America’s Brilliant Strategy in Afghanistan

From Major Amin. As most readers know by now, I am not a fan of this kind of realpolitik because I am too faint-hearted to be this cynical about thousands of Afghans being sold down the river, but the world is a nasty and brutish place and in the big picture, who knows… Anyway, the style of the American withdrawal and their general performance in Afghanistan for 20 years does not inspire much confidence, but if there is some method to this madness, it is probably this.. by the way, I would like to ask Major Amin if his assessment is in any way affected by the utter chaos and incompetence of the withdrawal itself? (see my postscript at the end)

Enjoy.

Major Amin also sent this text version. Please ignore any typos or formatting issues. After repeating the assertion he makes in his podcast (that the US has made a brilliant strategic move), he has attached his 2008 piece, which does accurately describe/predict the strategic quagmire the US had settled into in 2008, and suggests the response that Major Amin believes the US has now decided to pursue. Comments welcome. What follows is from Major sahib.

They can’t touch the _____t of America but Such a large concentration of nuts will certainly disturb Iran Russia and even china and PAKISTANS establishment is also not exactly happy .as insiders report—The Billion dollar question is that with 2500 Americans in Afghanistan, since last few months no Taliban advance but now a sudden emergence .clearly a secret agreement has been made.

A QUESTION: WHY THE USA deliberately created weakest afghan army with
(1) no tanks
(2) no artillery
(3) all seasoned officers of old army never allowed or dismissed
Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Taliban and their future

Listen to the another recent episode of my podcast: AMIN SAIKAL’S STRATEGIC NAIEVETTE ABOUT AFGHANISTAN 

US WITHDRAWAL FROM AFGHANISTAN WILL BE BEST PUNISHMENT AND A LOVELY WAY TO DESTABILISE THE REGION AND CREATE MANY NEW STATES-

A 2008 ASSESSMENT

SEPTEMBER 2008

WAR IS NOT ABOUT ETHICS GOD IS NEITHER WITH US NOR WITH THEM
THERE IS NOTHING INEVITABLE IN HISTORY

USA MUST RECONSIDER ITS STRATEGY IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ OR ITS CULMINATING POINT MAY NOT BE FAR AWAY.

USA MUST RECONSIDER ITS STRATEGY IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ

In the last seven years or so the USA at the strategic, operational and tactical level has became the laughing stock of the world. Starting from the premise that both USA’s total failure or total success would not be good for world peace, one may state with confidence that the USA needs to seriously re- consider its strategy in both Iraq and Afghanistan and worldwide.
The present situation is that the USA is making the major effort while its NATO allies less Britain are just pretending that they are also pushing the bogged  down vehicle. This is true for both Iraq and Afghanistan. If this continues China and Russia will have the last laugh.

Lets assume that 9/11 was the major historical development done by non US actors, whether a state actor/s or a non state actor/s , taking advantage of which the USA initiated a NEW PLAN BARBAROSSA or a NEW FINAL SOLUTION to deal with the multiple issues of energy resources, Islamic extremism and containing the rise of China and containing Russia’s reassertion and regeneration. But the US policy makers did not accurately assess the responses of their stated and unstated opponents. They failed to give due account to the important aspect that the enemy or other parties, whether non state or state actors, have an independent will. When the USA occupied Afghanistan ,Russia brilliantly adapted. Renewing and putting extra investment in their old Parchami and Mujahid allies in Afghanistan (Note that the Mujahids had been seriously penetrated and converted by 1985 as far as many sizeable groups were concerned), the Russians contained US influence in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and countered it in Kirgizistan with a rival Soviet base.

The Iranians did not budge or blink. US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan presented a golden target for Islamists in getting a really swift short cut to paradise .The USA did not make use of the smaller ethnicities like Baloch or Kurd. They continued to rely on the multi ethnic larger states and were deceived and robbed of many billion US dollars. Iraq was not pacified and its situation to date is unstable and unpredictable. Iran was strengthened in the process, with a Shia regime in Iraq. Another Shia regime in Syria, unchallenged and dealt with by the USA, and the Hezbollah in Lebanon. In short the USA landed into a long term strategic stalemate. A sitting duck target which can be attacked by guerrila forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its a matter of time befoe the anti US forces acquire SAM missiles. And once this happens the USA would have to rely on greater troop levels which would be costly and financially very very draining.
In case of Pakistan the USA again failed to achieve any of its objectives. If there were any. Pakistan was not denuclearised. Its non state actors were not pacified. And above all the team which the USA had handpicked in Pakistan failed to deliver. China remains healthy and growing. Russia is now riposting the USA in Georgia and Ukraine and covertly at many places. In short in seven years of war and with heavy expenses the USA achieved little. Afghanistan was not reconstructed but the seeds of its Balkanization firmly planted.

All US money went to US contractors or smaller contractors from Turkey, Lebanon, South Korea and Afghanistan. Instead of shifting troops to Afghanistan or enlarge the war to Iran or Pakistan the USA needs to re-think its entire strategy. Some key features of a new strategy may be :–

1-Withdraw from both Iraq and Afghanistan while retaining bases in the Gulf/Pakistan/Saudi Arabia.

2-Instead of fighting the Al Qaeda or Taliban directly , give them a chance to once again become state actors and present both Russia and China a serious threat.
3-Retain international goodwill by acting as a power which stands for peace.
4-Make the regional actors do the job of making the world a safer place. These include Russia, China, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE etc.
5-Concentrate on the USA mainland and on intelligence assets rather than actual physical combat.
6-Create new client states dependent wholly on US support in the region.
7-Cease wasting a cent in states like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Afghanistan will be managed by Russia, China, India, Iran and Pakistan who will countercheck each other and the area would have a permanent stalemate with no victors.
Similarly India and Pakistan will balance each other. Indians fear Pakistani nuclear devices more than USA and its Quixotic to think that Pakistani nuclear devices would ever be used against USA.
The most important feature of the new strategy would be withdrawal from both Iraq and Afghanistan.
This would immediately lead to a new power struggle with Iraq and Afghanistan’s neighbors also involved deeply rather than being silent spectators as now.
Any Taliban victory in Afghanistan and any Al Qaeda victory or a Shia victory in Iraq would restart the old Arab Iran struggle in Iraq.
Fat oil rich Arab states would be spending all the money instead of the USA. In Afghanistan also any Taliban resurgence would force Russia , China, India and Iran to step in and the Taliban would still be contained without a single US cent wasted.
The best strategy is to make others fight and if fighting, to fight with minimum expense ! Do the American decision makers have grey matter ! Thats the billion dollar question !

Some people were asking who Major Amin is. This is the intro he sent in himself:

Agha H. Amin , Retired Tank corps major who served in five tank regiments and commanded an independent tank squadron and served in various staff , instructional and research assignments. In his Pakistan Army tenure he wrote three original tactical papers on Reconnaissance Troops Tactical handling, Reconnaissance support group , and RFS Concept. His writings were published in Pakistan Armys prime journals , Pakistan Army Journal and Citadel Journal of Command and Staff College Quetta. His recommendations regarding bifurcation of officer corps into command and staff cadre advanced in 1998 were later accepted. In addition his recommendation of grouping various corps into army commands advanced in 3. an article published in Citadel Journal in 1998 were accepted in 2005 or so. Wrote The Essential Clausewitz in 1993, Sepoy Rebellion of 1857-59 in 1998 , Pakistan Army till 1965 in 1999 ,Development of Taliban Factions in Afghanistan and Pakistan (2010) ,Taliban War in Afghanistan (2009). Served as Assistant Editor of Defence Journal ,Executive Editor of globe and Founder Editor of Journal of Afghanistan Studies . An associate of the think tanks ORBAT and Alexandrian Defense group. Carried out various oil and gas and power transmission line surveys in West Asia. Editor in Chief of monthly Intelligence Review and monthly Military and Security Review. Heads the think tank Centre for study of Intelligence Operations established in early 2010.

 

Postscript: (this is me, Omar, not Major Amin)

A glimpse of the human cost of these geopolitical games:

But leaving aside the human cost, which great leaders and captains of war are not bothered by in any case (Napoleon managed to get several thousand killed just in a rehearsal of the invasion of Britain; and those were good times. By the time of Hitler and Stalin it was tens of millions) there is another possibility: that the USA was clueless in their nation building project makes one think, could they be equally clueless in their cynical nation-destroying project? Or, maybe even worse, could it be that the same geniuses who thought they were rebuilding Afghanistan imagine they can help to rebuild Pakistan and Afghanistan in what they think is a new improved way? ie, could it be that the US has people (obviously not everyone, there are factions and factions within factions) who will pull out, make a deal with the taliban, then give THEM (and Pakistan) lots of money to try their hand at nation building? could it be that Major sahib and other strategic thinkers are overthinking what the USA is doing because they assume that strategic thinkers are in charge, when really, it is just mildly woke careerists trying theory B now that theory A has failed?

Inquiring minds want to know 🙂

PS2: Some people have asked if this was not inevitable. I think it was not. I think there was a slim chance in 2002 to make it work. But it involved two very difficult (but doable) things; 1. A more competent American occupation and transition. and 2. Pakistan decisively switching sides and abandoning Jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan (since the one is our justification for the second, both had to go). 1 in retrospect seems near impossible. 2 may have been more doable than 1,  So putting the primary blame on Pakistan may be a bit unfair now. (Until a week ago, I might have blamed Pakistan first; though i saw the American effort as hugely corruption ridden and frequently incompetent, even I had not idea HOW incompetent and two faced..  after what we have seen (and are soon going to see in giant gobs) of american incompetence and cynical abandonment of friends, I think 1 is the more important reason this failed.

PS3: Predictions are (or should be) the sine qua non of punditry.  Make predictions, see if you were right. So here goes.

  1. Will the taliban succeed in ruling Afghanistan? 2.  Will they do so as “moderates”? I think first of all that if they are too moderate, they will fall apart. The ONLY way they can rule Afghanistan is via increasingly harsh Islamic rule; without that asabiya, no chance. So that is out. But I think 1 is quite possible. Their rule will become harsher with time, but there is tremendous battle fatigue in Afghanistan. They may be too weary for another civil war. So if i was going to make a prediction (based on very little information, just general principles) I would predict that they will succeed in ruling all of Afghanistan, but they will not be some sort of model of success. They will have to be harsh, or there will be a LOT of low grade violence and crime and disorder. And they will be poor. No one will pay to maintain the lifestyle of the American time. For a few years, Afghanistan will be harsh, Islamist, poor and mostly a terrible place to live. There will be lots of refugees. 

Will there be more trouble in Pakistan? Yes. Nothing more needs to be said.

Will Pakistan go jihadi? I think not. China and the US will pay enough to keep the real estate faction in power. True believers will continue to be frustrated. But there will be terrorism, there will be crime, there will be economic hardship. Not a happy ending, but not the end of the country.

Will Pakistan restart Kashmir Jihad? This one is hard. I dont think they will. That is my best guess, but i am not very confident of it. It may be hard to keep jihadis in line after this huge win in Afghanistan. But if we don’t keep them in control, there will be war. India is not the USA, a faraway power with other fish to fry. So I hope I am right. But I am not super confident.

Will China have to spend money and effort to keep Pakistan and Afghanistan going and not become too jihadi? you bet they will. That part of the American plan should work. It wont be American treasure going into the region, it will be Chinese, Russian, Iranian and Indian treasure and effort. And someday, even lives. But it may not happen as fast as some are thinking. That is my best guess.

Will jihadi attack China? I think they will definitely try. But Pakistan will work REALLY really hard to try and prevent this or to counter them if it happens. Will Pakistan succeed? Well, with CIA etc working to make this happen and with true believers in sympathy with ETIM, why would this NOT happen? I think China’s best hope may be that the CIA could be as incompetent at starting wars as they are at finishing them. It is a tossup. I think eventually there will be trouble as Taliban will get more jihadi with time. But it may not happen right away. I am fudging, but I dont have even a  “general principles” idea of what is going on in this case, so I have to fudge.

Does this mean “America is over”? I dont think so. US credibility has taken a giant hit, but some of the problems they faced are really problems any modern state will face in Afghanistan or are just “problems of modernity”.. but leftists and trads whose inner optimist arose again at this point may find that modernity (whatever that means) remains the biggest game in town. The Taliban will not teach the rest of the world some new way of living and thinking, they will barely keep their own impoverished state going.

The Americans will not face the same issues everywhere. This is mostly a problem for those poor Afghans who had thrown their lot in with the US, and it may be a problem for neighbors who supported the Taliban and now fear their just desserts. The further you get from Kabul, the less of a problem it is. 

Let us see how many of these turn out to be true.

40 thoughts on “America’s Brilliant Strategy in Afghanistan

  1. i don’t understand one thing. why are the afghans blaming US and the world in general for their plight? all over the overarching message is that the world has abandoned us.

    let’s process this for a minute. they had a 350 K strong army, equipped with the best NATO weapons, and an airforce to boot. with so much of firepower at their disposal, this “army” surrendered cities after cities without firing a shot. i mean, wtf can the world do if your own army refuses to fight.

    and if the army thought that previous regime was not worth fighting over, then why cry over it. it was a fantasy any way. better to get on with the real world under taliban.

    1. True. Time for Afghans to look within.
      Afghans own this shit more than anyone else.
      If majority of Afghans did not want the Taliban, there would be no Taliban.

      BTW whats going to happen to the Afghanistan cricket team. They were coming along well and I enjoyed watching them play. They will probably stop training in India now. If Taliban start some anti-Indian shit, BCCI could possibly boycott them from International cricket.

      The best case scenario for a Taliban ruled Afghanistan is the Ayatollah ruled Iran. However don’t think Taliban are as capable as the Ayatollahs nor is Afghan society as dynamic and accomplished as Iran’s. So probably Afghanistan is going to go into another self-imposed, socio-economic and cultural depression.

  2. In 2008 I presented a theory that US withdrawal and Taliban presence will UNNERVE all regional players , pakistan , iran,india , Russia and china more than anything . USA would not have to spend one cent. At that time people laughed but this was war-gamed repeatedly in Trump era and gained currency.The idea was conceived in Trump era and now Biden will get the credit.Simply put it was a. brilliant move by Trump.

    I can assure you that the pakistani , north punjab establishment is as worried as the Indians . In the final analysis it is PASHTUN RESURGENCE and can have FAR REACHING CONSEQUENCES.

  3. The Afghan population has tripled since 1990 and will likely hit 45m by 2050. I doubt the Taliban have any idea when it comes to running a modern state, the infrastructure is not going to keep up. There will be refugees trying to exit the country for years to come.

  4. \could it be that Major sahib and other strategic thinkers are overthinking what the USA is doing because they assume that strategic thinkers are in charge, when really, it is just mildly woke careerists trying theory B now that theory A has failed?\
    major sahib is also overthinking – or overthought -about India’s intention in Afghanistan. In major sahib’s view , some strategic thinkers in New Delhi were trying to bring Afghanistan under Indian sphere of influence , trying to encircle Pakistan , and destroy it in a vast pincer movement. In reality, it was some babu log trying to be nice to Afghanistan building schools and hospitals. One reason Pakistan went for overkill in Afghanistan was this insane desire to elimiate all alleged bad influence of India. India does not have sufficient intent or ruthlessness or wherewithall to bring Afghanistan under it’s control

  5. Before things play out in Afghanistan, watch out for China making a play for Taiwan. The CCP’s bet would be that the Taiwanese would not put their lives on the line for maintaining their unique status as a democratic state under the US defense umbrella. This umbrella appears to be in tatters and the US will not wish to get bogged down in another Asian conflict when it has just extracted itself from Afghanistan.

    1. I doubt that. Afghanistan was always been half-a-country for last 30-40 years. Taiwan isnt. China sees the rise of budding alliance against it as being formed far before they anticipated. Thats y the recent dialing down on the rhetoric. They dont want the alliance against them before they are “ready” or the US is a notch down to their level.

      1. I am quite sure they will make a play for Taiwan within this decade. Infact more so after they see now such US weakness… Taiwan maybe a functioning state but its also heavily dependent on US to protect them, and I doubt their army will hold for much long if a massive assault happens. Question is whether PLA is competent and capable enough to pull it off.

        1. America is in terminal decline. I think ROC will submit without a fight. Look at the Shanghai Shipyards.

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/hisutton/2019/12/15/china-is-building-an-incredible-number-of-warships/?sh=27a95cdc69ac

          These are not shitty either, Type 055 destroyers are full generation i.e. 20 years ahead of Indian Visakhapatnam class (subjective).

          RoC’s fleet is old borderline ancient. They don’t even have submarines. Air war might be interesting to see as folk wisdom says US>Europe>Russia>China jets.

          1. Thats all well but the Chinese PLA have not been involved in a real modern war, not even a prolonged low intensity conflict. So I very much doubt their capabilities, until they can surprise us all. The US still has the greatest war machine and a war mongering populace (mostly because they are geographically isolated and shielded from the direct effects of war). It comes down to how willing the US is to defend Taiwan by getting into a direct armed conflict with China.

          2. Thats all well but the Chinese PLA have not been involved in a real modern war, not even a prolonged low intensity conflict. As you can see from recent results, wars require effective strategy and an army that is willing to fight, not just high tech equipment. So I very much doubt their capabilities, until they can surprise us all. The US still has the greatest war machine and a war mongering populace (mostly because they are geographically isolated and shielded from the direct effects of war). It comes down to how willing the US is to defend Taiwan by getting into a direct armed conflict with China.

  6. The War On Afghanistan Was A $2 Trillion Scam
    America just pumped-and-dumped an entire country

    The American war on Afghanistan was a $2.26 trillion scam. Somebody pocketed all that money, and it certainly wasn’t the people of Afghanistan. That amount is 115 years of Afghan GDP, and it mostly went to arms dealers, the corrupt US military, and corrupt US politicians. Meanwhile the Taliban gets to keep the weapons. This wasn’t just a waste, it was a gigantic fraud.

    Afghanistan was not an isolated incident. This is the American war machine, working as intended, grinding bones and printing blood money. America has reduced war to one simple fact: war costs money and somebody’s gonna get paid. This is their galaxy brain idea, starting wars with no objective just to make money for arms dealers. You don’t even have to win. In fact, it’s better if you spend 20 years losing. That’s the beauty of the scam.

    Just follow the money. American taxpayers have been defrauded well over $6.4 trillion in their wars ‘of’ terror alone. People keep saying this money was ‘lost’ or ‘wasted’ but it didn’t go nowhere. American people had their pockets picked while saluting the flag. This is what America does. This is who they are. The vaunted American military is a fraud.

    https://indi.ca/the-us-military-is-a-deadly-scam/

    1. Good point; even the $2 trillion spent by the USA in Afghan war, was spent in their arms industry, US contractors and such US businesses. Sure Corruption in Afghanistan high, with ministers and warlords eating off the plate. Few billion is enough for that

  7. This might be proven wrong in the coming months; nothing is set in stone.

    ^ Again, I really wouldn’t bet any money on it… but here it goes:

    One gets the impression that this isn’t your father’s Taliban. They seem to have changed.

    Just compare how they conquered Kabul decades ago vs today.

    Back then, Kabul was flattened to the ground…. just absolutely wrecked with senseless bloodshed. And upon victory, they butchered Najibullah like an animal. It was disgusting, cruel, and psychotic.

    But now, they enter Kabul without a fight. People greeted them with flowers; crowds thronged to them, with men gathering in lines to take selfies with fighters. And It’s already back to business as usual on the streets. The only concrete changes involve the public lives of women.

    ^ Afghan media outlets are being offered protection from looting, foreign media are free to roam and interview, ​and the foreign embassies are already under protection from looting.

    ^^ People trying to flee the country remain unmolested, and the Taliban has announced that they are “welcome to remain”, that they were “betrayed by the Americans”, and that they are now their “brothers” after said betrayal; “all is forgiven”.

    ^^^ Sikhs and Hindus have been guaranteed safety (hopefully this becomes the norm).

    ^^^^ No massacres, no terror. Perhaps the most peaceful “conquest” ever seen in modern times.

    (More people died at the airport from accidents in the chaos than in the whole of Kabul during the Taliban’s conquest)

    The American media is engaged in hysterics, on a level that I haven’t seen in years. Which is only to be expected; America lost the war, and nothing is worse to Americans than the idea of defeat.

    ^ But looking at the situation on the ground, the hysteria doesn’t really seem to be justified.

    Again, maybe, just maybe, the Taliban really has mellowed out. I really hope that that’s true. For the sake of Afghanistan, and for the sake of the world.

    Again, only time will tell.

    (It’ll be deeply ironic if the Taliban rule the country with greater competence than the American allies. We’ll see what happens)

    1. I was in Kabul when najibullah was killed .he was killed by Pakistani officers accompanying taliban.the Taliban are a proxy and have been told to behave but this may not last.the second major issue is that now the Pakistani state is in partial conflict with pashtuns in Pakistan. The third thing is that Kabul was never levelled .I lived in the city in 1996-97.some outskirts were levelled .the final thing is that a new civil war has already commenced and pakistan Iran India Russia and china will back their proxies

      1. Mr Agha, what do you mean by saying it is pashtun resurgence, can you throw some more light on this.

      2. is it also true some Indian officers went to the airport to free najibullah by negotiation; they did not go with sufficient $$$. If they had, they could have got Najibullah free and flown him away

      3. Pakistani military establishment’s hate for Afghan government and it’s personnel not in their pockets is visceral. Something like Stalin’s hatred for any non communist and non Stalinist govt in Eastern Europe in the aftermath of WW2, everything done to topple it and kill it’s personnel

        1. najibullah was 200 Percent not murdered in cold blood by Taliban . in 1978 aminullah Khakwani from my college (FORMAN CHRISTIAN COLLEGE) was murdered with martial law regime support and the murderer protected by the state , later became member of provincial assembly and minister . Later Colonel Adil Kazi also FCC student a senior union member opposing zia regime was on HIT LIST but saved as it was revealed that he was son of a retired major general. so murder was normal in 1978 or 1992

      1. Come on, if the Pakistan Army is that competent to run a country, Pakistan wouldn’t be the way it is today.

  8. I just saw videos of KPF soldiers surrendering and the Taliban literally let them go. Now if anyone knows anything about KPF they would have gotten the most gruesome deaths because they have been extra judicially killing civilians including kids ages 8 or 9, all directed by the CIA. Yet the Taliban let them live.. and this is why I think this is a completely different leadership that at least seems to be so much more pragmatic and inclusive.

  9. “One gets the impression that this isn’t your father’s Taliban. They seem to have changed.”

    Lolol

    “Bombing Outside Afghan School Kills at Least 90, With Girls as Targets”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/08/world/asia/bombing-school-afghanistan.html

    This was in May, 2021.

    The Taliban were plenty blood-thirsty when they needed to be. They used terror tactics to weaken the Afghan army govt.’s resolve when they initially started capturing cities and met with resistance.
    https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/13/asia/afghanistan-taliban-commandos-killed-intl-hnk/index.html

    Once cities started falling like ninepins and Afghan soldiers started surrendering without firing a bullet they could afford to play all nice and magnanimous.

    Don’t think the Taliban have changed. People are reading too much into their early statements which were made in the euphoria of victory. You cannot raise suicide bombers in your organization and then suddenly become psychologically well-rounded once you have achieved your objective. It doesn’t work like that.

    The Taliban will find ruling Afghanistan a much more difficult proposition than conquering it. Just the fact that there is no longer a super-power around to pump money into the country will make it a much poorer place than earlier and a very difficult to govern even without a raging insurgency.

    1. The local IS affiliate claimed responsibility for the school bombing, the Taliban don’t make them targets.

  10. @Janamejaya,

    As noted by Ali, that act of perverse and nihilistic depravity/cruelty seemed to be IS-related. (What else can we expect from people like that)

    If we’re being objective, the events on the ground so far do evince a clear skew towards what Qureishi has stated; they’ve been surprisingly gentle, restrained, and image-conscious. They clearly want to project a sense to the world that they’ve changed… and their actions so far are fairly consistent with their rhetoric.

    Of course, that’s not to say that you’re wrong; maybe this really is just a function of the fact that the whole country fell into their laps. They’re in a good mood; proud and happy at both the speed, and the totality, of their victory.

    ^ Perhaps if they had encountered more stiff resistance, and if the whole thing was more protracted… then perhaps, in that sort of scenario, we might have gotten a flavor of that “classic” 90’s Taliban.

    I don’t know.

    But then again, I really do incline towards what Qureishi is saying, rather than what you’re saying.

    ^ And honestly, that’s because this Taliban, in a very literal sense, truly isn’t your father’s Taliban. A lot of their fighters (a huge proportion in fact) are younger than the American invasion; they’re just kids with fresh beards (lol).

    Frankly, the dynamics and structure of the group are strikingly different from what was happening in the 90’s, in countless ways that are wholly additional to the youthfulness of their new generation of fighters.

    ^^ For one, they’re more diverse.

    The Taliban of the 90’s was very much a southern Pashtun movement, with a solid base among the Ghilzai.

    ^^^ Today though, their heartland may still be greater Kandahar… but it’s really a “symbolic”, sentimental heartland. This Taliban is drawn from every distinct Pashtun cultural group in Afghanistan (although the central Karlani of greater Paktia are still underrepresented).

    I mean sure, to outsiders all Pashtuns are just Pashtuns… but to the Pashtuns themselves, there’s a whole complex world of socio-cultural differences and distinctions between the various tribal and geographic groupings of Pashtuns. So the general pan-Pashtun-ness of the contemporary Taliban, in comparison to the Kandahari Ghilzai roots of the original movement, is a very significant development.

    (Heck, in the north there are even Tajik Talibs now)

    Furthermore, the orginal Taliban was a response to internal chaos; Mullah Omar’s name became famous after he started executing perverted and despotic warlords. The whole thing was a product of internal unrest.

    ^ By contrast, the Taliban of today see themselves as freedom fighters. Fellow Afghans aren’t their enemies, as was the case in the 90’s; America, as an invading force, was their enemy. This external focus has changed much of how they operate, and of how they view themselves and their role.

    There are many more distinctions at play, but the above is sufficient for a clear picture.

    On the question of governance though, I’m willing to bet that they might be fairly successful; as a governing body, they already have many years of experience under their belt.

    ^ During the whole course of the war, vast swathes of the countryside were already under the control of the Taliban. And even in places that were supposedly in the hands of American allies, the Taliban operated shadow governments… systems of order of which many in American-held territories would avail themselves, for the purposes of bribeless and impartial legal proceedings.

    If they can do all that under conditions of continuous war, one would imagine they can continue doing so after winning complete control.

    Additionally, it’s quite interesting how many Afghan Pashtuns in Pakistan are returning to Afghanistan, because they think that Afghanistan will finally see stability. Clearly there must be something to the notion, or else they wouldn’t take such a huge step.

    Regardless though, no doubt that there’s still a chance that you’ll be proven right, and that the optimism is misplaced. We’ll see.

    Time will tell.

    1. I hope for the sake of the Afghan people that the optimistic takes on the Taliban are correct.

      Feels like a bit of a cope to me when I hear it from western commentators. Since no one was saying this stuff about the Taliban being more progressive etc before they won.

  11. @commentator

    I wish all the best to Afghanistan, mate.

    From an Indian perspective, I hope Afghanistan can chart its own course in the world and not be a proxy for Pakistan against India. Even with the Taliban takeover, I have hopes in that regard actually. During the 90s most of the hardcore foreign terrorists in Kashmir were from Pakistani Punjab. There were a few Pashtuns and Afghans around but they did not have much impact. It seems try as hard as they could ISI could not get Afghans very interested in going to Kashmir. Possibly the Afghans realized that the risk reward ratio was too high unlike the Punjabis who could be brainwashed into going.

    BTW some of the attires of the Taliban fighters reminds me of Pirates of the Caribbean rather than Islamists. Long colorful cloaks, cummerbunds, bandanas, grown ass men sporting kohl-lined eyes, flowers in their hats etc. These people wouldn’t look too out of place of a rock show actually.

    1. Actually the only high profile Afghan militant who ever operated in Kashmir that I know of is Mast Gul.

      Mast Gul was supposedly a veteran of the Afghan Jihad. In 1995, he entered the Charar-e-Sharief shrine in Kashmir. The Indian army laid siege to the shrine and a standoff commenced. Local support for the terrorists holed up in the shrine was immense. However after a month of siege Mast Gul had had enough. He set the shrine on fire and in the mayhem effected his escape to Pakistan. Later reports suggest that he most probably cut a deal with the Indian authorities who escorted him back to he LOC. The 1990s were a really murky time in Kashmir.

      After the Pakistanis ostensibly declared their support for the US war on terror, Mast Gul turned against his ISI masters, joined the Pakistani Taliban and started waging war against the Pakistani state. Quite a story arc for Mast Gul.

  12. Actually the only high profile Afghan militant who ever operated in Kashmir that I know of is Mast Gul.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mast_Gul

    Mast Gul was supposedly a veteran of the Afghan Jihad. In 1995, he entered the Charar-e-Sharief shrine in Kashmir. The Indian army laid siege to the shrine and a standoff commenced. Local support for the terrorists holed up in the shrine was immense.

    However after a month of siege Mast Gul had had enough. He set the shrine on fire and in the mayhem effected his escape to Pakistan. Later reports suggest that he most probably cut a deal with the Indian authorities who escorted him back to he LOC. The 1990s were a really murky time in Kashmir. http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/mast-gul-escorted-to-loc-after-shrine-siege-jaswant/980573/

    After the Pakistanis ostensibly declared their support for the US war on terror, Mast Gul turned against his ISI masters, joined the Pakistani Taliban and started waging war against the Pakistani state.

    Quite a story arc for Mast Gul.

  13. 7 lies about Afghanistan
    by Thierry Meyssan
    In covering the fall of Kabul, the Western media mindlessly repeats seven lies of Western propaganda. By mistaking the history of Afghanistan, they hide the crimes committed in that country and make it impossible to predict the fate Washington has written for it. What if the Taliban weren’t the meanest …

    3— THE UNITED STATES DOES NOT FOCUS ON “COUNTERTERRORISM”, BUT FINANCES AND ARMS TERRORISM

    https://www.voltairenet.org/article213760.html

    1. NY Times is at the level of Al Jihada at this point. It is integral to the global radicalislamoapologist- radical leftist CCP allied cabal

  14. well, among the people brought back by indoa, were 2 indian christian preachers. any body has more info??

  15. ಅಫ್ಘಾನಿಸ್ತಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ಸುರಕ್ಷಿತವಾಗಿರುವ ಫಾದರ್ ರಾಬರ್ಟ್: ಶಿವಮೊಗ್ಗ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಯ ತೀರ್ಥಹಳ್ಳಿ ಪಟ್ಟಣದ ಫಾದರ್ ರಾಬರ್ಟ್ ಅವರ ಕುಟುಂಬವು ಅಫ್ಘಾನಿಸ್ತಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ಸುರಕ್ಷಿತವಾಗಿದೆ ಎಂದು ಅವರಿಂದ ಕರೆ ಬಂದಿದೆ ಎಂದು ಕುಟುಂಬಸ್ಥರು ತಿಳಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ.

    the above is a clip from a kannada paper. one father robert is still in a church in bamiyan. he belongs to thirthahalli, in shimoga district. tirthahalli is home of karnataka’s home minister, shimoga is a bjp strong hold!!!.

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