40 votes

Taliban enter Afghan capital as US diplomats evacuate by chopper

63 comments

  1. [22]
    nacho
    Link
    On July 8th President Biden said: Here we are. The West's handling of exiting Afghanistan has been absolutely terrible. Both from Trump and Biden. talk about leaving your former allies high and...

    On July 8th President Biden said:

    The Taliban is not the North Vietnamese Army, they're not. They're not remotely comparable in terms of capability. There's going to be no circumstance for you to see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable.

    Here we are. The West's handling of exiting Afghanistan has been absolutely terrible. Both from Trump and Biden. talk about leaving your former allies high and dry, without any regard for what will happen to the country.

    It's also interesting to see how incredibly wrong the West's analysis of how long it could/would take the Taliban to take over has been after spending hundreds of billions on trying to aid Afghanistan in building up its own defense forces.

    The reports on how long they would last have surely also impacted moral and surrender of government troops and of entire provinces to the Taliban. The Doha negotiations stand as an absolute joke.

    Why not leave in a responsible manner? Why let the Taliban have the huge victory of controlling the entire country on the 20th anniversary of 9/11?

    Baffling. There's been no military reason to leave right now after 20 years and hundreds of billions instead of leaving in a (somewhat) reasonable manner.

    18 votes
    1. [15]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [13]
        nacho
        Link Parent
        Biden inherited a bad situation since Trump's diplomats negotiated away almost everything possible in Doha. But Biden unilaterally withdrew troops without following up the Doha-agreed direct...

        Biden inherited a bad situation since Trump's diplomats negotiated away almost everything possible in Doha.

        But Biden unilaterally withdrew troops without following up the Doha-agreed direct negotiations that were to take place between the government and Taliban before just leaving.

        With international society essentially abandoning the government, why would anyone in their right mind not lay down their weapons? Why die for a regime that's been entirely abandoned, that's unsupported by the world? The Taliban at least have drug money fuelling their campaign. They have tacit support from Pakistan, seem to have an agreement with China on that border, and are clearly supported by Iran.

        The fact that this meltdown on complete abandonment comes as a surprise to many is so telling of how poorly people have been paying attention.

        Why's this happening now? For some domestic votes in the US? There isn't even a midterm this year! The rush makes no sense when it ensures that all the hundreds of billions spent so far will then be entirely wasted.


        Again, there's no reason for leaving right now. Why not lay a plan for a responsible withdrawal? It could for example start with countries in the coalition making clear that they are going to give civil support to Afghanistan after troops move out.

        It's not fair to suggest that there's a "now or never" situation, that this had to happen now, in a matter of months, unilaterally. Few reasonable people are arguing that the coalition should stay forever. Why not pull out gradually, with guarantees of involvement if the Taliban don't follow terms in an agreed negotiation?

        UN peace-keeping forces would be natural in that sort of situation to prevent a civil war. But the prerequisite is domestic agreement asking for such an external guarantee against violence.

        It's because the Afghani government has been completely abandoned by our countries that everything is falling apart this extremely rapidly, not because we're leaving, but because of the manner in which we're leaving.


        Again, Trump gave away a ton of concessions to the Taliban for free first, but this farce wasn't inevitable. Biden's to blame for this last mess.

        This isn't my plan. It's the planned process agreed to in Doha that Biden's US unilaterally abandoned instead of following through with.

        7 votes
        1. [9]
          vord
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          And Trump inherited it from Obama, whom inherited it from Bush Jr. It's been 20 years, and there hasn't been a single exit plan that has worked remotely well. We have the largest, most...

          Biden inherited a bad situation since Trump's diplomats negotiated away almost everything possible in Doha.

          And Trump inherited it from Obama, whom inherited it from Bush Jr.

          It's been 20 years, and there hasn't been a single exit plan that has worked remotely well. We have the largest, most well-funded, most technologically advanced military in the history of civilization. And in the end we can't defeat a dedicated militant group (whom we made a martyr of their leader) whom we funded and brought to power in the first place. It is increasingly obvious that our meddling is just making the problem worse. At some point we gotta yank the bandaid and leave the area.

          20 votes
          1. [8]
            nacho
            Link Parent
            Trump created the failed situation Biden inherited with the negotiations Trump's administration initiated. There is no line back to Obama or Bush in that matter. Trump's the only person...

            Trump created the failed situation Biden inherited with the negotiations Trump's administration initiated. There is no line back to Obama or Bush in that matter. Trump's the only person responsible for giving the Taliban exactly what they wanted for next to nothing.

            But Biden somehow managed to botch the situation he inherited even more by sabotaging even the minor concessions Trump got, like the promise of direct negotiations between the Afghan parties prior to the US leaving.


            Do you think it's too much to ask that leaving the area is done in a controlled manner where we extend continued support to the successively democratically elected government we've spent hundreds of billions of dollars to try to help take control of things themselves?

            If anyone answers no to that question, they should be abhorred at the manner in which we're leaving now.

            It has nothing to do with whether we should be leaving or not.

            5 votes
            1. [8]
              Comment deleted by author
              Link Parent
              1. [7]
                nacho
                Link Parent
                How about the completion of the second round of Doha-negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government? You know, the entire premise that led Trump to give so many concessions to the...

                How about the completion of the second round of Doha-negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government?

                You know, the entire premise that led Trump to give so many concessions to the Taliban in the first round of Doha-negotiations?

                This way the Afghani government were sacrificed on the altar of _____ by Biden, where what the reason for the sacrifice even is is unclear because it seems so senseless.


                If we go beyond the very most basic thing, if the US is to be the guarantee for preventing civil wars and not delegating that role to Iran, China and others, how about continued civil support for things like Womens' rights in Afghanistan, to education?


                Lowering the bar, We could have secured the delivery of foodstuffs from international aid agencies during a humanitarian crisis, instead of creating huge streams of internal migrants in an ongoing famine, for example. That'd be a pretty reasonable reason to not pull out unilaterally at exactly at this point in time.

                2 votes
                1. [5]
                  Comment deleted by author
                  Link Parent
                  1. [4]
                    nacho
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    So from 2001 the "original sin" was that UN negotiators didn't invite the Taliban to the Bonn negotiations. That led to the insurgency into 2006. By 2007, the Taliban looked to be in a position to...

                    So from 2001 the "original sin" was that UN negotiators didn't invite the Taliban to the Bonn negotiations. That led to the insurgency into 2006. By 2007, the Taliban looked to be in a position to reconquer the country despite the ISAf forces in the country.

                    Taliban, scorned, rejected peace talks offered by then Afghan president Karzai. By 2009 there was broad agreement in Afghanistan that the war should end. Obama essentially undermined that possibility with the troop surge.

                    Of course Taliban leaders didn't attend the 2010 Kabul peace talks after the US and Pakistan captured Taliban number 2, Baradar (who was the leading taliban member who wanted to negotiate peace) , in a joint raid earlier that year because they feared for their security if they participated. They essentially couldn't trust the US.


                    I'll concede that there were talks in 2015 in Pakistan that didn't amount to much. Taliban was essentially not offered much of substance.

                    The second largest militant group in Afghanistan, Gulbuddin, signed a peace deal in 2016.


                    That's the backdrop. Here are the significantly different factors this time around:

                    • The Afghani president, Ghani, proposed unconditional peace talks with Taliban recognizing them as a legitimate political party in 2018.

                    There was a huge internal afghani process of reconciliation prior to the offer. This offer was hugely more favorable to the Taliban than previous offers.

                    Serious peace talks were held throughout 2018 and 2019. Trump cancelled these talks after an attack in Kabul killed 12, including a US soldier.

                    Then comes Doha in 2020. Here the US agrees to reduce its forces gradually with a full withdrawal if the Taliban keeps its commitments. The US and Taliban agree to a peace deal. The Afghan government isn't involved. That's to com elater.

                    • Prisoner negotiations concerning some thousand Taliban prisoners have been underway since, with some breaks. There was finally agreement on this in December of 2020.

                    We're talking real progress between the parties. Release of a total of around 6000 prisoners.

                    In March of 2021 new talks started directly between the Taliban and Afghan government, but then in April Biden just says "we're leaving." Now there's no reason for the Taliban to have talks at all; the West abandons the Afghan government.

                    Now the more violence and area the Taliban take by force, the better their position for potential negotiations, or they can just attempt to take (parts of) the country by force.


                    This situation is nothing like previous rounds of peace talks. The distance between parties around the table is much smaller. Trust has been established between parties during prisoner negotiations that had stalled for years. There's been a reckoning within the political system of Afghanistan on what it will take for peace, and how badly the people wish to avoid further conflict, how far they're willing to go and therefore what concessions are on the table in talks.

                    4 votes
                    1. [4]
                      Comment deleted by author
                      Link Parent
                      1. [3]
                        nacho
                        Link Parent
                        Completion of the first serious peace talks would be a reasonable time to consider cutting one's losses. Due to many failures, those talks only started now after 20 years. At least trying seems...

                        Completion of the first serious peace talks would be a reasonable time to consider cutting one's losses.

                        Due to many failures, those talks only started now after 20 years.

                        At least trying seems like a low bar to clear, no?

                        2 votes
                        1. [3]
                          Comment deleted by author
                          Link Parent
                          1. [2]
                            nacho
                            Link Parent
                            So it's better to just give these "religious fanatics" their Islamic Caliphate of Afghanistan instead of allowing the government an attempt at avoiding a civil war? With shared governance the...

                            So it's better to just give these "religious fanatics" their Islamic Caliphate of Afghanistan instead of allowing the government an attempt at avoiding a civil war?

                            With shared governance the Taliban becomes co-responsible and have to adhere to the limits of the constitution, at least on paper.

                            Now they can just do whatever. Surely that's worse than the alternative?

                            2 votes
                            1. [2]
                              Comment deleted by author
                              Link Parent
                              1. [2]
                                Comment deleted by author
                                Link Parent
                                1. vord
                                  Link Parent
                                  That's a really good point. We, the general populous of the world, are at best forming our understandings with incomplete information. At worst, formed on baseless lies and propaganda. I think a...

                                  That's a really good point. We, the general populous of the world, are at best forming our understandings with incomplete information. At worst, formed on baseless lies and propaganda.

                                  I think a much shorter term for releasing secrets to the public may help, but that's also rife with problems.

                                  2 votes
                2. [2]
                  vord
                  Link Parent
                  I would really like you to explain how your proposed phase out ideas and are different from Obama's implementation. Because what I see and recall, is that plan (which kicked off 10 years ago) was...

                  I would really like you to explain how your proposed phase out ideas and are different from Obama's implementation.

                  Because what I see and recall, is that plan (which kicked off 10 years ago) was already failing 4 years in. Obama wanted part of his legacy to be ending the war, and he couldn't.

                  Did Trump make the situation worse? Yes. Let's not forget it's not just Trump, but the entire Republican congress is also complacent in doing so. They had multiple chances to oust Trump and pick a replacement, and they chose not to. However let's not pretend that the phase-out solution was working or would continue to do so.

                  How many more years would it take? Four wasn't enough, so maybe eight? Can't count on anything staying fixed.

                  There was always going to be a power vaccum left behind. Let someone else deal with it. Maybe Russia or China can step im and we can use it as an excuse to invade another country for another proxy war.

                  4 votes
                  1. nacho
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    I've posted a comment right above yours that responds to why I believe the situation for the second round of Doha talks (Taliban to Afghan government) is fundamentally different to previous rounds...

                    I've posted a comment right above yours that responds to why I believe the situation for the second round of Doha talks (Taliban to Afghan government) is fundamentally different to previous rounds of peace talks.

                    That's the novel situation Biden threw out of the window in April by announcing unilateral withdrawal.

                    Why did Biden's announcement have to happen exactly then? Why couldn't it wait for a couple of months to see what would come of the first serious attempt at talks since 2001?

        2. [3]
          NoblePath
          Link Parent
          Is this really true? My information was that the Taliban had shut down opium production, and it restarted a year or so after US invasion.

          The Taliban at least have drug money fuelling their campaign

          Is this really true? My information was that the Taliban had shut down opium production, and it restarted a year or so after US invasion.

          2 votes
          1. NaraVara
            Link Parent
            Nope. They had before, but post-invasion Taliban took a page out of the books of South American insurgencies. They are basically a narco-state now.

            Nope. They had before, but post-invasion Taliban took a page out of the books of South American insurgencies. They are basically a narco-state now.

            From 2006, as the Taliban reemerged from their sanctuaries in Pakistan, narcotics became an increasingly significant source of revenue. In 2007, when the jihadist organisation briefly seized control of the town of Musa Qala, it is reported to have imposed an $8 monthly tax on opium-growing families. In subsequent years, the Taliban institutionalised these operations, imposing cesses on opium-transporting trucks, processing laboratories, and cartel convoys headed into central Asia or Pakistan.

            Even though efforts were made to stamp out this resurgence, it had little impact. Aerial spraying operations, as experts familiar with similar campaigns in Colombia and Peru had predicted, had almost no impact. Neither did operations by military forces. US President Barack Obama’s administration concluded that the drugs were just part of a wider mosaic of illegitimate activity corroding the Afghan state, and focused instead on attempting—also unsuccessfully—to eradicate corruption instead.

            Fitful efforts to take on the Taliban drug trade continued into 2018. The efforts of this campaign, spearheaded by air power, were less than roseate. A scholarly study of one operation, carried out by London School of Economics scholar David Mansfied, concluded that it had almost no impact. The likely loss to the Taliban was $190,750, if calculated as the street value of processed heroin, and just $2,863 as tax. The flying cost, per hour, of a single F22 bomber, by contrast, was $70,000.

            As the Taliban seek to expand their authority in Afghanistan, and stamp out the small remnants of resistance which remain, narcotics revenues will without doubt be an important tool in their arsenal. In 2020, the area under opium cultivation had expanded to 224,000 hectares from 163,000 hectares, overwhelmingly in areas under Taliban control. The dramatic expansion in the Taliban’s territorial control is likely to see further institutionalisation of these operations, as the Emirate seeks to contain the likely cutbacks in foreign aid and trade.

            4 votes
      2. nukeman
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I’ve become more of a hawk over the last year or so (between this, China, and Tigray); and frankly, a small (~2500-3500) U.S. troop presence at Bagram Air Base could be maintained in the long term...

        I’ve become more of a hawk over the last year or so (between this, China, and Tigray); and frankly, a small (~2500-3500) U.S. troop presence at Bagram Air Base could be maintained in the long term for a relatively low cost. Don’t pull out, Iraq was always the more controversial intervention (and we were mostly gone from there anyway).

        Edit: Since the Taliban were reneging on the agreement anyway, we shouldn’t have followed it.

    2. [4]
      vord
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      It is kind of poetic. The US has been interfering with Afghanistan since the 1950's via proxy and direct wars. It's funny how when we support rebellion gurrilla warfare they are "political...

      Why not leave in a responsible manner? Why let the Taliban have the huge victory of controlling the entire country on the 20th anniversary of 9/11?

      It is kind of poetic. The US has been interfering with Afghanistan since the 1970's 1950's via proxy and direct wars. It's funny how when we support rebellion gurrilla warfare they are "political dissidants" but when we don't it's "terrorists." But I digress.

      One of the stated reasons for the 9/11 attacks was as a retaliation for the decades of American imperialism destabilizing the middle east, which is a overall a fair assessment. Their means were cruel and sensational, but then we've killed about 5x the civilians in Afghanistan since. We can't know for sure since America is intentionally is not keeping track of civilian deaths.

      Isn't it obvious what's going on? We've been promising a responsible exit from Afghanistan for years. It hasn't happened because no matter what, we destroyed the country to the degree it wasn't ever going to be able to stand up on it's own.

      The same can be said for Iraq, Iran, and the continued support of Isreal in the face of its overwhelmingly disproportionate responses to Hamas.

      9 votes
      1. [3]
        nacho
        Link Parent
        The reason the US and allies went into Afghanistan was to get rid of the terrorist threat. Leaving in this manner, seems like complete mission failure. A secondary aim (the infamous scope creep)...

        The reason the US and allies went into Afghanistan was to get rid of the terrorist threat. Leaving in this manner, seems like complete mission failure.


        A secondary aim (the infamous scope creep) has been to rebuild the country better than the absolutely terrible Taliban regime's running of things from 1996 to 2001. We're talking letting people listen to music, to dance, for women to get an education or feel safe outside, of stopping forced marriages, of having women take leading roles in politics, of elections and self-governance rather than despotic islamist rule.

        For 20 years women have been getting an education. This is an obvious good. Has it been worth the price? Probably not. But for these people, it's been life-changing. At least until the Taliban now have control again.


        When we fuck up someone else's country completely, don't we have a responsibility to first try to help repair things (that failed), and then to responsibly leave, rather than just mic-dropping out?

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          NaraVara
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Maybe. But we're incapable of repairing. We've been trying to find a "dignified exit strategy" since 2009 and neither Obama nor Trump had the balls to rip the band-aid off because they didn't want...

          When we fuck up someone else's country completely, don't we have a responsibility to first try to help repair things (that failed), and then to responsibly leave, rather than just mic-dropping out?

          Maybe. But we're incapable of repairing. We've been trying to find a "dignified exit strategy" since 2009 and neither Obama nor Trump had the balls to rip the band-aid off because they didn't want to take the political hit of the clusterfuck we just watched. But the fact is, the clusterfuck was inevitable. There is no course of action that would have made it not be a clusterfuck, so there is no sense in spending more blood and treasure on prolonging the inevitable.

          You can't even do a controlled airlift out because the very act of doing that causes a morale crisis on the Afghan forces and government which, once again, causes the failure cascade we've seen. The actions that created this mess were made in the mid-2000s. We're paying the bill now because we didn't have the guts to cut bait sooner. We're not all powerful or all wise. We can't game out a solution to every geopolitical mess. Some things are simply beyond our ability to fix.

          13 votes
          1. vord
            Link Parent
            On a meta-note, I can't think of a single time you, @Loire, and I were all almost in complete agreement on a thread. That should give everyone pause for reflection on just how bad the US screwed...

            On a meta-note, I can't think of a single time you, @Loire, and I were all almost in complete agreement on a thread.

            That should give everyone pause for reflection on just how bad the US screwed this (being the War on Terror) up and how we can do better moving forward.

            11 votes
    3. [2]
      p4t44
      Link Parent
      What would a reasonable manner of leaving look to you? How would the Taliban not just take control on the 21st anniversary of 9/11?

      What would a reasonable manner of leaving look to you? How would the Taliban not just take control on the 21st anniversary of 9/11?

      3 votes
      1. nacho
        Link Parent
        With a responsible exit process, as outlined in the Doha-agreement. The direct Afghani government negotiations directly with the Taliban on how that would look were sabotaged by Biden's unilateral...

        With a responsible exit process, as outlined in the Doha-agreement.

        The direct Afghani government negotiations directly with the Taliban on how that would look were sabotaged by Biden's unilateral proclamation of withdrawal.

        Trump's concessions to the Taliban in the first round at Doha strongly strengthened their position. Biden just sabotaged the Afghani government completely.

        5 votes
    4. skybrian
      Link Parent
      Well, at least they’re not leaving from the roof.

      Well, at least they’re not leaving from the roof.

  2. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. nacho
      Link Parent
      Views like this one betray a complete misunderstanding of the situation surrounding the necessary withdrawal from Afghanistan. Withdrawal isn't an either-or proposition. Withdrawal can be done in...

      Views like this one betray a complete misunderstanding of the situation surrounding the necessary withdrawal from Afghanistan.

      Withdrawal isn't an either-or proposition. Withdrawal can be done in responsible ways.


      This collapse wasn't inevitable. The manner in which we're withdrawing decimates the Afghan army and moral by leaving them high and dry.

      Why have there been no clear guarantees of support for the democratically elected government? Why has there been no promise of air support or other support? Why has there been no promises of civil support for education, foodstuffs, farming or other civil society?

      We're intentionally creating a power vacuum during the right time of year for the Taliban's yearly summer offensives.

      The manner in which we're leaving is a tacit rebuke of the Afghani government. Is it right to be "neutral" when one party is the Taliban?


      This is a botched retreat with foreseeable consequences. It's similar to if we'd just piled up all the equipment given to the army and blown it up ourselves. At least then it wouldn't simply transfer into the hands of the Taliban.

      You can withdraw in a responsible manner. It isn't all or nothing.

      12 votes
  3. [16]
    EgoEimi
    (edited )
    Link
    Firstly, I disagree with the idea that it wouldn't matter if we left in 1 month or 18. There were very concrete goals left to achieve before we left: namely the evacuation of international...

    Firstly, I disagree with the idea that it wouldn't matter if we left in 1 month or 18. There were very concrete goals left to achieve before we left: namely the evacuation of international personnel, citizens, and assets, and of local collaborators.

    Reading more deeply into the situation, what I've gathered so far is that the military collapse of the ANA was caused by several factors:

    • Poor logistics: units have not received rations or salaries. Supplies like ammunition were short. Logistics are key to military operations.
      • Corruption underpins this.
      • Government mismanagement also underpins this. Former President Ashraf Ghani was reportedly a poor and arrogant micro-manager who thought too highly of himself (Ivy League graduate! Worked at World Bank! etc.) and too lowly of his countrymen. He was too theoretical and not practical: he kept reshuffling his cabinet, failed to cultivate strong relationships with key warlords, and largely alienated allies.
    • Total morale collapse: the de facto withdrawal of US support for the Afghani government along and public expectations that Afghanistan is going to fail in 18 months anyway completely sapped army morale. Imagine being put on a project that you're told will likely to fail, have the best colleagues be pulled out, and be axed in 18 months no matter what you do — would you and your colleagues really bother putting in effort?

    The Biden administration's hasty withdrawal has been implemented poorly. There were concrete things left to do:

    • Removal of international personnel, citizens, and assets.
    • And just as importantly: the evacuation of the tens of thousands of Afghanis who assisted international coalition forces and NGOs and are now targets for reprisal.

    The damage to the US credibility and reputation will be incalculably greater than what it would have cost to maintain a reduced military presence to prop up Afghani fighting morale at least until evacuation could be completed. Going forward, who now will want to collaborate with and assist the US, knowing that the US will discard them when things get inconvenient?

    12 votes
    1. [15]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      Obama first announced full troop withdrawal in 2014, scheduled for 2016. It didn’t happen, though. Biden announced the current withdrawal on April 14th. So, depending on how you count, people have...

      Obama first announced full troop withdrawal in 2014, scheduled for 2016. It didn’t happen, though.

      Biden announced the current withdrawal on April 14th.

      So, depending on how you count, people have had seven years or five months to get ready for this.

      Given how bad it is for morale to announce anything at all, what would a good timeline be?

      8 votes
      1. [5]
        EgoEimi
        Link Parent
        At least until we had our ducks in a row by being anywhere near fulfilling our commitment of evacuating Afghan allies. Earlier this year there was a backlog of a combined 18,000 Afghan allies and...

        At least until we had our ducks in a row by being anywhere near fulfilling our commitment of evacuating Afghan allies.

        Earlier this year there was a backlog of a combined 18,000 Afghan allies and 53,000 of their family members waiting for Special Immigrant Visas. But they are not highly prioritized. Due to inadequate resources, the average processing time is 703 days, nearly two years. 1,000 personnel have just been sent to Kabul to process visas — but like studying the night before a final exam, it's too little, too late.

        The Taliban also explicitly swears retribution against Afghan collaborators, so we have had a pretty good idea of what's going to happen to them.

        4 votes
        1. [4]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          Interesting. What have you been reading? I agree that this backlog sucks, but 703 days is entirely unreasonable. The humane thing to do would have been to eliminate this delay using some kind of...

          Interesting. What have you been reading?

          I agree that this backlog sucks, but 703 days is entirely unreasonable. The humane thing to do would have been to eliminate this delay using some kind of ad-hoc emergency measure. Evacuate people who have a credible claim and sort it out later.

          If what you say is true, somehow it wasn't prioritized, and the Biden administration deserves plenty of blame for that.

          It seems like there was wishful thinking involved? The Taliban doesn't seem to have attacked retreating US forces (why take the risk if they're leaving anyway), but they stepped in immediately after they left. Negotiating with them was fruitless.

          It seems like at least some of the people involved knew this would probably happen?

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            EgoEimi
            Link Parent
            This is from the Migration Policy Institute, a liberal immigration DC think tank.. The Hill reports that US citizens in Kabul were advised to 'shelter in place' because of problems at the airport....

            This is from the Migration Policy Institute, a liberal immigration DC think tank..

            The Hill reports that US citizens in Kabul were advised to 'shelter in place' because of problems at the airport. Reportedly the airport is now surrounded by Taliban who are controlling access.

            Senior military advisers wanted to leave a small force to help stabilize Afghanistan, but Biden decided ultimately on a full withdrawal.

            I think this is the moral failure cherry on top of a 20-year moral failure sundae.


            Not to move goal posts but to bring up something separate: I find the huge chasm between the Biden administration's expectations and what actually played out to be very worrying. Not only did they get it wrong, they got it so, very, very wrong.

            There was a critical failure somewhere in the intelligence and decision-making pipeline. Most definitely multiple critical failures. I hope the government does a big post-mortem—like how a tech company would do one after a major outage—and correct the system flaws that led to such a monumental catastrophe.

            6 votes
            1. nacho
              Link Parent
              Remember back to the Afghanistan Papers Washington post published in December 2019? At some point it appears the decision-makers started believing the lies that were externally repeated. That's...

              Remember back to the Afghanistan Papers Washington post published in December 2019?

              A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.

              At some point it appears the decision-makers started believing the lies that were externally repeated. That's why we're here today.

              The most damning part of the Afghanistan Papers is the unwillingness to recognize that there was no way to win militarily, and therefore that a peace process wasn't seriously started until we'd already been in Afghanistan for 16 years.

              The parallel to the Afghanistan Papers, the Pentagon Papers from Vietnam in the 1970's, is pretty ironic considering how we end up leaving with a prolonged defeat after a military surge in an attempt to solve non-military problems. History has repeated itself pretty neatly.


              In part, I believe the Afghanistan Papers provides one of many necessary post-mortems of how things could go so wrong, and how that could be avoided. In a couple of years, a post-mortem on the actual withdrawal would be very interesting.

              In 2002 (!) Donald Rumsfeld wrote the following in one of the countless documents that've been available for years prior to the Afghanistan Papers too.

              We are never going to get the U.S. military out of Afghanistan unless we take care to see that there is something going on that will provide the stability that will be necessary for us to leave. Help!

              6 votes
            2. NaraVara
              Link Parent
              If you let "senior military advisors" have a foot in the door they're going to find some excuse to jam the whole damn leg in. A "small force" to "stabilize" the region is always one American...

              Senior military advisers wanted to leave a small force to help stabilize Afghanistan, but Biden decided ultimately on a full withdrawal.

              If you let "senior military advisors" have a foot in the door they're going to find some excuse to jam the whole damn leg in. A "small force" to "stabilize" the region is always one American casualty away from becoming another full scale deployment. The military, honestly, is responsible for prolonging this mess as long as it has. They have no credibility here.

              Not only did they get it wrong, they got it so, very, very wrong.

              They expected Kabul to fall in 30 days and it fell in about 5. I don't know how "very, very wrong" that is. And the fact that our intel on the situation was not all that precise is just more evidence that we had no business being there and no capacity to actually stabilize or nation build in the first place.

              It's worth keeping this in perspective. What facts about the world have actually changed here? The US is out of Afghanistan and the Taliban controls the country now. But that was going to be the case no matter what, so aside from not being able to lift out as many of our friends as we would have liked what did we actually miss? What strategic or humanitarian priorities are we allowing to slip that we hadn't already yielded by committing to pulling out in the first place?

              Characterizing this as a "monumental catastrophe" is just off base and it's a narrative that is largely being driven by butt-hurt members of the military industrial complex trying to leverage the embarrassing visuals to make Biden pay a political price for crossing them. But fuck them. They're the ones who botched this operation and they're just throwing a tantrum now that they don't get to keep lining their pockets while continuing to burn money and get people killed as they botch it for another indefinite length of time.

              2 votes
      2. [9]
        NoblePath
        Link Parent
        I’d like to hear @nacho respond to this thought. While they are right a sudden exit would be problematic, this appears to me to be the tail end of a lengthy withdrawal. Perhaps the sharp end makes...

        I’d like to hear @nacho respond to this thought.

        While they are right a sudden exit would be problematic, this appears to me to be the tail end of a lengthy withdrawal. Perhaps the sharp end makes it seem fast and sudden, but that conclusion doesn’t match facts we have, such as they are.

        I’m also sure we have many assets remaining. And perhaps Taliban 2021 is not the same as Taliban 1990?

        The fears about women’s rights are strongly legitimate however. If Afghani women suffer a brutal setback as a result, that’s our most glaring fail.

        4 votes
        1. [8]
          nacho
          Link Parent
          I'll answer this for a couple different scenarios because there hare been many points in time for planning and then enacting a reasonable withdrawal. 2001 A strategy for withdrawal and what aims...

          Given how bad it is for morale to announce anything at all, what would a good timeline be?

          I'll answer this for a couple different scenarios because there hare been many points in time for planning and then enacting a reasonable withdrawal.


          • 2001

          A strategy for withdrawal and what aims to accomplish should have happened before entering Afghanistan on the UN mandate.

          Upon decisively defeating the Taliban and taking control of the country, in the talks afterwards, acknowledgement that the Taliban wouldn't just magically disappear should have been made. The Taliban should have been incorporated into civic society and the democratic process in some way

          Peace talks looking for a lasting solution should have started here.


          • 2009

          By 2009 there was broad agreement in Afghanistan that the war should end. Obama essentially undermined that possibility with the troop surge. When a military solution didn't work, why would more troops be the solution?

          Serious peace talks with the Taliban and within Afghanistan should have been held with considerable concessions to the Taliban, incorporating them into Afghan civic society. A plan for withdrawal should have been part of any peace talks. Demilitarization and restabilizing a country must necessarily go hand in hand.


          • 2015

          In 2015 there was another set of circumstances where peace talks were possible. Again, a great opportunity to discuss, plan and effectuate withdrawal.

          In 2015, the main failure was that the Taliban weren't really offered anything in the talks. They got no real incentives to agree to peace ... or else!


          • 2018

          The Afghani president, Ghani, proposed unconditional peace talks with Taliban recognizing them as a legitimate political party in 2018. After years of self-reconning, parlament had essentially matured and understood their situation, and that a continued state of conflict is much more damaging than they'd previously acknowledged in a country that's been dominated by "warlords" and regional strongmen of various kinds for decades and decades.

          There was a huge internal afghani process of reconciliation prior to the offer. This offer was hugely more favorable to the Taliban than previous offers.

          This would have been a perfect time to plan and effectuate a withdrawal simultaneously with effectuating a peace deal.

          Trump cancelling these talks in 2019 after a single US soldier died is possibly the most costly single US life in US history.


          • 2020

          Talks have gotten serious. Trump has given Taliban too many unilateral concessions without the Afghan government present. Prior to that, there'd been a great opportunity to work on a peace deal, where a planned withdrawal would be part of such a deal.

          If we look at the later situation after the US-Taliban agreement, it's easier to see that it's no longer the right time for pulling out

          • The Taliban's strongest fighting season is always the summer. Pulling out should happen either in winter or spring
          • In the spring/summer of 2020 a humanitarian crisis and drought/famine is presenting itself. That's not the right time for a withdrawal
          • Any serious peace deal needs external parties guaranteeing that conditions are met. Trump's deal had none of those, so just peacing out is just terrible strategy.

          • Generally

          Since 2001 there's been an expectation that this wouldn't be a lasting operation.

          The biggest failure in Afghanistan has been US inability to get in a position to hold peace talks and to have an exit strategy. That's a recurring problem with US military involvement. The plan is bomb and destroy, without much plan for how that'll solve anything except an immediate security threat of some sort.

          The whole idea of training Afghan troops for many years has been enabling government to run the country upon sensible, planned, strategic, permanent withdrawal. These types of withdrawals almost always involve peacekeeping missions to be successful and to hold parties to account to the peace deal.

          Again, the political situation with Afghan government, within Western groups and within the Taliban for how an Afghan-run state would look have changed considerably over the last two or so years. Before that, the attempts at lasting peace haven't been at all serious.


          The whole idea of a responsible withdrawal has underpinned strategy, involvement and investment for more than a decade.

          It's when the withdrawal becomes irresponsible, the gains over years are just thrown out of the window.

          9 votes
          1. [7]
            NoblePath
            Link Parent
            So, arguably, since 2014 there has been a troop withdrawal plan in effect, and certainly since last year. Which means today, you are arguing that since circumstances have changed, largely due to...

            So, arguably, since 2014 there has been a troop withdrawal plan in effect, and certainly since last year. Which means today, you are arguing that since circumstances have changed, largely due to US failures to properly integrate the Taliban into Afghani civil society, as well as protecting various peoples, that withdrawal plan should have been abandoned?

            4 votes
            1. [6]
              nacho
              Link Parent
              I'm saying the main, ultimate, terrible failure of the US is that we didn't make a serious attempt to sue for peace before we'd been embroiled in the war for over 16 years in 2017/18. Broken...

              I'm saying the main, ultimate, terrible failure of the US is that we didn't make a serious attempt to sue for peace before we'd been embroiled in the war for over 16 years in 2017/18.


              Broken clocks can be right. In the words of John McCain and Lindsey Graham on they day Obama's 2014 withdrawal plan was presented:

              The president’s decision to set an arbitrary date for the full withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is a monumental mistake and a triumph of politics over strategy,

              Reuters wrote at that time that:

              A senior Obama administration official bristled at the notion that the United States would be leaving Afghan forces to do battle against the Taliban alone.

              That's what's just happened. Started by Trump, escalated by Biden.


              If you want a better snapshot in time of how the circumstances really have changed in the last couple of years, here's a decent longread from 2017 on the subject: https://harpers.org/archive/2017/02/the-patient-war/

              As you can see, the positions both of the Taliban, the Afghan government and the US have changed fundamentally since.

              3 votes
              1. meff
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                I think the argument that naysayers have generally goes that the US was simply propping up a puppet government. In this case, suing for peace wouldn't have mattered, because the US imposed puppet...

                I think the argument that naysayers have generally goes that the US was simply propping up a puppet government. In this case, suing for peace wouldn't have mattered, because the US imposed puppet regime didn't actually have any popular support, so even if the Taliban would have properly entered Afghani politics, they would have simply co-opted the puppet state the moment the US withdrew.

                As for where I stand on this, I honestly don't think I have enough data to decide, though I am tempted to agree at this point with what knowledge is available that the US was propping up a puppet regime. There are obviously pictures coming out of Afghanis trying to flee on US planes which certainly supports some amount of popular support for the US-backed regime. This may also be a situation where Kabul as the intellectual and cultural capital of Afghanistan having very different attitudes than the more rural areas that more strongly support the Taliban.

                I will say as an onlooker and someone who has lots of family from around the Middle East and South Asia that I think a lot of people here find the Taliban to be a "religious fanatical organization", which I have to say is an extremely modern-Western lens to view this, and almost feels tied to the old colonial regime sentiment of "saving the savage from himself".

                5 votes
              2. [4]
                NoblePath
                Link Parent
                As I read your responses, it seems you are making the assumption that some kind of stable, civil institutional structure could be built in Afghanistan if only the US provided, something. Do you...

                As I read your responses, it seems you are making the assumption that some kind of stable, civil institutional structure could be built in Afghanistan if only the US provided, something. Do you care to defend that assumption? Because it sure seems like even every major player were behaving with grace and dignity, the forces aligned to keep the country fragmented and chaotic are consistent, persistent, and overwhelming.

                2 votes
                1. [3]
                  nacho
                  Link Parent
                  Why do you think I hold that assumption? Why do you think that assumption matters to what I've been saying? What forces do you feel keep the country fragmented and chaotic? What's their relative...

                  Why do you think I hold that assumption? Why do you think that assumption matters to what I've been saying?

                  What forces do you feel keep the country fragmented and chaotic? What's their relative strength? Why are they consistent, persistent and overwhelming post 2017? What's your view of the state of Afghanistan just before the Trump deal?


                  Broadly speaking I've been saying that:

                  • Withdrawal isn't an either-or proposition.
                  • The manner of withdrawal has actively sabotaged the Afghan peace process.
                  • The manner of withdrawal strengthened and enabled the Taliban, stoking violence.
                  • The reason for withdrawing responsibly was to give Afghanistan a chance at avoiding civil war.
                  • That effectively handing the Taliban their Islamic Caliphate of Afghanistan is worse than following this first, real attempt at peace to its conclusion before giving up.

                  The first serious attempt at peace talks never got to the stage where your question regarding the state of Afghanistan would be relevant.

                  Biden's announcement of unilateral withdrawal derailed the process ensuring that we'll never know whether a negotiated peace were possible, or what sort of support from the US, the UN, other countries or a combination would be necessary for transition to pluralistic rule.

                  It's only then we'd get to the stage to see whether the international society would be willing to do what's necessary or not.

                  5 votes
                  1. [2]
                    NoblePath
                    Link Parent
                    First let me commend you for your level of thought and engagement on the issue. My position, admittedly based on grossly insufficient information, is based on the speed and completeness of afghan...

                    First let me commend you for your level of thought and engagement on the issue.

                    My position, admittedly based on grossly insufficient information, is based on the speed and completeness of afghan government actors at every level to relinquish authority. This points to a cultural configuration, for lack of a better term, that supports the rule of whatever the current incarnation of the Taliban is. I also suspect a number of external interests benefit (or think they do) from an Afghanistan “ruled” by such a Taliban, and encourage it.

                    My conclusion is that no amount of external effort in th opposite direction can transform Afghanistan into a democratic, pluralistic state. Therefore, this withdrawal is the only one possible, and the only real alternative would be permanent occupation.

                    It is certainly an unforgivable tragedy, especially for women there, but I have no idea how to rectify that other than to expatriate all those who seek democracy, which i would generally support.

                    4 votes
                    1. meff
                      Link Parent
                      Pakistan has actively helped Taliban forces hide in their tribal lands for decades now. The US hasn't wanted to push Pakistan too much diplomatically so they never really pushed the issue. Other...

                      Pakistan has actively helped Taliban forces hide in their tribal lands for decades now. The US hasn't wanted to push Pakistan too much diplomatically so they never really pushed the issue. Other than the obvious fear I have of the Taliban enacting a harsh form of Sharia and subjugating women and intellectuals, I'm also afraid of the situation spilling into a proxy war from regional powers. Pakistan, India, China, and Russia all have a lot to gain if they can successfully steer Afghani politics.

                      3 votes
  4. stu2b50
    Link
    Well, that didn't take very long. Terrible situation for the people on the ground, of course. In terms of policy this was just a situation where there were no good situations. It's hard to imagine...

    Well, that didn't take very long. Terrible situation for the people on the ground, of course. In terms of policy this was just a situation where there were no good situations. It's hard to imagine a situation that doesn't just devolve into this - the US just has such little negotiating power by now.

    You don't have to be an expert to realize that the US voting population has very strong support for a withdrawal from the area - the past 3 presidents have promised it, from two very diametrically opposed parties. Furthermore, everyone knows that once the US withdraws, it's over - any President would get absolutely decimated if they tried to re-enter Afghanistan if the Taliban reneged on any agreements they made. Sending US forces back into Afghanistan, regardless of the conditions, is pretty much not an option at this point. And it did not take long for the Taliban to push boundaries after Doha.

    The pipe dream was some sort of multilateral agreement with local powers to enforce the agreement, but that was a pipe dream - not much reason for any local powers to do as such.

    It's going to be a pretty miserable time for the populace of Afghanistan, though, especially women, and that shouldn't be understated. I wish the US at least offered any unconditional citizenship and evacuation to any people in Afghanistan that cooperated for a substantial amount of time with the US forces in the area.

    10 votes
  5. [3]
    hungariantoast
    Link
    I wonder if forty-six years from now the image of the Chinook flying over the US embassy in Kabul will be remembered as well as that infamous photo from Saigon in 1975 is today. The situations...

    I wonder if forty-six years from now the image of the Chinook flying over the US embassy in Kabul will be remembered as well as that infamous photo from Saigon in 1975 is today.

    The situations aren't the same. Afghanistan is worse in some ways, better in others, but I would not be surprised if it is that image that becomes the defining picture of this situation.

    In the last 180 years three superpowers have attempted to take control of Afghanistan five times and five times they have been defeated.

    9 votes
  6. [6]
    streblo
    (edited )
    Link
    What a disaster this entire thing has been. My heart goes out to all the Afghani people who bought into the vision of a better world sold to them for the last decade+. Some really sobering videos...

    What a disaster this entire thing has been.

    My heart goes out to all the Afghani people who bought into the vision of a better world sold to them for the last decade+.

    Some really sobering videos (NSFL):

    https://twitter.com/AnonOpsSE/status/1427188405662887939
    https://twitter.com/Rajput_ctn/status/1427242329518141440

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      Shahriar
      Link Parent
      Please label these videos as NSFW/NSFL, as they are. It contains footage of people falling to their death. Not content everyone wishes to see.

      Please label these videos as NSFW/NSFL, as they are.

      It contains footage of people falling to their death.
      Not content everyone wishes to see.

      10 votes
  7. [2]
    imperialismus
    Link
    Remarks by President Biden on Afghanistan : Wow. Isn't this just a complete admission of failure, while simultaneously trying to have your cake and eat it too by claiming you never wanted the...

    Remarks by President Biden on Afghanistan :

    Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralized democracy. Our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today what it has always been: preventing a terrorist attack on American homeland.

    Wow. Isn't this just a complete admission of failure, while simultaneously trying to have your cake and eat it too by claiming you never wanted the thing you tried for 20 years to do in the first place?

    After twenty years, we're back to status quo ante bellum. Bin Laden might be dead but the Taliban which supported him are back in power, and the past twenty years haven't exactly given any reasons for terrorists to love the US more, so there will surely be another bin Laden somewhere sometime in the not so distant future.

    Now, this isn't to say that the decision to pull out now was necessarily wrong, because I struggle to see what one, two, ten more years would do if the past twenty years and trillion dollars couldn't build a competent Afghan army and robust democracy. But we should at least not pretend like this wasn't a failure.

    Graveyard of empires indeed.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. imperialismus
        Link Parent
        I think you're taking it way too literally. First of all, the term doesn't apply to premodern times at all. Second of all, one would have to be a fool to think any empire - even the Soviet Union -...

        I think you're taking it way too literally. First of all, the term doesn't apply to premodern times at all. Second of all, one would have to be a fool to think any empire - even the Soviet Union - collapsed solely due to its involvement in Afghanistan.

        It's more about modern empires (or super powers) coming to terms with the limits of their own power. Now, admittedly, tacking it onto the end of that comment was a bit flippant on my side. I didn't have any deep thoughts behind it, just referencing the 100+ year history of major powers struggling to fully realize their strategic goals in Afghanistan. I'll admit that. But thinking more about it, it's not unlikely that future historians will view this war as a sort of swan song for American hegemony. China may well overtake the US as the world's biggest economy in the next few decades, even if the Americans still have a superior army. And it's difficult to imagine another American war on the scale of Afghanistan or Iraq anytime soon. I'm sure the US will still be involved in armed conflicts around the world in the coming decades, but we probably won't see another war of this scale this generation.

        5 votes
  8. Kuromantis
    Link
    A similar article talking about how the Afghani president left and will not be negotiated with: Ghani leaves Afghanistan as Taliban enter Kabul, set to return to control of the whole nation like...

    A similar article talking about how the Afghani president left and will not be negotiated with: Ghani leaves Afghanistan as Taliban enter Kabul, set to return to control of the whole nation like it was before 9/11

    Ghani issued a statement on Facebook later Sunday, saying he left the country to prevent bloodshed. He landed in Tajikistan then left soon after for an unknown destination, RFE/RL reported.

    Sunday morning, a Taliban delegation engaged prominent Afghan jihadi leaders, politicians and elders in negotiations that culminated in Ghani stepping down from office, sources directly aware of the developments told VOA.
    The Taliban maintained in the talks that they would not engage Ghani in any transfer of power, saying he was not “a legitimate” president.

    5 votes
  9. Autoxidation
    Link
    I spent most of my 20s in the army. Buried multiple friends and soldiers over the years. The headlines lately have been tough to read, though I knew they were inevitable. This was the only outcome.

    I spent most of my 20s in the army. Buried multiple friends and soldiers over the years. The headlines lately have been tough to read, though I knew they were inevitable.

    This was the only outcome.

    5 votes
  10. [4]
    drannex
    Link
    Theory: They knew this would happen, but once the Taliban is in complete power then the embargos on trade, healthcare, and most importantly food are going into effect from all surrounding...

    Theory: They knew this would happen, but once the Taliban is in complete power then the embargos on trade, healthcare, and most importantly food are going into effect from all surrounding countries. This will destabilize the country, show the failure on part of the Taliban, and then once support has faltered a new government will be installed — by likely another insurgent group that are trained by the same countries that the Taliban was trained by (America, Russia, &c).

    It's only like we've done that a few times (cough, USSR, cough)...

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      Kuromantis
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Those countries surrounding them being (mostly) Pakistan and Iran, who outright support the Taliban and 3 Stan countries, who are generally 'allied to' (afraid of) Russia and China, who are more...

      Theory: They knew this would happen, but once the Taliban is in complete power then the embargos on trade, healthcare, and most importantly food are going into effect from all surrounding countries.

      Those countries surrounding them being (mostly) Pakistan and Iran, who outright support the Taliban and 3 Stan countries, who are generally 'allied to' (afraid of) Russia and China, who are more carefully neutral about the situation and seem to mainly just want the Taliban to behave like a government instead of an insurgent terrorist organization. I don't think either of them want Afghanistan to be less stable and, and I definitely don't think they would want to apply sanctions to the Taliban's state, no?

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. skybrian
          Link Parent
          It’s not great for neighboring countries when they get a lot of refugees, particularly when they’re countries with a lot of poor people to begin with.

          It’s not great for neighboring countries when they get a lot of refugees, particularly when they’re countries with a lot of poor people to begin with.

          4 votes
    2. Cycloneblaze
      Link Parent
      Because that's worked so well in Cuba and Iran? If anything, US(-led) embargoes will increase the cohesion and determination of the Taliban government.

      but once the Taliban is in complete power then the embargos on trade, healthcare, and most importantly food are going into effect from all surrounding countries. This will destabilize the country, show the failure on part of the Taliban, and then once support has faltered a new government will be installed

      Because that's worked so well in Cuba and Iran? If anything, US(-led) embargoes will increase the cohesion and determination of the Taliban government.

      2 votes
  11. [4]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. meff
      Link Parent
      The Middle East was already fucked over thanks to the Mandate for Palestine. The US is just continuing a tradition of Western nations intervening in the affairs of the Middle East.

      The Middle East was already fucked over thanks to the Mandate for Palestine. The US is just continuing a tradition of Western nations intervening in the affairs of the Middle East.

      7 votes
    2. [2]
      Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      I know of a few videos video on that, although only a few involve the US too much: What if the Arabic Peninsula was united under the Hashemite kingdom of Arabia? (The Hashemite kingdom being this...

      Any guesses/alternative history stories how the world would look if America had chosen to not spread its influence all over the middle east after world war 2?

      I know of a few videos video on that, although only a few involve the US too much:

      What if the Arabic Peninsula was united under the Hashemite kingdom of Arabia?

      (The Hashemite kingdom being this state)

      What if the USSR never invaded Afghanistan?

      What if the invasion of Iraq never happened? (from 2014)

      What if the Iranian revolution of 1979 never happened?

      What if the War on Terror never happened?

      3 votes
      1. vord
        Link Parent
        We could probably look into Korea and Vietnam as well. The handling of both countries in the aftermath of WW2, essentially being a proxy wars with the USSR, is how we ended up with modern day...

        We could probably look into Korea and Vietnam as well. The handling of both countries in the aftermath of WW2, essentially being a proxy wars with the USSR, is how we ended up with modern day North Korea.

        There is a place for intervention in world affairs. But the United "I'm going to ignore the UN when it suits me" States definitely abuses this, especially with the doubletalk of 'freedom and democracy' rhetoric compared to the reality of coups, dictatorships, and wars.

        5 votes
  12. [2]
    HotPants
    Link
    Any regime considered by its attentive public to be an American creation, or at least dependent on the U.S., will be fundamentally fragile... Goodbye to America’s Shah written in 1979.

    Any regime considered by its at­tentive public to be an American creation, or at least dependent on the U.S., will be fundamentally fragile... Goodbye to America’s Shah written in 1979.

    3 votes
    1. HotPants
      Link Parent
      Military operations analyst Jonathan Schroden said, “What we have seen so far from the conventional parts of the ANDSF, not the commandos, is largely a lack of will and or ability to fight for...

      Military operations analyst Jonathan Schroden said, “What we have seen so far from the conventional parts of the ANDSF, not the commandos, is largely a lack of will and or ability to fight for very long.” source

      2 votes
  13. Thrabalen
    Link
    How very Vietnam.

    How very Vietnam.

    1 vote