Author Topic: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan  (Read 568550 times)

ya

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1650 on: May 20, 2020, 07:10:21 PM »
India is proposing 3 year tour of duty for civilians in the army.
https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/army-considers-tour-of-duty-model-to-allow-youth-to-serve-for-3-years/story-OsTsmGdUfthLp1cQ6GW6UM.html

While the official reason is to bring discipline to youth, perhaps to respond to the post-COVID state. What is unsaid is (my speculation), that if there is a two front war with China and Pak, the Indian army could be short staffed and these young civilians could take up the slack. The shortest stint in the army is currently 10 years. 3 years seems just enough time to get POK back and stabilize the situation. Connecting the ....

ya

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1651 on: May 24, 2020, 11:44:55 AM »
Baki news..if it were not so humorous.
Two citizens got their COVID results. Both negative. Family joyous, starts firing in air. 5 dead.

« Last Edit: May 24, 2020, 01:47:00 PM by ya »


ya

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1653 on: October 21, 2020, 07:19:51 PM »
Yesterday many reports of violence in Karachi. What was unusual was it was the army against the police.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1654 on: October 23, 2020, 07:32:38 PM »
Whoa.

What is that about?

ya

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1655 on: October 24, 2020, 10:07:19 AM »
As  you may know things are not going well in Pak. Inflation, COVID, jobless, unhappiness with army (corruption scandals), ineffective Imran K, FATF sanctions. To make matters worse, Pak has tried to raise heat at the LOC on China's request. After that for some reason the baloch have been activated, they are killing Pak soldiers, the NW Frontier with Afghanistan/Taliban is active, they are killing pak soldiers, and same is happening at LOC (India paying back).

So now the opposition's Pak politicians are seeing opportunity. Nawaz Sharif is exiled in UK, but his son in law is free in Pak and was likely raking up trouble in Karachi. He was arrested from a hotel by the army. Following which the army tried to blame it on the inspector General of Police, who offered his resignation. There was also some shooting between police and army. Much of the police leadership has resigned or gone on leave.

I would add that this is happening in Karachi, capital of Sindh, which hates the domination by the Punjabi army. Sindh wants independence.

« Last Edit: October 24, 2020, 10:12:17 AM by ya »

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1657 on: November 29, 2020, 10:26:00 AM »
I'm out of free articles.  Could someone please paste it?

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/11/the-taliban-crime-syndicate-waits-out-trump/



ccp

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1660 on: December 24, 2020, 05:26:03 AM »
Hi Doug,

murderer (beheading of Daniel  Pearl )
released

cannot bring up article  w/o subscription

I hope  there is not something in this article that points out it is Trumps fault?!

if not this will probably not get play on CNN

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Pearl



DougMacG

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1661 on: December 24, 2020, 07:49:00 AM »
Hi Doug,

murderer (beheading of Daniel  Pearl )
released

cannot bring up article  w/o subscription

I hope  there is not something in this article that points out it is Trumps fault?!

if not this will probably not get play on CNN

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Pearl

I think they are saying  they think he is innocent. It still goes to another court.

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: US trained Afghan fighter pilot
« Reply #1662 on: December 26, 2020, 03:17:52 PM »
U.S.-Trained Afghan Fighter Pilot Is in Hiding After Being Denied Safe Passage
The case of a top Afghanistan pilot facing death threats from the Taliban has drawn ire from inside U.S. military ranks

Maj. Naeim Asadi was part of Afghanistan's first training program for pilots flying the MD-530 helicopter.
PHOTO: NAEIM ASADI
By Sune Engel Rasmussen
Dec. 25, 2020 11:00 am E



Maj. Naiem Asadi, an Afghan pilot trained by the U.S. military, became known for his bravery during six years of fighting in the country’s war, from battling Taliban and Islamic State fighters to helping rescue a crashed American pilot.

Today, facing death threats from the Taliban, he is in hiding with his wife and 4-year-old daughter, after the U.S. reversed its decision to help him leave Afghanistan and live in America.

In late November, the U.S. military asked Mr. Asadi and his family to leave an American military base in Afghanistan, where he had sought refuge from the Taliban for a month, after the Pentagon withdrew its initial support for his request for protection in the U.S.

“We didn’t expect the U.S. government to leave us halfway,” said Mr. Asadi, who says he has killed hundreds of Taliban and Islamic State fighters during his active duty with the Afghan military.


“After completing a full review of the request, the appropriate officials determined that DoD [the Department of Defense] could not support the request,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Robert Lodewick said.

As the U.S. prepares to extricate itself from Afghanistan, Washington faces a dilemma over whether to help individuals who fought with and even saved Americans to leave the country—something that could deprive the Afghan military of its best fighters, when the survival of a political project the countries built together is at stake.

Mr. Asadi’s case has raised ire inside the U.S. military, with officers who trained and worked with the pilot saying he has done enough for Afghanistan and for the U.S., and that America should honor its initial pledge to protect him.

Army Gen. Mark Milley, the Pentagon’s top officer, met with Taliban officials on Dec. 15 in an attempt to accelerate peace talks between Kabul and the insurgent group that could help end the nearly two-decade-old conflict in Afghanistan.


President Trump has ordered the U.S. military to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 before Inauguration Day, from about 4,500. President-elect Joe Biden has said he wants to withdraw U.S. troops in Afghanistan within his first term.

As the U.S. drawdown continues, retaining Afghan pilots who can provide air power to defend cities is essential for Kabul and Washington alike.

Thirty-two-year-old Mr. Asadi graduated in 2013 as one of the first four Afghan pilots—known by their American advisers as the Fab Four—trained to fly the U.S.-made MD-530 helicopter, now a cornerstone of the Afghan Air Force. He says he logged nearly 3,000 flight hours on hundreds of missions, making him one of the most experienced pilots in the Afghan Air Force.

On his first mission, in 2014, Mr. Asadi was sent to a small town near the eastern city of Jalalabad, which militants had occupied. In 2015, Mr. Asadi was dispatched to help liberate Kunduz city from the Taliban, firing a barrage of rockets against insurgents who had surrounded an army base, forcing them to flee, he said.


He was also commended earlier this year by the U.S. military for providing air protection to an American soldier waiting to be rescued after crashing his attack aircraft in northern Afghanistan.


This year, Mr. Asadi applied for Significant Public Benefit Parole, a temporary protection status for noncitizens in the U.S. He was helped by 12 retired and active U.S. military officers who supported his case. They offered to help him find employment and set him up with a house in New Jersey in preparation for a new life.

U.S. officers who worked with Mr. Asadi say he is particularly vulnerable, largely because the American-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization mission featured him in promotional videos for the MD-530 helicopter.

The Pentagon endorsed his application, and a Pentagon official verified a Taliban threat letter to Mr. Asadi. On Oct. 27, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services approved Mr. Asadi’s parole, according to case documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

However, on his way to pick up his travel documents, Mr. Asadi said he received a call from an American officer informing him that they weren’t ready after all. A week later, the U.S. military confirmed that it had withdrawn its support for his request, which effectively ensured its rejection.

“It’s an extremely challenging balance, and one that the Department of Defense strives to get right,” said a Pentagon official. “The bottom line is that the United States, DoD specifically, cannot be the element that facilitates an active duty military officer deserting his duty.”


“It is patently untrue and inaccurate for anyone to say that Asadi would be guilty of desertion if he left the Afghan military. There is no crime of desertion codified in Afghanistan’s Criminal Code,” said Mr. Asadi’s U.S. lawyer, Kimberley Motley.

Ms. Motley said the Afghan government has a history of imprisoning citizens for alleged crimes that aren’t codified in law, and she worried the same might happen to Mr. Asadi. Mr. Asadi himself says he can’t return to the Afghan Air Force for fear that he will be arrested for desertion.

When Niloofar Rahmani, Afghanistan’s first female airplane pilot, sought asylum in the U.S. in 2016 during a training course, citing threats to her life at home, the Afghan Ministry of Defense said she would be arrested if she returned. Ms. Rahmani received asylum in 2018 and now lives in the U.S.

A spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, Fawad Aman, didn’t comment on whether Mr. Asadi would be arrested if he returned to duty.

The spokesman said the Afghan security forces took the threats against Mr. Asadi seriously, but they weren’t providing him with extra protection.

“We are responsible for providing security for him and his family,” said Mr. Aman. “We do it for him, as we do for the rest of our personnel.”

The Pentagon and the U.S. mission in Afghanistan declined to comment further on Mr. Asadi’s case. A spokesperson for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services also declined to comment.

A Pentagon official said that after receiving the initial approval, senior U.S. military officials in Afghanistan approached the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which then conducted another review.

Eventually, the Defense Department concluded that the threats against Mr. Asadi weren’t “greater or more alarming” than those facing other Afghan soldiers, the Pentagon official said.

“The solution of the hundreds and hundreds of people who face security threats can’t be to get on a plane to America,” said the Pentagon official. “It would absolutely gut the Afghan security forces.”

His case has struck a nerve among Afghans wanting to leave the country along with U.S. troops, as well as American soldiers eager to protect partners with whom they fought.

The U.S. promised Mr. Asadi a new beginning, and “we need to honor that,” said Rafael Caraballo, a retired U.S. Army pilot who trained Mr. Asadi. “He has nowhere to go.”

Mr. Caraballo said that years ago, Taliban fighters pulled another Afghan fighter he had trained off a bus, found documents in his luggage tying him to the American pilot-training program and slit his throat.

Mr. Asadi “has done everything he can so effectively for” the Afghan military, Mr. Caraballo said. “He needs to see his child grow.”

The controversy over Mr. Asadi’s case comes amid a wave of assassinations of Afghan government officials. Targeted killings of civilians, including officials, have surged to 531 in the first 10 months of this year from 369 in the same period of 2019, according to the United Nations.

Afghanistan’s national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, said that soldiers who join the Afghan military have to honor their commitments and not use their service as a ticket to leave the country.

“As far as the threat from the Taliban is concerned, every Afghan’s life is threatened,” Mr. Mohib said.

Write to Sune Engel Rasmussen at sune.rasmussen@wsj.com

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
Appeared in the December 26, 2020, print edition as 'Afghan Pilot Is Denied Prot

G M

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1663 on: December 26, 2020, 03:46:41 PM »
“We didn’t expect the U.S. government to leave us halfway,” said Mr. Asad

"Neither did we"-The dead ARVN soldiers and their families, murdered by the communists after we abandoned them.

DougMacG

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1664 on: December 26, 2020, 06:22:21 PM »
“We didn’t expect the U.S. government to leave us halfway,”

   - Afghanistan is the US fault?  A little hard for me to follow that.

"If you break it, you own it."   - Sec. Gen. Powell

  - We didn't break Iraq or Afghanistan.  It was broken before we got there.  We declared a right of self defense - to go in and take out the threat to us.  Repeat if necessary.  The rest, civil war, nation building, etc. was a nice idea that didn't work out.

G M

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Crafty_Dog

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Chris Christie: Demand extradition for Shiek Mubarak
« Reply #1666 on: December 28, 2020, 07:13:46 PM »
I was sworn in as U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey on Jan. 17, 2002. Six days later, Daniel Pearl, South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan. Pearl was investigating a story about the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, and had been promised by his kidnappers that they would take him to meet Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani. Pearl believed Sheikh Mubarak had information regarding Mr. Reid, the British terrorist who attempted to detonate an explosive device in his shoe aboard a Paris-to-Miami flight in December 2001. Pearl never met Sheikh Mubarak—the meeting was a setup—and he was never seen again. The killers released a videotape of Pearl’s murder.

The Pearl investigation was my baptism into the world of terrorism. We were all still reeling from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The FBI had set up a command center at the South Brunswick, N.J., headquarters of Dow Jones, the Journal’s publisher. Through the combined efforts of the Justice Department and Pakistani authorities, three men were identified as having taken part in the abduction. Their organization, the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty, had been sending ransom demands to the Dow Jones computer servers in New Jersey. Through great computer forensics, the task force of combined American and Pakistani authorities was able to identify and arrest three people, including the mastermind of the abduction, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh.

Mr. Sheikh already had a record of terrorism. In 1994, then a member of Harkat ul-Ansar, an Islamic militant organization, he was convicted of kidnapping four people, including an American in India. He was jailed in India but after his terrorist friends hijacked an Indian Airlines flight, Mr. Sheikh was freed in exchange for the passengers. With assistance from the Taliban, he made his way to Afghanistan.


Mr. Sheikh was indicted in March 2002 by a New Jersey grand jury for the kidnapping of Pearl resulting in his murder. The indictment is still viable and it is a case for which the U.S. can seek the death penalty. In announcing the indictment, Attorney General John Ashcroft also announced the unsealing of an indictment charging Mr. Sheikh with the kidnapping of the American tourist in India.

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Mr. Sheikh and his co-conspirators were also charged in Pakistan. They were tried in 2002 and convicted. While his accomplices were given life sentences, Mr. Sheikh was sentenced to death. His appeal languished until April, when a Pakistani court ordered the release of all the defendants on the grounds that there was conflicting testimony at the original trial and insufficient evidence to support the murder charge. The Pakistani authorities have been fighting the release and have kept Mr. Sheikh jailed. But on Thursday the court again ordered his release.

The U.S. and Pakistan don’t have a clear, formal extradition treaty. Attorneys from my former office asked the Justice Department to notify Pakistan officially that the U.S. would like Mr. Sheikh extradited if he is ever released. No such formal request has ever been made. That is an outrage.

In a series of tweets, the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs has said it is “deeply concerned” about the rulings. Daniel Pearl’s parents, with the assistance of The Wall Street Journal, have been working to have the original sentence reinstated. But the Pearl family shouldn’t have to do this on their own. Mr. Sheikh has twice been indicted in the U.S. for grave terrorist crimes. Washington should do more than express concern. Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo should immediately demand that Pakistan extradite Mr. Sheikh immediately upon his release.

The U.S. cannot again become complacent in the face of terrorism. We did that before 9/11 and paid a grievous price. Instead of being distracted by peripheral issues in the waning days of this presidency, the Trump administration should take this opportunity to stand up against terror. We owe that much to Daniel Pearl and his family.

Mr. Christie served as U.S. attorney for New Jersey (2002-08) and governor (2009-18).

DougMacG

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Re: Chris Christie: Demand extradition for Shiek Mubarak
« Reply #1667 on: December 28, 2020, 10:25:09 PM »
Also convicted in the Daniel Pearl murder:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_Sheikh_Mohammed

DougMacG

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Pakistan, letting Daniel Pearl's beheader go free
« Reply #1668 on: January 28, 2021, 08:57:03 PM »
Insert wonder what Faux Pres Biden will do about this here. Slap in the face to America snd the civilized world is not a strong enough expression for the moral depravity here.

https://www.reuters.com/article/pakistan-us-danielpearl-int/islamist-convicted-of-beheading-u-s-journalist-daniel-pearl-to-go-free-victims-family-in-shock-idUSKBN29X0VD

G M

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Re: Pakistan, letting Daniel Pearl's beheader go free
« Reply #1669 on: January 28, 2021, 09:17:09 PM »
 "Slap in the face to America"

Not according to his base.


Insert wonder what Faux Pres Biden will do about this here. Slap in the face to America snd the civilized world is not a strong enough expression for the moral depravity here.

https://www.reuters.com/article/pakistan-us-danielpearl-int/islamist-convicted-of-beheading-u-s-journalist-daniel-pearl-to-go-free-victims-family-in-shock-idUSKBN29X0VD


ya

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1671 on: March 06, 2021, 03:40:30 PM »


Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: The Way Forward in Afghanistan
« Reply #1673 on: March 15, 2021, 07:59:33 PM »
The Way Forward in Afghanistan
Meeting Trump’s May 1 withdrawal deadline could lead to a rout.
By The Editorial Board
March 15, 2021 6:47 pm ET



The Biden Administration is scrambling to find a responsible way out of Afghanistan by the May 1 deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops set by Donald Trump. Problem is, a prudent withdrawal on such a tight timeline is impossible.

“The United States has not ruled out any option,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a recent letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. “I am making this clear to you so that you understand the urgency of my tone.” The U.S. is pushing aggressively for Taliban and Kabul officials to reach a political settlement.

The contents of Mr. Blinken’s letter, along with a more detailed peace plan, don’t give much reason for optimism. Washington has proposed an interim government in which the Taliban shares power with Kabul. Eventually, the country would transition to a democratic government with the current constitution as an “initial template.”

Sounds nice, but the Taliban goal is an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The group said in 2016 that it “has not readily embraced this death and destruction for the sake of some silly ministerial posts.” Researchers at the Long War Journal have spent years documenting the Taliban’s consistency on this point.


Mr. Blinken called for “a 90-day Reduction-in-Violence” to forestall the Taliban’s spring offensive. The group, last year responsible for around twice as many civilian casualties as Afghan national forces were, has rejected such pleas before. Why would they now, especially with the U.S. eagerly eyeing the door?


The U.S. is hoping to lasso China, India, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia to help negotiate and enforce a peace deal. Is that the same Pakistan that has been the Taliban’s primary benefactor for years? The same Iran that has cooperated with the Taliban despite political and religious differences? The same Russia that has provided the Taliban with diplomatic support and perhaps more?

President Biden will need a Plan B if this diplomatic push fails. His campaign website isn’t a bad place to start: “Biden will bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan and narrowly focus our mission on Al-Qaeda and ISIS.” The alternative is a full withdrawal that would free up the Taliban to conquer more of the country, and perhaps the collapse of the government and a humanitarian disaster.

One benefit of the Taliban negotiations is that the group largely stopped attacking Americans. Staying means endangering American troops. But the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 to neutralize the threat posed by al Qaeda and its Taliban sponsors. The two groups remain connected as the Taliban fails to comply with its assurances to Mr. Trump.

Remaining in Afghanistan doesn’t require a massive commitment. There are as many as 3,500 U.S. troops in the country today, and allies contribute twice as many. The bipartisan Afghanistan Study Group suggests 4,500 Americans are enough “for training, advising, and assisting Afghan defense forces; supporting allied forces; conducting counterterrorism operations; and securing our embassy.”

This is the best advice we’ve seen. There is no easy exit from Afghanistan, but the worst would be a rushed retreat by May 1 that would serve only the Taliban and its jihadist allies.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1674 on: April 12, 2021, 09:45:59 PM »
Had an interesting conversation yesterday with two women from Civil Affairs who had spent a lot of time in Afghanistan.

I asked should we stay or should we go.

A pained sigh.  They truly felt divided between not wanting to betray the women with whom they had worked and who they knew would be hurt if/when we left, but were left at a loss as to why it would be good for America to stay.

Asked the same question today to an SF who had done three tours over there spread out over a a number of years.  He hesitated, but ultimately came down on the side of sticking around and mowing the lawn as necessary from time to time.

Crafty_Dog

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G M

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Re: The case for staying
« Reply #1677 on: April 15, 2021, 09:44:38 AM »

ccp

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cute : leave on 20th anniversary of 9/11/2001
« Reply #1678 on: April 19, 2021, 07:22:12 AM »
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/trump-slams-biden-troop-withdrawal-deadline-september-11-attacks

Oh , what a lovely story for the MSM

I can see the little history vignettes now about the "20 yrs"
on CNN WP NYT 60 (democrat) minutes
etc.


Crafty_Dog

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George Friedman: Remembering Al Qaeda
« Reply #1679 on: April 20, 2021, 08:13:04 AM »

April 20, 2021
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Remembering al-Qaida
By: George Friedman

The United States invaded Afghanistan 20 years ago, soon after the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. By 2008, then-President Barack Obama made it a point to disengage from what has become known as the Forever Wars. He failed. His successor, President Donald Trump, pledged likewise but failed all the same. President Joe Biden, too, has said the U.S. would withdraw, this time by the anniversary of the 9/11 attack.

The war in Afghanistan can’t be discussed without discussing al-Qaida, the Islamist group led by Osama bin Laden, the son of an extremely wealthy Yemeni who had moved his family to Saudi Arabia. His goal was to recreate an Islamic caliphate. As I wrote in “America’s Secret War,” his strategy was to unite the Islamic world against its common enemy, the United States. To that end, he would conduct an attack against the United States that generated massive causalities and electrified the world. If the U.S. could be attacked, it would prove the U.S. to be vulnerable. If the United States declined to respond, it would prove Washington to be weak or cowardly, or so the thinking went. Both cases would, bin Laden thought, achieve the same end: Islamic unity.

The attack against the United States was both simple and brilliant. Hijacked aircraft would strike American icons – the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Congress (the latter of which failed). The Islamic world would know these buildings well and would see al-Qaida’s power. What was remarkable was the detailed planning, the deployment of operatives and the movement of money, none of which was fully detected by U.S. intelligence. (There are always those who claim that they predicted such events. I have no idea what they said to whom before the attack, only what they claimed to have said after.) The fear that struck the United States was palpable.

Part of the fear was that Washington did not know what al-Qaida was planning next and what resources it had. The idea that 9/11 was the sum total of its capability was plausible, but there was no evidence for it, and the American public was thinking of all the worst-case scenarios. There was intelligence, necessarily uncertain in nature, that al-Qaida had acquired a single small nuclear device. All reasonable people scoff at such thoughts now, but in the days after the attack, nothing was being dismissed. Lenin said that the purpose of terror is to terrify. The country was terrified, because none of us knew what was next.

U.S. intelligence began connecting dots and acquiring intelligence from allies, and determined that al-Qaida was responsible for the attack. They also determined that bin Laden and his command cell were located in Afghanistan under the protection of its leader, Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar. The desire to lash out at everything was overpowering, but President George W. Bush elected instead to focus on the country that had given al-Qaida sanctuary. This was the beating heart of the movement, and it had to be destroyed or dispersed to prevent, to the extent possible, a follow-on attack on the U.S.

The ultimate objective of the invasion was to destroy al-Qaida’s command. “Invasion” might not even be the right word; there was no invasion planned because one could not possibly be mounted in 30 days. The primary operation was carried out by CIA operatives with contacts in Afghanistan, along with special operations teams, who would carry out any attack mounted on al-Qaida. Occupation and regime change were incidental.

Most of the combat was meant to be carried out by U.S. allies such as the Northern Alliance, which had only recently discovered they were U.S. allies when the CIA delivered them a ton of cash. Among this group there were those who knew where bin Laden was and who claimed to be prepared to find him and turn him over to the Americans. Bin Laden was located in a complex of caves called Tora Bora near the Pakistani border. The allies located him but just missed capturing him (no surprise there). U.S. Special Operations Command moved toward a blocking position between Tora Bora and Pakistan, but the al-Qaida command cell and their families slipped across the border into Pakistan, where they seemed to be welcomed.

The initial operation was impressive for what it was. Though it did not succeed in capturing the enemy, it did disorganize the enemy enough to buy time for U.S. intelligence to gain some clarity, allowing continual harassment of the group and no further attacks on the U.S. Then came the original sin of U.S. military operations: mission creep. Until al-Qaida showed up in Afghanistan, the U.S. could tolerate Mullah Omar and had little interest in his country. The U.S. thought it would withdraw, then hunt down escaped al-Qaida operatives wherever else they went in the world. It was not to be. The idea that, of all the countries al-Qaida might be in, Afghanistan was uniquely important, requiring a multidivisional force to pacify, was unsound. The American force was never large enough or suitable to occupy Afghanistan, which had already broken the Soviets and the British. The Taliban declined to engage in combat head-on, retreated, dispersed and regrouped. They fought the U.S. to a standstill. If the U.S. withdraws, it leaves Afghanistan to the Taliban, the same situation that would have been the case in December 2001.

The argument against withdrawal is that Afghanistan could be used as a base for mounting terrorist attacks. That is true, but recall that 9/11 was mounted mostly inside the U.S. Transnational terrorism is just that – transnational – and even if Afghanistan were its hub, the U.S. simply cannot hold it.

Obama, Trump and Biden all reached a similar conclusion. Their critics on the matter confuse the desirable and the possible. They often argue that Afghanistan poses a unique danger. It doesn’t. Even so, nothing is over so long as something is possible. And since few things are impossible, the people who want to stay tend to win. But it is important to remember what happened to understand the logic that led to a war that wanted to do what no one, not even Alexander the Great at the height of his power, could. You can isolate Afghanistan, but you cannot impose your will on it.

DougMacG

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Re: George Friedman: Remembering Al Qaeda
« Reply #1680 on: April 20, 2021, 09:15:27 AM »
Friedman's take makes sense to me.
------------------------
The bin Laden family was quite prominent in Saudi.  I didn't know they were of Yemen origin.

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1683 on: May 26, 2021, 08:11:54 AM »

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The D Brief
May 26, 2021   
      


Afghanistan latest: The Taliban just warned neighboring countries against hosting American troops and equipment as the U.S. considers its so-called "over the horizon" options for how to handle counterterrorism after its Afghan exit.


"Foreign forces are the root cause of insecurity and war in the region and the greatest tragedy is that everyone has witnessed in the last twenty years, especially our afflicted people who have suffered and continue to suffer more than anyone else," the group said in a statement. "We urge neighboring countries not to allow and grant anyone such a concession...

"As we have repeatedly assured others our soil will not be used against anyone's security, we urge others not to use its soil and airspace against our country." Read over the full remarks, which the group posted in English, here.

Pakistan's top diplomat said his country won't be used for any U.S. bases, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told senators Tuesday in Islamabad. "Forget the past, but I want to tell the Pakistanis that no U.S. base will be allowed by Prime Minister Imran Khan so long he is in power," he said.

In case you've been living under a rock for the past two decades, "much of the Taliban's leadership [still] lives in Pakistan," America's top envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, told German news website Der Spiegel in an interview 15 days ago.

Crafty_Dog

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Stratfor: Civil War coming in Afghanistan
« Reply #1684 on: July 04, 2021, 02:03:53 PM »
The rapid withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, combined with the Taliban’s recent territorial gains, will create a power struggle between the Taliban and the Afghan government that will likely cause a civil war and further degrade the regional security environment. The Sept. 11 deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops announced by President Joe Biden has become a symbolic timeline. On the ground, more than half of U.S. and NATO troops have left Afghanistan, and reports suggest remaining troops will leave the country as soon as the first week of July. On July 2, U.S. forces finished withdrawing from Bagram, their main military base in Afghanistan. Taking advantage of this strategic opportunity where Afghan troops are solely responsible for the security of the country, the Taliban launched an offensive campaign to capture and control territories, almost as soon as May 1 when foreign troop withdrawal began. The Taliban has since taken control of 157 districts of Afghanistan’s 407 districts in just two months.

On June 29, Taliban fighters launched an attack on Ghazni, a critical city along a highway linking Kabul with the southern province of Kandahar. If the Taliban manages to take over the city, it would mark a second major territorial gain by cutting movement to and from the south to Kabul. First was the capture of Doshi, a district home to the only road linking Kabul to northern parts of the country earlier on June 21st.

The Taliban also has control of checkpoints in the northern Kunduz province bordering Tajikistan, giving it control of a major trade route into Central Asia.

Aside from expanding on-the-ground influence for its own sake, territorial gains give the Taliban strategic bargaining chips to gain more leverage in future negotiations with the Afghan government.

The Stalled Afghan Peace Process

The withdrawal of troops was one of the main conditions in the agreement that the United States reached with the Taliban in February 2020. In exchange, the Taliban agreed to ceasefire and participation in talks with the Afghan government in Kabul in order to reach an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned solution to political and security issues plaguing the country. But those intra-Afghan negotiations have been stalled over the two sides’ conflicting pre-qualifications, with the Taliban demanding that Kabul first release Taliban prisoners and guarantee the group will be fairly represented in a post-war government. The Afghan government, meanwhile, has insisted that it won’t engage in talks with the Taliban until the group agrees to a cease-fire.

 

Afghan security forces are losing territories due to logistical and political leadership failures. Afghan security forces rely on U.S.-funded contractors to repair and maintain their fleet of aircraft, armored vehicles and other equipment. But those contractors will also leave soon as part of the U.S. withdrawal, leaving Afghan forces unable to maintain dozens of fighter planes, cargo aircraft, U.S.-made helicopters and drones for more than a few more months. This could effectively ground the Afghan Air Force, which is Kabul’s main edge against the Taliban due to its role in supporting Afghan ground operations with effective airstrikes — a capability that the Taliban lacks. There is also a lack of coordination on the ground due to ineffective political leadership in Kabul. Demoralized by limited resources, the U.S. troop withdrawal, low salaries and widespread government corruption, Afghan soldiers have turned over district centers, abandoned military bases and surrendered to the Taliban. They’ve handed over their weapons, vehicles and other war material without a fight due to a lack of numbers and equipment as well. The Taliban offensive in the northern districts also stretched limited Afghan forces across large areas, further weakening them.


The decaying security situation in Afghanistan is likely to incite a chaotic civil war in less than six months after foreign troops withdraw. To help overcome its inability to coordinate an effective Kabul-led military response, the Afghan government recently launched a “national mobilization” campaign, which arms civilians and local militias to counter the Taliban’s advances. But with its structured offensive, the Taliban would still easily defeat local militias due to their relative lack of military training and equipment. Given Afghan militias' long history of shifting loyalties, power struggles and territorial disputes, there’s also no guarantee that local armed groups won’t use the new arms to fight against each other instead of the Taliban, increasing inter-communal violence and unrest. These armed organizations are theoretically linked with the Afghan government, but their organization has the potential to further splinter the war-torn country along ethnic lines and boost the Taliban by default, resulting in a multi-front and multi-party war between the Taliban, Afghan government and local militias.

Warlords heading the militias have provided protection to the ethnic minorities often targeted by Taliban. But while these militia formations have temporarily aided government forces in their fight against the Taliban in many northern regions, they have also bolstered warlord fiefdoms, eroding the government's authority in Kabul that could outlast the current conflict.

Northern Afghanistan could become a fighting ground for Taliban and non-Pashtun groups composed of ethnic minorities like Tajiks and Uzbeks. This violence would further destabilize the country and might lead to migrations and refugee crises in Central Asian countries.

Southern Afghanistan, with a majority Pashtun population, could become a base for al Qaeda and Islamic State militants, as they would have much more operational freedom to conduct a host of activities, including recruitment, training and attack plotting.

An increasingly volatile Afghanistan would also endanger the security of the nearby countries by providing a fertile training ground for regional militant groups. Violent clashes between the Taliban and security forces have resulted in thousands of civilian casualties and internal displacement of people from rural areas to relatively more protected provincial capitals and cities. In the coming months, particularly after the United States and NATO complete their troop withdrawal, major cities could also fall to the Taliban. Such Taliban gains could trigger a regional humanitarian crisis that would be difficult to address amid the violence, thus presenting a sustained threat of unrest. A security vacuum and a stronger Taliban could also foster a revival of training camps of various terrorist groups in the Afghanistan hinterland, further endangering the security of the entire region. In addition, international and regional terrorist organizations could mobilize and operate from the region to threaten the security of South and Central Asia. A strong foothold in Afghanistan could enable al Qaeda and the Islamic State to plan operations against the West as well.

Tehrik-i-Taliban in Pakistan (TTP) based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region could intensify attacks against Pakistan, which could, in turn, provoke Islamabad to increase its meddling in Afghanistan. There are 5,000 TTP fighters in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, suggesting the group is primed to take advantage of increased Taliban control and scattered Afghan forces focused on operations against the Taliban.

Terrorist groups operating against India like Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) would have more strategic depth to carry out their offensives in the region due to their links with the Taliban. Attacks on India could drive India to intervene against these groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well.

Al Qaeda may reboot in Afghanistan once the Taliban — which it has reportedly maintained close ties with — overwhelms Afghan security forces. An Islamic State resurgence in Afghanistan also cannot be ruled out, as the group has proven resilient and has asserted some level of presence and control in southern parts of the country. Both of these developments would present a significant increase in the terrorism threat to the West, given that al Qaeda and the Islamic State both maintain a strategic intent to use an Afghan safe haven to strike targets abroad.


Crafty_Dog

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Afghanistan-China question
« Reply #1686 on: July 08, 2021, 06:32:33 PM »
China has a tiny border with Afghanistan. 

If China moves into the vacuum created by our departure,

a) is a pipeline for Afghani gas plausible?

b) is a pipeline for oil and gas from Iran plausible?

If yes, then this is a huge geopolitical change for China!!! 


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George Friedman: The Twenty Year War
« Reply #1688 on: July 09, 2021, 06:04:52 AM »
July 9, 2021
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The 20-Year War
Thoughts in and around geopolitics.
By: George Friedman

On Sept. 11, 2001, a special operations team created by al-Qaida attacked the United States, hijacking commercial airplanes to target psychologically significant structures. I call it a special operations team because that’s exactly what it was, not the primitive cabal it was mistakenly made out to be. Its members were fanatical, but they understood their mission and understood the weakness of U.S. intelligence such that they could coordinate multiple, simultaneous attacks, all the while maintaining secrecy.

The purpose of the attack was to be part of a trigger for an uprising in the Islamic world. If the U.S. attacked the Islamic world more broadly, it would be seen as the enemy of Islam. If the U.S. failed to attack, it would be seen as afraid of the power of the Islamic world. Either would, al-Qaida hoped, inspire its brethren to rise up against the U.S.

Washington could neither engage in a regional war nor decline to respond. It properly understood al-Qaida’s strategy, and it knew just enough about al-Qaida to know it didn’t have a good handle on the group’s resources. From this, two things arose. The first was the fear that 9/11 was merely the first of more attacks to come and that U.S. intelligence couldn’t prevent them. The second was the realization that al-Qaida’s command center had to be either disrupted or destroyed.

It was known to be in Afghanistan, so the mission had to be carried out in Afghanistan and, given the uncertainty of the operation, done quickly. But it was not Afghanistan that mattered but al-Qaida. The primary strategy was to contact and recruit or hire Afghan groups the U.S. was familiar with from the Afghan war against the Soviet Union and use them as the ground force to locate and destroy al-Qaida. The Afghan forces accompanied by CIA operatives and U.S. airpower identified the location of the group’s command but could not mount a decisive campaign against the base. The group dispersed and escaped into Pakistan.

At this point, the U.S. made a critical error. The government of Afghanistan, led by Mullah Mohammed Omar, had allowed al-Qaida to operate in its territory. Therefore, the U.S. thought, the government had to be destroyed and replaced. For al-Qaida, Afghanistan was merely a convenience. Other areas might be chosen, and many national or local leaders might have sheltered them or would shelter them in the future. For the U.S., to destroy the government required the destruction of the Taliban, a force that was an integral part of the nation. Washington’s primary strategy was to use airpower on cities that the Taliban occupied, a strategy that minimized U.S. casualties with what was believed to be maximum casualties for the Taliban. The Taliban understood the strategy and withdrew from the cities. The U.S. saw this as evidence that the Taliban had been defeated. But they had merely retreated from an untenable position and regrouped over time, forcing Washington into a war in which the Taliban had persistent tactical superiority. Strategically, neither side could “win” but the Taliban had to continue fighting, while the U.S. could withdraw. It was a question of time, and time was on the Taliban’s side.

The ouster of the Taliban government meant the United States had to create a new one. The U.S. tried to cobble together various elements into a coalition, but it didn’t work. Its members were frequently hostile to each other, many favored the Taliban, and the major force creating and protecting the new government was American. There was a desire to build an Afghan army, but the first volunteers for the new army belonged to anti-American forces. Unlike in, say, Germany and Japan, the U.S. was in no position to impose much punishment. It was impossible.

The United States then entered its final and longest mistake. It was aware that pacifying Afghanistan and creating a pro-U.S. government was impossible. But it also felt that abandoning Afghanistan would “send the wrong signal” to the Islamic world. The message the Islamic world received, however, was that the United States did not have an understanding of its enemy, was unwilling to provide sufficient force to even try to win, and was merely imposing pain on both sides without purpose. The continuation of a war that was unwinnable based on the illusion that continuation impressed anyone is a frequent theme in American post-World War II strategy.

The United States was not led by stupid people. 9/11 stunned and frightened them. They went into Afghanistan primarily to destroy the group that executed the attacks. When al-Qaida slipped into Pakistan, the U.S. could have stopped or could have continued its war against al-Qaida in Pakistan, with or without the help of Pakistani intelligence, and disrupted them sufficiently to make mounting other attacks impossible. Or the U.S. could have taken some time to see whether al-Qaida had any more attacks in store. Instead, Washington gradually shifted the main focus to Afghanistan while carrying out this covert fight against al-Qaida. In doing both, the U.S. began pyramiding strategic goals – leading to the invasion of Iraq, the deployment of forces in North Africa, and so on. It had the personnel to do so, but what it lacked was a coordinated decision-making process. This process operated on the assumption that any effort against any suspect target was imperative. What happened was that U.S. strategic awareness dissipated, followed by the dissipation of U.S. forces. In short, American goals got wider and more ambitious, while it reduced forces and tried to build a nation that looks like the United States in Afghanistan.

War must have a clear and attainable goal. It requires ruthless analysis and honesty. The spasm after 9/11 until the escape of al-Qaida at Tora Bora was rational, if a partial failure. After that, a war was launched without an attainable goal. For this, I do not blame the generals. They were carrying out their orders. I blame the senior civilian officials, particularly those after President George W. Bush who constantly criticized the war and made gestures to end it but let it go on. Even now, with President Joe Biden’s withdrawal, the U.S. is reportedly creating bases in Central Asia to attack Afghanistan if worse comes to worse. American culture finds it difficult to shape efforts to cohere with U.S. interests, and then simply can’t walk away when things go sideways. It’s a sign of strategic immaturity in a country that no longer is permitted to be immature. It’s been 20 years, and we are still readying airstrikes.

There is an argument in foreign policy between idealists and realists. Reality must include ideals because without them, what would be the point of acting as we do? Idealism must understand the limits of power, or it will do awful things while claiming the best intent. War is sometimes necessary, and when it is deemed to be necessary, every life put at risk, on all sides, must be treated as precious, their death both tragic and necessary. Fighting a war based on fantasy and insufficient force is a violation of fundamental moral principles. The U.S. will lose wars as all nations do, but we must understand precisely why we are in that war. Twenty years is a long time to not understand.

ccp

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Rich Lowry : withdrawal "folly"
« Reply #1689 on: July 09, 2021, 08:23:25 AM »
https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/07/joe-bidens-afghan-withdrawal-folly/#slide-1

Donald Trump was in favor of withdrawal
  so one could say this is almost the only thing Biden carried out that Trump wanted

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1690 on: July 09, 2021, 06:12:44 PM »
I would note that the argument about "Look! No casualties for a year!!" arguably ignores that perhaps the Taliban has held off during negotiations with the US and were we to change our mind, that would change dramatically.

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1691 on: July 10, 2021, 06:15:51 AM »
This is a nice short read, with some unique view points by a knowledgeable source as to whats happening between Pak, Haqqanis, Taliban and the US.

https://stratnewsglobal.com/neighbours/afghanistan/taliban-faultlines-pakistans-isi-elevates-haqqani-network-front-and-centre/

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1692 on: July 12, 2021, 04:53:00 AM »
uly 12, 2021
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A New Reality Emerges in Afghanistan
Key external players in the country seem to be taking a different approach.
By: Ekaterina Zolotova

The security situation in Afghanistan has been deteriorating since the United States and NATO began to withdraw their forces earlier this year. In early July, the Taliban took control of the largest border crossing to Iran in the west and Kandahar in the south. Taliban officials said last week that the group now controls 85 percent of the country’s territory. It also reportedly controls the entire border with Tajikistan.

The situation is concerning not only because of the potential for escalating violence but also because Afghanistan occupies an important geopolitical space connecting the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Its location has long made it the subject of competition between various powers vying for access to its resource-rich land and openings to other critical markets. Today, however, the key external players in the country seem to be taking a different approach. The United States has promised to pull out all of its troops by the end of August. Russia has adopted a wait-and-see approach. And Turkey has stayed out of the fighting, though it has offered to guard the airport in Kabul after the NATO withdrawal. For now, at least, it seems external actors have accepted the limitations of foreign intervention in Afghanistan, meaning a new reality is emerging for the war-torn country.

United States

The United States has seen Afghanistan as an area of interest for decades, but it’s goals there have changed over time. After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. launched an operation to try to overthrow the Taliban, which Washington said had harbored the group responsible for the attacks: al-Qaida. But the United States’ interests in the country were always limited, in part because carrying out operations so far from home carries huge logistical challenges and in part because the United States had more critical goals at that time.


(click to enlarge)

One of Washington’s main geopolitical objectives in Afghanistan was to create a foothold in the region to limit the progress of the Commonwealth of Independent States, an alliance of post-Soviet countries that includes some of Afghanistan’s neighbors. It also wanted control over energy resources and a strategic presence in the region. The United States remembered the Soviets’ miscalculations during their war in Afghanistan and thought it could learn from them.

The U.S.-led coalition managed to overthrow the Taliban government and, by 2013, delivered control of over 70 percent of the country to the new government in Kabul. However, two key factors have compelled the U.S. to retreat now. First, even as the U.S.-backed administration was winning control over a growing portion of Afghanistan, the Taliban still had significant influence in the country. This influence evolved into resistance against the U.S.-led government, and Kabul struggled to hold on to much of the country despite the substantial resources Washington had invested in the longest war in U.S. history. Indeed, it has become clear that maintaining control requires the presence of U.S. troops on the ground, which carries a higher cost than the benefits are worth.

Second, and more important, other foreign powers are too busy elsewhere to get involved in the Afghan quagmire. China is preoccupied with its own economic problems, Russia sees little benefit in entering the fray militarily, and other external actors that might have interests in the country aren’t much of a threat to the U.S. anyway. Plus, Washington is increasingly looking to regional players to share the burden of securing hotspots like Afghanistan while it turns its attention to the Indo-Pacific region. Considering their proximity to the country, China and Russia may be forced to deal with the issue in the future – and since the U.S. sees these two countries as its biggest threats, leaving behind some instability there may actually have some benefits.

Turkey

Ankara has been involved in Afghanistan since the fall of the regime of Mohammad Najibullah, who led the country until 1992. It has several interests in Afghanistan. First, one of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top goals is to transform Turkey into the political center of the Muslim world, and Afghanistan is one piece of this puzzle, especially because it’s on the doorstep of Central Asia, a region home to many Turkic-speaking populations. Second, expanding Turkish influence in Afghanistan and Central Asia is one way of countering Ankara’s historical rival, Russia. Third, Turkey sees some potential economic benefits. It has promoted the Lapis Lazuli corridor, a project connecting Afghanistan to Turkey through Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, bypassing Iran, Russia and China. This project could reduce Turkey’s dependence on its neighbors. The Afghan market, especially its construction sector, also has some promise for Turkish business.


(click to enlarge)

The Taliban and external powers do not see Turkey’s presence in Afghanistan as a threat. Turkish involvement there has been limited to Kabul. (It has offered to guard the capital’s airport after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.) Besides, Ankara lacks the resources to carry out its neo-Ottoman agenda in multiple theaters at once. (Turkey is also active in the Syrian conflict, building closer ties in Central Asia and increasing its presence in North Africa.) If anything, the United States is likely glad to see another country step up and help with security and reconstruction efforts.

Turkey’s plan to secure the Kabul airport is more likely an attempt to reap some benefit from the money it’s already invested in the country. For example, 90 percent of the 76 Turkish companies operating in Afghanistan work in the construction and contracting sectors. These companies developed 701 projects between 2003 and 2018, worth a total of roughly $6.6 billion. As a result, the Afghan people have a generally positive perception of Turkey. The Taliban have criticized Turkey’s plan to guard the airport but also expressed hope for close ties with Ankara following the troop withdrawal.

Turkey Afghanistan Trade Relations

(click to enlarge)

Russia

For Russia, the stability of Afghanistan is critical because the country borders Central Asia, an important buffer region to its south.

In the 19th century, Russia and Britain began competing for influence over the country. After World War II, the Soviets saw expanding their influence there as a foreign policy priority, largely because of its need to expand its sphere of influence during the Cold War. After it lost control over its satellite republics following the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, Russia no longer saw Afghanistan as a buffer state. Today, it’s focused on maintaining a barrier between its own borders and the threats it sees emerging in Afghanistan.

That barrier is Central Asia. In contrast to the Soviet Union, Russia today has drawn a clear line – at the Turkmen, Tajik and Uzbek border – beyond which it’s not willing to get involved militarily. Thus, its primary interest in Afghanistan is how the instability there could affect Central Asian countries. Spillover of violence, the drug trade and extremist elements from Afghanistan pose a threat to Central Asia and, in turn, to Russia as well.

Though the Kremlin has promised to do what it can to prevent further escalation of the conflict, including using its 201st military base in Tajikistan, it’s hesitant to get involved. The Soviet war with Afghanistan was widely unpopular and resulted in heavy losses – including the deaths of more than 15,000 Soviet troops. The Kremlin doesn’t want to see history repeating itself. Nor does it want to undermine the government’s approval ratings ahead of elections in the fall.

Moscow is now taking a different path forward. It’s negotiating directly with the Taliban, in part to get reassurances that their activities will be limited to Afghan territory and in part to raise its own profile as a mediator. Taliban representatives met with Russia’s special envoy for Afghanistan in Moscow on July 8. The group had previously promised during talks in Tehran not to allow its territory to be used to stage attacks on Russia.

Changing Expectations

These official meetings in Moscow and Tehran are part of the Taliban’s new playbook. In an effort to gain international recognition, they are now more open to negotiation than they have been in the past. External actors, however, recognize that no matter how strong the Taliban grow within Afghanistan, their ability to expand beyond their borders is very limited. Their goal now is simply to maintain their positions, which creates room for negotiation. Russia, for example, has said it may consider removing the Taliban from its list of terrorist organizations. The United States, meanwhile, has said it will continue to provide support economically and militarily.

Global powers see that a new reality is emerging. U.S. and NATO troops are pulling out, and Afghan army troops are demoralized. The Taliban’s power is at its peak since the war began in 2001. The U.S., Turkey, Russia and others seem to have accepted their limitations and the fact that the future of Afghanistan will be determined by the Afghans themselves.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan
« Reply #1693 on: July 13, 2021, 12:45:40 PM »


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China into Afghanistan?
« Reply #1695 on: July 14, 2021, 02:33:16 AM »
The article fails to mention that President Trump had already committed America to leaving, yes?

Nonetheless, the issue of China moving in and the consequences thereof are well worth consideration.
================
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17565/afghanistan-withdrawal-china

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In decline
« Reply #1696 on: July 19, 2021, 11:49:19 AM »

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And yet the great game continues
« Reply #1697 on: July 19, 2021, 12:56:47 PM »
Brief: Russia Tries to Block US Plans for Central Asia
The Russian president reportedly proposed coordinating efforts in Afghanistan with the United States.
By: Geopolitical Futures
Background: Since the United States began withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban have been gaining strength and neighboring countries have been increasingly concerned about the potential for violent spillover. But the United States still intends to maintain a presence in South and Central Asia, and has been considering different locations for new military bases in the region. This is a worrying development for Russia, which doesn’t want the United States to form new ties within its buffer zone.

What Happened: Over the weekend, the Russian daily Kommersant reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested to U.S. President Joe Biden that the two countries could coordinate their activities in Afghanistan during the two leaders’ summit in Geneva in June. Putin proposed that their coordination could involve exchanges of information and be organized from Russian military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, according to the report.

Bottom Line: Putin’s proposal isn’t about reconciliation with the U.S.; rather, it’s an attempt to block Washington from gaining a foothold in Central Asia by offering to organize joint efforts on Russia’s own bases. This way, Moscow would have the upper hand: It could, to an extent, oversee the actions of U.S. troops and use joint efforts to combat the emerging threat from Afghanistan. The United States is very unlikely to agree to such an arrangement. Either way, the new focus on Central Asia leaves Russia well positioned to enhance its presence in the region.