Vast numbers of Afghan civilians in many cities across the country have been chanting “Allah Akbar” and other calls to support their beloved ANDSF (Afghan National Defense Security Forces) in the battle with the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Daesh. The cheering started at night in Herat and spread throughout the country. People were chanting on the streets, on roof tops, in mosques, through mosque speakers. Men, woman and children. There are hundreds or more articles and videos about this. Including:
Mass popular cheering for the ANDSF synchronized across the country hasn’t happened before in Afghanistan.
Among the first to publicly discuss that popular chants were beginning in Herat was one of Afghanistan’s greatest living intellectuals, Davood Moradian–founder and director-general, Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies. (Is there interest in interviewing him for BP?)
I would recommend that everyone read Davood’s very fine article on how Britain has long supported violent extreme Islamists in Afghanistan and has been flirting with or even appearing to support the Taliban for over a dozen years. In former US defense secretary Robert Gates book, President Karzai famously asks Secretary Gates why Britain was de facto supporting the Taliban. Gates responded with silence. The British have repeatedly sabataged Afghans in many other ways too. Here are some highlights from Davood’s article about Britain’s negative role in Afghanistan:
- UK Secretary of Defence . . . Ben Wallace announced that Britain will work with the Taliban should they enter government in Afghanistan. The Taliban’s spokesperson seized upon the announcement and described it as “positive”.
- Note that Britain didn’t say they would welcome a national unity government and genuine power sharing that INCLUDED the Taliban. Rather Britain was welcoming a Taliban government in Afghanistan. This is deeply offensive and hurtful towards Afghans.
- The UK assumed the lead role in tackling Afghanistan’s flourishing illicit drug economy damaging the Helmand economy.
- “Mediation between Afghanistan and Pakistan was another of the UK’s priorities.” Britain has almost always sided with Pakistan against Afghanistan, so you can understand how Afghans interpret UK mediation versus mediation by a neutral country such as the USA, France, Germany, Japan, Iran, Russia, Turkey, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Indonesia, India, Italy, Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, Nigeria or Russia.
- Less known are the UK’s efforts and “success” in “tribal balance”. The UK supported the presidency of Ashraf Ghani, who belongs to the Ghiljai branch of Pashtun — to which most Taliban fighters are believed to belong. They reasoned that a Ghiljai president could induce the Taliban to join the political process.
- former UK Secretary of Defence, Liam Fox, advocated for a negotiated settlement and revealed that the UK’s main rationale in being in Afghanistan was not “for the sake of the education policy in a broken, 13th-century country”. If Fox had acquired an elementary knowledge of the history of the country, he would have known that in the 13th century, Herat was the capital of the Timurid Empire (1370-1507) and a cosmopolitan and globally oriented city.
- There are no words for how offensive and inaccurate this statement is. Afghanistan has for many thousands of years been the cradle of human civilization. In 1700 Afghanistan was one of the most technologically and culturally advanced places in the world. As late as 1973 Afghanistan compared favorably with the four little Asia Tigers, Macau, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Jordan, Turkey.
- In 2007, the Afghan government took an unprecedented step by expelling two senior UN and EU officials, with Irish/British passports. The officials were expelled because they had cultivated unauthorised contacts with the Taliban, including by way of the distribution of cash. The Afghan government suspected the officials of being British spies. One of the two deported, Michael Sample, who has married the daughter of a senior Pakistani army general, managed to return to the country and continues to pursue his decades-long interactions with the Taliban.
- The uprising against Afghanistan’s modernising and enlightened king and Britain’s sworn enemy, Amanullah Khan, in the 1920s combined tribal and clerical elements that had received significant support and encouragement from British agents
- Margaret Thatcher roused the Mujahideen by telling them that “the hearts of ‘free world’ were with them in their bid to fight evil”. Such rhetorical support was accompanied by massive financial, military and diplomatic support
- UK Chief of the General Staff, Nicholas Carter, has recently assumed additional responsibility for reviving the UK’s mediation effort between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the triangle of Afghanistan-Pakistan-UK, many Afghans would describe it as “2+1”, similar to the Palestinians’ view of the US’ role in the Palestine-Israel conflict. The UK’s Pakistan-centric South Asia policy is further illustrated by the absence of any dialogue between London and Delhi on Afghanistan since 2001.
- Despite losing more than 450 troops and investing significant amounts of financial and political resources, the UK has failed to attain any of its stated objectives in the country. A UK emancipated from its colonial burden would have been in a better position to contribute to Afghanistan’s stability and security.
- Are both ordinary British nonmuslims and British muslims anti Afghan at the popular level? Can Afghans can do anything to persuade Britain to help Afghanistan at least at this late date? Or is Britain a lost cause and Afghans should focus on lobbying other countries for help?
The Taliban have taken astronomical catastrophic casualties in recent months. Including probably over 5,000 killed in action in just the past month. For those interested, the Afghan MoD (Ministry of defense) posts daily reports.
The Taliban assisted by the Pakistani Army took the border crossing of Spin Boldak, Kandahar. The Pakistani Air Force threatened to bomb the Afghan Air Force (AAF) and anyone else who tried to disrupt or approach Spin Boldok, and give close air support (CAS) to the Taliban as needed. Having limited resources the ANSDSF and AAF have so far avoided Spin Bodok to avoid more direct Pakistani Army intervention. The Pakistani Army is driving in a large number of trucks, equipment, ammunition, fuel, spare parts, weapons and supplies to prepare for another massive offensive in Kandahar and Helmand provinces.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement saying that Taliban forces that are advancing in Ghazni, Kandahar, and other Afghan provinces have summarily executed detained soldiers, police, and civilians with alleged ties to the Afghan government.
“Summarily executing anyone in custody, whether a civilian or combatant, is a serious violation of the Geneva Conventions and a war crime,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director. “Taliban commanders with oversight over such atrocities are also responsible for war crimes.” . . .
the Taliban forcefully took these 900 people from their homes and killed them.
“They possibly martyred 800 to 900 people in the past month and a half. The people have suffered enormously. The brutality that occurred in Boldak (Spin Boldak district of Kandahar) is unforgivable,” . . .
The HRW statement also said: “Human Rights Watch obtained a list of 44 men from Spin Boldak, Kandahar, whom the Taliban have allegedly killed since July 16. All had registered with the Taliban before being summarily executed. Waheedullah, a police commander from Spin Boldak, had obtained a ‘forgiveness’ letter from the Taliban, but Taliban fighters took him from his house and executed him on August 2, activists and media monitoring these detentions in Kandahar said.”
“The civilians who have worked with the government should not be targeted, it is a war crime and a violation of human rights,” said Shahrzad Akbar, the head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).
According to the HRW report, the Taliban after taking over the center of Malistan district in Ghazni province began searching house to house “apparently to identify residents who had worked for the provincial or district government or security forces.” The Taliban “took into custody dozens of residents, some of whom were later released after being compelled to provide assurances they would not cooperate with the government,” said Human Rights Watch, adding that the organization “could not confirm the status or whereabouts of those not released.”
“They killed many civilians,” said MP Arif Rahmani.
There are many videos of the Taliban driving and using T-55 tanks:
These Taliban tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, trucks, artillery, mortars etc. require a lot of fuel, spare parts, ammunition, logistics (logistics means supply, transportation and maintenance), repair. Including skilled mechanics. They also need advanced C2 (command and control) and advanced ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) to use effectively. Especially in combined fire enabled manouver warfare. Precise indirect fire without line of sight right in front and to the sides of an advancing column of troops is extremely difficult.
1996 to 2001 the Taliban were supported by 10 to 20 thousand high end Pakistani Army embedded advisors who helped maintain, repair operate tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, artillery, mortars, rockets, managed C2 and ISR. Many international analsysts say this is also true now, albeit the embedded combat advisors are “retired” Pakistani Army officers and NCOs that are formally Lashkar e Taiba, Jaish e Mohammed etc.
For anyone interested the Taliban has their own youtube channels where they show many videos filled with information.
I plan to write up a specific list of equipment, supplies, spare parts, maintenance, upgrades, funding and training that specific countries can provide the ANDSF in the short run. Please feel free to leave your ideas below.
The Brown Pundits plans to interview ANDSF leaders, current duty or retired, to ask them to discuss this.
Afghanistan’s need is urgent. GIRoA (Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) has cut off most goverment spending other than for the ANDSF because of a massive cash shortage.
We should also remember that in much of Afghanistan life continues mostly normally. For example in this video that was just taken in Kandahar:
Previous posts on Afghanistan include: