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rebels8  
#241 Posted : Wednesday, August 11, 2021 1:29:43 AM(UTC)
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Well it looks like the bipartisan Trump-Biden withdrawal from Afghanistan is quickly turning out to be a de facto surrender to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and likely also hostile powers in the region. The Taliban is of course getting stronger as it conquers more and more of Afghanistan from the increasingly demoralized Afghan military. And Al Qaeda in Afghanistan is getting stronger too. Furthermore, Russia, China, Iran, and Pakistan are all in Afghanistan's neighborhood. Afghanistan's strategic location is one reason that Afghanistan is often known as the "graveyard of empires" and has been the object of multiple "great games" between various powers over the centuries.

https://amp-cnn-com.cdn....alysis-intl%2Findex.html

https://www.cnn.com/2021...eda-ties-intl/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2021...iden-intl-cmd/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2021...reat-cmd-intl/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2021...te-department/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2021...stan-intl-hnk/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2021...-taliban-intl/index.html

Edited by user Wednesday, August 11, 2021 1:31:42 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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rebels8  
#242 Posted : Sunday, August 15, 2021 1:54:23 PM(UTC)
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So what does everyone think about Kabul falling to the Taliban? It kind of makes you wonder why we even have a huge national security establishment if our government under both parties is either unable or unwilling to protect our foreign policy and national security interests long-term.

I think that Syria and Afghanistan are twin strategic debacles for the West. The fact that the Western world, led by the U.S., was unable or unwilling to futher and protect our shared interests in those two countries is an absolute travesty.

Furthermore, other U.S. allies around the world from Estonia to Taiwan have to be watching the fall of Kabul with trepidation. I know this will sound hyperbolic but the fall of Kabul very well could portend the eventual fall of Taipei. Because if the U.S. isn't able or willing to stand up to a less technologically advanced militant group, we sure won't be able or willing to stand up to the nuclear-armed most populous nation in the world

At the bottom is the link to a quite moving column by Johnny Mercer, a British Member of Parliament and former Army officer who served three tours in Afghanistan. It's a travesty that Biden didn't consult with our allies before he decided to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Because over the last few years, less than half of international troops in Afghanistan have been American with more of the burden of the train, advise, and assist mission being borne by our allies. So Trump and Biden's surrender in Afghanistan could very well have long-term repercussions for the relationship between the U.S. and our allies.


https://www.politico.eu/..._twitter_impression=true

Edited by user Sunday, August 15, 2021 1:58:17 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Kaliino  
#243 Posted : Thursday, August 19, 2021 8:46:43 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: rebels8 Go to Quoted Post
So what does everyone think about Kabul falling to the Taliban?

As someone who has spent an extended period of time in Afghanistan... I can tell you that this was always the expected outcome. The real question is what will the U.S., our allies, or neighboring countries in the area do now that the Taliban has essentially seized all of the equipment we provided to the "Afghan National Army"? Initially, I would've guessed absolutely nothing, except that the recent video footage of our military aircraft flying away while surrounded by hundreds of Afghans attempting to seek refuge puts extreme political pressure on Biden. It was definitely a bad look, but of course the pilots could not have stopped and let their plane be overrun, even though the Afghan locals' desperation was undeniable.

In general, there are two ways to interpret the Taliban successfully re-taking control over Kabul: 1) the past 20 years of U.S. involvement was a total waste or 2) the Afghan locals failed to utilize the support provided to them by the U.S. in order to protect themselves. I would argue that both interpretations are correct. Afghanistan has always fallen victim to financial and political weakness, but the primary reason why it remains a failed state is because of cultural issues.

Afghans don't have the same value system as Americans and their priorities are more specific. While some actively contested the Taliban in the past, the majority decided to remain passive. The Afghan National Army's immediate surrender provides evidence that this culture has not changed over the past two decades and it probably never will.

In my opinion, if the U.S. and our allies could not effectively resolve Afghanistan's problems after 20 years of military occupation and economic investment, then no more time, resources, or American lives should be wasted trying to resolve them in the future. In response to the long-term national security concerns posed by this outcome, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Any attempt by China, Russia, Iran, or Pakistan to seize control of Afghanistan will result in the same unproductive outcome. However, these country's are historically more subtle in their approach and will most likely experience relatively more success than we did, especially since we've given them 20 years of "what not to do" experience.

The good news is the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow and evolve, so let's hope it keeps everyone distracted.

Edited by user Thursday, August 19, 2021 9:00:20 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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rebels8 on 8/21/2021(UTC)
rebels8  
#244 Posted : Saturday, August 21, 2021 12:23:22 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Kaliino Go to Quoted Post


In general, there are two ways to interpret the Taliban successfully re-taking control over Kabul: 1) the past 20 years of U.S. involvement was a total waste or 2) the Afghan locals failed to utilize the support provided to them by the U.S. in order to protect themselves. I would argue that both interpretations are correct. Afghanistan has always fallen victim to financial and political weakness, but the primary reason why it remains a failed state is because of cultural issues.

Afghans don't have the same value system as Americans and their priorities are more specific. While some actively contested the Taliban in the past, the majority decided to remain passive. The Afghan National Army's immediate surrender provides evidence that this culture has not changed over the past two decades and it probably never will.



Yeah I think that cultural issues can't be overstated in understanding the victory of the Taliban and the failure of the Afghan military. And the failure to understand Afghan culture is as much a problem for supporters of the withdrawal as it is for opponents. Because neither Trump nor Biden nor their top foreign policy advisers seemed to understand or care that the Taliban started making deals with various Afghan tribes as soon as the Doha agreement was signed in February 2020. The Taliban did the same thing when they took over the first time in the 90s and so did we when we overthrew the Taliban in 2001. Karzai, with the backing of the U.S., made deals with various Pashtun tribes to get them to join us against the Taliban. While many Afghan soldiers fought the Taliban bravely and some even died, others put down their weapons because of these deals between the Taliban and various tribes as well as Afghan government officials, including senior Afghan military commanders.

The startling thing is that Trump and Biden's chief negotiator with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalizad, is Afghan-born. So he should have been cognizant, more than anyone else on the American side, of the vagaries of traditional Afghan culture. Bruce Riedel, an expert on Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Brookings Institution and a former senior CIA analyst, has said that Khalizad is "inept." Khalizad also dabbled in domestic Afghan politics by getting close to various unscrupulous Afghan political figures and even considered running for President of Afghanistan, both of which were huge conflicts of interest in his role as chief U.S. negotiator with the Taliban. Khalizad, Pompeo, and Trump also ignored the recommendations of lower-level foreign policy officials in the Trump administration who wanted a tougher peace deal with the Taliban. Obviously the biggest flaw of the Doha agreement is that it didn't involve the now-defeated Afghan government. The Trump administration should have insisted to the Taliban that the Afghan government be allowed to participate in the peace talks. And the Biden administration should have renegotiated the agreement by bringing the Afghan government and Taliban together before they decided to withdraw.

Originally Posted by: Kaliino Go to Quoted Post


In response to the long-term national security concerns posed by this outcome, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Any attempt by China, Russia, Iran, or Pakistan to seize control of Afghanistan will result in the same unproductive outcome. However, these country's are historically more subtle in their approach and will most likely experience relatively more success than we did, especially since we've given them 20 years of "what not to do" experience.



Well I don't expect China, Russia, Iran, or Pakistan to try to occupy parts of Afghanistan as we did the past 20 years or as the Soviets did in the 80s. However, those four countries as well as the Gulf States will likely try to influence the new Taliban regime and provide various types of support to that regime. Obviously the U.S. should try to support any and all opponents and resistance to the Taliban regime, not counting the ISIS branch in Afghanistan that is ostensibly an enemy of the Taliban. However, it is unclear at this time if there are any anti-Taliban militias that can become strong enough to take on the Taliban in a serious way.
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rebels8  
#245 Posted : Tuesday, August 31, 2021 2:15:55 PM(UTC)
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The following is a link to probably the best article that I've read so far on the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the resultant Taliban takeover of the country. The columnist, foreign policy scholar Robert Kagan, puts the entire 20 year war in Afghanistan into historical context.

The best passage of the article is this: "We live history forward, in the chaos of onrushing events, without a clear guide. But we judge history backward, smugly armed with the knowledge of what did happen and uninterested in what might have happened. This partly explains the oscillation of U.S. foreign policy over the decades between periods of high involvement overseas and periods of withdrawal and retrenchment. In the case of World War I, the recoiling from what came to be regarded as the great error of intervention led to two decades in which Americans so removed themselves from involvement in Europe and East Asia that they unwittingly helped bring about the next great war they would once again be dragged into fighting. One wonders whether this pattern will eventually repeat itself in Afghanistan."

https://www.washingtonpo...nistan-americans-forget/
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