal under international law, and in fact constitutes a 'crime against peace' as outlined under the Nuremberg standard, and adopted into international law by the United Nations.

These are just a few of the more notorious 'precision' bombing cases from that 1999 air war. there was also the Grdelica passenger train bombing, of which we actually have onboard footage from the F15E strike aircraft firing two missiles from a close range of perhaps several kilometers, with the train clearly visible and recorded on the aircraft's camera.

According to western media reports, at least 20 civilian passengers aboard the train were killed in the massacre. Was this a surgical strike?

A couple of weeks later, on April 27, 1999, air-launched precision weapons struck a number of houses in the town of Surdulica. CNN reported from the local morgue that 16 folks had been killed.

I read about this in The New York Times, which reported on the event two days later:

Mr. Andjelkovic stopped, dropping his clouded eyes to the mounded rubble across narrow Zmaj Jovina Street, where Aleksandar Milic, 37, died on Tuesday.

Mr. Milic's wife, Vesna, 35, also died. So did his mother and his two children, Miljana, 15, and Vladimir, 11 -- all of them killed about noon when an errant NATO bomb obliterated their new house and the cellar in which they were sheltering.


Dying with them were at least two cousins: Stanica Rasic, 21, and Dragan Manoluv, 18.

Altogether, Yugoslav officials said, 20 civilians, half of them children, died in Surdulica, this small town of 11,000 people 200 miles south of Belgrade...

An entire family wiped out by a laser-guided bomb, among the most accurate of precision munitions. They had all taken shelter in the home's basement when the air-raid sirens went off.

In a cruel twist of fate, only the patriarch of the family survived, having been elsewhere in town at the time. His children and grandchildren...gone.

...Vojislav, head bent, sat on a broken bit of wall, cupping an unlit cigarette in his palm.

He was in shock. Two women hovered, arms around his shoulders, squeezing them through his black jacket as if he might otherwise fall over. They urged him in steady whispers to stand up, to eat something, to drink some water.

Mr. Milic rocked silently, oblivious, his head bobbing up and down with the even beat of a human heart.

At the end of correspondent Steven Erlanger's report, we find this:

Asked quietly if he thought that keeping foreign troops out of Kosovo was worth this kind of price, Mr. Andjelkovic looked up, stunned.

'I don't understand the question,' he said. 'You shouldn't ask me that now -- we can talk about that in 10 or 15 days.'

He shook his head. 'We haven't buried these people and you want to ask me that?'

What to say? Is this a question to pose to survivors of a bloody massacre? Does Erlanger somehow think that these folks could make Milosevic bend the knee to Nato, and spare them further loss of life and loved ones?

Maybe he should have asked them straight out:

So, what do you think of terror bombing? Does it work? Are you ready to cry uncle?

I picked up the phone and called the New York Times. I got Serge Schmeeman on the line, the head of the foreign desk at the 'Gray Lady.'

I told him that as a former military aviator, this was no accident. I demanded more information. He had none to give, but put me in touch with Erlanger, still in Serbia, and we exchanged a few emails.

Erlanger also could not offer anything more precise. The actual military operations details are kept tightly under wraps to this day. But he did make a very curious complaint: that his articles were often heavily edited and not particularly to his liking.

I told him he was out of line with his political questions to the survivors. He didn't say anything. I think he knew.

So much for precision weapons versus carpet bombing. The only difference is that the veil of deception has been slipped on.

We have all seen what happened after Kosovo, the trial run for unlimited barbarity and unprecedented military aggression on a global scale.

Thousands of innocents killed from the air---at weddings, at funerals, at hospitals, churches and schools.

Please forgive me if I prefer not to hear about bullshit concerning 'Buff' precision bombing.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 8 2021 1:28 utc | 114

Posted by: Patroklos | Aug 7 2021 22:26 utc | 106

Who wrote:

"If I'm reading you correctly you're saying that undermining a rival power's economic development is doomed to failure? And that a land-grab is similarly doomed? I would have thought that history tells us sabotage and land-grabs have been widespread since the Neolithic Revolution and periodically (every two centuries or so) lay the foundations for entirely new histories. Forgive me if I missed the sense of that last apophthegm."

Thanks for the reply. I AM saying that in these two present cases, not in every case.

China's rise is an established fact. Only a full blown war can stop it, MAD.

In the history of Palestine, some came and some left defeated. Only those who could and would assimilate then come to a modus vivendi with the inhabitants remain. The rest are trespassers.

Posted by: Paul | Aug 8 2021 2:44 utc | 115

Please forgive me if I prefer not to hear about bullshit concerning 'Buff' precision bombing.
Posted by: Gordog | Aug 8 2021 1:28 utc | 114

And let's not forget those pious old US battle-scape slogans...
"Kill 'em all!"
"Let God sort 'em out!"

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 8 2021 2:59 utc | 116

@ dh #112
re: The Taliban want an Islamic state. Nothing less. Some Afghans may prefer a secular state or secular regional governments but the Taliban will not share power with them.

The US puppet government in Afghanistan has a constitution which describes Islam as its sacred law and the most commonly practiced faith throughout Afghanistan's vast country. Followers of other religions are "free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites" within the limits of the law.

The fifteen (15) countries that implement Sharia law include: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, certain regions in Indonesia, the Maldives, Malaysia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 8 2021 3:24 utc | 117

RT as well as Sputniknews both have published the news of B52 bombing Shabarghan, today. Non of them bother to hint about the origin and path of the B52 and escorting planes flight.
What is going on? Does it mean Russian are preferring to be silent?

Posted by: arata | Aug 8 2021 3:28 utc | 118

Not being there, not seeing any video, not believing anything much of what is printed I guess it depends if you are standing on the carpet or not to call it carpet bombing. Does saturation bombing of an area by multiple B-52's apply? How big does the area have to be to qualify as saturation bombing?

Does the size of the area matter? Do the types of bombs apply? I do recall saturation bombing in the Gulf

I guess it is an outdated term when you are trying to claim the moral high ground. Those videos of precision munitions play better in the press. Lets call it "Play Time in the Sandbox" for lack of a better term.

I think this qualifies as saturation bombing in the Gulf...
Operation Desert Storm B-­52 Specific

That Big Fat Ugly Fucker is going to around for a long time.

Posted by: circumspect | Aug 8 2021 3:38 utc | 119

@117 Of course there are muslim countries that have adjusted to secular thinking and tolerate other religions. I’m not saying the Taliban are all religious fanatics. But we have to wait and see what they do if they get control of Afghanistan. So far I don’t see much room for compromise.

Posted by: dh | Aug 8 2021 3:39 utc | 120

@ Gordog 114
Yes, promiscuous "precision" aerial bombing from high altitudes might be called recruiting for the enemy. If they didn't hate the USA before they certainly do after family enemies are killed or crippled. But it is something the US enjoys, augmented sometimes (as in Raqqa, Syria) by artillery fire into cities and other ground fires (as in Fallujah, Iraq). These poor people on the receiving end were not smart enough to be born in the USA so they are expendable.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 8 2021 3:43 utc | 121

@ Paul | Aug 8 2021 2:44 utc | 115

China's rise may be an established fact, but the height and speed of that rise will depend on the state of many key squares of the world grid. The nature of the game is to prevent these squares from becoming assets and ensuring they remain a burden to the emerging competitor.

Posted by: robin | Aug 8 2021 7:21 utc | 122


My understanding of the b52 flight situation is that there is an agreement between Pakistan and the United States since the beginning of the afghan war to allow US flights to go through unabated. If I recall correctly it is referred to as the Boulevard.

Posted by: JC Denton | Aug 8 2021 8:14 utc | 123

Speaking of terror bombings, one of the best examples of American crimes against humanity are its atomic terror bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And contrary to America's Orwellian rationalizations, these bombings had NOTHING to do with ending World War 2.

Rather, these American terror bombings were the first shots in launching World War 3 (aka the Cold War).

Why Hiroshima and Nagasaki Were Incinerated

Posted by: ak74 | Aug 8 2021 8:58 utc | 124

Hope the Taliban follows the strategy of the NVA and end this civil war quickly.

Posted by: Smith | Aug 8 2021 9:01 utc | 125

As some people live in la-la land, Taliban capture Sar-Pul and Kunduz provincial capitols.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 8 2021 9:37 utc | 126

@Passer by | Aug 8 2021 9:37 utc | 126

This seems to confirm what you say

Taliban captures Kunduz, third provincial capital in three days

On Saturday, the Taliban captured the city of Sheberghan, the city’s deputy governor said, a day after Zaranj, in Nimruz province, fell “without a fight”, according to its deputy governor.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 8 2021 9:45 utc | 127

Re: B52's...

I've been checking on Wikipedia (I'm in no way an expert) and I've found an interesting bit of information regarding the bomber.
If I understand correctly, the B52 can either carry 6 AGM-86 cruise missiles (subsonic, about 600 miles range), guided bombs on the outside, or unguided bombs in the internal bays (quote: " Starting in 2016, Boeing is to upgrade the internal rotary launchers to the MIL-STD-1760 interface to enable the internal carriage of smart bombs, which previously could only be carried on the wings.").
I'd guess the cruise missiles would be inefficient and overkill on mostly dispersed infantry Taliban formations, and smart bombs wouldn't be so much more useful for the same reason, I'd believe they're actually using carpet bombing, but then again, I'm no expert and just wondering.

Posted by: SumGuy | Aug 8 2021 10:27 utc | 128

Link to Afghanistan border post status as of 2 days ago.

Posted by: JohninMK | Aug 8 2021 11:18 utc | 129

Gordog | Aug 8 2021 1:28 utc | 114

Different topic but up to your normal standard.

Thank you for this and your other posts. I am grateful that you found us.

In this particular case one could perhaps assume that Afghan Army US trained FACs were lighting up or IDing the targets. All such specialists now probably have a target on their back for the balance of their lives.

As explained recently here, the Taliban are a grouping of independent operators many of which will be taking over with different levels of retribution. I note that there are reports this morning in one city where the Taliban are isolating wives and daughters of local officials and police and turning them into their 'wives'. Civil wars are usually harsh on the losers.

Posted by: JohninMK | Aug 8 2021 11:38 utc | 130

So many comments and so little information....Thank you Gordog for reminding us that, as Boris Vian, la seule chose qui compte, c'est l'endroit où ce qu'elle tombe
Regarding bombs, “the only thing that matters is where it falls.”
And let’s add: the moment.
So: What? Where? When? And why?

There is always "somebody in command" to determine the nature of the weapons to be used, the choice of targets, the timing of the attack, depending on the desired result.
Is the choice of the B52 technical or political? Or journalistic?

I can’t find any multilateral information on the results of the announced bombings.

The strikes inflicted heavy losses on the militants, the official claimed, with over 200 fighters killed, and more than 100 vehicles destroyed. A large cache of weaponry of ammunition was destroyed as well. No footage to corroborate the Afghan government claims about Taliban's heavy losses, however, has emerged so far.

WTF? Such a success and no pic?

We don’t even know if there were any real bombings... All this is just the fog of war.Of course, 5 B52s and some C130s are far from invisible or even stealthy. So the Russians know... and don’t communicate on it.

If the information is correct, is USAF simply obliged to go there and destroy the stockpiles of weapons, combat vehicles and information that the USArmy left behind a few weeks ago?

But the Talibans are successful... And smart.
They built an "homemade anti aircraft weaponry "

The Taliban confirmed a campaign of “targeting and liquidating” the US-trained war pilots. US and Afghan officials believe that this operation aims to eliminate Afghan war pilots trained by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

How long before Afghanistan Air Force to be grounded?

Sorry for posting it this morning on Iran thread

Posted by: Rêver | Aug 8 2021 12:22 utc | 131

@ Paul | Aug 8 2021 2:44 utc | 115

China's rise may be an established fact, but the height and speed of that rise will depend on the state of many key squares of the world grid. The nature of the game is to prevent these squares from becoming assets and ensuring they remain a burden to the emerging competitor.

Posted by: robin | Aug 8 2021 7:21 utc | 122

This has been going on for some time now, this "burdening the competitor" stuff, and it does not work, it is a stupid idea. It mainly reinforces the "competitors" motivation and resistance, and it gets the "punisher" less than nothing. You won't make yourself great again by pissing on everybody else.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 8 2021 12:51 utc | 132

Taloqan provincial capitol under Taliban control.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 8 2021 13:51 utc | 133

from Afghanistan news source Tolo:

Afghans Question Govt’s Security Strategy amid Taliban Advances

Ordinary Afghans and critics on Saturday strongly criticized the Afghan government’s security strategy as the Taliban take over two provincial capitals within the span of only two days.

They said that the so-called public uprising forces have not played any crucial role in repulsing the Taliban’s military advancement towards major cities and strategic locations.

Footage on social media shows dozens of Afghan security forces along with their military equipment and vehicles are driving towards the border with Iran, leaving Zaranj city, the center of Nimroz province in southwestern Afghanistan, without any resistance.

But critics said that the battle in Sheberghan showed that the public uprising forces did not accomplish their tasks contrary to what was expected from them. Critics said that in Sheberghan, only the son of Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum and his loyal forces resisted against the Taliban. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 8 2021 14:07 utc | 134

Bemildred @ 132

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the concept.

Insofar as the punisher bases his revenue stream on the domination of others, maintaining this domination is crucial. Mowing the emergent competition requires much less effort than striving to grow taller. Obviously, domination is relative. It may be temporary but it gets the job done and is preferable to doing nothing.

I fear a coming era of full spectrum turd-in-the-punch-bowl warfare, from petty vandalism to wide scale societal undermining.

Posted by: robin | Aug 8 2021 14:15 utc | 135

Why do our guys always fail to fight like their guys? . . .Because our guys are fighting for us and their guys are fighting for their country. Vietnam is a reminder.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 8 2021 14:16 utc | 136

on the subject of B-52s and conventional bombs. one can turn a dumb bomb into one that can be guided to its target by illuminating said target with a laser. the guidance unit (see the wiki on Paveway is simply attached to the bomb which is dropped from the airplane.

bombsights have come a long way since the Norden bombsight developed during WW2 and already pretty darned accurate. Ground forces illuminating the exact target makes the bombs precision ordinance.

for the record, killing people is an abomination, people who order this destruction should be the ones despised and ridiculed, not those who carry out these orders believing they are a force for good. call them naive and or stupid but I suspect everyone would like to have an military that is able to defend them.

Posted by: dan of steele | Aug 8 2021 14:22 utc | 137

Security Alert U.S. Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan (August 7, 2021)
Location: Throughout Afghanistan
The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately using available commercial flight options. Given the security conditions and reduced staffing, the Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is extremely limited even within Kabul.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 8 2021 14:37 utc | 138

Posted by: robin | Aug 8 2021 14:15 utc | 135

Oh it works all right, you can definitely harm people that way, but it doesn't fix the fact of your own decadent decline, which needs internal reform to get better. It just avoids all that for a while longer.

Not meaning to get on your case. Preventing other peoples from developing does not make yours any better. It's just a dodge, a stall. Negative sum thinking.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 8 2021 14:41 utc | 139

Why do our guys always fail to fight like their guys? . . .Because our guys are fighting for us and their guys are fighting for their country. Vietnam is a reminder.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 8 2021 14:16 utc | 136

Allow me to improve on that slightly: Starting with Vietnam, our guys increasingly don't have a clue what or whom they're fighting for . . . and when they find out, they're often likely to get really pissed off.

Posted by: corvo | Aug 8 2021 14:58 utc | 140

Continuing my post at 109 suggesting a UN-monitored partition into Taliban, Kabul govt, and DMZ districts:
@dh | 112 Taliban want an Islamic state... Taliban will not share power with [Afghans who prefer a secular state].
The Taliban might agree to a partition to avoid and endless civil war, if assured of peace and contingent aid.
@karlof1 | 113 China & Russia have pledged to uphold Afghanistan's territorial integrity, so no partitioning.
China & Russia may agree to a partition, if the resulting peace assures BRI success and their own security.

The main problems with a partition appear to be:
1. The current map of control is very spotty: both sides must exchange almost half of their controlled areas;
2. The infrastructure layout usually requires adjustment: new roads, power lines, water supply require aid;
3. The usual problems in convincing a determined and successful movement to give up goals for a better future;
4. The usual problems getting hardline warlords to put away arms in line with a central authority.

Russia and China appear to support negotiation, and partition usually works best where parties cannot agree on the form of government. Does no one here think that it could succeed regardless of incentives?

Posted by: Sam F | Aug 8 2021 15:20 utc | 141

@ SF 141 The main problems with a partition appear to be: 1. The current map of control is very spotty . . .
Not true. See my 104 above.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 8 2021 16:04 utc | 142

@141 I was in Afghanistan years ago. It seemed to function best when they had a corrupt monarchy. Now it looks like civil war between Islamists and secularists. So to me your suggestion sounds like herding cats.

But let's be optimistic. Maybe things have changed there. Maybe the Taliban has become more pragmatic. Maybe with the right Russian or Chinese (the US has obviously failed) mediation they can work something out.

Posted by: dh | Aug 8 2021 16:08 utc | 143

Circumspect @ 119:

Yes, of course there was carpet bombing in the First Gulf War, despite Schwarzkopf rejecting that label.

My point @ 114 was to highlight the meaningless wordplay about the subject of aerial bombardment.

I think most people got the point---'smart' weapons only make it easier to kill innocent people. And often, that is exactly the mission!

The article you linked to was very informative, thanks. About 27,000 tons of bombs dropped from B52s! That's about a third of all ordnance dropped in that war.

Considering that war lasted only five weeks, that was a rate of bombing roughly on a par with Vietnam!

Here's the money shot:

Despite some inaccuracy, it was estimated from POW interviews, during and after the war, that the B52 influenced 24 percent of Iraqi soldiers to desert.

That tells you everything you need to know about the use of vengeance weapons to break enemy morale.

Another instance from the First Gulf War:

The two American 'smart' bombs worked perfectly, striking what the Pentagon had identified as an Iraqi command and control center during the 1991 Gulf War.

The 2,000-pound laser-guided bombs burrowed through 10 feet of hardened concrete and detonated, punching a gaping hole in the Amiriyah bomb shelter and incinerating 408 Iraqi civilians.

It is considered the single most lethal incident for civilians in modern air warfare.

I'm sure that grim milestone has since been surpassed.

Btw, those 'precision' strikes were delivered by F117s. A few years later in Serbia, after the Serbs took out TWO of the stealth aircraft, they were pulled from action. I will have more detail on all of that in an upcoming article.

Commenter Michael Crockett summed it up nicely @ 69:

What exactly is "precision bombing"?

It means you can target civilians with deadlier accuracy. Hence my call to The New York Times editor, after having my fill of the obvious bullshit.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 8 2021 16:08 utc | 144

And here we go again:

Kunduz’s market was destroyed in the fighting, with disturbing footage purporting to show the whole location on fire. It was not immediately clear how exactly the market was obliterated, with some reports suggesting it was targeted by American warplanes supporting the Afghan troops.

On Saturday, the US military launched airstrikes against the Taliban in a bid to halt its offensive, sending in B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers and AC-130 Spectre gunships.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 8 2021 16:23 utc | 145

@ gordog... thanks for your posts... the link on bottom, while it might not be carpet bombing, sure looks to result in much the same outcome...

Posted by: james | Aug 8 2021 17:13 utc | 146

Joe Biden was right, but not in the sense that he intended: America is Back!

America is back alright--back to bombing Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and even Somalia yet again.

File this under: "America being America."

The self-styled Land of the Free is doing what it does best: terror bombing weak nations back to the Stone Age.

Joe Biden's description of Vladimir Putin as killer with no soul is a more accurate description of his own Imperialist America as a nation:

"A nation-state version of a psychopath, the US refuses to give up its addiction to bombing innocent people. In just over a month, it’s bombed Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan – and shows no signs of developing a conscience."

The richest and most war-mongering nation on Earth is still addicted to bombing poor, defenseless nations

Posted by: ak74 | Aug 8 2021 17:18 utc | 147

Gordog @ 144
The 2,000-pound laser-guided bombs burrowed through 10 feet of hardened concrete and detonated, punching a gaping hole in the Amiriyah bomb shelter and incinerating 408 Iraqi civilians.

I vividly remember that one. That got some publicity. I am sure there were many others. The tactics described in the paper may similar to what the US is now doing. Sending up 3 B52's every 3 hours in rotation 24 hours a day. We just do not know at this point.

Posted by: circumspect | Aug 8 2021 18:19 utc | 148

@JC Denton | Aug 8 2021 8:14 utc | 123

That is an assumption. And I think, most likely that is true. And that is much discussed in this article by different commentators.
But my point in pointing to RT and Sputniknews, is to show the fact, that there is no independent journalist, to have a bit of courage to convey correct news, or at least to question the obvious matter. That is unfortunate situation every where, in every country.

Posted by: arata | Aug 8 2021 20:49 utc | 149

Rever @ 131:

Thanks so much for your comment about the B52 bombing, and especially that video [the accordion is such an underrated instrument! 😺]

@ Arata and JC Denton, about Pakistan overflights: this is of course a tough situation for Pakistan. They are trying to balance a lot of factors. There has to be huge US pressure to continue allowing overflights, otherwise the US has no way to fly to Afghanistan!

The commenter Haassaan seems to have some familiarity about the political situation in Pak, and there are no doubt factions that want to keep on the US good side.

But at the same time, none of the major players in the region want to see the US spoil things with continuing bombing. They want a political solution, but that may only come about AFTER the Taliban take Kabul!

If the Ghani puppet government has any sense they will sit down and negotiate. But they don't appear to have much sense. At most they could play a small role in a national unity government anyway.

The big picture as I see it is that the Taliban has coopted a lot of the other ethnics [non-Pashtun]. They also seem to have marginalized the power of the warlords in what was the Northern Alliance [they just took Dostum's home town].

I say that because of the high-profile diplomatic activity of the Taliban visiting Russia and China and holding talks, and apparently making a lot of forward progress. They would not even get that audience if they did not bring a lot of political capital to the table.

We'll have to wait and see what happens when the US is legally gone by the end of the month. I don't think they can do much to stop the Taliban with B52 bombing in the meantime.

Not sure how the UAV are getting there---I would think they might be cutting it close on flight range. The MQ9A carries 4,000 pounds of internal fuel, but I believe it can carry a drop tank of 1,300 lb more fuel. The engine is a 900 hp turboprop that is not exactly a fuel miser.

It's going to be about 1,000 km flight one way to Kandahar from Qatar, because they have to fly a dogleg route around Iran and then turn north at the Pakistani port city of Gwadar. They could get there, but they won't have a lot of loiter time on station. I doubt they could go much farther north in Afghanistan.

Obviously the main event is the B52s. I don't see that continuing a whole lot longer. At some point Pakistan is going to say no---the Taliban is under their wing in many respects.

And there is clearly a plan within the SCO, in which Pakistan is a full member, along with Russia and China, plus all of the 'stans, and they seem to have worked out a roadmap for Afghanistan.

And it doesn't involve the US flying in and sowing chaos by means of aerial bombardment.

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 8 2021 22:30 utc | 150

@gordog 150

Thanks for your comments, I understand Pakistan's loose integrity and tough situation, but my point is a journalist responsibility and integrity. A responsible journalist does not try to conceal the obvious truth, that every reader is expecting to know. I hope you are not defending RT and Sputniknews.

Posted by: arata | Aug 9 2021 0:48 utc | 151

Posted by: Gordog | Aug 8 2021 22:30 utc | 150

>>Not sure how the UAV are getting there.

They still have one base in Afghanistan according to people with knowledge on the matter - Camp Dwyer. Supposedly that last base must be evacuated by Sep 11.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 9 2021 8:31 utc | 152

A visual of the route the B-52's take.

(From Sputnik as the MSM source)

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 9 2021 14:50 utc | 153

from the 6 August. update;
The Russian Air Force, part of the Russian Aerospace Force, has sent at least four long-range Tu-22M3 bombers to Tajikistan to take part in upcoming military exercises between the Russian and Tajik military,

Curious. The bombers will apparently stay on after the exercises.

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 9 2021 21:05 utc | 154

Despite the blitzing by Taliban, there is still much truth to the Russian assessment. The central Afghanistan is mostly contiguous still and the Afghan army is intact.

However, it obviously affects morale a lot to give up so much land. Afghanistan is not Russia, here you can trade land for time almost indefinately.

I want to see Taliban take over one of Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kandahar or Lashkar Gah while holding onto what they have before I start writing off the Afghan army.

But USA is DONE in the area. And Pakistan will not allow overflights after August is over. I think best hope lies in a negotiated peace that is brokered by China and/or Russia. Maybe Taliban has SOME trust in these nations still.

Posted by: Harald | Aug 10 2021 22:17 utc | 155

The map suggests a large piece controlled by the government in the center of Afghanistan.

I doubt they really control this part. If one looks at the ethnic configuration, these are almost exactly the regions where the Hazara are living. The Hazara are Shiites, and they have their own militias. Why would they be on the side of the Sunni government? I doubt. The natural thing would be equal distance to both government and Taliban. And, plausibly, Iran may have negotiated some ceasefire or so with the Hazara.

Posted by: Max | Aug 11 2021 16:51 utc | 156

@ Max (#156), please use a different name, as I have been using the “Max” name at MoA. Thanks

Max at #156, is a new MoA barfly and not the Max of the last few months.

B, just an alert. Hope you feel better.

Posted by: Max | Aug 11 2021 16:57 utc | 157

Not sure of the exact demographics, but are there really THAT many Hazaras in Central Afghanistan?

I think the central part is more cohesive, but may be wrong. Also, it is easier to respons that direction from Kabul, where most of the Afghan army still is.

How much can air supplying do to Kabul if the land connection get constricted is the question and can they hang on to a lager contiguous area?

Posted by: Harald | Aug 11 2021 18:47 utc | 158

I'm not very sure about the demographics too. Wiki claims a majority in the region Hazarajat,
claims in the Hazara are the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, primarily residing in, the mountainous region of Hazarajat, quotes "Due to a lack of census statistics, estimates of the total Hazara population range from five million to more than eight million" and about 10% of all Afghans.

Posted by: Maximilian | Aug 12 2021 11:35 utc | 159

What has actually happened in Afghanistan!!??

I have hear nobody, NOBODY, predict the current status. The Afghan army is running away, Taliban is loaded with captured arms, vehicles, new recruits and supplies.

At the current pace, one can hardly talk about any offensive culminating any more. All that matters now, seems to be consolidating around Afghanistan.

Which raises a new question. IF Pakistan allows air flights accross their country after August, they may face severe domestic consequences with so many Pashtuns in the north. OTOH, if they do NOT allow flights, they will be under immense pressure and more from The Hegemon, EU and all other players.

I think flight route through the -Stans is not realistic without getting supply route from Russia. China seems out of the question and Iran???

Kabul may become Stalingrad without air supplies.

Posted by: Harald | Aug 13 2021 10:26 utc | 160

In Afghanistân, "this will be our winter of content" -- and not at all "THe winter of our discontent"!
Depending on how fast relief will be expedited.
I hope Chinese and Russial relief and "Afghanistan Reconstructs" shall be supported with experts from Russia and Tajikistân and China that get recruited from the musim-cultured minorities of those nation States (especially Russia and China.
That would show the truth down the asses that North Atlantis propagandist have propped the openings benieth their nostrils with.

Posted by: Tollef Ås اس طلف | Aug 16 2021 16:28 utc | 161

When Chinese state, party and business interests to Afhanist^n, they should endevour to reruit as many ass pissible Chines Muslims to join up: Tajik interpredors, Xinjiang Uighur agriculturalists, Xinjiang Kasakh pasuralistsand Chinese-speaking folks from Níngxià. Xi'an- and Huú-follks from the Bêijing-Tianjing areas and muslim specialists on tourism from Yǘnnan --all of which would be a greata propaganda victory for China.
¨Likewise,´Russia should send in experts from Tatarstan (at the Volga bend) and other minorities towards Siberia.. None of them would be impresssed wit the Afghan type of Islam, but would become a sorce for piece and for prosperity.

Posted by: Tollef Ås اس طلف | Aug 16 2021 18:45 utc | 162

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