KA-BUL-A-BOOL-A  2.0

       


THE NEW TALIBAN 2.0

—  A FIRST — WOMEN WILL BE TREATED BETTER OR WILL BE SHOT  — 

Taliban Announced Executions Will Be Started Again


TRICK QUESTION — HOW MANY WOMEN IN THE ROOM FILLED WITH DIRTBAGS?


ED: —  C-SPAN:    I am listening to the denigration of our military judgment as our duly elected President, General Milley and Secretary Austin are treated by our Republican friends over the fall of Afghanistan and the end of the war.

I have never felt such rage over the commentary and lies by Josh Hawley and others playing the yes or no game with carefully construed questions toward our President and his team tasked with a mess that was kicked down the road by three former Presidents who did nothing and the last on, a total moron T-Rump that draft dodging bastard set us up for a defeat with a photo-op just like everything else he touched turned to sh*t. 

It was a victory, 124,000 people were saved with minimal loses from a no win situation no matter how you look at it.  Is this all they have to do with their committees and TV-ops. No wonder nothing gets done.  This is not Politics , this is pure political rhetoric by a group of nothings, who do nothing, create nothing, fix nothing and then obstruct and criticize.

Anywhere in the world other than the US and other democracies they would be dead by now.  It’s called the “ Stalin approach ".  He solved most of his complainants problems three ways.  (1) He would shoot them, (2) It killed their idea  (3) Few others followed !  


The Leadership  —  Borrowing a line from the  founders of the Taliban and the chief enforcer of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law when they last ruled Afghanistan said the hard-line movement will once again carry out executions and amputations of hands, though perhaps not in public.   

In an interview with The Associated Press, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi dismissed outrage over the Taliban's executions in the past, which sometimes took place in front of crowds at a stadium, and he warned the world against interfering with Afghanistan's new rulers.

"Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments," Turabi told The Associated Press, speaking in Kabul. "No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran.

For Afghan Woman, Life Under The Taliban Is Taking Shape    Since the Taliban overran Kabul on Aug. 15 and seized control of the country, Afghans and the world have been watching to see whether they will re-create their harsh rule of the late 1990s.    Turabi's comments pointed to how the group's leaders remain entrenched in a deeply conservative, hard-line worldview, even if they are embracing technological changes, like video and mobile phones.

Turabi, now in his early 60s, was justice minister and head of the so-called Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — effectively, the religious police — during the Taliban's previous rule.

At that time, the world denounced the Taliban's punishments, which took place in Kabul's sports stadium or on the grounds of the sprawling Eid Gah mosque, often attended by hundreds of Afghan men.


Barbaric Treatment Under Religious Law

  • Executions of convicted murderers were usually by a single shot to the head, carried out by the victim's family, who had the option of accepting "blood money" and allowing the culprit to live.  
  • For convicted thieves, the punishment was amputation of a hand. 
  • For those convicted of highway robbery, a hand and a foot were amputated.
  • Trials and convictions were rarely public and the judiciary was weighted in favor of Islamic clerics, whose knowledge of the law was limited to religious injunctions.
  • Turabi said that this time, judges — including women — would adjudicate cases, but the foundation of Afghanistan's laws will be the Quran. He said the same punishments would be revived.
  • "Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security," he said, saying it had a deterrent effect. He said the Cabinet was studying whether to do punishments in public and will "develop a policy.
  • In recent days in Kabul, Taliban fighters have revived a punishment they commonly used in the past — public shaming of men accused of small-time theft.
  • On at least two occasions in the last week, Kabul men have been packed into the back of a pickup truck, their hands tied, and were paraded around to humiliate them. In one case, their faces were painted to identify them as thieves. In the other, stale bread was hung from their necks or stuffed in their mouth. It wasn't immediately clear what their crimes were.
  • Wearing a white turban and a bushy, unkempt white beard, the stocky Turabi limped slightly on his artificial leg. He lost a leg and one eye during fighting with Soviet troops in the 1980s.
  • Under the new Taliban government, he is in charge of prisons. He is among a number of Taliban leaders, including members of the all-male interim Cabinet, who are on a United Nations sanctions list.


The Taliban Have Announced Interim Ministers For An Acting Government   During the previous Taliban rule, he was one of the group's most ferocious and uncompromising enforcers. When the Taliban took power in 1996, one of his first acts was to scream at a woman journalist, demanding she leave a room of men, and to then deal a powerful slap in the face of a man who objected.

Turabi was notorious for ripping music tapes from cars, stringing up hundreds of meters of destroyed cassettes in trees and signposts. He demanded men wear turbans in all government offices and his minions routinely beat men whose beards had been trimmed. Sports were banned, and Turabi's legion of enforcers forced men to the mosque for prayers five times daily.


In This Week's Interview With The Ap, Turabi Spoke To A Woman Journalist  —  "We are changed from the past," he said.  He said now the Taliban would allow television, mobile phones, photos and video "because this is the necessity of the people, and we are serious about it.” 

He suggested that the Taliban saw the media as a way to spread their message. "Now we know instead of reaching just hundreds, we can reach millions," he said. He added that if punishments are made public, then people may be allowed to video or take photos to spread the deterrent effect.

The US and its allies have been trying to use the threat of isolation — and the economic damage that would result from it — to pressure the Taliban to moderate their rule and give other factions, minorities and women a place in power.

But Turabi dismissed criticism over the previous Taliban rule, arguing that it had succeeded in bringing stability. "We had complete safety in every part of the country," he said of the late 1990s.

Even as Kabul residents express fear over their new Taliban rulers, some acknowledge grudgingly that the capital has already become safer in just the past month. Before the Taliban takeover, bands of thieves roamed the streets, and relentless crime had driven most people off the streets after dark.

"It's not a good thing to see these people being shamed in public, but it stops the criminals because when people see it, they think 'I don't want that to be me,'" said Amaan, a storeowner in the center of Kabul. He asked to be identified by just one name.   Another shopkeeper said it was a violation of human rights but that he was also happy he can open his store after dark.


More Good News For The Women Of Afghanistan —  ADJ  — Our man on the street interviewed some of the new TALIBAN GOVERNMENT and you’ll hear it first here.  When war ends we think of the rebuilding of societies for example Vietnam has no war we know of, they are going industrial, cleaning up their act somewhat and have embraced GOLF  —  big time.  Even in DANANG, golf is embraced.  Food served is Halal.

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We wanted to know how the Taliban would treat such a plebeian sport while the major sport in that part of the world is beheading or disemboweling people in a major sports stadium.  Or playing  polo with human heads.

Taliban Solution  —  The Taliban are considering making this the place to travel to in the Middle East  for GOLF featuring tours of some of the most unique Golf courses in the world.

With scads of bomb craters basically man-made sand traps,  and other obstacles,  such as trip wires  and landmines.  No IUD’s on the fairways.  But the roughs will be rough going avoiding tank traps and IUD's —  Here is the par 5 hole on the Kabul Golf Course  — The white sticks are not the rough but minefields.

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Cart fees are reasonable at 45 dollars a day, as they are Ox driven and very tame, and a female guide is included to test the waters as far as explosives and interruptions are concerned.  She simply walks twenty-five to thirty-five feet in front of the OX driven golf cart since Oxen are more valuable to the Taliban than women.  

Upscale small bomb-proof military vehicles like jeeps and Russian T-72 tanks are 85.00 per day if they are still running but don’t count on them, not too often nor reliable.

Thats the good news for the women!  No more do they have to follow their men by five feet.  Now they go first. Women will have new rights and they will have to walk in front of their male friends especially around the landmines in places leftover after the war.   Tours of IUD factories, mountain caves, running of the prisoners, like running of the bulls,  scheduled blood killings and honor deaths will be behind closed doors,   closed tents inside their stadium.

Make Afghanistan Your Next Golf Vacation Hotspot
…Put Your Balls On The Line…  


THE WAR THAT VANISHED


ED: — Biden’s Choice  — He Had NO Choice After T-RUMP Set The Stage —  

CNN  —    The debacle of the US defeat and chaotic retreat in Afghanistan is a political disaster for Joe Biden, whose failure to orchestrate an urgent and orderly exit will further rock a presidency plagued by crises and stain his legacy.And of course the Reptilian party will swarm over it and convolute things but this was unavoidable.

A stunning Taliban blitzkrieg followed more than 20 years of US and allied policy failures, misunderstandings of Afghan politics and culture, public war fatigue and the culpability and corruption of the failed state's leaders.

And while Biden's political and geopolitical rivals rush to exploit his mistakes, the true magnitude of the crisis can only be judged in the human tragedy of a people again subject to Taliban persecution. And a failure to fulfill the now apparently near-impossible tasks of evacuating all the Afghan translators, workers and fixers on whom the US relied and who now face Taliban retribution would besmirch America's conscience and global reputation.


The Collapse —  The Army That Vanished — 

  • The collapse of the Afghanistan  Army was predicted by some Military friends of mine whose opinions were kept under wraps, deep wraps as the commentary released to the press was always upscale and they are doing great.  If they said something it was in private.
  • A reporter asked U.S. President Joe Biden in July whether a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was inevitable. “No, it is not,” he said, pointing to the presence of three hundred thousand “well-equipped” Afghan security personnel.  Information he was given and it was far from accurate.
  • How did the $83 billion U.S. effort to train and equip the Afghan military go so wrong? Why didn’t the Afghan military fight harder or at all to stop the Taliban?   
  • The answers lie in the chronic challenges that plagued the Afghan military from the outset, from illiteracy to corruption to incompetence to one of the key problems: a lack of faith in the Kabul government.
    • The Taliban fought with an ideological fervor and to rid the country of the foreign invaders, values enshrined in Afghan identity. "It animated the Taliban. It sapped the will of Afghan soldiers and police. When they clashed, Taliban were more willing to kill and be killed than soldiers and police, at least a good number of them," he said.
    • We have both embedded many times with U.S. and Afghan forces. Some of what we witnessed, as well as the conversations we had, may help explain the challenges the Afghan army faced.
    • Even back then, he told us the government wouldn't help the families of slain soldiers.
    • "They don't have any policy, any good plan," Frotan told us, "when they lose some personnel.”
    • If the government provided for the families with death benefits, he said, "the personnel morale will become high. 
    • Then there was lack of leadership. The Afghan National Army struggled to find qualified commanders to lead the soldiers. Over the years, we met Afghan generals praised by the U.S. military, only to find out later the generals were replaced for incompetence or corruption.
    • Some generals pocketed pay meant for soldiers. Others were supposed to buy the best rice for their troops. Instead they bought the cheapest and lowest quality possible and pocketed the difference. Still others sold government-issued firewood meant to keep the troops warm.
    • Frotan said the system was marked by cronyism, with not enough loyalty to the troops. 
    • The leaders were not only corrupt. Some of them were illiterate.  "They don't know how to write. They don't know how to read," Frotan said. "How to be professional soldiers and leadership is very, very important."  The lack of education led to basic problems with tasks such as maintaining equipment, from rifles to vehicles, to ordering spare parts.
    • And not knowing how to write meant these leaders couldn't even read the maps properly. NPR was with an Afghan army unit six years ago when it was shooting artillery rounds at the Taliban. It was off by a kilometer because it couldn't figure out the proper grid coordinates.
    • Not only that, but Frotan says commanders often had trouble filing simple paperwork to give soldiers time off.
    • "They don't have enough knowledge, so they cannot make a good schedule for their vacation," Frotan said. So with no proper time off, that meant burnout among the troops, which led to high attrition rates.
    • Years ago, a U.S. general told us that not only couldn't many of the Afghan officers read or write, but they couldn't count. He said the Americans at times would draw a large rectangle in the dirt, telling the officers they needed enough soldiers to fill that space.
    • Nearly 60,000 soldiers and police officers have lost their lives fighting since 2001, the majority just in the past six years, according to a report from the Brookings Institution.
    • The high death rate meant a constant flow of new recruits who needed basic training. Few could advance enough to learn the more complex skills. U.S. military trainers like Maj. Kevin McCormick told us that teaching advanced military skills is a time-consuming process.  "It takes a lot of time. It is not a short process," McCormick said. "These skills are perishable. They require continuous training, continuous mastery.
    • In our conversations with Afghan soldiers, we also heard other complaints. Commanders deprived troops of SIM cards, so they couldn't call their families. Many soldiers either ended up deserting or not reenlisting.


It Was Known But Kept Silent — 

  • The Afghans could do little without U.S. support. The U.S. soldiers in the field knew the truth. But during this time, from the Defense Department to the White House to Congress, officials had the same thing to say: The Afghan army is getting better every day. They are fighting hard. They are leading.  Lieing bastards get people killed.  
  • Many of these problems were outlined in numerous reports by John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction. But these reports never seemed to resonate with members of Congress or prompt oversight hearings, like the Fulbright hearings during the Vietnam War.
  • When the Taliban started their advancement this year, the Afghan National Army, held together by duct tape and glue, just couldn't hold. Support from U.S. airstrikes against Taliban units dropped off. 
  • One soldier told us that the Taliban also gave payments to Afghan soldiers who refused to fight, providing the most money to the officers.
  • Even high-ranking Afghan military leaders gave up. In an NPR interview, an Afghan Air Force colonel who is now hiding in Kabul said that it was impossible to lead in such dire conditions and that this in turn affected the troops. "The willingness comes from the leadership," he said. "The hope is given to the subordinates from the leadership.”
  • So when the military leaders give up, the unit quickly falls apart — a common occurrence among Afghan army units.


Afghan commandos

  • But there was another very powerful fighting force: the Afghan commandos. They were highly trained soldiers, some 22,000 of them among the 300,000 Afghan troops, and they were the backbone of Afghanistan's fighting power. 
  • Over the years, they were stretched thin, flying all over the country to back up regular Afghan army units that couldn't or wouldn't fight. They often complained about this to NPR reporters. One told us they were meant for special missions, not to handle basic operations that were supposed to be the job of rank-and-file soldiers.
  • As the Taliban advanced throughout the country during those final weeks, the commandos faced a chilling reality. One commando from the south told us that no one in his unit wanted to surrender. They were there to fight the Taliban. But the Kabul government ordered them to lay down their arms.
  • "We were no longer safe," the commando said. "We had to take refuge in our friends' houses, and now we are hiding.”  Another commando from the Kabul unit shared a similar story. "Yes, everybody hide themselves, and I'm really scared and I have not been outside like three days, four days," he said.
  • Once all the commando units throughout the country broke down, the Kabul unit was the last one standing. "We didn't fight because the government didn't say you have to fight it," the Kabul commando said. "The Ministry of Defense didn't say you have to fight."  It's a political decision, he added — it's not about the willingness to fight.
  • Now, the Afghan commandos have either left for other countries or are in hiding. They are ineligible for expedited visas and are without jobs, an income or any protection. "Last night I was really crying," the commando said. "And also my wife, my kids were crying about this. And I'm presently — I'm jobless. We don't trust the Taliban.
  • The commandos tell us they feel betrayed. The Afghan authorities, they say, "are not valuable human beings. This is the misfortune of the Afghan people."



Sidebar  —   

  • But we did manage to get 120,000 people out of Afghanistan to safer countries — 
  • Biggest mistake was trusting anything these 18th century despots, killers, murderer, slaver and dirtbags say or do.
  • The US launched the Afghan war 20 years ago in a mood of vengeance, resolve and unity, after al Qaeda's attacks on New York and Washington shattered the post-Cold War myth of American hyper power. 
  • It is ending it in a rushed race to get out, humbled by a primitive militia, that is nevertheless ready to die for jihad on its home soil and is re-imposing its feudal writ on a war-ravaged nation that bleeds foreign invaders dry.
  • That a war that killed or maimed thousands of Americans, many more Afghan civilians and cost a trillion dollars, ended so abruptly with such an ignominious eclipse was shocking. But it perhaps should not have been.
  • Across all four Presidents involved —  The evaporating Afghan forces and police that the US spent billions building up to fight the Taliban mystified many Washington officials. This encapsulated how top military brass and diplomats were misled by their own preconceptions and the investment of years of US blood and treasure, troops surges, drawdowns, diplomatic offensives and arbitrary timelines to leave.
  • No choice the OvertFueher, Herr Donald T-RUMP originally set the date and the tone to cheering amongst his ignorant and mongoloid voters at his rallies.


Biden Carries The Can   —  

  • Biden now finds himself carrying the political can for two decades of the missteps of others -- after adding his own errors, said by some (GOP) but it was no choice as the stage set and left abandonded by a fake treaty at the hands of two incompetatnts T-RUMP and Sec Mike Pompeo —  
  • At the same time, Biden was doing exactly what most Americans, exhausted by long years of foreign quagmires and confused as to why US troops were still in Afghanistan 20 years after 9/11, wanted. There was no national support for escalating the war. 
  • To check the Taliban advance, the President would have had to deploy thousands more US troops and to wage new combat without public support. That and his own long-term skepticism about the war left his own withdrawal decision almost inevitable. But the strength of the Taliban advance caught the White House flat footed.
  • A failure to safely get all Americans out, or any ensuing US troop casualties, would threaten catastrophic political damage for the President amid fresh comparisons with the haunting US legacy of Vietnam.
  • Biden's judgment as commander-in-chief is being called into question since he is on record, in damning video footage, saying that the Taliban's victory was "not inevitable.”   He was wrong  — 


Reptilians Attack  —

  • On CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, Blinken argued that the US had completed its mission — crushing al Qaeda — and that Biden had been left in an impossible position by ex-President Donald Trump's deal with the Taliban for the US to leave for good in May, a deadline slightly extended by his successor.
  • If Biden had breached that agreement, Blinken said: "We would have been back at war with the Taliban. And we would have been back at war, with tens of thousands of troops having to go in, because the 2,500 troops we had there and the air power would not have sufficed to deal with the situation.
  • " Despite his defense of the administration's preparations, Blinken did express surprise at the "hollowness" of the Afghan forces and their collapse and the swift folding of the US-backed democratic government in Kabul.
  • The Secretary of State made some solid points. The initial US victory in Afghanistan over al Qaeda and the Taliban for harboring Osama bin Laden's terror group did prevent any repeat of 9/11. 
  • And Trump did intend for an even quicker withdrawal than Biden. It's not clear if Trump put any plans in motion to secure an evacuation of US personnel, embassy staff or Afghan translators who supported two decades of US military effort when he signed an agreement with the Taliban to pull US troops out by May of this year. 
  • The Trump administration's decision to hold negotiations with the Taliban — who Trump had hoped to invite to Camp David — without the Afghan government present -- made Afghan government officials and security forces question the support of the US, some analysts say.
  • Biden's challenge must now prevent a narrative of failure developing around his administration. The President was already faced with a resurgence of the pandemic — thanks to the refusal of many conservatives to take free, life-saving vaccinations. And despite soaring job creation numbers and Biden's infrastructure win, Republicans are citing rising inflation and record numbers of undocumented migrants being turned back at the US border to claim his presidency is in crisis.
  • Still, given the deep skepticism of the American public about the cost and the outcome of the post-9/11 wars, snap judgments that the current crisis will permanently wound Biden are premature. 
  • Internationally however, the messy US exit from Afghanistan will spur doubts about Washington's steadfastness as an ally. Maybe we should ignore the beliefs expressed by our friends in China, Russia , North Korea and Iran.
  • After declaring "America is back" following the alienating and destabilizing Trump era on his first overseas trip to Europe earlier this summer, Biden's first real foreign policy crisis is over a botched US retreat. 
  • Saving 124,000 who would be dead by now is not a botched retreat
  • And the President's clarion calls for the protection of democracy abroad will be undermined by his decision to abandon a  “ fragile democratic government”   in Afghanistan.  Are you frickin kidding me?  A government so corrupt since the dark ages led by leaders of dubious beliefs, who have been fighting amongst themselves since Christ was born.


IN MEMORIUM — 

(CNN)  The bombing attacks that killed 13 US service members and dozens of Afghans at the Kabul airport came after repeated warnings of imminent danger to the airport and complicate the frantic evacuation effort there even as it winds to a close. 

  • The US suspects the group ISIS-Khorasan could be responsible. ISIS-K is an offshoot of the group that was once powerful in parts of Iraq and Syria, is not affiliated with the Taliban leaders who have seized control of Afghanistan's government and raises fears the country could again turn into a proving ground for terror. 


What's known about ISIS-K

  • Let's start with the Taliban, the group that controlled Afghanistan's government when the US and NATO invaded in 2001 and, after just about exactly 20 years, controls it again. 
  • The history of the group, which dates to 1994, how they controlled Afghanistan leading up to 9/11 and imposed a strict version of Islam on the country.
  • They regrouped over the past two decades and, despite more than 1 trillion US dollars spent in Afghanistan to prop up a government and create a more than 300,000 person military, have taken control of the country again, even though they were thought to have fewer than 100,000 fighters as recently as February.  ( Double that, like Nam, there were black shirts under the pajamas)

Who are the Taliban and how did they take control of the country so quickly?

  • Who runs the Taliban? The leadership of the Taliban remains a mystery for most Americans. CNN put together a flow chart on key leaders and deputies and what we know about them. 
  • The top line is that the Taliban have made promises to be more inclusive and open, but their leadership structure is pulled straight from their previous hard-line regime.
  • The group is led by the reclusive Haibatullah Akhundzada, a senior religious cleric in his 50s who was named chief after a US airstrike killed his predecessor in 2016. 
  • Hailing from the Taliban heartland of Spin Boldak, in southern Kandahar province, he was involved in the mujahideen -- or holy Islamic fight -- against the Soviet invasion in the 1980s, and was appointed the leader of jihadi matters in 2001, according to Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid.
  • His deputy, Abdul Ghani Baradar, was a prominent member of the Taliban regime when it was last in power, and as the head of the group's political committee is currently one of the militants' most public-facing leaders. Baradar arrived back in Afghanistan last week after a 20-year-exile. A 20-year arc. That line about Baradar returning last week after a 20-year exile that corresponds with the US military presence there is incredible. 

Who selects the Taliban leaders?  —   A leadership council of more than 20 senior Taliban members. 

For decades the Taliban's leaders have been shrouded in secrecy  —  

Here's what we know about the key players

  • Will the Taliban represent a terror threat to the US? Not exactly. In fact, they signed a peace deal with the Trump administration in which they promised to be more liberal in their treatment of women and stand by other reforms in exchange for the release of 5,000 imprisoned fighters. 
  • They also promised to discourage groups like al Qaeda. Many foreign policy and intelligence community officials are skeptical they will stick to those promises, but the group is concerned with Afghanistan and not with attacking the West in the way al Qaeda was.
  • Editor: If you believe those deals with T-RUMP are real,  please with haste,  secure a lobotomy,  with the Gremsky-Flemish Cranial - Rectal Institute before anymore of your brain flows out… and further distorts you thinking.

Will al Qaeda re-form in Afghanistan? London said many of the 5,000 released prisoners sympathize with al Qaeda.  

  • "Clearly, the detainees who were released by the Taliban at Bagram Air Base included a number of al Qaeda personalities, with whom I am very familiar," he told Bergen. "Many of them were caught in joint military or CIA-supported operations and immediately transferred to Afghan custody upon which they were charged, convicted and put away. Those folks are force multipliers for the Taliban, and they are likely to regroup what is left of al Qaeda in Afghanistan."


There are also ISIS-affiliated fighters released as part of that US deal —  

  • Who are ISIS-K?  US intelligence officials previously told CNN the ISIS-K membership includes "a small number of veteran jihadists from Syria and other foreign terrorist fighters," saying that the US had identified 10 to 15 of their top operatives in Afghanistan. The group's name comes from its terminology for the area that includes Afghanistan and Pakistan: "Khorasan.” 
  • A US government report this year said the group exploited instability “ by attacking minority sectarian targets and infrastructure to spread fear and highlight the Afghan government's inability to provide adequate security.”  Sounds like a Mafia protection racket scheme.
  • It's been orchestrating attacks in Kabul since 2016 and attacked a prison in Jalalabad to free dozens of its supporters who had been captured by the Afghan army and police.


The Taliban's recapture of Afghan sparked fears of an al Qaeda and ISIS revival  —  

  • What has become of the US-backed power structure? It is gone. Ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled to the United Arab Emirates via Uzbekistan with "just the clothes on his back," according to an adviser quoted in one CNN report last week. His vice president, Amrullah Saleh, fled north, to the Panjshir Valley, which will be one stronghold of resistance to the Taliban. 
  • Previous leaders, like former President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, have apparently been stripped of security by the Taliban and are effectively under "house arrest.”
  • The Taliban have said they want to form a more inclusive government, but it's not at all clear what that will look like.

What about resistance to the Taliban in the North?   —  

  • If you recall the Northern Alliance from the US invasion 20 years ago, this is its descendant. In fact, one key figure of resistance to the Taliban is Ahmad Massoud, whose father, Ahmad Shah Massoud, was a Northern Alliance leader assassinated by the Taliban just before 9/11.
  • Many now are looking to his son to work with Saleh. Massoud wrote a plea for help in The Washington Post last week, predicting that Afghanistan will again become a terrorist breeding ground and asking for Western funding and help to fight it.
  • London said Massoud has big shoes to fill, and with a smaller fighting force at his command.  "Ahmad is not his dad," London said. "His dad was just an amazing man, and what the older Massoud's men had in the Panjshir when they were fighting the Taliban before 9/11 was a bigger force than what they have now and a lot more capable."

General Petraeus  —  

  • The Northern Alliance faces obstacles. Petraeus talked about extreme logistical difficulties it will face—
  • "The major positive feature of the Panjshir Valley where they are leading the resistance -- its inaccessibility and natural defensive terrain -- can also be a significant shortcoming, given its lack of connectivity with the outside world, from which it needs to get many goods, commodities and services, not the least of which is refined fuel products," Petraeus said.
  • This collapse, while it seems sudden, has been years in the making. Bergen asked Petraeus if peace negotiations with the Taliban over the past three years set the stage for all of this.
  • "First, the negotiations announced to the Afghan people and the Taliban that the US really did intend to leave (which also made the job of our negotiators even more difficult than it already was, as we were going to give them what they most wanted, regardless of what they committed to us). 
  • "Second, we undermined the elected Afghan government, however flawed it may have been, by not insisting on a seat for it at the negotiations we were conducting about the country they actually governed.  THATS T-RUMP!
  • "Third, as part of the eventual agreement, we forced the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban fighters, many of whom quickly returned to the fight as reinforcements for the Taliban. 
  • Fourth, the commitment gave President Biden an additional justification/excuse to do what he wanted to do -- leave."

What will the Taliban do to people who worked with the US-backed government?  

  • "Now, whether or not they're going to summarily execute, detain or 'rehabilitate' people remains to be seen," London said. "I think because they have become so attentive to media and PR, they might take an approach similar to what the Chinese government is doing by putting Uyghurs in reeducation camps.
  • He also said there will be a lot of variation around the country as local Taliban commanders take matters into their own hands.
  • "They're going to settle old scores. They're going to seek revenge against units and intel personnel that targeted them, their leaders, their family members. So that's not going to end without a fair deal of blood.
  • Will terrorist organizations simply pop up there now that the US is gone? It's not clear, but Petraeus says we have to operate as if they will.
  • "We have to assume that the Taliban victory will make it easier for al Qaeda and the Islamic State and other extremist groups to establish sanctuaries on Afghan soil," he told Bergen.
  • But he added: "I know that our intelligence agencies and military forces will do all that is humanly possible to identify, disrupt, degrade and destroy any such sanctuaries (including virtual sanctuaries in cyberspace, too) well before they can establish a capability that could threaten our homeland or the homelands of our NATO allies.
  • Will we still be talking about Afghanistan in the future? The only reason the US invaded was because al Qaeda used Afghanistan as a haven before 9/11. It's hard to imagine focused US attention there for anything other than a reboot of that horrible story. 

 "When did you last think of Afghanistan?"

  • For those in the comfort of the West, sat at their screens, inhaling deeply, and wondering why America's longest war has collapsed with such a plughole gurgle, ask yourself: when was the last time you thought about Afghanistan? Or, as a politician spoke of it, or as a pundit, wrote or spoke about it? For the majority, it was probably only in recent days and weeks.
  • Even those in relative safety at the Kabul air base didn't understand what was going on outside in the country. And  summarized the Biden administration's bet (in line with his two most recent predecessors) that this frantic endgame to US military involvement there will soon fade from the public consciousness. It may be a good bet.
  • "The hope was that the US public had gotten so tired of hearing about two decades of investment and promises that Afghanistan would just fade quietly into the background. In fact, this remains the only plank of the Biden administration's policy that may prove correct.


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