30 days? That’s an excuse to run consulate shredders — Kabul’s government won’t last the week

I started yesterday with a news article about how US intelligence said that the Taliban could take Kabul in 90 days. After the previous week had been filled with over half a dozen Afghan provincial capitals falling, it became clear that the Taliban were deploying all their strength across the country to capture as much territory and control as they could before US forces pulled out before the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

While the news of those northern cities falling had been bad, and it was felt that the Taliban were likely trying to prevent a replay of the 1990’s Afghan civil war when the north fought them for five years, 12th August got progressively grim. It started to seem that the Taliban were not just going to put a knife to the Afghan government’s throat (and northern escape routes) by taking Tajik and Uzbek cities, but rather box Kabul in. This became clear when not just small towns but larger Afghan cities were put on the chopping block by the Taliban’s offensive. There is a wave of anti-Shia mobilisation across the region and I suspect that it also might have something to do with the expanded, multi-ethnic Taliban mobilisation in the north of Afghanistan. As these provinces border the ex-Soviet Central Asian states, and ISIS school-shooter sectarianism has had salience in many places where Muslims were previously considered un-radicalised or nominally secular, I suspect Taliban lines might not be a bad place for Central Asian, Afghan or even Pakistani potential ISIS recruits to flee.

As news of more fighting came in, the reports of Herat and Kandahar in the north-west and south of the country respectively, being surrounded and attacked threw whatever strategic calculus the great powers thought they had in Afghanistan, into the bin.

The updates from panicked civilians about the Taliban attacks killed whatever illusions about America having a semi-peaceful withdrawal from Afghanistan, or Pakistan smoothly sliding a re-furbished Taliban into power in Kabul, might have been harboured by the countries that have sponsored destructive wars in that nation since the eighties. The distressed calls, postings, video reports of Afghan citizens, especially educated women trapped in these cities, came flooding out. No one was crying but everyone was deadly serious.

Simultaneously, clips of refugees flooding out of captured cities, camps of the displaced going up in Kabul and where the government stood were broadcast. Among the wretched sights was the Afghan military vehicles zooming out of cities and from among people they were supposed to defend were broadcast as afternoon turned to evening, and then night fell.

The west, south and north of Afghanistan are out of that government’s hand. Kabul is boxed in. If you look at the map above, it’s sitting in the open jaws of Taliban controlled territory.

The BBC generally has the best maps, and frankly the best and most accurate, un-sentimental coverage on the rout in Afghanistan of the Kabul government. Hey, I guess after four disastrous wars into a country, they end up knowing their stuff. The second best coverage is by Al Jazeera, which also sobered up once it stopped sourcing its maps from neo-conservative American outfits, and ditched a sort of mawkish patronising tone for the Afghans.


As for America’s intelligence reports, which we started Thursday with – they have achieved the typical notoriety of stupidity that American intelligence reports are known for. By nightfall, the American bureaucrats had, in typical CYA fashion, re-assessed their estimate down to 30 days. That feels optimistic.

As reports come in of Afghan business interests trying to wrap up and send their equipment, personnel and capital out of the country, and the various state and private banks withdrawing funds to forward abroad, it becomes clear that the Kabul government, especially the career of one President Ashraf Ghani, is very over. At least at the prospect of anything beyond 2021.

What happens to the rest of the Kabul government is anyone’s guess. I don’t know if the Taliban have much to worry about “holding” their territory if part of their offensive was contacting Afghan defence forces commanders and asking them to stop fighting/withdraw or switch sides. A government counter-offensive seems highly unlikely, especially with the hollow, broken Afghan Army that has been described by Major Amin. If the Taliban went in for the kill against the government, then they would win and also be saddled with a lot of prisoners, many extremely high value ones as well as seas of refugees and an isolated country. I suspect they might be willing to live with that. You can visit the link below to see Pashtana Durrani describe the consequences of the Taliban taking over her city.

How soon will the end happen? The fall of Kabul, the closing of the Taliban’s jaws on what is left of Afghanistan’s government, that is now in the Taliban’s hands.


You can see the original post at https://these-long-wars.blogspot.com/2021/08/30-days-thats-excuse-to-run-consulate.html

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17 thoughts on “30 days? That’s an excuse to run consulate shredders — Kabul’s government won’t last the week”

  1. I would have thought Taliban would have successes along Pakistan border due to obvious reasons.
    Actually they have done much better than that. They have snuffed out potential Northern Alliance bases by capturing them. Capture along Iranian border. Along KB border they hae not moved- are they confident this area is there’s for the asking , so it is better to cut off potential trouble spots (from Taliban PoV) first ?
    Whoever is directing Taliban , he or she is doing a good job
    Are Taliban getting intelligence and other help from Iran and Russia , 2 countries with scores to settle with the US ? Ghani govt would be seen as US stooge by these two countries

    Or has ISI done secret deals with Iran and Russia ?

  2. Perhaps Iran and Russia are helping Taliban with intelligence and material aid. These 2 countries may see Ghani govt as a US stooge and may want to settle scores with the US by aiding a humiliating US defeat. Or ISI may have secret understanding with Russia and Iran to aid quiick victory for Taliban. All the military communications of the Afghan national Army would have been hacked by these three and are able to precisely guide Taliban

    Even allowing for Kabul govt inefficiencies, something does not make sense in the rapid advance of the Talibs. There is more at work. International politics about Afghanistan is very cynical .

  3. I am not sure how beneficial a complete Taliban takeover of Afghanistan will be for Pakistan, especially if Iran, Russia and China have leverage as well. The Afghanistan War was the primary leverage Pakistan had over the US. With that rationale ending, is there any reason for the US to keep engaging with Pakistan ? One would think that the Pakistani establishment would have thought this scenario through. Are they so convinced of total and substantial Chinese backing ?

    1. The only scenario Pakistan thinks through is large areas in Afghanistan where they can have Jihadists trained to fight in India. That is their concept of Strategic Depth. All through 50 years of war in Afghanistan that has been their goal and rationale. Stable or prosperous or United Afghanistan has never been Pakistan’s goal or interest. Pakistan’s obsession about India and a desire to hurt India is the fulcrum of their foreign policy which is 100% in the hands of ISI/ army

      1. I would assume there are plenty of spaces inside Pakistan to train terrorists. It is true that the years when Taliban had control of Afghanistan were the worst years of violence in Kashmir, but I am not sure how related the two were though.

        1. That is typical ISI way of doing things- train non-state actors . Those terrosists in Afghanistan are really non-state actors as far as Pakistan is concerned . Use non-state actors to fight their wars; so that they can’t keep on denying ‘it is not us who is doing terrorism’

          If they can insulate terrosist fom pakistani soil , so much the better, so that they are officially non-pakistani. proxy war is ISI’s forte

  4. We spent 20 years there without a plan, but giving false hope to groups oppressed by the Taliban. Then we leave them to the wolves. Nothing done to help the women or Shia who will be ruined by our departure. Even our allies in Vietnam got more. Disgusting.

  5. how will taliban govt. get funding? this time saudi /uae will not open their purses. will turkey, russia and china step in?

    1. Russia is not evacuating its embassy staff so you know Russia will recognize them along with China and Pakistan. hazara areas surrendered without a fight and Taliban even inducted a Hazara battalion into their ranks. So you know that Iran is chill with them and will recognize them as well. US and rest will recognize them if they evacuate without incident.. US has even promised aid to them if they allow evacuation without incident. All in all, a total victory for the IEA on all fronts.

      1. I wouldn’t put too much on aid from western countries. Most of them are carrots dangled to have an incident free evacuation. You will see usa and western countries response once everyone on their side is out of Afghanistan.

  6. Any guesses as to which country is responsible for the killing of 9 Chinese in Pakistan? US seems the most likely candidate. Allowing the Taliban to takeover Afghanistan is part of American strategy to throw a wrench in China’s BRI plan to create prosperity in Asia.

  7. the cheering of taliban victory in the pak internet forums is seen to be believed. call me wicked, but i do wish pak should have the great fortune of a true islami nizam too. afghanistan has gone full-on allah-hu-akbar. why should pak remain behind.

    1. They are less cheering Taliban victory and more cheering a US loss. They would be cheering Secular Baathist victory or Shia Iranian victory over American proxies with just as much fervor. Anti American sentiment in Pakistan is extremely widespread.

  8. Where is Malala now with her speeches about education for girls ? does it apply to Afghanistan? will she be UN’s representative in Afghanistan?.

    She is a mouthpiece of western govts and BBC . They will tell her when to give what kind of speech

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