A Great Empire in Decline…

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Bring them all home, Mr. President. The US has failed in Afghanistan, the least we can do is get Americans out safely

Scott Ritter
Scott Ritter
is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of 'SCORPION KING: America's Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.' He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

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President Joe Biden is dispatching 3,000 US combat troops to Afghanistan to safeguard the evacuation of American personnel from the US embassy in Kabul, setting up the possibility of an evacuation under fire.
The collapse of the Afghan government during the summer of 2021 will go down in history as an event with little precedent; its closest modern antecedent is the fall of the Shah in Iran in 1978-79. The ability of the United States to pour resources into a cause which, in retrospect, never had a chance of succeeding is matched only by the willingness of the American people to unquestioningly accept the assurances of government officials, military and civilian alike, who assured them that going into Afghanistan was a good idea at the time (i.e., post-9/11), and staying there was an even better idea.
But now we are getting out – fast. The speed of the US withdrawal has been matched only by the speed with which the Taliban is filling the void it leaves behind. Of course, there wasn’t supposed to be a vacuum – just ask President Joe Biden, whose answer to a reporter’s question about the “inevitability” of a Taliban victory on the heels of the US exit from Afghanistan captures the full extent of America’s hubris-laced ignorance on all things Afghan. A Taliban victory, Biden said, is not inevitable, “ecause you have the Afghan troops, they’re 300,000 well-equipped, as well-equipped as any army in the world, and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable.”
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The American proclivity for embracing numbers as if a data set alone tells the story is the very definition of failure. Numbers mean nothing if they are not backed by a systemic effort to sustain them with a process that turns statistics into living, breathing, soldiers that are prepared to fight. We helped process “volunteers” into men capable of wearing a uniform, marching in formation, and – if properly supervised and supported – conducting limited military operations. But we did not build the kind of administrative support network that turns toy soldiers into national assets. The care and feeding of Afghan troops was abysmal, with what little infrastructure that was in place systemically abused by corrupt commanders who pocketed soldier’s salaries and sold food supplies to further enrich themselves. The sad truth is we knew this was happening, and we did nothing to stop it.
The fact that the President of the United States was allowed to claim that our efforts had produced a force of “300,000 well-equipped” fighting men is an indictment on not only the president, but everyone who works for him that had a role in formulating and implementing Afghan policy. A force is not “equipped” simply by possessing a weapon or any other piece of military hardware. One becomes “equipped” only after being fully trained in the operation, tactical employment, and maintenance of the material in question. The Afghan Army was never “equipped” with anything; they were simply a repository for military material whose numbers meant nothing, because when push came to shove, none of it could be employed properly or in a sustained fashion.
Joe Biden made a couple of other statements during his July 8, 2021, announcement regarding the withdrawal which, with the wisdom accrued over the course of the past month, Americans may wish to reflect on. “[T]he likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country,” Biden said at the time, “is highly unlikely.”
Turn on your television, Mr. President.
But perhaps most worrisome was his contention, spoken with only the kind of baseless bravado that Joe Biden himself can muster, that “[t]here’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of a embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan.”
Tell that to the marines, Mr. President. Tell that to the commanding officers of 1st Battalion, 8th Marines and 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. Because I can guarantee you that they are preparing for just that possibility now that you are deploying them back into Afghanistan to oversee the evacuation of the US embassy as the Taliban advance on Kabul.
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If I were the ghost of military disasters past, I’d be haunting Joe Biden every hour, whispering into his ear the following names: Joe Hargrove, Gary Hall and Danny Marshall.
Lance Corporal Joseph Hargrove, Private Gary Hall, and Private Danny Marshall were manning an M-60 machine gun which protected the flank of marines inserted into Koh Tang Island on May 14-15, 1975, to rescue ten American merchant sailors that had been captured earlier by the Cambodian Khmer Rouge. Instead of finding the captured sailors (who were held elsewhere and in fact released prior to the marine assault), the marines flew into an ambush that saw all their helicopters either shot down or seriously damaged by enemy forces, 38 of their fellow servicemen killed, and another 50 wounded. In the subsequent extraction under fire, the bodies of the fallen were left behind, as were Hargrove, Hall, and Marshall, who remained in their position as the last helicopter flew away. The three marines were subsequently captured and executed by the Khmer Rouge.
The image of those three marines abandoned on the beach of Koh Tang Island should be seared into the brain of any American who ever embraced the notion of ‘no man left behind’. That sentiment, however, is a luxury afforded to those who fall in a battle where the US exerts a modicum of control. What happened on Koh Tang Island was the antithesis of control – it was a desperate bid to save as many marines as possible before they were overrun by the enemy.
The same fate cannot be discounted – as Joe Biden so glibly did – when discussing what could happen to those marines, soldiers, and airmen being dispatched to Afghanistan today. We are not in control of the situation on the ground. The Taliban alone dictates the pace of operations. And the likelihood that what little remains of a cohesive fighting force from the remnants of the Afghan military will be willing to fight and die to safeguard Americans in retreat is small.
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They are coming, Mr. President. The Taliban is overrunning the entire country of Afghanistan as we speak. If we remain in Kabul when that city falls, then there is a real possibility that we will witness people being airlifted off the roof of the American embassy.
Your job, Mr. President, is to make sure that they all come home. Because, as the tragic experience of Joe Hargrove, Gary Hall and Danny Marshall underscores, that outcome is not guaranteed by any stretch of the imagination.
 

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As the Taliban closes in and the troops rush to avert disaster, the US is offering its citizens LOANS to flee Afghanistan


The US exit from Afghanistan is beginning to look more and more like 1975’s humiliating fall of Saigon, but American citizens fleeing the country need not fret – Uncle Sam has offered them loans to buy plane tickets.
That’s right, those decapitation-phobics who don’t want to fall into Taliban hands can get a “repatriation” loan from the US State Department. The usual terms and conditions surely apply.
The US Embassy in Kabul dangled the offer last week, when it advised all American citizens in Afghanistan to leave immediately “using available commercial flight options.” It provided a State Department email address for those who needed to apply for airfare financing. The loans were mentioned again when the embassy sent out a similar security alert on Thursday, offering essentially the same advice.
On both occasions, it made it clear that Americans shouldn’t expect much more help: “Given the security conditions and reduced staffing, the embassy’s ability to assist US citizens in Afghanistan is extremely limited, even within Kabul.”
Among the dangers cited were “crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, and Covid-19.” Of course there’s Covid-19. Be sure to get your shots and mask up. You wouldn’t want to have a fever and shortness of breath when trying to outrun militants in a Toyota Hilux pickup with a mounted machine gun.
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The embassy didn’t specifically mention the Taliban, which has retaken much of the country in an overwhelming offensive since President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of US forces in April. The American exit is scheduled to be completed by the end of this month, but with Afghan government forces being overrun and melting away, Kabul may fall into enemy hands before then. Taliban forces are reportedly just 50km (30 miles) away from the capital, having captured Kandahar and Logar province on Friday.
It would be a shame if the 20-year-long debacle – the longest war in US history – ended with American diplomats trying to get out under duress. US State Department officials are worried about just such a scenario, the New York Times reported, with some fearing a replay of Saigon embassy staffers having to be plucked from the rooftop by helicopter after North Vietnamese troops broke through the gates.
With such concerns in mind, the embassy in Kabul has already begun destroying sensitive documents and computer hard drives. The Pentagon is rushing 3,000 troops to Afghanistan to ensure a safe evacuation, and putting up to 4,000 members of the 82nd Airborne Division on standby in Kuwait in case more security help is needed.
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But American civilians need to make their way to the airport now – or when their State Department loan comes through. At least their fate isn’t as precarious as that of the Afghan people who played a part in the US war and occupation efforts. As state-run US news outlet NPR reported on Friday, the future of the many Afghan nationals who work at the US embassy “was not immediately clear.”
The Biden administration is scrambling to process visas for the interpreters who helped US and NATO troops – and who face death when the Taliban takes over – but many other people will be left behind and imperiled. Ronald Neumann, former US ambassador to Afghanistan, told NPR on Friday that America owes a “moral debt” to Afghans who “bought into our values . . . when we talk about democracy, and women’s rights, and justice.”
From Vietnam to Cambodia to Iraq to Syria and so on, a lot of people who bought into US values would probably love to cash in on the moral debts they’re owed – at least, if they weren’t dead. Washington is like the ultimate big brother, promising full protection and vowing that the neighborhood bullies won’t be allowed to lay a finger on little brother. In Afghanistan’s case, big brother went off and actually negotiated a deal with the bullies, without little brother being allowed to attend, then moved away to college without even informing his younger sibling that he’d have to fend for himself.
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But perhaps those folks who’ve been rattled by the Taliban’s blitzkrieg shouldn’t worry about an orderly departure. Biden has assured Americans that the fall of Kabul won’t be anything like the fall of Saigon. “There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan,” he told reporters last month.
Biden added that “in terms of capability,” the Taliban isn’t “remotely comparable” to the North Vietnamese forces that stormed the US embassy in Saigon. And yet, the Taliban was apparently capable enough that it couldn’t be defeated in 20 years of fighting by the world’s most well-funded military. Could it be that a president who hasn’t figured out the Taliban’s fierceness after two decades of senseless casualties might also be underestimating or downplaying the dangers associated with the withdrawal from Afghanistan?
US Representative Mike Rogers (R-Alabama) said it was Biden’s lack of a proper plan that had led to the current turmoil, and predicted that “the worst [was] yet to come.” He added, “We are watching President Biden’s Saigon moment unfold before us.
That’s not a happy thought for the Americans who still need to escape Afghanistan. Once their flights are safely out of reach of Taliban rocket-propelled grenades, they can think about getting back home – and making those loan payments.
 

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Taliban Sweep in Afghanistan Follows Years of U.S. Miscalculations

An Afghan military that did not believe in itself and a U.S. effort that Mr. Biden, and most Americans, no longer believed in brought an ignoble end to America’s longest war.


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American soldiers overseeing training of their Afghan counterparts in Helmand Province in 2016.Credit...Adam Ferguson for The New York Times

By David E. Sanger and Helene Cooper
Aug. 14, 2021Updated 3:13 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — President Biden’s top advisers concede they were stunned by the rapid collapse of the Afghan army in the face of an aggressive, well-planned offensive by the Taliban that now threatens Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital.
The past 20 years show they should not have been.
If there is a consistent theme over two decades of war in Afghanistan, it is the overestimation of the results of the $83 billion the United States has spent since 2001 training and equipping the Afghan security forces and an underestimation of the brutal, wily strategy of the Taliban. The Pentagon had issued dire warnings to Mr. Biden even before he took office about the potential for the Taliban to overrun the Afghan army, but intelligence estimates, now shown to have badly missed the mark, assessed it might happen in 18 months, not weeks.
Commanders did know that the afflictions of the Afghan forces had never been cured: the deep corruption, the failure by the government to pay many Afghan soldiers and police officers for months, the defections, the soldiers sent to the front without adequate food and water, let alone arms. In the past several days, the Afghan forces have steadily collapsed as they battled to defend ever shrinking territory, losing Mazar-i-Sharif, the country’s economic engine, to the Taliban on Saturday.
Mr. Biden’s aides say that the persistence of those problems reinforced his belief that the United States could not prop up the Afghan government and military in perpetuity. In Oval Office meetings this spring, he told aides that staying another year, or even five, would not make a substantial difference and was not worth the risks.


In the end, an Afghan force that did not believe in itself and a U.S. effort that Mr. Biden, and most Americans, no longer believed would alter the course of events combined to bring an ignoble close to America’s longest war. The United States kept forces in Afghanistan far longer than the British did in the 19th century, and twice as long as the Soviets — with roughly the same results.

20 Years of Defense, Erased by the Taliban in a Few Months
Maps show the stunning speed of Taliban advances after the United States began to withdraw.

For Mr. Biden, the last of four American presidents to face painful choices in Afghanistan but the first to get out, the debate about a final withdrawal and the miscalculations over how to execute it began the moment he took office.
“Under Trump, we were one tweet away from complete, precipitous withdrawal,” said Douglas E. Lute, a retired general who directed Afghan strategy at the National Security Council for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. “Under Biden, it was clear to everyone who knew him, who saw him pressing for a vastly reduced force more than a decade ago, that he was determined to end U.S. military involvement,” he added, “but the Pentagon believed its own narrative that we would stay forever.”
“The puzzle for me is the absence of contingency planning: If everyone knew we were headed for the exits, why did we not have a plan over the past two years for making this work?”



A Skeptical President

From the moment that news outlets called Pennsylvania for Mr. Biden on Nov. 7, making him the next commander in chief for 1.4 million active-duty troops, Pentagon officials knew they would face an uphill battle to stop a withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan. Defense Department leaders had already been fending off Mr. Biden’s predecessor, Donald J. Trump, who wanted a rapid drawdown. In one Twitter post last year, he declared all American troops would be out by that Christmas.
And while they had publicly voiced support for the agreement Mr. Trump reached with the Taliban in February 2020 for a complete withdrawal this May, Pentagon officials said they wanted to talk Mr. Biden out of it.
After Mr. Biden took office, top Defense Department officials began a lobbying campaign to keep a small counterterrorism force in Afghanistan for a few more years. They told the president that the Taliban had grown stronger under Mr. Trump than at any point in the past two decades and pointed to intelligence estimates predicting that in two or three years, Al Qaeda could find a new foothold in Afghanistan.
Shortly after Lloyd J. Austin III was sworn in as defense secretary on Jan. 22, he and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recommended to Mr. Biden that 3,000 to 4,500 troops stay in Afghanistan, nearly double the 2,500 troops there. On Feb. 3, a congressionally appointed panel led by a retired four-star Marine general, Joseph F. Dunford Jr., publicly recommended that Mr. Biden abandon the exit deadline of May 1 and further reduce American forces only as security conditions improved.
A report by the panel assessed that withdrawing troops on a strict timeline rather than how well the Taliban adhered to the agreement heightened the risk of a potential civil war once international forces left.
But Mr. Biden, who had become deeply skeptical of American efforts to remake foreign countries in his years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as vice president, asked what a few thousand American troops could do if Kabul was attacked. Aides said he told them that the presence of the American troops would further the Afghan government’s reliance on the United States and delay the day it would take responsibility for its own defense.
The president told his national security team, including Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, that he was convinced that no matter what the United States did, Afghanistan was almost certainly headed into another civil war — one Washington could not prevent, but also, in his view, one it could not be drawn into.

By March, Pentagon officials said they realized they were not getting anywhere with Mr. Biden. Although he listened to their arguments and asked extensive questions, they said they had a sense that his mind was made up.
In late March, Mr. Austin and General Milley made a last-ditch effort with the president by forecasting dire outcomes in which the Afghan military folded in an aggressive advance by the Taliban. They drew comparisons to how the Iraqi military was overrun by the Islamic State in 2014 after American combat troops left Iraq, prompting Mr. Obama to send American forces back.
“We’ve seen this movie before,” Mr. Austin told Mr. Biden, according to officials with knowledge of the meetings.
But the president was unmoved. If the Afghan government could not hold off the Taliban now, aides said he asked, when would they be able to? None of the Pentagon officials could answer the question.
On the morning of April 6, Mr. Biden told Mr. Austin and General Milley he wanted all American troops out by Sept. 11.
The intelligence assessments in Mr. Biden’s briefing books gave him some assurance that if a bloody debacle resulted in Afghanistan, it would at least be delayed. As recently as late June, the intelligence agencies estimated that even if the Taliban continued to gain power, it would be at least a year and a half before Kabul would be threatened; the Afghan forces had the advantages of greater numbers and air power, if they could keep their helicopters and planes flying.
Even so, the Pentagon moved swiftly to get its troops out, fearful of the risks of leaving a dwindling number of Americans in Afghanistan and of service members dying in a war the United States had given up for lost. Before the July 4 weekend, the United States had handed over Bagram Air Base, the military hub of the war, to the Afghans, effectively ending all major U.S. military operations in the country.


“Afghans are going to have to be able to do it themselves with the air force they have, which we’re helping them maintain,” Mr. Biden said at the time. A week later, he argued that the Afghans “have the capacity” to defend themselves.
“The question is,” he said, “will they do it?”

The Will Is Gone

To critics of the decision, the president underestimated the importance of even a modest presence, and the execution of the withdrawal made the problem far worse.
“We set them up for failure,” said David H. Petraeus, the retired general who commanded the international forces in Afghanistan from 2010 until he was appointed C.I.A. director the next year. Mr. Biden’s team, he argued, “did not recognize the risk incurred by the swift withdrawal” of intelligence and reconnaissance drones and close air support, as well as the withdrawal of thousands of contractors who kept the Afghan air force flying — all in the middle of a particularly intense fighting season.
The result was that Afghan forces on the ground would “fight for a few days, and then realize there are no reinforcements” on the way, he said. The “psychological impact was devastating.”
But administration officials, responding to such critiques, counter that the Afghan military dwarfs the Taliban, some 300,000 troops to 75,000.
“They have an air force, a capable air force,” something the Taliban does not have, John F. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said on Friday. “They have modern equipment. They have the benefit of the training that we have provided for the last 20 years. It’s time now to use those advantages.”
But by the time Mr. Kirby noted those advantages, none of them seemed to be making a difference. Feeling abandoned by the United States and commanded by rudderless leaders meant that Afghan troops on the ground “looked at what was in front of them, and what was behind them, and decided it’s easier to go off on their own,” said retired Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the former commander of United States Central Command who oversaw the war in Afghanistan from 2016 to 2019.



Mr. Biden, one administration official said, expressed frustration that President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan had not managed to effectively plan and execute what was supposed to be the latest strategy: consolidating forces to protect key cities. On Wednesday, Mr. Ghani fired his army chief, Lt. General Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai, who had only been in place for two months, replacing him with Maj. Gen. Haibatullah Alizai, a special operations commander. The commandos under General Alizai are the only troops who have consistently fought the Taliban these past weeks.
Richard Fontaine, the chief executive of the Center for a New American Security, an influential Washington think tank that specializes in national security, wrote that in the end, the 20-year symbiosis between the United States and the Afghan government it stood up, supported and ushered through elections had broken down.
“Those highlighting the Afghan government’s military superiority — in numbers, training, equipment, air power — miss the larger point,” he wrote recently. “Everything depends on the will to fight for the government. And that, it turns out, depended on U.S. presence and support. We’re exhorting the Afghans to show political will when theirs depends on ours. And ours is gone.”
 
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المسائية | أفغانستان.. هزيمة جديدة في التاريخ الأميركي | 2021-08-16​

 

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EU foreign policy chief: Taliban ‘WON THE WAR,’ we’ll have to talk to them – and acknowledge mistakes


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The EU’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has said there are many lessons to be learned over Afghanistan and the Taliban’s takeover, adding that as the militant group has won the war, the bloc will have to engage with them.
Any cooperation by Brussels with the new government of Afghanistan “will be conditioned on a peaceful and inclusive settlement and respect for the fundamental rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and persons belonging to minorities,” as well as respect for other commitments such as fighting against corruption and preventing the use of Afghan territory by terrorists, Borrell said on Monday.
The EU will continue to provide aid to the Afghan people, he added, calling on the Taliban to respect international humanitarian law.
The group now has full control of Afghanistan, following the complete collapse of the US-backed Afghan government installed in 2001. “The Taliban have won the war so we will have to talk to them,” Borrell added, acknowledging the political reality on the ground.
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“This new reality comes 20 years after the beginning of the military operation launched by the US with the support of NATO in October 2001,” Borrel told reporters in an online press conference.
He noted that the original military and political commitment – to destroy the Al-Qaeda terrorist group – “shifted to nation building” of a modern state in Afghanistan. “The first part of the mission succeeded, and the second did not,” he said.
Borrell's remarks come after a meeting of EU foreign ministers, and their consultations with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
 

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China taunts Taiwan as America reels from Afghan defeat: ‘Once war comes, the island will collapse and the US won't come to help’


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Chinese destroyer firing missiles at a submarine from the 'enemy' side during a large-scale, live ammunition exercise in the South China Sea in mid-March 1996 by the air force and navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. © STR / XINHUA / AFP


Beijing flexes its muscles in the wake of America’s humiliating exit from Afghanistan, with a hard-hitting Global Times editorial warning Taipei that, when it comes to the crunch, it will also be abandoned by Washington.
With Washington in a state of panic and disarray following the outcome in Afghanistan, China has moved fast to exploit what it perceives as America's humiliation in order to reassert its position on Taiwan.
On Monday night, the Global Times unleashed a scathing editorial, taunting Taipei that it would collapse swiftly, just like the Kabul regime, in the wake of an invasion by Chinese forces, and questioning Washington's resolve to save it in such a scenario. The next day, Beijing followed up with a massive air force and navy exercise off the island.
Under a headline stating ‘Afghan abandonment a lesson for Taiwan’s DPP,’ the island’s ruling party, the Global Times’ hard-hitting editorial states:
The DPP authorities need to keep a sober head, and the secessionist forces should reserve the ability to wake up from their dreams. From what happened in Afghanistan, they should perceive that once a war breaks out in the Straits, the island's defense will collapse in hours and the US military won't come to help. As a result, the DPP authorities will quickly surrender, while some high-level officials may flee by plane...
The best choice for the DPP authorities is to avoid pushing the situation ... They should keep cross-Straits peace with political means, rather than acting as strategic pawns of the US and bear the bitter fruits of a war.”
None of this is happening in a vacuum, or purely opportunistically. Beijing cited as justification for this week’s military exercise the growing support for Taiwan independence, and it is widely seen as a retaliation for Lithuania's violation of the one-China policy last week in opening a “Taiwan” representative office. That move saw Beijing withdraw its ambassador from the Eastern European nation and expel Vilnius’ representative, a matter exacerbated by the fact the US then publicly backed Lithuania.
What is going on here? The Afghanistan crisis has been deemed the perfect moment for Beijing to reassert its stance on an issue that the US is actively trying to pull away from. This has been unmissable as an opportunity to send the message which China always avows: Taiwan is part of China, and America should mind its own business.
At a time where the US is questioning its own capabilities and resolve, and experiencing a crisis of confidence in the abrupt ending of a 20-year war that has achieved nothing, never has there been a more astute time for China to send out a forceful message on Taiwan, and to flex its muscles.
It also wants to hammer home the red line which Washington is attempting to shift, and discourage other countries from taking Lithuania's path. China is not going to start a conflict over Taiwan any time soon, so that it is all to an extent obvious posturing and psychological warfare by the Global Times, but the message is clear, and it’s one of firm deterrence.
The United States is pursuing a policy in respect to Taiwan and Beijing’s ‘One-China Policy,’ that is increasingly described as salami slicing - making slow and incremental moves which do openly undermine the status quo or set off a crisis, but gradually erode it and shift it to the point where the policy exists in name only.
To do this, the US has increased its pace of arms sales to Taiwan, removed rules on contacts and official visits, actively encouraged other countries to expand their political space and engagements with it (supporting and encouraging those such as Lithuania) and increased its military presence in the Taiwan Strait.
On the other hand, the US continues to officially deny that it supports “Taiwan independence” – but is nonetheless politically making it more and more difficult for China to achieve its long-held aim of reuniting the island with the mainland.
But this does not mean China will not respond. The strategic mistake the US is making right now on this issue is assuming it can shift these red-lines just a little bit every time, and that Beijing will passively tolerate it and sit back in frustration because it has too much to lose.
This is erroneous, given the enormous political weight China places on national sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is why the “military option” of an invasion is frequently touted. US policymakers assume it is bluff, but the Global Times’ thunderous message was an attempt to convince them otherwise.
China does not directly wish to take Taiwan by force, but uses this option as a last resort and a bottom line to force other countries to respect its political will. It would much rather reunite the island peacefully, but nonetheless this option remains, to say “this is what will happen if you defy us.”
What the US is risking by shifting the goalposts and encouraging other countries to violate the One-China policy, is a reciprocal and perceived-as-necessary response by Beijing to shift those goalposts “back,” which involves an intensification of pressure and military posturing around the island.
This is not a new trend. In 1996, Beijing caused a crisis by firing missiles into the Taiwan Straits waters as the Taiwan leader, Lee Tung Hui, was visiting the US and about to meet senior officials. The difference is that, back then, the US was more willing to listen to Beijing's position than it is now, and Bill Clinton ultimately succumbed to it.
It is therefore no surprise that Beijing is now responding forcefully to the latest controversy, and is doing so with the well-timed added punch of American failure in Afghanistan.

China wants to inject self-doubt into both the US public and the Taipei leadership that Washington cannot readily protect the island. It is ridiculous to compare Taiwan to the failed state of Afghanistan, but the impact on America’s esteem of its failure there is real, and it was a sitting duck for the kind of psychological offensive Global Times unleashed.
The flip side of this is that the perception of US weakness and the amplification of pro-war voices attacking Biden could make the US more aggressive, if not erratic, in the short term. This is a president who is under political pressure, and you are attempting to call his bluff and undermine his credibility by threatening war against Taiwan.
Yet, one can conclude that this is arguably a conundrum of America's own making. The Biden presidency is actively pressing against China’s red-lines on the Taiwan issue and it was naïve to assume that Beijing would sit back and not escalate a new crisis in retaliation.
Beijing is therefore simultaneously reasserting its position on this issue, aiming to regain “lost ground” (perhaps metaphorically and literally) and mercilessly exploiting the erosion of Biden’s own credibility back home, and among its overseas allies.
The message from Beijing is simple: America is weak and unreliable, and no-one is going to breach our red line on Taiwan. Yet this could lead to dangerous consequences down the track.

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In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pose for a photo during their meeting in Tianjin, China, Wednesday, July 28, 2021. © Li Ran/Xinhua via AP
 

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China taunts Taiwan as America reels from Afghan defeat: ‘Once war comes, the island will collapse and the US won't come to help’


View attachment 24696
Chinese destroyer firing missiles at a submarine from the 'enemy' side during a large-scale, live ammunition exercise in the South China Sea in mid-March 1996 by the air force and navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. © STR / XINHUA / AFP


Beijing flexes its muscles in the wake of America’s humiliating exit from Afghanistan, with a hard-hitting Global Times editorial warning Taipei that, when it comes to the crunch, it will also be abandoned by Washington.
With Washington in a state of panic and disarray following the outcome in Afghanistan, China has moved fast to exploit what it perceives as America's humiliation in order to reassert its position on Taiwan.
On Monday night, the Global Times unleashed a scathing editorial, taunting Taipei that it would collapse swiftly, just like the Kabul regime, in the wake of an invasion by Chinese forces, and questioning Washington's resolve to save it in such a scenario. The next day, Beijing followed up with a massive air force and navy exercise off the island.
Under a headline stating ‘Afghan abandonment a lesson for Taiwan’s DPP,’ the island’s ruling party, the Global Times’ hard-hitting editorial states:
The DPP authorities need to keep a sober head, and the secessionist forces should reserve the ability to wake up from their dreams. From what happened in Afghanistan, they should perceive that once a war breaks out in the Straits, the island's defense will collapse in hours and the US military won't come to help. As a result, the DPP authorities will quickly surrender, while some high-level officials may flee by plane...
The best choice for the DPP authorities is to avoid pushing the situation ... They should keep cross-Straits peace with political means, rather than acting as strategic pawns of the US and bear the bitter fruits of a war.”
None of this is happening in a vacuum, or purely opportunistically. Beijing cited as justification for this week’s military exercise the growing support for Taiwan independence, and it is widely seen as a retaliation for Lithuania's violation of the one-China policy last week in opening a “Taiwan” representative office. That move saw Beijing withdraw its ambassador from the Eastern European nation and expel Vilnius’ representative, a matter exacerbated by the fact the US then publicly backed Lithuania.
What is going on here? The Afghanistan crisis has been deemed the perfect moment for Beijing to reassert its stance on an issue that the US is actively trying to pull away from. This has been unmissable as an opportunity to send the message which China always avows: Taiwan is part of China, and America should mind its own business.
At a time where the US is questioning its own capabilities and resolve, and experiencing a crisis of confidence in the abrupt ending of a 20-year war that has achieved nothing, never has there been a more astute time for China to send out a forceful message on Taiwan, and to flex its muscles.
It also wants to hammer home the red line which Washington is attempting to shift, and discourage other countries from taking Lithuania's path. China is not going to start a conflict over Taiwan any time soon, so that it is all to an extent obvious posturing and psychological warfare by the Global Times, but the message is clear, and it’s one of firm deterrence.
The United States is pursuing a policy in respect to Taiwan and Beijing’s ‘One-China Policy,’ that is increasingly described as salami slicing - making slow and incremental moves which do openly undermine the status quo or set off a crisis, but gradually erode it and shift it to the point where the policy exists in name only.
To do this, the US has increased its pace of arms sales to Taiwan, removed rules on contacts and official visits, actively encouraged other countries to expand their political space and engagements with it (supporting and encouraging those such as Lithuania) and increased its military presence in the Taiwan Strait.
On the other hand, the US continues to officially deny that it supports “Taiwan independence” – but is nonetheless politically making it more and more difficult for China to achieve its long-held aim of reuniting the island with the mainland.
But this does not mean China will not respond. The strategic mistake the US is making right now on this issue is assuming it can shift these red-lines just a little bit every time, and that Beijing will passively tolerate it and sit back in frustration because it has too much to lose.
This is erroneous, given the enormous political weight China places on national sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is why the “military option” of an invasion is frequently touted. US policymakers assume it is bluff, but the Global Times’ thunderous message was an attempt to convince them otherwise.
China does not directly wish to take Taiwan by force, but uses this option as a last resort and a bottom line to force other countries to respect its political will. It would much rather reunite the island peacefully, but nonetheless this option remains, to say “this is what will happen if you defy us.”
What the US is risking by shifting the goalposts and encouraging other countries to violate the One-China policy, is a reciprocal and perceived-as-necessary response by Beijing to shift those goalposts “back,” which involves an intensification of pressure and military posturing around the island.
This is not a new trend. In 1996, Beijing caused a crisis by firing missiles into the Taiwan Straits waters as the Taiwan leader, Lee Tung Hui, was visiting the US and about to meet senior officials. The difference is that, back then, the US was more willing to listen to Beijing's position than it is now, and Bill Clinton ultimately succumbed to it.
It is therefore no surprise that Beijing is now responding forcefully to the latest controversy, and is doing so with the well-timed added punch of American failure in Afghanistan.

China wants to inject self-doubt into both the US public and the Taipei leadership that Washington cannot readily protect the island. It is ridiculous to compare Taiwan to the failed state of Afghanistan, but the impact on America’s esteem of its failure there is real, and it was a sitting duck for the kind of psychological offensive Global Times unleashed.
The flip side of this is that the perception of US weakness and the amplification of pro-war voices attacking Biden could make the US more aggressive, if not erratic, in the short term. This is a president who is under political pressure, and you are attempting to call his bluff and undermine his credibility by threatening war against Taiwan.
Yet, one can conclude that this is arguably a conundrum of America's own making. The Biden presidency is actively pressing against China’s red-lines on the Taiwan issue and it was naïve to assume that Beijing would sit back and not escalate a new crisis in retaliation.
Beijing is therefore simultaneously reasserting its position on this issue, aiming to regain “lost ground” (perhaps metaphorically and literally) and mercilessly exploiting the erosion of Biden’s own credibility back home, and among its overseas allies.
The message from Beijing is simple: America is weak and unreliable, and no-one is going to breach our red line on Taiwan. Yet this could lead to dangerous consequences down the track.

View attachment 24697

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pose for a photo during their meeting in Tianjin, China, Wednesday, July 28, 2021. © Li Ran/Xinhua via AP

The picture is ironic, considering what China does to Uyghurs.
 

Viral

Well-Known Member
The *_Taliban_* are now in possession of more Blackhawk helicopters than 166 other nations around the globe!!
Basically Biden gifted the Taliban, 20 billion dollars worth of the most dangerous military hardware in the world.
Thanks to the US, the Taliban has an Air Force now & 11 military bases.
That includes, an army of well-trained soldiers, equipped with the latest weapons & gadgets, well-planned military bases, but most importantly, something the Taliban never dreamt of - an Air Force.
In the three months from Apr to Jun 2021, the US handed over to the Afghan National Defense & Security forces (ANDSF), six A-29 light attack aircraft, 174 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (Humvees), about 10,000, 2.75 inch high-explosive rockets, 61,000 40-mm high explosive rounds, 9,00,000 rounds of .50 caliber ammo, and 20,15,600 rounds of 7.62 mm bullets.
The Afghan Air Force (AAF), operates three types of helicopters, which include the 45 UH-60 Blackhawks, 50 MD-530s & 56 Mi-17 helicopters, besides its A-29 Super Tucano fighters (23 in number), C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, C-208 utility aircraft & AC-208 fixed-wing aircraft.
In total, the AAF has an inventory of 211 air platforms, of which 167 were operable as of Jun 30, 2021.
The 11 bases & military complexes recently handed over to the ANDSF, are New Antonik, Kandahar airfield, Camp Morehead, New Kabul Complex, Blockhouse, Camp Stevenson, Camp Dwyer, Camp Lincoln (Camp Marmal), Camp Arena, Bagram airfield & the Resolute Support Headquarters (RSHQ), which was handed over to the Afghan Govt. on Jun 6, 2021.
The Americans are to be squarely blamed for this mess. They did it in Iraq & now Afghanistan & elsewhere in the world before. They are the root cause of disturbing the peace globally.
They have never won a war, except come back with body bags & their tails between their legs.
Looks like it's China's well planned waged war, Corona Virus, US Elections & now Afghanistan.
China now will have access to minerals worth trillions, as also get better connectivity to the European market.
 

Viral

Well-Known Member

Afghan debacle is a sign of shift in global order: With Russian help, China quickly replacing US as world’s most important country


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By Paul Robinson, a professor at the University of Ottawa. He writes about Russian and Soviet history, military history and military ethics, and is author of the Irrussianality blog.

Shto delat? Or, for English speakers, what is to be done? The perennial Russian question is as relevant today as any other after the triumph of the Taliban in Kabul, wrongfooting major powers and creating an uncertain gulf.
So far, two answers to that question have emerged. One from the West, and one from the Russians and Chinese. It is the latter of the two that looks the most promising. The Western response has largely been one of panic. Diplomats, journalists, aid workers and others are flocking to Kabul airport in order to escape Afghanistan as fast as possible. By contrast, the Russians and the Chinese have remained calm and collected.
Although Moscow announced on Monday that it would evacuate some of the staff at its Kabul embassy, its doors, as well as those of the People’s Republic of China remain open. Russia’s ambassador in Kabul, Dmitry Zhirnov, expressed confidence in a Taliban promise that “not a single hair will be harmed [on the heads] of Russian diplomats”.
ALSO ON RT.COMAfter 20 years & billions of dollars, the American defeat in Afghanistan is worse than the Soviet failure...how has this happened?
These two approaches – fleeing or remaining – reflect how the various countries view their future relations with Taliban-led Afghanistan. Two policy options follow naturally from these approaches: isolation and coercion on the one hand, or engagement and leverage on the other. Associated with these are an insistence on ideology in the first instance and pragmatic considerations of national interest in the second.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was quick off the mark in support of option number one, raising the issue of human rights while issuing rather empty threats. He said that the UK wished to “make very clear to the Taliban that we will hold them to account.” Asked how that was possible, Raab said by “working with our partners, through everything from the sanctions that we can apply to the ODA [official development assistance] that we will hold back pending reform.”
Unlike the UK’s talk of human rights and sanctions, the rhetoric coming out of Beijing and Moscow has been focused on security and engagement. As near-neighbours of Afghanistan, the Chinese and Russians are primarily concerned with ensuring that the country does not once again became a haven for terrorists, and that instability does not spill over its borders into their own backyards. As long as the Taliban can ensure this does not happen, Russia and China seem open to establishing good relations with the new Afghan regime.

Thus, while demanding that Afghanistan would not be used for “acts detrimental to China,” a Beijing Foreign Ministry spokesperson remarked that his country was prepared to develop “good-neighbourly, friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, the Russian presidential envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, stated on Monday that, “If we compare the negotiability of the colleagues and the partners, I have long since decided that the Taliban is much more able to reach agreements than the [former pro-American] puppet government in Kabul.” The Kremlin has experience, having hosted a delegation of the movement's political officers for talks in Moscow, despite the fact the group is a prohibited terrorist organization in the country.
Kabulov even suggested that Russia might officially recognise the Taliban government, depending “on the behaviour of the new authorities.” “We will carefully see how responsibly they govern the country in the near future. And based on the results, the Russian leadership will draw the necessary conclusions,” he said.
Thus, if the West seems to be looking at branding a stick, China and Russia appear to be more in favour of offering a carrot.
Cynics may object that hoping for co-operation from the Taliban is naïve. However, there are some reasons to think the situation might be different compared to when the Taliban first took power in 1996. Then, it showed little interest in, or understanding of, the nuts and bolts of governing a country, let alone foreign affairs. Now it seems to recognize that, to survive, it needs to be technically competent and maintain friendly relations with neighbours.
ALSO ON RT.COMAs Taliban replace guards at Russian Embassy in Kabul, Moscow says it will not revoke group's status as terrorist organization
Antonio Giustozzi, one of the best Western analysts of Afghan affairs, comments that the Taliban seem to be thinking of some sort of coalition government, “incorporating elements of the previous regime.” Giustozzi notes that, “The Taliban have also been reaching out to mid-level technocrats and bureaucrats, inviting them to stay in the country to serve the next government.” In other words, the Taliban has become more pragmatic. And this means that there may be some benefits to be derived from working with them.
China, for instance, will no doubt be eyeing Afghanistan’s substantial mineral reserves. A few years ago, the Chinese won the rights to exploit the copper deposits at Aynak, in central Afghanistan, which are believed to be the largest in the world. Until now, they have been unable to put these rights into practice. But if the Taliban can provide order, mineral resource extraction may at last become a real possibility.
This should benefit Afghanistan as well as China. The country is in desperate need of funds, and Chinese investment could provide a valuable replacement for lost Western aid. Russia, meanwhile, may have something to offer in parts of northern Afghanistan, where the Soviet Union previously helped in the construction of industrial projects such as the Sheberghan gas field and the Mazar-i-Sharif nitrogen fertiliser plant.
Meanwhile, the obvious international force to replace the United States and NATO as the guarantor of regional security would be the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Members include most of Afghanistan’s neighbours, including Russia, China, Pakistan, and, as of last week, Iran.
ALSO ON RT.COM‘Safer than before’: Russian Embassy in Kabul sees no reason to evacuate as Taliban takes over security, ambassador tells RT
Should such things come about, it would be further evidence of a shift in the international order. A multipolar order is fast emerging in which China is displacing the United States as the world’s leading country, and in which Russia is carving out a more limited role for itself as a power in the region.
From Afghanistan’s point of view, there may well be benefits to this. Chinese investment is possibly a change for the better compared with American handouts, which fuelled massive corruption and dependency. Also advantageous may be the SCO’s replacement of America and NATO, given that, as neighbours, the SCO’s members have a direct interest in ensuring Afghanistan’s stability.
Somewhat strangely, therefore, the rise of the Taliban provides certain opportunities for Afghanistan’s development that were not previously available. It’s far from certain that the Taliban will want to make use of these opportunities, but the Russians and Chinese seem to be willing to give it a shot. If they do, they may well reap considerable benefits.
 

Viral

Well-Known Member

Like the Berlin Wall or the Twin Towers: footage of fleeing Afghans abandoned by US marks the end of an era for American supremacy


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US President Joe Biden’s speech on his country’s withdrawal from Afghanistan is a turning point in American foreign policy. As the last troops pull out, leaving a shattered nation behind, Washington seems to have few regrets.
“I know my decision will be criticized. But I would rather take all that criticism than pass this decision on to another president of the United States,” Biden explained. In essence, he was arguing that his three predecessors didn’t have the guts to make the right decision, taking a swipe not only at Donald Trump, whom he mentioned my name, but also at George W. Bush and even his former boss, Barack Obama.
According to the president, the US was never in the business of nation-building in Afghanistan. Its objectives, he claims, were more immediate: to boost security and eliminate those who were responsible for the terrorist attacks on America. Apparently, these objectives have been reached. Questionable as that might be, the claim Washington had no nation-building ambitions is simply not true. However, the fact Biden is now fiercely denying the premise on which his country entered Afghanistan 20 years ago says a lot.
ALSO ON RT.COMAfghan debacle is a sign of shift in global order: With Russian help, China quickly replacing US as world’s most important country
America’s 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was an operation that sent a clear message: the US was prepared to transform the world by force. That attitude didn’t start with George W. Bush or even Bill Clinton. This idea was first voiced by the American president who claimed victory in the Cold War: George H.W. Bush. Operation Desert Storm, in 1991, became the first sign of the “new world order,” but the Soviet Union was still in existence at the time, and the intervention resulted in pushing Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, not in a regime change in Iraq.
When the USSR fell apart, Americans were no longer restricted by another major power, and they entered the so-called “unipolar moment” – they were now free to do whatever they deemed necessary in the international arena. After a number of trial runs in Haiti, Somalia, and Bosnia, the US waged its “model” war on Yugoslavia. The bombing operation led to the final disintegration of the country that America considered an adversary and the ousting of the regime that the West saw as unacceptable. The US first formed that model back in the 1990s.
The September 11 terrorist attacks then gave the US the license to apply it globally – no questions asked. There was one main goal: creating a democratic world where Americans feel safe. The military and political instruments – from invasions to promoting democracy through “color revolutions” – were defined at the beginning of the 2000s. However, it soon became obvious that this policy had worrying side-effects and didn’t always help attain the goal.

The drawn-out operation in Afghanistan, the chaotic campaigns in Iraq, the growing “resistance” in the post-Soviet space, the fatal dysfunction of Palestine after it was forced into a democratic election – all of these developments should have made the Americans realize they needed a completely different strategy. And that’s what Biden was hinting at in his Afghanistan speech. However, neither Bush during his second term in office, nor Obama, nor even rebellious Trump were able to do so. Bush began to adjust the course, Obama didn’t modify the narrative but tried to gradually back out of obligations, Trump drastically changed the rhetoric and denounced the old strategy but didn’t have time to finish the job.
Most likely, the ongoing tragedy in Kabul could have been avoided had Washington been more responsible with its withdrawal plan. But it was hard to do in the current ideology and propaganda climate. Since the Cold War, the establishment in the US has grown used to the idea of America’s hegemony in the world. Any attempt to relinquish that role is met with fierce resistance, even though many understand that it is impossible to go on like that.
In other words, they didn’t want to admit that America no longer had great global ambitions. They tried to hide that and, as a result, lost control, and the whole world is watching in awe as the disaster unfolds. And all of this is happening against the backdrop of screams of betrayal coming from different directions.
America’s hegemony in the world was so extraordinary and unprecedented in scale that gradually backing out was nearly impossible. It had to be engraved with some grand gesture, as symbolic as the fall of the Berlin Wall or planes flying into the Twin Towers. The footage of people fleeing via Kabul airport will go down in history as an image symbolizing the end of an era.
ALSO ON RT.COMRussia could recognize Taliban as Afghanistan’s official government after collapse of US-backed administration, Putin’s envoy says
In his address, Biden basically said that America would now worry about its domestic issues, focus on its own security and fight against its strategic opponents, namely, China and Russia. It would no longer try to change the world. It is what it is – the 20th-century euphoria is over. There might be relapses here and there, but the US will not regain its former standing.
Biden’s “America’s Back” vow, which we heard so many times during the presidential campaign and his term so far, actually means America “is back home,” rather than back in the global arena. In this sense, Biden carries Trump’s torch. No matter what rhetoric is used to gift-wrap its real actions, the US is now pursuing a self-serving policy focused on its own interests.
Twenty years ago, both hardcore neo-cons and neo-liberals in Washington were convinced that spreading democracy in the world, forcing everyone to follow one set of rules served America’s best interests. That’s where the crazy idea of building a “modern democratic state” in Afghanistan came from, now abandoned by Biden.
That dream is gone. It’s all about pragmatism now, and playing by the rules doesn’t matter anymore – a positive development, in fact, as the phantom “torch of democracy” only creates chaos. That said, all international players interacting with the US need to bear in mind that America’s new top priority is its domestic interests, and it will protect them by any means necessary. That’s all that matters to the US, and the rest of the world should be ready for the consequences.
 

Viral

Well-Known Member

Ultimate insult? Taliban fighters mock iconic Iwo Jima flag raising photo, posing in seized US military gear

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An elite unit of Taliban fighters, wearing US-made tactical gear they apparently captured from retreating Afghan forces, has posed for a propaganda photo, which many outraged Americans found to be an “ultimate insult.”
In a photo that ruffled many feathers, mostly among American conservatives, the members of Taliban’s commando unit Badri 313 are seen donning full camouflage and fancy tactical gear, including night vision goggles – seemingly recreating an iconic WWII photo of American troops raising the US flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.

“No Enemy has EVER done this to America, befouled Iwo Jima’s eternal sacrifice, whilst wearing our equipment. Until Biden. He has betrayed all Americans, alive and dead,” said Sebastian Gorka, a former official in the Donald Trump administration.



Much of the outrage and indignation was directed personally at the US commander-in-chief, Joe Biden, who has faced mounting criticism over the past week for the chaotic withdrawal that put American and allies' lives in danger.
“Biden must resign or be impeached and removed,” reacted television commentator John Cardillo, who was recently a host at Newsmax TV. “This just keeps getting worse and worse!” added podcast host and a former Navy SEAL, Jonathan Gilliam.
“We’re a laughing stock of the world,” summed up conservative columnist and former TV host Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late Republican Sen. John McCain.
ALSO ON RT.COMTaliban acquires US military biometric devices that can identify Afghans who assisted coalition efforts – reports
Over the past several weeks, even before the Taliban’s blitzkrieg on Kabul, videos have emerged showing militants inspecting spoils of war, including US-made weapons seized from the Afghan National Army (ANA). The ANA completely collapsed as the US-led coalition began to accelerate its withdrawal, with some units surrendering without a fight, and handing their weapons and equipment over to the militant group.
According to some estimates, the Taliban may now be in possession of more than 2,000 US Humvees and other armored vehicles, and as many as 40 aircraft – including Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters, and military drones. It may also take advantage of the vast arsenal of 600,000 M16 assault rifles and other infantry weapons, some 162,000 pieces of communications equipment and 16,000 night-vision goggles, gifted by the Pentagon to Afghan forces since 2003.
Biden meanwhile pushed back against critics of the withdrawal, blaming Afghanistan’s leaders and military for failing to stand up to the Taliban, and insisting that the US military did all it could for Afghanistan during its nearly 20-year occupation of the country.

 

Viral

Well-Known Member

On this day, 25 years ago, Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda declared war on America – but nobody listened


Scott Ritter
is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of 'SCORPION KING: America's Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.' He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

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From the hills of the Hindu Kush on August 23, 1996, Osama Bin Laden told the United States he was coming for them. One can only wonder what the world would be like today if we had taken him seriously.
As the world watches the humanitarian crisis unfolding in and around Kabul International Airport, where thousands of American soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines struggle to facilitate the evacuation of tens of thousands of US citizens and designated Afghan citizens out of Afghanistan, the question that comes to mind first and foremost is “how did this come to be?”
Already, there is fallout on both sides of the aisle in Congress as fingers are pointed and accusations hurled by a political elite more accustomed to assigning blame than taking responsibility. Regardless of how the evacuation of Kabul ends, there will be a settling of scores, with civilian leadership seeking to cast blame on the military, which in turn will be blaming the politicians, all the while everyone casting aspersions of the intelligence community and the inevitable accusations of an “intelligence failure.” If Americans thought the Benghazi investigation was a brutal partisan witch hunt, they ain’t seen nothing yet.
ALSO ON RT.COMUltimate insult? Taliban fighters mock iconic Iwo Jima flag-raising photo, posing in seized US military gear
While there is a plethora of operational and tactical errors that the political headhunting class will be sifting through to deliver up for public sacrifice in order to preserve their own political hides, those conducting the investigation will probably ignore the foundational event that defined the strategic framework of America’s two-plus decade experience in Afghanistan. Every journey has to begin somewhere, and when it comes to the long and winding road that terminates at Kabul International Airport, the first steps were taken well before the Twin Towers fell on 9/11. The first steps on what would become a pathway to defeat for the United States in Afghanistan were taken on August 23, 1996, when an obscure Saudi businessman-turned-jihadist named Osama Bin Laden declared war on the United States.
At a time when most Americans would have been hard pressed to locate Afghanistan on a map, Osama Bin Laden, operating from what he called “a safe base in Khurastan, high in the peaks of the Hindu Kush,” issued a religious edict, or fatwa, which served as a de facto declaration of war against Israel, the United States, and Saudi Arabia. The location from which Bin Laden dictated his fatwa, resonated with anyone possessing an understanding of the region’s history. Bin Laden was nestled among “the very same peaks upon which were smashed, by the grace of God, the largest infidel military force in the world,” adding that, on these same peaks, “the myth of the great powers perished before the cries of the holy warriors: God is greatest!”
Secure in his base of operations, Bin Laden declared that he and his organization, known as Al Qaeda, or ‘The Base,’ were working “to do away with the injustice that has befallen our umma (i.e., the worldwide community of Muslims) at the hands of the Judeo-Crusader alliance, especially after its occupation of Jerusalem and its appropriation of Saudi Arabia.” Less than a decade prior, Bin Laden, the youngest son of a well-connected Saudi construction magnate, was operating on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, assisting Arab mujahideen, or holy warriors, in an earlier jihad against the Soviet occupiers of Afghanistan.
ALSO ON RT.COMTaliban acquires US military biometric devices that can identify Afghans who assisted coalition efforts – reports
In the years that passed following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, Bin Laden used his money to leverage himself into a position of authority among the more radicalized members of the Arab mujahideen who had fought in Afghanistan. In search of enemies for his new cause, Bin Laden capitalized on the presence of US forces on the soil of Saudi Arabia as a result of the Gulf War of 1990-91, when the US deployed hundreds of thousands of troops to the Persian Gulf region in response to the Iraq invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Tens of thousands of these troops remained after the conclusion of the war, something Bin Laden viewed as an affront to all Muslims, given that Saudi Arabia was the ostensible protector of Islam’s holy cities, Mecca and Medinah. “We pray to God,” Bin Laden declared, “that He might bless us with victory–He is our protector and is well capable of doing so.”
Bin Laden’s declaration of war went unnoticed by all but a handful of US intelligence analysts, whose warning about the threat posed by Bin Laden and Al Qaeda fell on deaf ears. Even after terrorists from his organization blew up a pair of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, on August 7, 1998, and nearly sank the USS Cole during a port stop in Yemen on October 12, 2000, efforts to bring Bin Laden to justice were lackluster at best–a cruise missile attack targeting Al Qaeda training facilities, and an abortive assassination effort organized by the CIA.
The ineffective targeting of Bin Laden by the US following the attacks on the US embassies in Africa proved to be a turning point in Al Qaeda’s relationship with the Taliban, with Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, publicly declaring that the Taliban “will never hand over Bin Laden to anyone and (will) protect him with our blood at all costs.”
Mullah Omar’s statement is important when viewed in light of the offer made by the Taliban in the aftermath of 9/11 to turn Bin Laden over to a third party and expel Al Qaeda from Afghanistan should the US be able and willing to share intelligence that conclusively linked Al Qaeda to the 9/11 attacks. The failure to detain Bin Laden through diplomacy, and the subsequent difficulty in ultimately bringing him and the organization he led to justice, was directly linked to many of the foreign policy disasters that have befallen the US over the last two decades. While Bin Laden was ultimately tracked down and killed in May 2011 by US forces, Al Qaeda elements remained operational in Pakistan and Afghanistan, joining forces with the Taliban, whom the United States effectively declared war on in October 2001.
Many observers speak of the collapse of the Afghan government in August 2021 as a clear-cut Taliban victory. But the truth of the matter is that what is happening in Afghanistan today is a victory of Al Qaeda. Thanks to the ineffective policies of the United States following Bin Laden’s August 23, 1996, declaration of war not only led to actions that gave Al Qaeda more prominence, but also ended up creating an alliance with the Taliban that continues to this day.
ALSO ON RT.COMBiden doubles funding for ‘unexpected needs’ of Afghan refugees as ex-interpreter abandoned by Pentagon is BEHEADED by Taliban
Bin Laden’s call to “Muslim brothers across the world” to join him “in the jihad against the enemies of God” for the purpose of expelling “them in defeat and humiliation” resonated among elements of Islam around the world, helping bring them together as part of an overall effort leading to the “unification of the word of our umma under the banner of God’s unity.”
One only need listen carefully to the words being spoken by the victorious Taliban in Afghanistan today to hear the echoes of Bin Laden’s call to jihad. The victory he prophesied has come true–in the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan, the myth of American invincibility did, in fact, come crashing down. One can only wonder what the world would be like today had the United States taken Bin Laden’s declaration of war at face value and use its considerable power to hunt him and his organization down, terminating them with extreme prejudice, and thereby preventing 9/11 and all that followed from happening.
 

proIsrael-nonIsraeli

Legendary Member

On this day, 25 years ago, Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda declared war on America – but nobody listened


Scott Ritter
is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of 'SCORPION KING: America's Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.' He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

View attachment 24794

From the hills of the Hindu Kush on August 23, 1996, Osama Bin Laden told the United States he was coming for them. One can only wonder what the world would be like today if we had taken him seriously.
As the world watches the humanitarian crisis unfolding in and around Kabul International Airport, where thousands of American soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines struggle to facilitate the evacuation of tens of thousands of US citizens and designated Afghan citizens out of Afghanistan, the question that comes to mind first and foremost is “how did this come to be?”
Already, there is fallout on both sides of the aisle in Congress as fingers are pointed and accusations hurled by a political elite more accustomed to assigning blame than taking responsibility. Regardless of how the evacuation of Kabul ends, there will be a settling of scores, with civilian leadership seeking to cast blame on the military, which in turn will be blaming the politicians, all the while everyone casting aspersions of the intelligence community and the inevitable accusations of an “intelligence failure.” If Americans thought the Benghazi investigation was a brutal partisan witch hunt, they ain’t seen nothing yet.
ALSO ON RT.COMUltimate insult? Taliban fighters mock iconic Iwo Jima flag-raising photo, posing in seized US military gear
While there is a plethora of operational and tactical errors that the political headhunting class will be sifting through to deliver up for public sacrifice in order to preserve their own political hides, those conducting the investigation will probably ignore the foundational event that defined the strategic framework of America’s two-plus decade experience in Afghanistan. Every journey has to begin somewhere, and when it comes to the long and winding road that terminates at Kabul International Airport, the first steps were taken well before the Twin Towers fell on 9/11. The first steps on what would become a pathway to defeat for the United States in Afghanistan were taken on August 23, 1996, when an obscure Saudi businessman-turned-jihadist named Osama Bin Laden declared war on the United States.
At a time when most Americans would have been hard pressed to locate Afghanistan on a map, Osama Bin Laden, operating from what he called “a safe base in Khurastan, high in the peaks of the Hindu Kush,” issued a religious edict, or fatwa, which served as a de facto declaration of war against Israel, the United States, and Saudi Arabia. The location from which Bin Laden dictated his fatwa, resonated with anyone possessing an understanding of the region’s history. Bin Laden was nestled among “the very same peaks upon which were smashed, by the grace of God, the largest infidel military force in the world,” adding that, on these same peaks, “the myth of the great powers perished before the cries of the holy warriors: God is greatest!”
Secure in his base of operations, Bin Laden declared that he and his organization, known as Al Qaeda, or ‘The Base,’ were working “to do away with the injustice that has befallen our umma (i.e., the worldwide community of Muslims) at the hands of the Judeo-Crusader alliance, especially after its occupation of Jerusalem and its appropriation of Saudi Arabia.” Less than a decade prior, Bin Laden, the youngest son of a well-connected Saudi construction magnate, was operating on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, assisting Arab mujahideen, or holy warriors, in an earlier jihad against the Soviet occupiers of Afghanistan.
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In the years that passed following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, Bin Laden used his money to leverage himself into a position of authority among the more radicalized members of the Arab mujahideen who had fought in Afghanistan. In search of enemies for his new cause, Bin Laden capitalized on the presence of US forces on the soil of Saudi Arabia as a result of the Gulf War of 1990-91, when the US deployed hundreds of thousands of troops to the Persian Gulf region in response to the Iraq invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Tens of thousands of these troops remained after the conclusion of the war, something Bin Laden viewed as an affront to all Muslims, given that Saudi Arabia was the ostensible protector of Islam’s holy cities, Mecca and Medinah. “We pray to God,” Bin Laden declared, “that He might bless us with victory–He is our protector and is well capable of doing so.”
Bin Laden’s declaration of war went unnoticed by all but a handful of US intelligence analysts, whose warning about the threat posed by Bin Laden and Al Qaeda fell on deaf ears. Even after terrorists from his organization blew up a pair of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, on August 7, 1998, and nearly sank the USS Cole during a port stop in Yemen on October 12, 2000, efforts to bring Bin Laden to justice were lackluster at best–a cruise missile attack targeting Al Qaeda training facilities, and an abortive assassination effort organized by the CIA.
The ineffective targeting of Bin Laden by the US following the attacks on the US embassies in Africa proved to be a turning point in Al Qaeda’s relationship with the Taliban, with Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, publicly declaring that the Taliban “will never hand over Bin Laden to anyone and (will) protect him with our blood at all costs.”
Mullah Omar’s statement is important when viewed in light of the offer made by the Taliban in the aftermath of 9/11 to turn Bin Laden over to a third party and expel Al Qaeda from Afghanistan should the US be able and willing to share intelligence that conclusively linked Al Qaeda to the 9/11 attacks. The failure to detain Bin Laden through diplomacy, and the subsequent difficulty in ultimately bringing him and the organization he led to justice, was directly linked to many of the foreign policy disasters that have befallen the US over the last two decades. While Bin Laden was ultimately tracked down and killed in May 2011 by US forces, Al Qaeda elements remained operational in Pakistan and Afghanistan, joining forces with the Taliban, whom the United States effectively declared war on in October 2001.
Many observers speak of the collapse of the Afghan government in August 2021 as a clear-cut Taliban victory. But the truth of the matter is that what is happening in Afghanistan today is a victory of Al Qaeda. Thanks to the ineffective policies of the United States following Bin Laden’s August 23, 1996, declaration of war not only led to actions that gave Al Qaeda more prominence, but also ended up creating an alliance with the Taliban that continues to this day.
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Bin Laden’s call to “Muslim brothers across the world” to join him “in the jihad against the enemies of God” for the purpose of expelling “them in defeat and humiliation” resonated among elements of Islam around the world, helping bring them together as part of an overall effort leading to the “unification of the word of our umma under the banner of God’s unity.”
One only need listen carefully to the words being spoken by the victorious Taliban in Afghanistan today to hear the echoes of Bin Laden’s call to jihad. The victory he prophesied has come true–in the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan, the myth of American invincibility did, in fact, come crashing down. One can only wonder what the world would be like today had the United States taken Bin Laden’s declaration of war at face value and use its considerable power to hunt him and his organization down, terminating them with extreme prejudice, and thereby preventing 9/11 and all that followed from happening.

If my memory serve me correctly we have this score:

Bin Laden declared war on USSR - won
Bin Laden declared war on USA - lost.

Did I miss anything?
 

Viral

Well-Known Member
No Shame....


Video of Mike Pompeo's Contradictory Afghanistan Remarks Viewed Over 900K Times

BY JASON LEMON ON 8/28/21

A video montage of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's remarks about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan while he served in the Trump administration compared to his comments now that President Joe Biden is overseeing the drawdown has been viewed nearly 900,000 times since it was posted on Thursday.

Pompeo spearheaded former President Donald Trump's negotiations with the Taliban, which resulted in the signing of a February 2020 peace deal that called for the full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan by May 2021. After he took office in January, President Joe Biden pushed the withdrawal deadline back to September 11 and then moved it forward to August 31. But the Taliban regained near total control of Afghanistan by August 15, two weeks ahead of that date.

Pompeo and Trump have repeatedly attacked Biden's handling of the U.S. military withdrawal. Meanwhile, some top Republicans have strongly criticized the Trump administration over the peace deal they signed with the Taliban.

In a video produced by MSNBC's The Mehdi Hasan Show, Pompeo's previous remarks about the Taliban and Afghanistan are mashed up against what he is saying now—highlighting apparent contradictions.




In the first clip from the present, Pompeo describes the Taliban as "butchers" and "evil people," saying the meetings with them were "some of the most difficult meetings for me personally, and emotionally."


Comparatively, a clip from 2020 shows Pompeo saying that the U.S. has seen the Taliban "working diligently to reduce violence." He adds that the Trump administration "has confidence that the Taliban leadership is working to deliver on its commitments."

The next recent clip from an interview with Fox News shows Pompeo saying, "we never trusted the Taliban." But in 2020, Pompeo said that the Trump administration had "every expectation" that the Taliban would follow through on its commitments under the peace deal.

And in another interview from last year, Pompeo said he "looked" the Taliban officials "in the eye" and they "revalidated" their commitments to the peace agreement.

As of the time of writing, the MSNBC video has been viewed on Twitter just over 900,000 times.

Newsweek reached out to Pompeo's Champion American Values PAC for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

In an August 15 interview with Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace confronted Pompeo over his role in negotiating the peace deal with the Taliban.


"You were the first American secretary of state to ever meet with the Taliban and you talked about how they had agreed to join us in the fight against terrorism," Wallace pointed out.

The Fox News host then played a March 2020 clip of the former secretary of state saying that the Taliban had agreed to "work alongside of us to destroy, deny resources to and have [U.S. designated terrorist group] Al Qaeda depart from" Afghanistan.

"Do you regret giving the Taliban that legitimacy? Do you regret pressing the Afghan government to release 5,000 prisoners? Which they did, some of whom are now back on the battlefield fighting with the Taliban," Wallace asked Pompeo.



Mike Pompeo

A video produced by MSNBC of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apparently contradictory remarks about Afghanistan has been viewed more than 900,000 times on Twitter. In this photo, Pompeo speaks to the media with members of the Republican Study Committee on April 21 in Washington, D.C.JOSHUA ROBERTS/GETTY IMAGES

Pompeo responded by defending his record in the Trump administration. The former secretary of state said that "you make peace with your enemies," asserting that his March 2020 statement "was absolutely true." He argued that the Trump administration did "good work to crush Al Qaeda."


Biden and Trump have both received substantial criticism amid the chaos of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The U.S. government was taken off guard by how quickly the Taliban regained control of the country. However, the U.S. military has maintained control of the Kabul airport, allowing it to evacuate approximately 111,000 Americans, allies and Afghan refugees since August 14.
 

Viral

Well-Known Member

US reputation is in tatters, it’s time to bring those responsible for Afghanistan disaster to account


Scott Ritter
is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of 'SCORPION KING: America's Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.' He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter
29 Aug, 2021

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Twenty years of US war in Afghanistan draws to a close at the stroke of midnight on August 31. There will be plenty of time to dissect the root causes of failure. What is needed now is accountability for the disastrous endgame.
A video of active duty Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller demanding accountability for the humanitarian disaster that had come to define the US-led evacuation from Kabul, Afghanistan, quickly went viral.
Scheller, who commanded the advanced infantry training battalion at the Marine Corps School of Infantry, at the time the video was made, had spent 17 years as a Marine, with multiple combat deployments. He knowingly placed this distinguished career at risk by publicly demanding that someone be held accountable for the bungled evacuation, which had left at least 14 American servicemen dead, along with hundreds of Afghans, some with dual citizenship in allied nations. Scheller’s commanders immediately relieved him of his command. This was a consequence Scheller anticipated, which makes his decision to sacrifice his career in the name of accountability even more remarkable.
I’m not saying we need to be in Afghanistan forever,” the combat veteran said, “but I am saying, did any of you throw your rank on the table and say, ‘Hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Airfield, a strategic airbase, before we evacuate everyone?’”
Lacking that, Scheller asked, did anyone take responsibility for failing to raise objections, and for the related failure to adequately hold up America’s end of the bargain when it came to evacuating Afghans who had assisted the United States over the course of its 20-year war in Afghanistan and who, together with their families, were at mortal risk of retaliation from a victorious Taliban enemy. Without accountability, Scheller said, “we just keep repeating the same mistakes.” The Marine officer concluded by stating “I want to say this very strongly. I have been fighting for 17 years. I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders: I demand accountability.
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While Scheller’s actions and sentiment captured the imagination of many who watched the voluntary act of digital self-immolation, the fact of the matter is that, left to its own devices, the chain of command Scheller so rightly calls out for its moral failings will not, on its own volition, seek to hold anyone to account for the failure of policy and national character that has come to define the US-led evacuation mission in Afghanistan.
Americans, together with much of the world, have marveled at the herculean task confronting the young men and women of the US armed forces who secured the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) and carried out the impossible task of deciding who among the tens of thousands of desperate human beings would be given a chance at a new life, or condemned to try and survive in a land governed by the brutality of Taliban-run Islamic law. Their labor and sacrifice have dominated the narrative being pushed out by the mainstream media to the point that few, if any, are asking the critical questions posed by Stuart Scheller: Who is responsible for the decision to close Bagram Airfield?
Until it was abandoned by the US military on the night of July 2, 2021, Bagram Airfield, located some 40 miles north of Kabul, had served as the heart of the US military effort in Afghanistan. Originally used by the Soviets during their military intervention in Afghanistan from 1979-1989, Bagram Airfield had fallen into disarray until captured by the US-led coalition in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The US poured tens of billions of dollars into the airfield to create a ‘home away from home’ for deployed US forces. Persons based at Bagram, or transiting through, had access to a Burger King, Popeyes, pizzerias, a Thai restaurant, Dairy Queen and coffee shops. The base had two military exchanges (stores) along with a host of local vendors. Air-conditioned gyms, recreation facilities with video games and large-screen televisions, and full WiFi connectivity made it hard to tell the airfield apart from small-town America. Bagram Airfield played host to US military aircraft, including fighter planes and attack helicopters, as well as a separate compound for special operations personnel and CIA paramilitary officers.
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Any contingency involving the movement of Americans in and out of Afghanistan in any significant number would, as a matter of course, assume the availability of Bagram Airfield.
When, during a press conference on August 26, President Joe Biden was asked who was responsible for the decision to abandon Bagram Airfield, the commander in chief placed the blame squarely on his military commanders. “Every day when I talk to our commanders,” Biden said, “I ask them what they need — what more do they need, if anything, to get the job done. As they will tell you, I granted every request.”
On the tactical questions of how to conduct an evacuation or a war, I gather up all the major military personnel that are in Afghanistan — the commanders, as well as the Pentagon. And I ask for their best military judgment: what would be the most efficient way to accomplish the mission. They concluded — the military — that Bagram was not much value added, that it was much wiser to focus on Kabul [international airport]. And so, I followed that recommendation.
The problem with the president’s statement is that it is not true. In an earlier press conference, held on August 18, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, made it clear that the White House had given the military zero latitude when it came to retaining control of Bagram Airfield. “Our task, given to us at that time, our task was to protect the embassy,” Milley said. “If we were to keep both Bagram and the embassy going, that would be a significant number of military forces.
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General Milley made it clear that the military was under strict instructions for “getting the troops down to a 600, 700 number,” and that to hold Bagram would require many more troops than the limit imposed by the White House. “The decision was made to go ahead and collapse Bagram,” he said, noting that the military “estimated that the risk of going out of KIA, or the risk of going out of Bagram, were about the same, so going out of KIA was the better tactical solution.”
Immediately after Bagram Airfield was abandoned by the US military, Biden held a press conference where he expressed optimism about the US’ ability to manage the evacuation of its troops and civilians from Afghanistan. “The drawdown is proceeding in a secure and orderly way, prioritizing the safety of our troops as they depart,” the president noted. “The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely” he said, adding that there would be no circumstance where you’d see people being lifted off the roof of the American embassy in Afghanistan. “It is not at all comparable” to the 1975 US evacuation from Saigon.
The White House bid to manage the optics of withdrawal by keeping the number of US forces deployed on the ground at a minimum while rejecting any comparison of the devolving situation in Afghanistan with that of South Vietnam came crashing down around them as, barely two weeks into August, the Afghan government collapsed and the Taliban entered Kabul victorious.
The very scenario President Biden said could never happen did. With concern over bad optics now mooted by reality, the White House reversed course on its decision to cap the number of US troops in Afghanistan at 600-700. “Based on the recommendations of our diplomatic, military, and intelligence teams,” Biden said in a press conference after Kabul fell, “I have authorized the deployment of approximately 5,000 US troops to make sure we can have an orderly and safe drawdown of US personnel and other allied personnel, and an orderly and safe evacuation of Afghans who helped our troops during our mission and those at special risk from the Taliban advance.
As Biden came under increasing criticism for his handling of the Afghanistan crisis, his National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan went on national television in an effort to shape the narrative in a manner which shielded the president from any blame.
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All along, the president has been clear that the United States was not going to enter a third decade of American military deployment in the middle of another country’s civil war…he has been clear that that could mean difficult times in Afghanistan. We have been clear-eyed about this from the start. But what we were not prepared to do, what the president was not prepared to do, was to say that for that reason, we need to keep American men and women fighting and dying in this civil war,” Sullivan told ABC's Good Morning America.
The problem with Jake Sullivan’s spin game is that it bore no resemblance to reality: rather than prepare America for a “difficult time,” Biden presented the American people with the image of a “secure and orderly” evacuation of US personnel from Afghanistan. Far from being “clear eyed,” the Biden White House interfered with the contingency planning of the military by limiting the number of forces available to 600-700, putting a lie to the notion that the president “granted every request” for additional troops. The fact of the matter is that, when confronted with the need for additional military resources to enable the military to simultaneously hold on to the US embassy compound in Kabul and Bagram Airfield, the White House turned the generals down flat, creating the conditions for the chaotic humanitarian disaster which unfolded at HKIA in mid-August when the president suddenly saw fit to deploy 5-6,000 additional US troops. That he could have held onto Bagram with a fraction of that number seems to have escaped both the president and his national security advisor.

READ MORE
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In his August 16 press conference, Joe Biden declared that “the buck stops with me” when it comes to assigning responsibility for the chaotic situation unfolding in Afghanistan at the time. That sentiment, void of a resignation on the part of the president, is meaningless. Stuart Scheller sacrificed a stellar military career in order to drive home the absolute need for accountability when it comes to the botched Afghanistan withdrawal. While Mark Milley and his fellow generals shoulder a significant portion of the blame for not having the courage of Stuart Scheller and failing to put their respective careers on the line in order to oppose bad policy, at the end of the day the primacy of civilian leadership that governs civil-military relations in America requires a civilian head on the chopping block.
One need look no further than the president’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan when sizing up candidates. He is the most influential advisor on national security matters and would have been the front man when it came to keeping the military in line regarding maintaining the optics of withdrawal being pushed by President Biden — reduced troop number, and no ‘Saigon moment’.
This politicization of national security contingency planning has cost American servicemembers, and hundreds of Afghans, their lives. The reputation of the United States is in tatters. The ramifications going forward of this utter collapse in American leadership have yet to materialize. Before Biden assembles his national security and foreign policy team to try and right the sinking ship that is US policy in Afghanistan, there must be accountability. At a very minimum Jake Sullivan must be fired. Ideally Mark Milley would be compelled to resign or be fired. Other generals whose fingerprints are on the Afghan disaster should also suffer career-ending consequences.
There must be accountability. Otherwise, as Stuart Scheller noted, “we just keep repeating the same mistakes.
 

Viral

Well-Known Member

بين قوسين - الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية المنهزمة في أفغانستان والمتعثرة في المنطقة


Aug 30, 2021
 

NewLeb

Active Member
He also bent over backwards to N Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

Trump threatened to blow the whole country up you nincompoop.

You’re only angry that the North Koreans liked Trump and that he commanded their respect, despite him not having to be their slave (like how Hezbollah owns Tayyar).
 
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