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Afghanistan, Failure and Second Thoughts

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Afghanistan, Failure and Second Thoughts

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Written by Dr. Binoy Kampmark.

It is a country other powers simply cannot leave alone.  Even after abandoning its Kabul post in ignominy, tail tucked between their legs, Australia is now wondering if it should return – in some form.  The Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs has been sending out a few signals, none of them definitive. “We will not comment on intelligence matters,” a spokesman for foreign minister Senator Marise Payne stated tersely earlier this month.

The spokesman was, however, willing to make general remarks about a belated return.  When, he could not be sure, but Canberra’s diplomatic arrangements in Afghanistan “were always expected to be temporary, with the intention of resuming a permanent presence once circumstances permit.”  Australia continued “to engage closely with partners, including the Afghanistan government and coalition member countries.”  Rather embarrassing remarks, given the sudden closure of the embassy on June 18.

The Australian response, confused and stumbling, is much like that of their counterparts in Washington.  While the Biden administration speeds up the departure of troops, the cord to Kabul remains uncut though distinctly worn.  In April, the US House Services Committee was told by General Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, head of US Central Command, that the Pentagon was “further planning now for continued counterterrorism operations from within the region.”

Amanda Dory, acting undersecretary of defense for defense policy, also informed members that the Pentagon remained interested in considering “how to continue to apply pressure with respect to potential threats emanating from Afghanistan.”  Hazily, she claimed that the department was “looking throughout the region in terms of over-the-horizon opportunities.”

Such window dressing does little to confront the situation on the ground, which looks monstrously bleak for the increasingly titular Kabul government.  General Scott Miller, top US military commander in Afghanistan, clumsily admitted in June that, “Civil war is certainly a path that can be visualized if this continues on the trajectory it’s on right now.”  The hasty withdrawal from Bagram airbase on July 2 certainly gave the Taliban much scope to visualize that fact.

Unceremoniously hung out to dry in the Doha agreement forged by the US and the Taliban, the frail and terminal regime has imposed a month-long countrywide curfew to address the vigorous onslaught.  According to the interior ministry, the curfew is intended “to curb violence and limit the Taliban movements”, though it would not apply to Kabul, Panjshir and Nangarhar.

The US Air Force has also made a dozen airstrikes in southern Afghanistan, concerned by the Taliban’s push towards Kandahar, the second-largest city in the country.  “The United States has increased airstrikes in support of Afghan security forces in the past several days,” announced General McKenzie.  “And we’re prepared to continue this heightened level of support in the coming weeks if the Taliban continue their attacks.”

Such actions are only band aid measures at best.  The surrender of Afghan soldiers to the Taliban across numerous districts is inking the writing on the wall.  The response from Kabul is that the Afghan army is behaving strategically, refocusing attention on protecting urban centres.  In reality, they have lost both their mettle and the plot, with the Taliban in control of some 85 per cent of the country’s territory, including critical border checkpoints.  As a reminder of their emerging dominance, ghoulish material such as video footage showing the execution of 22 elite Afghan commandos, trained by US forces, terrifies government soldiers.

But McKenzie is a picture of hope over experience.  “The Taliban are attempting to create a sense of inevitability about their campaign.  They’re wrong.  There is no preordained conclusion to this fight.”

Other countries are also bubbling with concern, which, when translated into security matters, imply future interference.  Russia, bloodied and bruised by its own Afghanistan experience, casts a concerned eye at the Taliban train.  “The uncertainty of the development of the military-political situation in this country and around it has increased,” stated Russia’s grave foreign minister Sergey Lavrov earlier this month.  “Unfortunately, in recent days we have witnessed a rapid degradation of the situation in Afghanistan.”  It was “obvious that in the current conditions there are real risks of an overflow of instability to neighbouring states.”

Moscow shares, with Washington, a dark paternalism towards the country.  While the Biden administration has shown less interest of late, Moscow is looking for reassurance against impending chaos.  “It is the feeling in Moscow,” reasoned Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the Moscow-based Russia in Global Affairs, “that the US is not able to, or even interested in, maintaining a presence in the region to guarantee any particular future direction in Afghanistan.”  The implications of this are ominous enough.

The emptying of the barracks does not put an end to the prying and meddling from non-Afghan personnel.  The country will still host a myriad of special forces and intelligence officials.  Excuses for maintaining some militarised footprint will be traditional: the threat posed by terrorism; the thriving opium trade.  The contractor business will also boom.  A Taliban victory promises a slice of violence for everybody, but so does the presence of this feeble Afghan government.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

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YankeeGoHome

Finally, honest commentary. The US had its Saigon moment disappearing in the dark of the night from Bagram airbase. The racist genocidal Aussies stand no chance. Shortsighted and short on memory, they forget how better, bigger European empires succumbed to the (real) Afghans. They should be slaughtered like cattle, including their diplomats. All special forces, especially Mr Prince’s variety should be massacred with extreme prejudice. The Taliban should then flood Western Europe and USA with Cheap Heroin to pay for the reconstruction of their homeland. Hopefully the combination of Heroine O/D’s and US Veteran suicides will go some way in relieving the US’s Karmic debt of genocide in Afghanistan. That still leaves Iraq, Syria and Libya to pay for.

Last edited 2 months ago by YankeeGoHome
S Balu

Yankee go home
Best comment I read
Price’s verity should be buried near ants hill alive or in the snake pit
SLOW DEATH IS THE BEST PRESCRIPTION

Ragheadthefiendlyterrorist

The Australistani regime has always been remarkable in that, like its Canadastani counterpart, it is a slave by choice. In WWI and WWII it deliberately jumped into wars that were Brutain’s, not its own. It invaded Gallipoli for Brutain and sent troops to defend the Brutish colony of Malaya. When the Brutish Empire collapsed, the Australistani regime could have decided to be neutral. But, no, it needed to be a slave; having lost one master, it had to find another. So it jumped to join the Amerikastani invasion of Vietnam, which even Brutain had the intelligence to stay out of, and then of course invaded Afghanistan and Iraq on orders of its Amerikastani slaveowners. It literally is incapable of independent existence. So you can be certain that whatever it does in Afghanistan is by orders of its imperial master. It has no ability to have a thought of its own.

Last edited 2 months ago by Ragheadthefiendlyterrorist
Peter Wallace

The mission of the US in Afghanistan was to capture or kill Osama bin Laden who the Taliban refused to hand over too America without proof that he was actually involved in 9/11. Once Bin Laden disappeared , believed to be dead or at least seriously wounded , in the caves of Tora Bora then the US mission was over. Instead they stayed for another 20 years making up reasons and excuses as they went. Perhaps the intention was originally too attack and take over Afghanistan where they had been involved for decades creating the trap to draw in Russia in an unwinable war . 9/11 was a convenient excuse , an excuse they have used against other countries when needed. What was the real reason that the US wanted to be Afghanistan. That is not for us peasants to know . Ours is but to do and die just like the 600 who rode into the valley of death . Who was that British General who ordered a full frontal attack against the German trenches just hours before an arranged armistice had been called. For what reason did thousands of men need to die to achieve nothing as peace and a ceasefire was arranged to happen at 11.00 am.

Muay Thai

whenever i hear “America lost”, i cringe. they achieved their main objective: to kill.. and they killed. just like Vietnam. they left when they were ready.

Ragheadthefiendlyterrorist

They even admit to not taking out bin Laden in 2001 when they had bin in their sights.

It was never about bin Laden.

Raptar Driver

He died in a hospital of kidney failure, 2001.
It is even in the Pakistani newspapers if anybody cares to look them up.

Peter Wallace

Benazir Bhutto the Pakistani leader who was later assassinated told David Frost in an interview that Bin Laden had been killed by Omar ???? She clearly states that Bin leaden was killed and that was years before the Yanks ” found” him in Pakistan , killed him , dumped his body in the sea that no one ever saw happen and later most of the Seal Team involved against all rules climbed onto 1 helicopter for a secret mission and got blown out of the sky by the Taliban who then were heard announcing they had just killed the Seal team that had killed Bin Laden. How would they know unless told they were coming. Witnesses at the compound , neighbors heard the local dialect being used on the helicopters which the Seal team would not have known and that NO helicopter ever took off. That was on Pakistan TV but suddenly all that disappeared. The neighbors also said they knew the man and family living next door and he was not Bin Laden. So much bullshit in the world for the sheep to suck up as fact. You can never believe a Yank. Even if he told you he was dead he would most likely be lying.

S Balu

Ragheadthefiendlyterrorist
It was to Destroy Muslim countries and long term destabilization of China,Russia
And India

S Balu

Peter Wallace
Sorry whole mission by USA/NATO was to destroy Muslim countries ie first thing they did In Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan etc is destroy their state institutions,schools,universities,hospitals and bomb them to Stone Age
Then impose puppets to create chaos in neighboring countries ie China,Russia
India etc

Peter Wallace

Their stated mission was to capture/kill Bin Laden but as you say the real missions which are never stated was to do as you say. I should have clarified that point in my comment. Thanks.

S Balu

Firsts these so called Australians are in reality ILLEGAL WHITE EUROPEAN GARBAGE SQUATTERS IN ABORIGINALAND AND THEY SHOULD BE THROWN INTO SEA BY COMBINED FORCES OF CHINA AND INDIA THUS ALLOWING THESE TWO COUNTRIES TO DIVIDE THE COUNTRY AND MOVE THEIR SURPLUS POPULATION THERE
Whole game by these illegal squatters is to entice India to focus into Afghanistan with
Their boots on ground and create CHAOS IN NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES
Sad part is neither Indians and Chinese LEADERSHIP are NOT VISIONARY THEY ARE
FOCUSING ON SMALL PIE BIGGEST PIE IS ABORIGINALAND WHERE THERE ENOUGH LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

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