By Pepe Escobar: The Saker Blog and cross-posted at the Unz Review.
The first Taliban press conference after this weekend’s Saigon moment geopolitical earthquake, conducted by spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, was in itself a game-changer.
The contrast could not be starker with those rambling pressers at the Taliban embassy in Islamabad after 9/11 and before the start of the American bombing – proving this is an entirely new political animal.
Yet some things never change. English translations remain atrocious.
Here is a good summary of the key Taliban statements, and
here (in Russian) is a very detailed roundup.
These are the key takeaways.
– No problem for women to get education all the way to college, and to continue to work. They just need to wear the hijab (like in Qatar or Iran). No need to wear a burqa. The Taliban insists, “all women’s rights will be guaranteed within the limits of Islamic law.”
– The Islamic Emirate “does not threaten anyone” and will not treat anyone as enemies. Crucially, revenge – an essential plank of the Pashtunwali code – will be abandoned, and that’s unprecedented. There will be a general amnesty – including people who worked for the former NATO-aligned system. Translators, for instance, won’t be harassed, and don’t need to leave the country.
– Security of foreign embassies and international organizations “is a priority.” Taliban special security forces will protect both those leaving Afghanistan and those who remain.
– A strong inclusive Islamic government will be formed. “Inclusive” is code for the participation of women and Shi’ites.
– Foreign media will continue to work undisturbed. The Taliban government will allow public criticism and debate. But “freedom of speech in Afghanistan must be in line with Islamic values.”
– The Islamic Emirate of Taliban wants recognition from the “international community” – code for NATO. The overwhelming majority of Eurasia and the Global South will recognize it anyway. It’s essential to note, for example, the closer integration of the expanding SCO – Iran is about to become a full member, Afghanistan is an observer – with ASEAN: the absolute majority of Asia will not shun the Taliban.
For the record, they also stated that the Taliban took all of Afghanistan in only 11 days: that’s pretty accurate. They stressed “very good relations with Pakistan, Russia and China.” Yet the Taliban don’t have formal allies and are not part of any military-political bloc. They definitely “won’t allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for international terrorists”. That’s code for ISIS/Daesh.
On the key issue of opium/heroin: the Taliban will ban their production. So, for all practical purposes, the CIA heroin rat line is dead.
As eyebrow raising as these statements may be, the Taliban did not even get into detail on economic/infrastructure development deals – as they will need a lot of new industries, new jobs and improved Eurasian-wide trade relations. That will be announced later.
The go-to Russian guy
Sharp US observers are remarking, half in jest, that the Taliban in only one sitting answered more real questions from US media than POTUS since January.
What this first press conference reveals is how the Taliban are fast absorbing essential P.R. and media lessons from Moscow and Beijing, emphasizing ethnic harmony, the role of women, the role of diplomacy, and deftly defusing in a single move all the hysteria raging across NATOstan.
The next bombshell step in the P.R. wars will be to cut off the lethal, evidence-free Taliban-9/11 connection; afterwards the “terrorist organization” label will disappear, and the Taliban as a political movement will be fully legitimized.
Moscow and Beijing are meticulously stage-managing the Taliban reinsertion in regional and global geopolitics. This means that ultimately the SCO is stage-managing the whole process, applying a consensus reached after a series of ministerial and leaders meetings, leading to a very important summit next month in Dushanbe.
The key player the Taliban are talking to is Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s special presidential envoy for Afghanistan. In yet another debunking of NATOstan narrative, Kabulov confirmed, for instance, “we see no direct threat to our allies in Central Asia. There are no facts proving otherwise.”
The Beltway will be stunned to learn that Zabulov has also revealed, “we have long been in talks with the Taliban on the prospects for development after their capture of power and they have repeatedly confirmed that they have no extraterritorial ambition, they learned the lessons of 2000.” These contacts were established “over the past 7 years.”
Zabulov reveals plenty of nuggets when it comes to Taliban diplomacy: “If we compare the negotiability of colleagues and partners, the Taliban have long seemed to me much more negotiable than the puppet Kabul government. We proceed from the premise that the agreements must be implemented. So far, with regard to the security of the embassy and the security of our allies in Central Asia, the Taliban have respected the agreements.”
Faithful to its adherence to international law, and not the “rules-based international order”, Moscow is always keen to emphasize the responsibility of the UN Security Council: “We must make sure that the new government is ready to behave conditionally, as we say, in a civilized manner. That’s when this point of view becomes common to all, then the procedure [of removing the qualification of the Taliban as a terrorist organization] will begin.”
So while the US/EU/NATO flee Kabul in spasms of self-inflicted panic, Moscow practices – what else – diplomacy. Zabulov: “That we have prepared the ground for a conversation with the new government in Afghanistan in advance is an asset of Russian foreign policy.”
Dmitry Zhirnov, Russia’s ambassador to Afghanistan, is working overtime with the Taliban. He met a senior Taliban security official yesterday. The meeting was “positive, constructive…The Taliban movement has the most friendly; the best policy towards Russia… He arrived alone in one vehicle, with no guards.”
Both Moscow and Beijing have no illusions that the West is already deploying Hybrid War tactics to discredit and destabilize a government that isn’t even formed and hasn’t even started working. No wonder Chinese media is describing Washington as a “strategic rogue.”
What matters is that Russia-China are way ahead of the curve, cultivating parallel inside tracks of diplomatic dialogue with the Taliban. It’s always crucial to remember that Russia harbors 20 million Muslims, and China at least 35 million. These will be called to support the immense project of Afghan reconstruction – and full Eurasia reintegration.
The Chinese saw it coming
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi saw it coming weeks ago. And that explains the meeting in Tianjin in late July, when he hosted a high-level Taliban delegation, led by Mullah Baradar, de facto conferring them total political legitimacy. Beijing already knew the Saigon moment was inevitable. Thus the statement stressing China expected to “play an important role in the process of peaceful reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan”.
What this means in practice is China will be a partner of Afghanistan on infrastructure investment, via Pakistan, incorporating it into an expanded China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) bound to diversify connectivity channels with Central Asia. The New Silk Road corridor from Xinjiang to the port of Gwadar in the Arabian Sea will branch out: the first graphic illustration is Chinese construction of the ultra-strategic Peshawar-Kabul highway.
The Chinese are also building a major road across the geologically spectacular, deserted Wakhan corridor from western Xinjiang all the way to Badakhshan province, which incidentally, is now under total Taliban control.
The trade off is quite straightforward: the Taliban should allow no safe haven for the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), and no interference in Xinjiang.
The overall trade/security combo looks like a certified win-win. And we’re not even talking about future deals allowing China to exploit Afghanistan’s immense mineral wealth.
Once again, the Big Picture reads like the Russia-China double helix, connected to all the “stans” as well as Pakistan, drawing a comprehensive game plan/road map for Afghanistan. In their multiple contacts with both Russians and Chinese, the Taliban seem to have totally understood how to profit from their role in the New Great Game.
The extended New Axis of Evil
Imperial Hybrid War tactics to counteract the scenario are inevitable. Take the first proclamation of a Northern Alliance “resistance”, in theory led by Ahmad Masoud, the son of the legendary Lion of the Panjshir killed by al-Qaeda two days before 9/11.
I met Masoud father – an icon. Afghan insider info on Masoud son is not exactly flattering. Yet he’s already a darling of woke Europeans, complete with a glamour pose for AFP, an impromptu visit in the Panjshir by professional philosopher swindler Bernard-Henri Levy, and the release of a manifesto of sorts published in several European newspapers, exhibiting all the catchphrases: “tyranny”, “slavery”, “vendetta”, “martyred nation”, “Kabul screams”, “nation in chains”, etc.
The whole set up smells like a “son of Shah” [of Iran] gambit. Masoud son and his mini-militia are completely surrounded in the Panjshir mountains and can’t be de facto effective even when it comes to regimenting the under 25s, two-thirds of the Afghan population, whose main worry is to find real jobs in a nascent real economy.
Woke NATOstan “analyses” of Taliban Afghanistan don’t even qualify as irrelevant, insisting that Afghanistan is not strategic and even lost its tactical importance for NATO. It’s a sorry spectacle illustrating how Europe is hopelessly behind the curve, drenched in trademark neo-colonialism of the White Man’s Burden variety as it dismisses a land dominated by clans and tribes.
Expect China to be one of the first powers to formally recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, alongside Turkey and, later on, Russia. I have already alluded to the coming of a New Axis of Evil: Pakistan-Taliban-China. The axis will inevitably be extended to Russia-Iran. So what? Ask Mullah Baradar: he couldn’t care less.
It heartening to read a realistic approach than the Western withdrawal symptoms of a heroin addict (you can only imagine the size of those symptoms considering the heavy dose loss).
Anyway, I fear the talibs are being a bit overly benign of the Natoo presence around the airport. There’s a considerable military presence and the West is going completely ape-shit back home. Looking for all and any out of context reporting. Ghani I think is expected to make a speech and the former vice president is still claiming his post. These are minor challenges but a story is being built that the withdrawal was a mistake. Its pretty hyperbolic to be honest. Seems anything can happen.
I would be telling the taliban to give an ultimatum of a week to fully withdraw. Sabotage seems to be a low but potential possibility.
Once again, the Vineyard of the Saker has cutting-edge geopolitical news.
“Woke NATOstan “analyses” of Taliban Afghanistan don’t even qualify as irrelevant, insisting that Afghanistan is not strategic and even lost its tactical importance for NATO. It’s a sorry spectacle illustrating how Europe is hopelessly behind the curve, drenched in trademark neo-colonialism of the White Man’s Burden variety as it dismisses a land dominated by clans and tribes”
i.e. its not woke at all.
No, its just the reaction of a beaten childish bully who has just had a toy taken from them which they have held on to for far too long. They teased other kids with it and would not let anyone else have a go, until suddenly another kid comes along and snatches it away and the bully child says, “didn’t want it anyway, I’m finished with it, I will let you play with it now”. It is a pathetic display of weakness and childishness which sums up the US, UK, and EU very well.
On another note, is the master stroke that was the containment of the US expaditionary combat force in the airport compound – 1000’s of troops backed by attack helicopters, mraps’s and spec ops.
They were clearly sent to deploy from the airport into key parts of Kabul to “secure” them.- as opposed to being only part of an evacuation plan. It does not take 7000 combat troops and attack helicopters to shuttle diplomatic staff to the airport and help other troops board planes.
This containment move by the Taliban has been overlooked in the mainstream and from a military standpoint is as good as a defeat – they are trapped like fish in a barrel and the brass know it.
For years, this blitzreig entrapment and containment move will be studied by military tacticians and students alike – it is one of the most embarrasing episodes in US military history, and they should be thankful the body bags do not number 7000.
There are no military tactics to study, shear political, Pepe explains it fairly simply, Russians planted the seeds, tended the crop, and with little sweat and blood, will enjoy the harvest. While the Chinese likely supplied the impliments.
Yes, let the Taliban claim victory………..but while they had the man power, no offence, they lacked the diplomacy and kid gloves. This has FM Lavrov’s prints all over it, master diplomat that he is….who will be studied in ‘military’ and political circles for decades to come……….let’s give credit, it’s due.
you make really excellent and very subtle points all to easily overlooked in the chaos
Erdogan is the wild card here, he wants to draw in the Taliban in his Syrian quagmire and perhaps elsewhere.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said Turkey was still prepared to protect Kabul airport following the Taliban takeover, and Ankara was talking with all concerned parties.
“We aimed at ensuring the security of the airport and contributing to the security of this country after the withdrawal of American (troops). We still maintain this intention,” Erdogan said in a televised interview.
I’d expect Erdogan to first and foremost protect his lifetime dream of becoming Calife à la place du Calife, appearing to the world as the Sunni global supreme spokesman, the XXI century Ataturk, at the centennial date of 2023.
So, is Erdogan able to coopt the Taliban? I doubt it. He is NATO, unless he walks away, which I doubt he is fully willing to do. Do the Taliban really need him? what for? as a NATO mediator? Could Erdogan federate or lead turkophone people in the central Stans? I doubt it again, even if all of them are already on board the AIIB, and even so, I’d bet there are not so many of them as Pashtuns&Tadjiks, not to mention Iranians or Pakistanis…
I do not see clearly how Erdogan could play this time his typical duplicity of carving his power while playing double agent with Russia, NATO, AND China, AND Iran, AND Pakistan…
Has he been threatened again by NATO? “Send in jihadis to Kabul or else 2016 again”…
The best Erdogan can do at the moment is to send his jihadist fighters to Panjshir but given the Russian and Chinese weight behind the Taliban their chances of success are second to none.
Good article, but I read pretty much the same summary in the comments section a while ago.
I remember there were a couple of commentators on this very site who laid it all out months ago. One commentator even explained how Chinese Business men were seen building networks all over Afghanistan in the last 2 years or so. One commentator also explained that the goal of the Chinese was ultimately to create a very much needed oil and gas link (road and / or pipeline) between Iran and China. This would be a US choke point and sanction beating energy conduit. The rest of the Belt and Road and mining opportunities are a bonus in comparision to that massive strategic and economic energy corridor.
I am going to start reading the comments a little more carefully in future as some do seem to be providing insights many months ahead of the “analyists” and “experts”, even though at the time some did seem to be a bit “out there” if you know what I mean.
I tip my hat to all the intelligent and under appreciated people who comment here – Thankyou, and long may you continue.
Agree; after 7 years, the amount of insight gained from reading carefully this website is astounding. Many thanks to the Saker, the other posters like Pepe Escobar, and all commentators.
Pois eu já disse aqui uma vez e repito: esse é um lugar onde os comentários são tão bons e as vezes até melhores do que os artigos que lhes deram origem. Alguns comentadores são, sim, muito bem informados ao ponto de anteciparem com precisão razoável certos desdobramentos geopolíticos ou no mínimo chamando a atenção para fatos que nos fazem reconsiderar algumas ideias sobre um determinado tema. Colaboro com um jornal publicado em PDF e invariavelmente recorro a esse portal de informações para ter informações confiáveis. Quando comparo o que é dito aqui por qualquer pessoa com o que é dito pelos autoproclamados “especialistas” da mídia ocidental, é como ver a diferença entre um córrego de águas limpas e um esgoto a céu aberto. Francamente não consigo conceber que uma pessoa se sinta informada lendo, ouvindo ou vendo qualquer coisa que seja veiculada na mídia do ocidente que invariavelmente é atrelada a narrativa oriunda dos eua.
Well, I’ve said it here once and I repeat: this is a place where the comments are so good and sometimes even better than the articles that gave rise to them. Some commentators are, indeed, very well informed to the point of anticipating with reasonable precision certain geopolitical developments or at least drawing attention to facts that make us reconsider some ideas on a certain topic. I collaborate with a newspaper published in PDF and invariably turn to this information portal for reliable information. When I compare what is said here by anyone with what is said by self-proclaimed “experts” in the Western media, it’s like seeing the difference between a clean water stream and an open sewer. Frankly I can’t conceive that a person would feel informed by reading,
I believe that this analysis is spot on. It follows the traditional logic of the needs of an internal governmental framework with its necessary institutions serving the entire population, as well as the logical necessities of international relations based on the international law as traditionally developed.
The US/NATO “rule-based” system is a pile of b…s…. Finally a normal person, understanding the moral difference between right and wrong, between aggression and defence, between invader and native, can make sense of what is now taking place both in Afghanistan and the relations with its surrounding nations.
I also believe that because the Taliban understand honor, they will not break their word.
I wish them all the best.
The West has completely lost the concepts of chivalry and honor and trust.
I like this sentence from an article from Martin Armstrong:
“Behind a mask, you cannot see if there is a smile or a frown.”
To get the entire jist of what he is referring to read full article here. quite interesting:
– I was gasping for relief over the past couple of days observing the news cycles -had the breath of life punched out of me- but Pepe managed to ground me.
I was stunned, staggering around, unsure of where I stood, not so sure the world was so cogent anymore,
-however ur post got me think’n straight, I think it grabbed me by the shirt, slapped some sense in me again.
(thank u Pepe, Lynda, comment section, Saker, Russia, and China )
Want to believe every word but perhaps change that title a bit. (for diplomacy sake)
To add some sobering obstacles to peace in Afghanistan :
1. As noted, the West won’t simply fadeaway. Firstly they have huge economic leverage: around $9.6B of Afghan money is now frozen under US control. Like with Venezuela, they can choose to only release it to “legitimate” leaders eg Ahmad Massoud. This alone can prolong instability and infighting. Without basic economic security there can be no peace.
2. It is clear even the Taliban was caught off guard by the speed of central government capitulation. Until a Government is announced it is still unclear as to what the new system will be and how acceptable these will be to many key constituents.The longer this uncertainty persists, the more the instability.
3. Securing the provinces is harder than blitzing through them. Already there is unrest in a few including Jalabad. The destruction of a statute of a Hazara Icon (brutally killed by the Taliban 1.0.) in the hours after the press conference – pinned on the Taliban there – will also lead to disquiet.
4. Even assuming the leadership aim to be moderate, it is unclear as how the rural rank and file foot soldiers who tend be less worldly would behave. Reports from the provinces – even accounting for propaganda and disinfo – seem to show violence / revenge taking.
5. Even assuming the Taliban remains disciplined from leadership down to the soldier on the ground, it is unclear whether they can reign in / defend against the more radical internationalist groups that allied/fought with them
6. The job of securing the country let alone governing it then is immense. Without outside assistance it is nearly impossible and chaos would be inevitable.
This necessary outside assistance can only come China/Russia which will also have to be careful to work around any sanctions the West will impose.
The next few days/weeks are critical. Any newly formed central government in Kabul can only gain legitimacy among the people by not just saying the right things, but showing it has the capability of executing these actions, ensuring security and ability to fend off attacks from any recalcitrant factions.
Failure to do this will inevitably result in more instability, with more draconian measures being needed to quell unrest and a vicious cycle of infighting to once erupt.
Agree the next few weeks are critical. Or at least until complete withdrawal.
A small point that may have substance. I think Ashraf Ghani is now in UAE. If he had remained in Tajikistan or other CSTO Russian aligned country in Central Asia, the Russians with their influence wouldn’t have approved any provocative statement. Like claiming the Taliban have taken power by force and people should reject their govt.
However, in the Zionist UAE he is free to cause such trouble.
Only a thought.
“…around $9.6B of Afghan money is now frozen under US control”
These numbers (and claims of ownership) mean very little these days.
Basically non-money US Fed Reserve fiat IOU’s sloshing around in some imaginary spreadsheets.
The people in that region won’t have need for that ‘paper’ confetti and once their new system gets on its feet then China, Russia, Pakistan, India, Iran, etc will all have a much more normal regional economy emerging over time.
The one at risk atm is China with its $zillions at risk if they go hot on Taiwan.
And one can reasonably assume the US/Nato pullout was a calculated necessity in preparation for the next stage of empire ‘collapse’ and erasing the debts owed. Like a tsunami, the waters go out before the waves come back.
Russia has basically been de-dollarising and is now at very low risk levels.
China now has another sinkhole (plus Syria) to gift away $zillions for access to future real assets.
Interesting times ahead, imo.
from MoA commenters,
Original article – Afghanistan – What Will Happen Next? A Provisional Government And A New Constitution.
2 very notable comments :) comment 57 and 65 :)
Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Aug 18 2021 20:14 utc | 57
Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 18 2021 20:57 utc | 65
p/s talib Must hv min 10% women representives on the board! for optics or for real, 10% not one less!!!
“…around $9.6B of Afghan money is now frozen under US control”
These numbers (and claims of ownership) mean very little these days.
Basically non-money US Fed Reserve fiat IOU’s sloshing around in some imaginary spreadsheets.”
Yes and no. Is a good portion of the Western backed global financial system built on a house of sand. Yes. But does that mean it’s irrelevant in the real world? Unfortunately no.
Afghanistan has a Central Bank that’s fully tied in to this system (like indeed Russia’s and China’s are). While various attempts are being made to dedollarize it’s a process which is more than just not using dollars but seeking an alternative, reliable trade and settlement system.
Afghanistan’s CB – like all CBs – use these reserves to stabilizing their currencies. Absent that hyperinflation would be a result. What countries – and/or the IMF – typically do in these situation is give a line of credit till the country can get back on its feet. Absent the IMF – who have also frozen aid – there is no base value to the Afghani. (Keep in mind ALL fiat money is essentially fictious but can only be compared to some base fictious value – in this case the USD).
It could be that China steps in with a line of credit ($10B for them is pocket change); but why would they without any guarantee of what’s going to happen and/or some legal mechanism to have collateral (eg lithium deposits). But given an unstable situation with recognition of the Govt by key international members some time away (the West almost certainly will collectively refuse), China would be wary too.
So the Taliban needs to ensure that the internal economy at least functions. That banks can operate. Already there has been reports of run on banks/missing funds where fleeing bank personable have absonded with funds. The whole economic system can grind to a halt without a functioning central bank.
No doubt this is what a lot of back room negotiations are about. Again time is of the essence.
I echo Anonymous’s sentiment that a pile of greenbacks matter little in this particular context. Afghanistan’s security is of tremendous strategic importance to the entire SCO and they will be willing to invest considerably in realizing that. Afghanistan will struggle in the short- and perhaps medium-term but it won’t starve.
The real challenge will be national security and governance. Taliban showed mastery of local diplomacy in its 11-day diplomatic blitzkrieg of the entire country. But can it build an effective Taliban-led central government, and implement national security including information sovereignty upon that foundation?
Perhaps Dr. Abshna is correct in his assessment that the US Empire has made secret deals behind the back of the so called Afghan government with the Taliban.
It also appears the Taliban has some kind of arrangement with Russia and China.
I would think foggy bottom will resort to 4GW tactics and attempt to plunge Afghanistan into further chaos by infighting via groups like Ahmad Massoud’s. This too looks to have been anticipated by China and Russia. Perhaps the Empire of Woke has truly run out of cards to play in Central Asia. The whole house of lies might come tumbling down faster than anyone can anticipate for the entire Empire and its Satraps.
Now that Washington has frozen Afghanistan central bank assets (over $9B), this would be an excellent opportunity for the new Afghan government to build an entirely new economy around the yuan and digital yuan. Cutting out the dollar will significantly limit the power of dollar-based, opium trading warlords. It will also cripple any 5th column activities.
Thanks Saker for this article from Pepe. That Russia and China have been in constant dialog with the Taliban for quite some time now is reflected in the sensible, pragmatic, and strategic approach the Taliban has taken in their victory over the US/Nato/Ghani cluster f**k. I believe the Taliban see the way forward with their alliance to the BRI, and SCO. Women will be able to get an education and work. This shows the progress of today’s Taliban vs yesterday’s Taliban. Lessons learned. Good for them and good for Afghanistan.
”Afghan insider info on Masoud son is not exactly flattering. Yet he’s already a darling of woke Europeans, complete with a glamour pose for AFP, an impromptu visit in the Panjshir by professional philosopher swindler Bernard-Henri Levy /…/”
Haha, Pepe, pretty please: Now it’s really time for total despair, doom, and gloom. On one side we have Wang Yi, Zamir Kabulov, Zabihullah Mujahid, and Baradar Akhund, and on the other we have the incredible top-notch specimen BHL. He personifies ”Western intelligence” — literally. With BHL fit for fight, Afghanistan’s mineral wealth will never become available to China — jamais.
On second thought, BHL didn’t exactly make too big a difference in Belarus a year ago. Putin and Lukashenko proved too much for him. And here he is confronting China as well.
BHL should probably stick to his calling of labelling in Twitter as “antisémite” anyone daring to suggest there is israeli influence and blatant double standards in France’s current totalitarian régime…
“Woke NATOstan “analyses” of Taliban Afghanistan don’t even qualify as irrelevant, insisting that Afghanistan is not strategic and even lost its tactical importance for NATO.”
So sour those grapes…
Thanks for that great for reference!!
”Expect China to be one of the first powers to formally recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, alongside Turkey and, later on, Russia.”
Hardly. Turkey recognizing the new government in Afghanistan will only happen over Erdogan’s dead body (pleasurable enough). What the Taliban government has made abundantly clear with its international alignment and proclamations is that the Sunni islamists ruling Saudi Arabia and Turkey are total anathema to it. Deciding to join massive infrastructure projects much benefiting the entire population further accompanied by its commitment to the Afghans’ overall education will squeeze the hell out of any agent provocateur outfits and their pseudo-Islamic hogwash. Erdogan and the Outhouse of Saud are big losers. Sunni Islamism is now certainly a split, ambiguous concept.
Yeah, all the US did was to arm the talibs and illuminate them in the current western military tactics. And of course made trillions disappear into all kinds of black holes. And of course killed tens of thousands of her own citizens(I believe the current suicide rates amongst vets is in the 30k range per annum)…etc, ad nauseum. But I think the worst is yet to come.
If I am correct, the demoralization of the home public due to the internal pressures spiced with this fiasco of the management will be unsurvivable to some of its institutions. I believe we are seeing civic society being brought to the flashing point.
as to the afghans, I wish them luck. I do not see them getting the better of it than before: as soon as the goods left behind are divided and depleted, the continous power struggle will return to them in spades. Look: ali baba and his 40 thieves is a tale for a reason.
According to this source, your 30k is the total since 9/11:
“In 2021, research found that 30,177 active duty personnel and veterans who served in the military after 9/11 have died by suicide – compared to the 7,057 service members killed in combat in those same 20 years.”
Key results include the following:
• The number of Veteran suicides exceeded 6,000 each year from 2008 to 2017.
• Among U.S. adults, the average number of suicides per day rose from 86.6 in 2005 to 124.4 in 2017. These numbers
included 15.9 Veteran suicides per day in 2005 and 16.8 in 2017.
• In 2017, the suicide rate for Veterans was 1.5 times the rate for non-Veteran adults, after adjusting for population
differences in age and sex.
• Firearms were the method of suicide in 70.7% of male Veteran suicide deaths and 43.2% of female Veteran suicide
deaths in 2017.
• In addition to the aforementioned Veteran suicides, there were 919 suicides among never federally activated former
National Guard and Reserve members in 2017, an average 2.5 suicide deaths per day…
now, those are 2017 stats, and the tendencies are not good. I probably misunderstood the total US annual adult suicide rate for that of the vets. The magnitude of it tends to support that explanation.
Not a popular subject for some reason and it is misleading to get into it in this thread imo, but let us agree on 40k adults of which about 6k are vets per annum.
Point being is, that the numbers(both vet. and civil) are HORRENDOUS. They dwarf combat related casualties. Ergo my point of the nation being demoralized stands.
The real news… we get from Pepe Escobar and Alexander Mercouris (The Duran)… the only worth my time…
Great article mister Escobar.
I truly hope the new government in Afghanistan implements the promises of giving ISLAMIC rights to everyone WITHIN the islamic boundaries . Well, one promise is lacking (maybe too early for now), and that is a just economy where usury is eliminated and the power of creating money from nothing is impossible. Hence, leaving IMF and installing gold and silver as money.
Then for sure we have in Aghanistan the most just country on earth since …. and we all should support them.
Such concerns are west concerns. The Taliban will play a LEADING role in the Islamic Civilization emerging on the basis of military might and good neighbor policy.
the West is fast becoming irrelevant, faster than they themselves can even recognise. The West makes up less than 12% of the global population, the US 4%. The West is a waning minority glued together by a corrupt banking regime set to fall apart as the sensible 80% of the world begins to say “thanks but no thanks” to the US, the IMF, the world bank and a paper tiger called NATO. Pivotal moments in history playing out at warp speed.
Yes, I see it the same way.
But it is not so much the West — but rather the Anglosphere.
Hence, the hysteria in the UK parliament recently.
Expect science, research and technical developments to be increasingly in non-English formats.
I would not be surprised if the UK begins to dissolve and the Scots join the Irish back in the EU.
Here’s and angry and almost hysterical UK ‘correspondant’ on Oz radio yesterday.
I checked out the live parliament session and could only handle about 5 minutes.
Rage and angst and the “what about the women!” BS.
(More like, what about our opium rackets!)
Oh dear. Thanks very much for the abc link above. I have rarely felt so much Schadenfreude listening to a bunch of ugly, resentful fools spouting tripe from the bottom of their ’hearts’. It’s so sweet when they rage, yell, and fume due to real pain.
You my friend possess some very colourful language skills.
Late Night Live is hosted by Phillip Adams. A long-time asset.
Things have happened that still remain incomprehensible. For example, why the US abandoned Bagram ahead of time: they could have easily controlled the region, managing the withdrawal without particular pressure and avoiding the Saigon effect.
Probably, the real war going on in recent months has been (and still is) within the USA and the Beltway.
It is obvious that they decided to exit some time ago.
Just came down to the details and media management of dometic outrage (note UK parliament).
Expect the heat to rise in due course around Iran and especially Taiwan.
The US mid-terms will begin to crank up within a few months and Biden’s gang will want to go into the 2022 race for control of the houses with something in progress — ‘war time’ president is a likely scenario.
Yes, but in a world where choices (even in a large part of the markets) are based on perceptions shaped by the mainstream, losing control of the “narrative” can be much, much worse than losing a war or the control of a ” strategic” country. With the Saigon effect it appears that this is precisely what is happening. Geopilitic and financial instability was already very high. Having lost credibility, perhaps a further relaunch will be risked, but if the cold and covered wars becomes open and hot it is difficult to guess how it will end.
We are at a very dangerous turning point, in which rationality seems to count less and less.
Yes some things are still foggy to me, why did AZs leave in the first place when remaining was such a barrier for the BRI expansion and source of terrorist security threat to both Russia and China in the first place, decided under Trump administration!, maybe the NatoStan genious thinking was “Stop paying such huge expenses, withdraw in such a way as to leave a nation in tribal competative chaos”? a win-win leaving the “barrier” in place. If so, no way for me to know, even more egg on face for the comprador elite!
I think the ‘elephant in the room’ is Pakistan’s refusal under PM imran Khan to continue being an AZ stooge. Afghanistan is landlocked. In my household we make 3 trips to the supermarket for 2 people. Supply for 200 soldiers would need constant supplies. For 20,000 you need non stop convoys of trucks full of rations. Aircraft and vehicles need fuel, AZ soldiers are profligate with weapons so lots of munitions also. It all came via Pakistan under various US stooge governments in Pak.
The Imran Khan govt quietly stopped ALL drone attacks overnight, no-one has talked about it. my guess is they have probably chocked off the supply line. The drawdown had to happen because they couldn’t keep the GIs in toilet paper.
Similarly with overflight for bombers?
No momento em que mais uma vez a mídia estadunidense – e por extensão toda a mídia ocidental – tenta semear desinformação e histeria sobre os últimos acontecimentos no Afeganistão, se faz necessário colocar algumas coisas no seu devido lugar. Ou pelo menos tentar.
Comecemos pelo “momento Saigon” que vive Cabul. Segundo o governo estadunidense o seu serviço secreto previu a queda da capital para daqui a um mês.
Se considerarmos que o serviço secreto estadunidense desmentiu categoricamente que havia armas de destruição em massa no Iraque enquanto o governo e a mídia dos EUA insistiam na mentira sobre sua existência, é bem possível que estejamos diante de uma nova fraude.
Difícil de acreditar que os EUA não sabiam de antemão que sua retirada faria o “exército” afegao colapsar imediatamente. Então por que a mentira? Para Biden poder fazer exatamente o que fez: jogar a responsabilidade pela derrota sobre a “falta de vontade” dos afegaos para lutarem contra o Taleban. Esse “repentino” colapso e o caos gerado por ele também pode ser usado como justificativa para o abandono a própria sorte de todos os que colaboraram com a ocupação estadunidense. Numa retirada organizada não haveria desculpa para não levar aos EUA tudo o que eles não querem ou seja, uma horda de refugiados.
Yandex translate …mod
At a time when once again the American media – and by extension the entire Western media – is trying to sow misinformation and hysteria about the latest events in Afghanistan, it is necessary to put some things in their proper place. Or at least try.
Let’s start with the “Saigon moment” that lives Kabul. According to the US government its Secret Service predicted the fall of the capital in a month.
If we consider that the US Secret Service categorically denied that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq while the US government and media insisted on lying about their existence, it is quite possible that we are faced with a new fraud.
Hard to believe that the US did not know in advance that its withdrawal would cause the Afghan “army” to collapse immediately. So why the lie? For Biden to be able to do exactly what he did: throw the responsibility for defeat on the Afghans “unwillingness” to fight the Taliban. This” sudden ” collapse and the chaos generated by it can also be used as a justification for abandoning the very fate of all those who collaborated with the American occupation. In an organized withdrawal there would be no excuse not to bring to the U.S. everything they do not want, namely a horde of refugees.
Thanks for this comprehensive overview Pepe, and decoding the Taliban press conference for us.
At the moment, even a UK general is impressed with the new look Taliban (link below).
…Taliban did not even get into detail on economic/infrastructure development deals – as they will need a lot of new industries, new jobs and improved Eurasian-wide trade relations. That will be announced later.
We await the Taliban’s vision of Afghanistan with bated breath. For the sake of Afghans I hope the Taliban leadership are wise enough — and united enough as Afghans — to follow through on the advice given by well wishers in RF and PRC on Afghanistan’s development.
Most Afghans just want the basics: security, shelter, food, healthcare and education. If the Talibs deliver, then they’ll have the population behind them.
Mullah Omar, a Mujahideen fighter who had retired to found a madrassa in his village, started the movement almost by accident in his village in Kandahar because life had become intolerable for the villagers under the local warlord, an ex-Mujahideen turned bandit who had set up checkpoints along the road to extort people who used it — basically a highwayman, whose punishment, actually, according to Sharia law, was death. Mullah Omar gathered a few followers and attacked the warlord’s checkpoint. The bandits fled. News about the incident spread and soon other aggrieved villagers joined him and the movement, which got its ‘Taliban’ epithet courtesy of western MSM, grew to engulf the whole of Afghanistan.
As I said, it’s early days yet, it is still fluid. Signs of reaction are beginning to emerge. Ashraf Ghani has surfaced in the UAE, while his former VP Amrullah Saleh — probably holed up in the north, in Massoud country — has declared himself president.
Vid of rare instance of Brit top general not willing to paint the Talibs entirely black:
That’s nice storybook edition about the start of the Taliban that you recount.
But it’s fiction.
Operation cyclone is quite a “twister”.
Here’s some sources on the CIA spawning the Taliban:
“Taliban” means student.
Madrassa schools were established in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the very late 1970s early 1980s with CIA/Saudi money.
The textbooks for this extreme “variant” of Islam were printed in the US.
Wahhabism is a creation of the British waaaaay back when they were messing about in Egypt. The extreme Islam was a tool to instal the Saudi tribe as rulers of “Saudi” Arabia…
The Taliban and the madrassas were part of the plan to
to “stir up some Moselems” and “give the Soviets their Vietnam”. (Zbigneiw Brzezinsky)
2008: Sibel Edmonds case: Documents Shed Light on CIA Illegal Ops in Central Asia Using Islam & Madrassas
……Saudi wealth and charities contributed to an explosive growth of madrassas during the Afghan jihad against the Soviets.
During that war (1979-1989), a new kind of madrassa emerged in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region — not so much concerned about scholarship as making war on infidels.
The enemy then was the Soviet Union,………
Good round up/rollcall of the Taliban, mudjadeen, al quada, Pakistan ISI:
2014: How the US Helped Create Al Qaeda and ISIS
And finally some Russian “propaganda”:
……Commenting on the results of Operation Cycloneback in 1998, Brzezinski noted, that he did not regret that the US Afghani covert war resulted in the emergence of terrorist Taliban organization.
“Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea.
It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?..
“What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire?
“Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?” Brzezinski claimed back in 1998.……
So 2021 and the Taliban control Afghanistan.
“Operation Cyclone” indeed.
they that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind…
I don’t mean to be pedantic but ‘madrassa’ means school, and ‘taliban’ is the plural of ‘talib’, meaning student. Both ultimately come from the Arabic.
I take your point about the Empire’s (including its lackeys KSA, the Gulf petty monarchies and until recently, Pakistan) role in the rise of bogus jihadists. I’m not arguing with your points about the CIA starting madrassa with ZioWahhabi Saudi money. Many talibs went through the system including some who later became enemies of each other — one fighting for the Taliban and the other for Massoud’s IUS or Northern Alliance.They were mainly trained in Pakistan, in the refugee camps in Balochistan and the NWFP and FATA; and Pak-Afghan borderlands within Afghanistan.
The links you gave are mainly about the Devil’s Wahhabi-inspired spawn Al-Qaida/IS; and one was penned by an Africa expert from Harvard.
Wahhabism is a creation of the British waaaaay back when they were messing about in Egypt.
No, the Wahhabis are named after Muhammad Abdul Wahhab who lived in Najd and forged an alliance with the Saud dynasty in the 18th century. That unholy relationship has remained til now. You’ve confused Wahhabism with Salafism that started in Egypt principally popularised by Rasheed Rida in the 19/20th centuries. Most Wahhabis nowadays prefer to be called Salafi since ‘Wahhabi’ has a bad stink about it.
The ‘schoolbook edition’ that I wrote was about the formation of the Taliban — the particular movement that came out of Kandahar led by a simple madrassa teacher called Mullah Omar. If that is fiction, then how did the Taliban movement start? Did Bill “I didn’t inhale” Clinton send his the CIA station chief in Kabul to start it? There is no doubt Omar started the movement and the circumstances surrounding his decision to fight a former Mujahideen colleague or brother-in-arms, turned local bandit. It is well documented eg:
‘3. (C) Not much is known about Mullah Omar, the Taliban founder and leader. He comes from a small village near Kandahar…’
But the point I was trying to make was Afghans are tired of fighting, lawlessness, and corruption-induced misery. The party that can deliver security and prosperity to the average Afghan will win in the long run.
Wahabhism is not Salafism but an offshoot deemed ‘heretic’ by the Jeddah authorities. Salafis are peaceful. Wahabbis believe by edict of their founder Abdul Wahhab in 1740s that anyone not believing as they do should be killed (especially Muslims).
Mohammad bin Abdul Wahhab was expelled from seminaries for his extreme views and found a home in the backwards Nejd desert. Desert chieftain Mohammad bin Saud wanted his chieftainship hereditary, vs the traditional elective, and Wahhab agreed a fatwa (religious ruling) declaring this, in return Saud declared Wahhab the hereditary imam (Saud Wahhab pact 1743). The wahabbis were destroyed 5 times by the Jeddah authorities for their murderous raids.
In the 1800s the nascent British empire was looking to sow dissension in their ottoman rival and sought out the Saud desert bandits. The Sauds were put on the payroll, and fully activated, weaponised in 1915 to attack undefended Arabian towns, to force the Arabs to break with the ottomans and side within the British.
After British betrayal of the Arabs by the Sykes picot agreement (made public by the Bolsheviks in the Russian revolution), Saud was made ‘king’, of Nejd. When the Arab leader Sharif Hussain objected to the carve up of Arabia, Saud was ordered by Churchill to attack undefended Jeddah and Mecca to force Hussain to ‘abdicate’, rather like Evo Morales from Bolivia in 2019! Saud was then crowned ‘king’ of Nejd and Hejaz by imperial foreign secretary Churchill. The same imperial foreign office then advised the name change from ‘kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz’ to ‘Saudi Arabia’ to conceal the perfidy from future generations.
The wahabbis have remained since then, a tool whereby the Anglo Zionists destroy Muslim societies.
@White Whale. Thanks. I have clipped Stand Easy’s believable fairy story and your even more believable history lesson among my documents. Yours is a moral tale nicely illustrating what is meant by “sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind”.
In his article by Thierry Meyssan “7 lies about Afghanistan” warns –
“In covering the fall of Kabul, the Western media mindlessly repeats seven lies of Western propaganda. By mistaking the history of Afghanistan, they hide the crimes committed in that country and make it impossible to predict the fate Washington has written for it.”
The article encapsulates –
1. The war in Afghanistan is not a response to September 11, it was planned before the attacks
2. Al-Qaida is not a threat to the Anglo-Saxons, but an instrument
3 – The United States does not focus on “Counter-terrorism”, but finances and arms terrorism
4- The Taliban did not wage a war, they took what the United States gave them
5- The United States did not lose Afghanistan to China, but forced Chinese companies to accept their protection
6- Westerners do not defend the enlightenment in the face of obscurantism, but instrument them without complex
7- France has not always supported the crimes of the United States in Afghanistan, but only since President Sarkozy
So, according to the analysis by Thierry Meyssan it is very much possible that China and Russia are being led up the garden path by the CIA and the deep state.
If not, then the question arises, why are the three main powers – The United States, Russia and China so very eager to allow the Taliban to rule Afghanistan ?
Just one correction
most of the times people have been deliberately misled by Western MSM with Sunni Islam or better to say Western MSM has created a vertain view of Islam as Sunni Islam.
What Saudi Arabia is practicing is not Sunni Islam it is Wahabbism. This is much different and stems from a tribe in Saudi Arabia at about the mid of 17th/18th century.
An unfortunate title – Taliban are nobody’s puppets – but a very good article on the diplomacy of the Afghan transition, whose conclusions I share,
Administering is a lot different that picking up an AK and shooting. Good they’re asking for the current admin and police to stay (provided they do sharia). The only real analogy I can come up with is this:
The dog chased the bus. The dog caught up with the bus. Then it did not know what to do with the catch.
This will be Talibans conundrum.
Russia just cut through the crap of struggling to get people out of Afghanistan.
MFA Russia Flag of Russia
Russia government organization
#Zakharova: To prevent an aggravation of humanitarian problems in Afghanistan, we are ready to offer Russian civil aviation services to take any number of Afghan citizens to any countries that show an interest in accepting and accommodating them.
Now stop the whining yes?
someone has just cut the gordian nut…I hear crickets…
So Russian roulette began 7 years ago. How does it matter to G-7 countries, except few weeks of global embarrassment, $3 Trillion written off already. One thing Pepe pointed out several years ago that the Empire thrives with cheap labor coming out of Syria and now Afghanistan. G-7 countries have low birth rate and they need more mid level labor force to support their booming economy in the post Covid era. Adding few hundred thousands refuges in the red states of USA and else where won’t be bad. This is what Emperor Trump and Price Pompeo got it wrong and Tucker Carlson of Fox News is yelling. Uncle Joe is staying cool and he will get maximum number of refuges in USA ASAP. Trump, Pompeo, Zalmay Khalilzad did the set up being advised by Putin and money from China. Biden is just finishing it off no matter how ugly it’s going to be. Our anger and sadness will remain in our heart watching those elderly folks, ladies and little kids in the TV. It’s Biden’s Saigon moment and someone had to do it.
Once all evacuation is done, American’s will wash off their hands. Most of the young Afghans will assimilate un the western countries soon. Definitely they will have better life in G-7 countries. They will go home to visit only just like many other immigrants, but their heart will ache for their motherland. Kabul has changed a lot in the last twenty years. 2/3 of the population is below 25 yrs age. They will get their education and continue to depart the country, just like it’s still happening in all third world countries including China. Educated middle class will get into the Global Economy around the world and huge number of educated baby boomers are retiring all around the developed countries.
In the mean time Pepe’s Eurasian Block will try emerge with China’s historic BRI/ Silk Route (return on investment is zero as nobody pays any tax there) and it will take another 30 years to shape up. Till then American economy will be far ahead if it stays away from the so called Eurasia. Three trillion dollars lost over the span on twenty years is nothing but pocket change in USA where it’s economy has a solid tax base. US households have base value of close to $200 Trillion worth when you consider all real estate, infrastructure, high paid jobs etc. Whole world’s money is still coming to Wall Street, real estate in USA where you have to pay heavy property tax every year and other taxes. Same thing is UK and other G-7 countries. All crooks from the other third world countries (including Russians, Chinese have a second home in London or in USA), where they keep their looted money. So Wall Street, London and Swiss Banks will never go empty. Please note London is still number one financial hub even after Brexit.
After this few months of Chaos, when the dust will settle then the real winner should be declared. In the meantime good quality middle class Afghanis will continue to make mass exodus to western countries and Australia, NZ etc. You can run a parallel scenario with what happened in Iran. Are the Iranians better off than what they were in 1975. Absolutely not.
Let China, Russia play with their new toy in Afghanistan where already 13.5 million people is facing food shortage. Who is going to lend money to the Talibans – may be China. Putin won’t get into the trap again and he is smart. Lavrov can only pay some lip service for now. What China has contributed in Syria so far. please explain. China can spread Covid only not cure. No matter what China produces high margin products are only bought by Americans and that’s where the profit is. By the time China brings Lithium out from Afghansitan, today’s battery technology may be obsolete.
Conclusion – Power and progress does not come from command economy or from AK-47. It comes from educated middle class and free economy. Emperor in the West will continue to thrive. Till then keep your sweet Eurasia dream alive and watch the drama to unfold.
Há um artigo, “The Shadow Commander”, da inteligência americana sobre Suleimani que apareceu no New Yorker há quase 15 anos que esclarece bem o que aconteceu no Afeganistão.
Transcrevo o parágrafo a seguir:
“Although the Iranians were severely strained by American sanctions, imposed to stop the regime from developing a nuclear weapon, they were unstinting in their efforts to save Assad. Among other things, they extended a seven-billion-dollar loan to shore up the Syrian economy. “I don’t think the Iranians are calculating this in terms of dollars,” a Middle Eastern security official told me. “They regard the loss of Assad as an existential threat.” For Suleimani, saving Assad seemed a matter of pride, especially if it meant distinguishing himself from the Americans. “Suleimani told us the Iranians would do whatever was necessary,” a former Iraqi leader told me. “He said, ‘We’re not like the Americans. We don’t abandon our friends.’ ””
Eu creio que a intenção era até forçar o povo americano a não aceitar esse comportamento do governo dos Estados Unidos, mas como na história do sapo e do escorpião, esse comportamento faz parte dos Estados Unidos.
Tradução do Google Tradutor:
There’s an article, “The Shadow Commander,” by American intelligence on Suleimani that appeared in the New Yorker nearly 15 years ago that sheds light on what happened in Afghanistan.
I transcribe the following paragraph:
“Although the Iranians were severely strained by American sanctions, imposed to stop the regime from developing a nuclear weapon, they were unstinting in their efforts to save Assad. Among other things, they extended the seven-billion-dollar loan to shore up the Syrian economy. “I don’t think the Iranians are calculating this in terms of dollars,” the Middle Eastern security official told me. “They regard the loss of Assad as an existential threat.” For Suleimani, saving Assad seemed to matter of pride, especially if it meant distinguishing himself from the Americans. “Suleimani told us the Iranians would do whatever was necessary,” a former Iraqi leader told me. like the Americans. We don’t abandon our friends.’ ””
I believe the author’s intention was even to force the American people not to accept this behavior from the US government, but as in the story of the frog and scorpion, this behavior is part of the United States.