Afghanistan War

STURM

Well-Known Member
The interesting thing to watch will be any Iranian reactions WRT to China and Pakistan.
There is little Iran can do even if it wanted to. Iran's aims in Afghanistan are very different to China and Pakistan and it understands that other countries will play a much more prominent role there. As long as its interrests are not jeopardised, Iran will be contend and will focus it's efforts on its Western flank against Saudi and the U A.E, as well as Lebanon [victory was achieved in Syria] which has just as much or greater importance to Iran than Afghanistan.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
It seems that the man which was killed by an american MQ-9 Reaper-attack was not a terrorist at all, as claimed by the Americans. Also the claim that the other 10 civilians (including 7 children) killed by the strike was caused by the explosives in the car is probably just a lie.

 

STURM

Well-Known Member
I posted excerpts from a Al Jazeera report quoting an Afghan mentioning nephews who were out getting groceries and who were killed. Another case of civilians being in the wrong place at the wrong time and paying the ultimate price. One may say that it was a necessary risk, killing a few civilians to prevent the deaths of hundreds more but it's still a tragedy and its relatively easy to be detached when the tragedy has no personal connection to us.

It's also a documented fact that "high value targets' were allowed to be eliminated even if they were in the presence of bona fide civilians.
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As I'm fond of saying, we know the names of very foreign soldier killed but the names of the thousands of ordinary Afghans killed remain largely unknown. For that matter no one can say with any certainty as to how many Afghan civillians were killed from 2001, whether by the Taliban, by the ANA, by warlords, by mines, as a result of detention and torture at Bagram or because a UAS operator thousands of miles away were convinced they were armed Taliban rather than what they truly were, guests at a wedding.

"Kabul resident Aimal Ahmadi earlier told AFP news agency the US raid killed 10 civilians including his small daughter, nephews, nieces and his brother Ezmarai Ahmadi"
 
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STURM

Well-Known Member
An interview with Prince Turki. For those unaware he was for a lengthy period the Saudi head of intelligence, including the period when Saudi Arabia was the Taliban's main patron and together with Pakistan pushed for the Taliban to rule Afghanistan. On a number of occasions he personally flew into Afghanistan to meet with senior Taliban officials.

He makes an interesting but often overlooked point, that when the Americans started talks with the Talibs without the participation of the Kabul government, it not only fatally sidelined the Kabul government but also sent a message to the Talibs

 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Part 2 of 3: What is real news?

6. Analysts describe Qatar's emergence as a broker in Afghanistan as a part of a carefully nurtured strategy by the tiny but rich state to bolster its own security. Qatar is also working with domestic vendors to deliver 8,000 meals from local restaurants each day to Afghan refugees in Qatar — fewer than 1,400 evacuees from Afghanistan are still at Qatar base, U.S. general says.

7. Both Turkey and Qatar are becoming indispensable by keeping the Kabul airport open. The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in an interview said “it would be a wrong decision if Turkey entirely withdraws from Afghanistan.”
(a) Japan’s Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegisays his country will move its embassy from Afghanistan to Qatar, where the Taliban have an office. Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that safe evacuations of the rest of Japanese nationals and Afghans who worked for the Japanese Embassy and aid organization remain a top priority. 10 Afghans, local staff at Japan's agencies in Afghanistan and or their families, have left the country and entered neighboring Pakistan by land on their own, according to diplomatic sources. The locals, who were among about 500 evacuation seekers left in the war-torn country.​
(b) Journalists have fled Afghanistan in droves since the Taliban overran Kabul, placing the free media the country had grown accustomed to in grave peril. These include Hiromi Yasui, a Kyodo News string correspondent (evacuated by the JASDF at Kabul just after the suicide attack at the airport gate) and Ahmad Farshad Saleh, a journalist at Ariana News. He’s managed to make it to Turkey, and said: "I made a documentary about the Haqqani network… and interviewed several masterminds and perpetrators of suicide bombings, who had been arrested and were being held in the National Detention Facility. That’s why I felt insecure. I saw my life, and that of my family, were in danger. So I had to flee my country and come to Turkey."​

8. More people are being killed by Taliban stupidity than American incompetence in conducting an air strike against ISK that killed civilians instead. At least 17 people were killed in celebratory gunfire in Kabul, according to news agencies and hospital sources, as a Taliban spokesman criticised the aerial shootings in a statement. There is an international aid conference on Afghanistan, where the U.N. seeks $600 million to avert Afghanistan humanitarian crisis (Reuters). China with Pakistan are providing some but this aid falls far short of the US$19 billion that the West was giving each year.

9. Qatar is doing a great job of getting Americans, Canadians and Japanese out of Afghanistan— as long as they keep talking to the Taliban, the tap of departures at Kabul may slow down but it will not be turned off.
(a) 2 more U.S. citizens and 11 lawful American Permanent Residents departed Afghanistan overland; while another 19 U.S. citizens traveled out on Qatar Airways.​
(b) Qatar also helped 10 more Canadian citizens safely leave Afghanistan. Japan has about 10 buses of 500 Afghans they need to get out and if they can depart by air at Kabul, there will be no need to take more risk and travel by land to Pakistan.​
 
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STURM

Well-Known Member
Qatar's involvement with the Taliban also has to be seen in context of the issues it has been having with Saudi Arabia and the U A E. in recent years. Both countries were the main benefactors of the Taliban in the past and later evolved into Qatar's main strategic competitors.

An often overlooked fact is that apart from hard cash from the state and from wealthy individuals/organisations, the hundreds of 4x4s shipped to Afghanistan from the U A E. via Pakistan in the 1990's played a huge part in the Taliban coming to power. The mobility provided by the vehicles totally transformed the way war was conducted in Afghanistan.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group

Come on, Fox and Trump known to put rediculous accusation. Well similar thing with Liberals in NY Times and Washinton Post against GOP and Trump. However political asside this accusation just simply rediculous.

US Armed Forces already selected what's valuable and what's that will not be an interest to Russia and China. What's being left if assets thar China and Russia already develop on their own, plus no cutting edge tech left there. This is kind of talk from someone who think everything US produce will still be generations ahead from.what China and Russia can produce.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Dammit, Biden quit Afghanistan almost 4 months later than Trump had agreed to!

“Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do. I planned to withdraw on May 1st"
Donald Trump, 18th April 2021.

And I doubt the Russians & Chinese will bother reverse-engineering HMMWVs & the like. They might have been interested in the C-RAM left behind (it may be better than their equivalents - but not necessarily), but IIRC that was wrecked immediately befor the last plane took off.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
That was predictable.
Many people, also in the West, sees the Taliban as a stabilizing factor and that we have to give the Talibs a chance to strengthen their position and influence because thats what the Afghan people want, even after the Talibs shows that they are exactly the same extremists as 20 years ago.
And now the United Nations expect we will inject again our money in that hopeless country after decades of donations.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
That was predictable.
Many people, also in the West, sees the Taliban as a stabilizing factor and that we have to give the Talibs a chance to strengthen their position and influence because thats what the Afghan people want, even after the Talibs shows that they are exactly the same extremists as 20 years ago.
And now the United Nations expect we will inject again our money in that hopeless country after decades of donations.
When one looks at the billions thrown into a number of African countries by the UN and NGOs, similar results can be expected for Afghanistan.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Part 3 of 3: What is real news?
…we have to give the Talibs a chance to strengthen their position and influence because thats what the Afghan people want, even after the Talibs shows that they are exactly the same extremists as 20 years ago.
10. Ajmal Ahmady, who served as the governor of Afghanistan's central bank from 2019 until he fled the country, has been using his Twitter account to explain the country's dire economic straits. A central bank can be said to have two main kinds of functions:
(a) macroeconomic when regulating inflation and price stability; and​
(b) microeconomic when functioning as a lender of last resort.​

But Da Afghanistan Bank is not able to effectively perform both roles, going forward — due to a lack of funds and competence at the helm. Given the direction the country is moving, the collapse of the Afghan economy is likely to occur as fast as the military collapse of Kabul — which is bad news.

11. Haji Mohammad Idris, the current Taliban acting governor of Da Afghanistan Bank (i.e. the Central Bank) issued a circular, advising banks to limit withdrawal to their individual customers to 2,000 Afghanis per week or about US$24 (at a conversion rate of 1 Afghanis to US$0.012). This cash-withdrawal restriction indicates that the Taliban regime is facing enormous financial constraints that will intensify; and the Taliban and their backers are responsible for it.
(a) Economists call this phenomenon a “liquidity trap” when uncertainty forces people to hoard cash bringing economies to a standstill. The Taliban’s extreme interpretation of Sharia Law has caused enormous unease among the population, especially women and it will wipe out entire industries in Afghanistan that were formerly viable.​
(b) Thanks to the Taliban, the garment industry, the various fabric related industries and the carpet industry in Kabul, are destroyed overnight. Many media companies, including dozens of TV channels, have either closed or significantly downsized their operations. The majority of barber shops, women-run beauty salons, wedding halls, musical studios, film studios, and entertainment-industry businesses are on the verge of collapse. Businesses related to the ‘white goods’ retail industry will fail due to lack of funds to pay for imported goods. The result will be the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, ruining these people’s livelihoods.​
(c) People have started bringing carpets to sell in Kabul’s Chaman-e Hozori neighbourhood. The area is full of refrigerators, cushions, fans, pillows, blankets, silverware, curtains, beds, mattresses, cookware and shelves that hundreds of others carried to sell. Each item amounts to a part of a life families built over the last 20 years in the Afghan capital. Now, they are all being sold at a pittance to feed those very households. “We bought these carpets for 48,000 Afghanis (about US$576), but now I can’t get more than 5,000 Afghanis (about US$60) for all of them,” Shukrullah says, as people rummage through the goods on display.​
12. This "sudden stop" according to Atif Mian (Professor of Economics, Public Policy, and Finance at Princeton University),“…makes Taliban's second coming very different from their first in economic terms. The first time they came to power, Afghanistan was a subsistence economy with no particular reliance on foreign flows for local demand… So ordinary Afghans did not experience as large a negative decline as they are going to experience now. It seems like its going to be a much tougher road for the Taliban this time.” IMHO, all efforts to assist Afghans will remain meaningless unless the Afghan economy can be stabilised.
(a) Without macro-economic stability, the current conversion rate of 1 Afghanis to US$0.012 will not be sustained — the conversion rate of 1 Afghanis is more likely to be worth US$0.0012 by month end. This means that the 2,000 Afghanis (worth $24 dollars) withdrawn from the bank this week, will become valued at US$2.40 or less, next month (in the black market as US dollars become scarce relative to demand). No sane person will view the Afghanis currency as retaining its value for very long under Taliban rule without significant intervention from the Chinese central bank (known as PBOC) and the State Bank of Pakistan.​
(b) "I don't want to say economic collapse, but I think it's going to be (an) extremely challenging or difficult economic situation," Ajmal Ahmady said, predicting GDP would shrink by 10 to 20%. Not only has the bank lost access to its reserves, he said, but shipments of physical U.S. currency, which the country's banking system relied on to satisfy customers' desire for a medium of exchange more stable than the government-issued afghani, have now been cut off. A scarcity of dollars will likely make the relative value of the afghani plunge, driving up prices for goods and services that may become more scarce themselves as international aid and trade flows are disrupted.​
(c) To succeed, the Taliban must dissociate political government formation from economic management and assign economic experts to manage key institutions like Da Afghanistan Bank. Some have suggested that Pakistani policymakers can assist Afghanistan by letting Afghan importers pay in Afghanis for Pakistani imports, at least for essential items — which I think is not a workable solution, due to its rapidly declining value.​
(d) In the absence of foreign money, like renminbi, the only way left for the Afghan economy to balance its imports is to shrink (i.e. GDP falls so demand falls, so imports fall) and the exchange rate devalues a lot too to cut imports. I have my doubts that PBOC will intervene to provide the Taliban with billions in renminbi, without extracting a ‘pound of flesh’ from the Taliban but that is another topic all together.​

13. Even before the Taliban retook Kabul on 15 Aug 2021, an estimated 3.5 million people are currently internally displaced within the country. Afghans have also had to deal with a severe drought. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said many Afghans could run out of food by the end of this month, while the World Food Programme (WFP) said 14 million people are on the brink of starvation. The Taliban face a host of additional economic issues that include:

(a) The inability to print domestic currency​
(b) Stoppage of US$7 billion TAPI gas pipeline — the Taliban do not fully understand the complexities of the project. As a result of the sanctions regime and security concerns, European companies will not be able to provide equipment or the financing. They will certainly not be able to obtain insurance for the project.​
(c) Taliban hopes to profit from the country’s mineral resources have to be scaled back — or abandoned. These need international financing, and insurance to further develop and the list includes:​
(i) the Aynak copper mine, one of the largest untapped sources in the world, which the Metallurgical Corporation of China acquired rights to in 2008;​
(ii) the Hajigak iron ore mine, a mine with world-class iron ore content, for which an Indian firm signed a contract;​
(iii) the Amu-Darya oil basin, where the China National Petroleum Corporation has the rights to drill; and​
(iv) unlikely that Pakistan can provide the level of financial support required for stability to replace these lost projects.​

14. Now for some good news — Jean Claude Farah, Western Union’s president for Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said a push by the United States to facilitate humanitarian aid to the Afghan people had given the company confidence to restart its operations from 2 Sep 2021.
(a) “Much of our business involving Afghanistan is low-value family and support remittances that support basic needs of the people there, so that’s the grounding that we have and why we want to reopen our business,” Farah told Reuters. Afghanistan's central bank has ordered banks to pay out remittances in local currency only, the latest move to preserve scarce U.S. dollars.​
(b) The flow of funds from migrant workers overseas is a key lifeline for many Afghans, and has helped the economy of one of the world’s poorest countries get through years of conflict and political and economic instability — 2020 remittances amount was estimated to be US$722.23 million.​
 
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STURM

Well-Known Member
When one looks at the billions thrown into a number of African countries by the UN and NGOs, similar results can be expected for Afghanistan.
Partly do to the UN's buareacracy and mistakes on its part. In the case of Afghanistan the fear is that cash made available to the Taliban will be misused or misprint. A way to avoid this would be to channel and directly to certain NGOs who have been doing a sterling job - from decades ago - providing needed and to those who need it the most, despite having to work in extremely challenging and dangerous conditions.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Active Member

"Official efforts on Monday to dispel the rumours appeared to deepen the mystery. The Taliban released photos of a handwritten note from one of Baradar’s deputies saying he was in Kandahar, then shared an audio message purporting to be from Baradar, set against old photos. The absence of a video raised more questions with Afghans as the Taliban are no longer an insurgent group in hiding, and Baradar’s face is well known due to his international role."

I know I predicted the Taliban coming into conflict with each other, but even I didn't expect it to happen so quickly. :eek:
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
That was predictable.
Many people, also in the West, sees the Taliban as a stabilizing factor and that we have to give the Talibs a chance to strengthen their position and influence because thats what the Afghan people want, even after the Talibs shows that they are exactly the same extremists as 20 years ago.
Back in 1996 many countries (the U S. included) actually gave the Taliban the benefit of the doubt, hoping it would usher in a period of peace. Fast forward to 2021 outside countries have no choice but to engage with the Taliban who like it or not are the country's new rulers. By engaging with the Taliban but not necessarily supporting/agreeing with them or handing out blank cheques, it is hoped that things will gradually improve for the ordinary people. Surely no one is going to suggest that others ignore the Taliban and the country on the grounds that they are "extremists" who haven't changed? If there is a shott term alternative to them please tell me.

We keep hearing news about the dire situation in the country and the inability of the Taliban to manage things which is really unsurprising but personally I'm more interested about what's going right, i.e. the gradual reopening of the airport at Kabul, NGOs and the UN being able to work as normal, foreign countries bringing some cash in (no doubt it won't solve all the country's financial problems but it can help to a small extent), humanitarian supplies arriving uninterrupted, etc. Doesn't matter to me whether the Taliban or Dick Dastardly is in power, my thoughts are with ordinary Afghans, the ones who couldn't leave the country and who just want to carry on with their lives.

As for what the Afghan people wanted, the vast majority of them wanted foreign troops out (refer to the podcast with the former U S. General I posted), as well as peace and stability. Just like how many didn't necessarily support the Taliban due to ideological but for other reasons, many still are not enamored of the Taliban but are willing to put up with them if it means an actual end to constant conflict.
 
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Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member

| "A major row broke out between leaders of the Taliban over the make-up of the group's new government in Afghanistan, senior Taliban officials told the BBC.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan's acting foreign minister on Tuesday called for international donors to restart aid, saying the international community should not politicise their assistance. " |

I am just sick of those countries which make continuously a mess of their own country, because of internal conflicts, war, attacking and intimidating foreigners and tyranny against their own people, and then still demanding that the international community keep sending donations.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Part 1 of 3: Converting land-locked Afghanistan into an open air prison to house the Taliban

Meanwhile, Afghanistan's acting foreign minister on Tuesday called for international donors to restart aid, saying the international community should not politicise their assistance. "

I am just sick of those countries which make continuously a mess of their own country, because of internal conflicts, war, attacking and intimidating foreigners and tyranny against their own people, and then still demanding that the international community keep sending donations.
1. Agreed. The Taliban are child like in their approach to international relations —just like a child that has murdered his younger siblings and wants ice cream — American ice cream for Afghanistan does not mean they are letting the Taliban, who are in an open air prison called Afghanistan, do what they want (or allow them to cut side deals with Pakistan). Even a prisoner can get ice cream in jail. US President Joe Biden said that the decision on sanctions against the Taliban will "depend on their conduct." The UK is reportedly pushing for sanctions against the Taliban at a G7 meeting.
(a) Chinese businessmen and observers said the possible sanctions may include travel restrictions, limiting the raising, use and flow of funds, international recognition, and dealings with businesses with other countries.​
(b) In the worst case scenario, it could cut companies operating in Afghanistan off from the global banking system - as is the case of how the West is sanctioning Iran, which could be the "last straw" that forces big Chinese companies out of the country, analysts said.​
(c) An employee of China Metallurgical Group Corp (MCC Group) also told the Global Times that the company is evaluating possible sanctions by US and other G7 countries. The copper mine project in Mes Aynak, for which MCC Group won exploitation rights in 2007, is one of the high-profile Chinese investment projects in Afghanistan. The mining project has yet to commence due to two decades of chaos.​

2. The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told the U.N. aid conference, Washington was providing nearly US$64 million in new humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan — a sum more than double the 200 million yuan (US$31 million) promised by China — to make matters worse, China said they would soon release 100 million of the 200 million yuan promised but this far has not done so.

3. Qatar is at the center of just about every part of the U.S. response to Afghanistan's collapse. Not only have more U.S. and Afghan evacuees been flown to Doha than to any other way station, but the U.S. has also credited Qatar with helping get Americans safely to Kabul's airport and also organising subsequent flights out of Kabul. Since the US pullout, Qatar Airways planes have made several trips to Kabul, flying in aid and Doha’s representatives and ferrying out foreign passport holders. Qatar's ambassador in Afghanistan personally escorted U.S. citizens through Taliban checkpoints. Of the US Marines wounded in the Kabul attack 26 Aug 2021, two are in critical but stable condition and five are in serious but stable condition at Walter Reed, per Corps spokesman Capt. Johnny Henderson.
(a) For the second day, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken was confronted a barrage of questions from US lawmakers about last month's withdrawal from Afghanistan and the attempts to rescue people and deal with a future Taliban government. Lawmakers cutting across the party lines demanded more severe action against Islamabad for its subversive role in Afghanistan. The top two members of the committee, Bob Menendez (D) and James Risch (R), both assailed the withdrawal as a debacle in their opening remarks and demanded action against Pakistan for "double-dealing in Afghanistan."​
(b) Asked by Ron Johnson (R) and Mike Rounds (R), if the US had factored in and developed a strategy towards Pakistan for having a history of supporting terror to which Blinken noted: "We have established across more than 100 countries, and in the UN, through a Security Council resolution basic expectations of the Taliban led government. And if those expectations are not met, and other countries are aiding and abetting so that the Taliban is able to not fulfil those, those expectations. There'll be consequences for that too."​
(c) As Blinken noted in his statement: “…the previous administration pressed the Afghan Government to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, including some top war commanders. Meanwhile, it reduced our own force presence to 2,500 troops… By January of 2021, the Taliban was in its strongest military position since 9/11, and we had the smallest number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan since 2001.” The US Secretary of State also faced questioning on how it will be possible to deal with the Taliban led government and also with Pakistan going forward. During his testimony, Blinken said the US is aware of countries like China, Russia and Pakistan that stand as 'outliers' in the effort of resolving the situation in Afghanistan and declared "that's something we'll be very vigilant about as well."​
(d) After the 2 days of Blinken being questioned at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Afghanistan, I see few fireworks, given that the Democrats that control the Senate are supportive; GOP members and their criticism (as the minority) seemed unfocused and for most part minus Joe Wilson (R) calling for Blinken’s resignation, quite mild. It is helped by the fact that Blinken inherited a dateline for withdrawal (without a plan handed over from the pompous Mike Pompeo). As General Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said, “Nothing I or anyone else saw indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days.” Blinken more than holding his own — Pakistan being criticised as much as Team Biden’s mis-steps at withdrawal. America has moved on.​
(e) As per the CDC's request, all flights bringing in Afghan evacuees to the U.S. will continue to be haulted "for at least seven days from today" after five cases of the measles were identified among evacuees who have already arrived, Kirby says. One of the measles cases was confirmed at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, another at Fort Pickett in Virginia and three were detected upon arrival at Dulles International Airport from overseas staging bases.
4. The British-educated Massoud, who was only 12 when his father was murdered by Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network, knows that France is fertile territory to whip up support. His highly literate (and Francophone) father was educated at a French lycée, and became a romanticized national celebrity in France thanks to a 1998 documentary called “Massoud, l’Afghan.” (Within Afghanistan he is a more polarizing figure and, while many see him as a hero, others have bitter memories of the mujahideen’s brutal guerrilla campaigns.)
 
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STURM

Well-Known Member
(Within Afghanistan he is a more polarizing figure and, while many see him as a hero, others have bitter memories of the mujahideen’s brutal guerrilla campaigns.)
The bitter memories specifically come from the time when his forces were faced against the Hazaras and those of Hetmatyer during the fighting in Kabul. Lootings and rapes occurred

Until 11th September 2001 the Americans were very wary of him because he had ties to Iran (in their world view of course Iran can do no good). During the Soviet years the American view of him was also coloured by the Pakistanis who hardly sent him any aid, preferring instead to channel aid to compliant Pasthun groups. He was also accused by the Pakistanis of having sold out to the Soviets because of a truce both sides agreed to.

Massoud also came under flak from NGOs due to him technically being under the Jamiat Islami head Rabanni who what outsiders or those who are fond of applying things in black and gray, would label a "non moderate".
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Part 2 of 3: Converting land-locked Afghanistan into an open air prison to house the Taliban

5. The lesson of the collapse in Afghanistan for US Allies is not about a lack of consultation or even US competence. This is the third US president in a row that has demonstrated that America will no longer police the world or use its power to support the elusive goal of stability in faraway regions.
(a) The tragedy in Afghanistan is a logical outcome of that now well-established position. The US has become a normal country. It will not be isolationist or unilateral. It will work effectively with allies, and partners but only when its vital interests are at stake and ensure that America will no longer be made use of by the various Afghan factions to advance their own interests.​
(b) Moscow and Beijing sees the US as having finally abandoned its unrealistic goals – those of being the world’s policeman, or an enforcer of last resort of democracy. IMO, they view this as something that strengthens the Americans. According to this logic (see link in Russian), America will now have resources freed up to pursue the aims it sees as vitally important, and which it will defend tooth and nail – so Russia and China had better prepare. Part of this preparation is their dissemination of mis-information.​

6. Asking and Andrew Small answering two questions on China in Afghanistan, to set the current context:

Q1: Is this an opportunity – or actually a really bad development that is not in Beijing’s interest at all?

Andrew Small wrote: “China does not tend to perceive Afghanistan through the prism of opportunities; it is almost entirely about managing threats. The US presence was understood as a geopolitical threat, much like the Soviet military presence in the 1980s, but Beijing had grown to see it as the lesser of two evils. Pushing back Islamic militancy in China’s backyard and killing militants on China’s hit-list ranked above nebulous fears about how the United States might use bases there for strategic ‘containment’ purposes. Beijing certainly hoped that the US would withdraw from the region – but only after a peace deal had been brokered. China is now anxious on multiple counts. Its perennial concern, going back to the Taliban’s last time in power, is the potential for Afghanistan to become a safe haven for militant groups targeting China. Chinese economic and political interests in the wider region have grown considerably since then, though, and Beijing is also worried about the spillover effects in neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan.​
The Chinese government has long sought to reach agreements with the Taliban, largely focused on the question of their ties with Uyghur groups. The recent meeting between Mullah Baradar and Wang Yi in Tianjin was unusually well-publicised, but the two sides have been interacting with each other for a couple of decades. Nonetheless, although Beijing is pragmatic about the power realities in Afghanistan, it has always been uncomfortable with the Taliban’s ideological agenda. China wants to see them hemmed in by compromises with other political forces in the country, not resurgent after a military victory. The Chinese government fears the inspirational effect of their success in Afghanistan for militancy across the region, including the Pakistani Taliban.”​
Q2: How does all this relate to the situation in Xinjiang and China’s own narrative of terrorism in the region?
Andrew Small also wrote: “The direct connections to Xinjiang are minimal. Virtually every attack in China itself has been entirely indigenous, not tied to international terror networks. The border is locked down and there are no plausible concerns about literal spillover from neighbouring Badakhshan. Any potential cross-border issues have tended to be focused on Central Asia and Pakistan, which is one of the main reasons we have seen a Chinese security presence by the Tajik border with Afghanistan. In the longer narrative, Chinese concerns about the East Turkestan Islamic Movement have tended to be vastly out of synch with the threat posed by any of the Uyghurs caught up in the militant networks in the region.​
The picture has shifted in recent years, though. The civil war in Syria saw the Turkestan Islamic Party emerge as a more capable actor than any of its predecessor entities, and it has a presence in Afghanistan too. China has been concerned about the return of more battle-hardened fighters from northern Syria. Since the late 2000s, for reasons partly related to Xinjiang and partly related to Pakistan, China has also been targeted by various other militant and terrorist groups that had previously given it a pass. The Taliban – whatever commitments it makes to the Chinese government and however willing it is to turn a blind eye to the situation in Xinjiang – has engendered an environment in which many of these groups are likely to flourish. Even if it is implausible to expect attacks on the Chinese mainland, it is already clear that threats to soft Chinese targets in the region have grown.”​
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Part 3 of 3: Converting land-locked Afghanistan into an open air prison to house the Taliban

7. There is a good job done by Team Biden that is under-reported. Reuters, New York Times, Washington Post and the local press report that Afghan pilots who fled with their families to Uzbekistan have transferred to a base in the U.A.E. At the Uzbek camp, near the city of Termez, pilots had described feeling like prisoners, with highly restricted movement, and insufficient food and medicine. Hopes began to lift about a week ago when U.S. officials arrived to carry out biometric screening of the Afghans who fled in 46 aircraft and helicopters — many of whom fled with just the clothes on their back. Uzbekistan’s decision is what you call a no brainer; as sending the pilots back to the Taliban, is a death sentence.

8. America may have abandoned Afghanistan, but the most prominent anti-Taliban rebel in the country is pinning his hopes on support from France. For Ahmad Massoud, France is the most natural place to turn as he is no the run with the resistance army in the mountains of the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul. After all, his father, Ahmad Shah Massoud, the “Lion of the Panjshir” is close to a household name in France and lives on (after his assassination in 2001) as the country’s epitome of a freedom fighter.

9. Taliban co-founder and Deputy Prime Minister, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, disappeared from view for several days — after Baradar and Khalil ur-Rahman Haqqani (the minister for refugees and part of the militant Haqqani network), had argued, as their followers brawled with each other nearby.
(a) The row also reportedly stemmed from divisions over who in the Taliban should take credit for their victory in Afghanistan. "Baradar believes that the emphasis should be placed on diplomacy carried out by people like him, while members of the Haqqani group - which is run by one of the most senior Taliban figures - and their backers say it was achieved through fighting."​
(b) A senior Taliban member based in Qatar and a person connected to those involved also confirmed that an argument had taken place late last week. Masato Toriya, a specialist on the region from Tokyo University, says the threat of a civil war reigniting in Afghanistan now looks quite real. Toriya says internal rifts within the Taliban are being exacerbated by the Taliban-led government's complete lack of management experience and deteriorating living conditions across Afghanistan. "One cannot deny the prospect of Afghanistan's new slide into civil war," Toriya concludes.​

10. Meanwhile, France said it will contribute 100 million euros (US$118 million) to the UN’s flash appeal — nearly four times the 200 million yuan (US$31 million) promised by China.

(a) About 1/3 of the US$606 million being sought by the U.N. would be used by the WFP, which found that 93% of the 1,600 Afghans it surveyed in Aug and Sep did not have sufficient food, mostly because they could not get access to cash to pay for it. “It’s now a race against time and the snow to deliver life-saving assistance to the Afghan people who need it most,” said WFP Deputy Regional Director Anthea Webb.​

(b) The WHO, another UN agency that is part of the appeal, is seeking to shore up hundreds of health facilities at risk of closure after donors backed out. Funding from the World Bank, which had paid the salaries of doctors, nurses, teachers and civil servants, is also frozen (according to the WSJ). No more than 6 nations is expected to recognise the Taliban, and all Western diplomatic missions in Kabul are closed.​
 
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