AFGHANISTAN | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

AFGHANISTAN

Jul 31 07:06

A new Great Game is afoot in Afghanistan, as China hosts the Taliban and eyes a key role in the country’s future

The inviting of a delegation from the Taliban Islamic fundamentalist group to Beijing this week has raised eyebrows across the world. Is China being clever, or does it face grave dangers on entering the “graveyard of empires”?

China this week took the highly unusual step of hosting a delegation from the Taliban in Beijing for talks, as concerns rise about the future of Afghanistan, amidst growing fighting and a massive offensive by the Islamist group against the government, whose days are increasingly seen as numbered.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated he expected the Taliban to play a role in the “peace, reconciliation and reconstruction process” in Afghanistan. The visit was interpreted widely by the mainstream media that China was giving its blessing to the legitimacy of the Taliban on the international stage, and this has occurred despite huge ideological and theological differences between the two sides.

Jul 30 13:19

UN headquarters attacked in Afghanistan

The main UN compound in the capital of the western Afghan province of Herat has been attacked by "anti-government elements" and at least one security guard was killed, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says.

The attack, involving rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire, happened hours after Taliban fighters penetrated deep into Herat city, and heavy clashes with Afghan security forces were going on near the UNAMA provincial headquarters, officials said.

In a statement following the attack, the United Nations said it was urgently seeking to establish a full picture about the assault and was in contact with the relevant parties.

It was not immediately clear who attacked the compound but a foreign security official told Reuters all diplomatic compounds in the city were put on high alert.

Jul 29 05:39

China Says Taliban Will Play ‘Important’ Role in Afghanistan Reconstruction

A Taliban delegation visited China on Wednesday, and Beijing said the group will play an “important” role in the Afghan peace process and the reconstruction of the country.

“The Taliban in Afghanistan is a pivotal military and political force in the country, and will play an important role in the process of peace, reconciliation and reconstruction there,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

The visit comes as the Taliban is making significant territorial gains against the Afghan government, which the US has responded to by stepping up airstrikes. Regional countries are preparing for the likely possibility that the Taliban will either take over Afghanistan or at least be the dominant political force in a future power-sharing government.

One request China has of the Taliban is to sever ties with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Uyghur Muslim group that Beijing accuses of being behind terrorist attacks in Xinjiang.

Jul 29 05:36

Blinken Says a Taliban Takeover Would Make Afghanistan a ‘Pariah State’

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Afghanistan would turn into a “pariah state” if the Taliban takes over the country by force. The comments come as the Taliban is making significant gains against the US-backed government.

“An Afghanistan that does not respect the rights of its people, an Afghanistan that commits atrocities against its own people, would become a pariah state,” Blinken said. “The Taliban says that it seeks international recognition … There’s only one path, and that’s at the negotiating table to resolve the conflict peacefully.”

Intra-Afghan talks have been stalling, partially due to the fact that President Biden pushed back the original May 1st withdrawal deadline to September. Since May, the Taliban has been launching major offensives and has no motive to stop until the US troops are gone. Last week, a Taliban spokesman said the group would negotiate a power-sharing government but that they want President Ashraf Ghani to step down.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

It wasn't considered a pariah state when the Taliban took over from the USSR!

Jul 29 05:31

U.S. 'Deeply Troubled' by Attacks on Civilians as Taliban Sweep Across Afghanistan

The United States said on Wednesday it was deeply troubled by reports of escalating attacks on civilians as the Taliban sweep across Afghanistan and Washington pulls out its last remaining troops and ends its longest war.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on a visit to India, said the only path to peace in Afghanistan was through negotiations, which all parties must take seriously.

Jul 29 05:30

Russia Beefs up Tajik Base, Warns of ISIS Fighters in Afghanistan

Russia said on Wednesday it was beefing up the combat capabilities of its military base in Tajikistan and training local soldiers, as Moscow warned that Islamic State militants were moving into neighbouring Afghanistan.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who was in Tajikistan on Wednesday for talks, said the security situation had rapidly deteriorated in Afghanistan amid a U.S. troop withdrawal.

Jul 29 05:29

UN Envoy Warns Taliban of Intl Isolation If No Movement in Talks

Addressing the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) meeting at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday, Deborah Lyons, the UN secretary general's special representative for Afghanistan, said that if there is no progress in the peace talks the world will not work with the Taliban.

"If there is no movement at the negotiating table, and instead human rights abuses and worse still atrocities occur in districts they control, the Taliban will not be seen as a viable partner for the international community," said Lyons.

Lyons said that the meeting takes place in extraordinary circumstances, with work to preserve the gains never more urgent or challenging.

Jul 29 05:29

US 'Really Messed It Up' in Afghanistan: Imran Khan

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said the US "really messed it up in Afghanistan" as he gave his analysis of the US's involvement in Pakistan's neighbor country in an interview with US television network PBS that aired on Tuesday.

“You see, first of all, they tried to look for a military solution in Afghanistan, when there never was one. And people like me who kept saying that there's no military solution, who know the history of Afghanistan, we were called — people like me were called anti-American. I was called Taliban Khan,” he told American PBS TV.

“For anyone who objected to this way of — I don't know what the objective was in Afghanistan, whether it was to have some nation-building or democracy or liberate the women. Whatever the cause was, the way they went about it was never going to be the solution,” he said.

Jul 29 04:28

Is This Country Heading for the Exit?

The real question may be this: Three decades after the Soviet empire headed for the exit, is it possible that the far more powerful American one is ever so chaotically heading in the same direction? And if so, what does that mean for the rest of us?

Jul 28 11:41

What It Takes For U.S. Jets To Keep Fighting In Afghanistan From "Over The Horizon"

s the Taliban continues to make significant gains against government security forces in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has indicated that it will continue to support the latter with airstrikes indefinitely, despite previously saying it would halt these operations by the end of August. However, the ongoing drawdown of American forces in the country, which has included completely vacating major air bases, has raised questions about how difficult it may be to provide robust and persistent airpower from "over the horizon." Now, an official U.S. Air Force news item has offered specific details about the significant logistical hurdles to carrying out such strikes going forward.

Jul 28 07:09

US General Will not Commit To Stopping Afghan Airstrikes Ever

The leader of U.S. Central Command refused to say whether the military will cease airstrikes against the Taliban after the previously announced end date for such responses.

Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the top general managing operations in Afghanistan, told reporters on Sunday that “logistical support” would continue past the deadline, yet, he went on, “I’m just not going to be able to comment about the future of U.S. airstrikes after [the] Aug. 31” deadline, according to the New York Times.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"Hell, it's not like we're spending our own money here!"

Jul 28 05:44

US, NATO pledge billions to back Afghan forces

The U.S. and NATO have promised to pay $4 billion a year until 2024 to finance Afghanistan’s military and security forces, which are struggling to contain an advancing Taliban. Already, the U.S. has spent nearly $89 billion over the past 20 years to build, equip and train Afghan forces.

Yet America’s own government watchdog says oversight of the money has been poor, hundreds of millions of dollars have been misspent and corruption is rife in the security apparatus.

Monitoring where the future funding goes will become virtually impossible after Aug. 31, when the last coalition troops leave. Here is a look at some of the issues:

U.S. SPENDING SINCE 2001

Nearly $83 billion has been spent to build, equip, train and sustain Afghanistan’s National Defense and Security Forces, which include the military, national police and the elite special forces.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Pouring good money after bad...

Jul 27 06:10

Chris Hedges: The return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan will be one more signpost of the end of the American empire

The US empire is in terminal decline, and heading for a dystopian future. Yet no-one – not the generals, the politicians or the fawning MSM – will be held accountable for all the military follies that herald its imminent collapse.

The debacle in Afghanistan, which will unravel into chaos with lightning speed over the next few weeks and ensure the return of the Taliban to power, is one more signpost of the end of the American empire.

Jul 27 04:57

Escobar: China's BRI Battles The 'New Quad' For Afghanistan's Coming Boom

The race is already on to build and extend Afghanistan's shattered infrastructure as rival powers advance competing initiatives...

Afghan security forces deployed and start operations against Taliban around Torkham border point between Afghanistan and Pakistan in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan on July 23, 2021. Photo: AFP via Anadolu Agency / Stringer

Over a week ago the excruciatingly slow Doha peace talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban resumed, and then they dragged on for two days observed by envoys from the EU, US and UN.

Nothing happened. They could not even agree on a ceasefire during Eid al-Adha. Worse, there’s no road map for how negotiations might pick up in August. Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada duly released a statement: the Taliban “strenuously favors a political settlement.”

Jul 27 04:54

Afghan Civilian Casualties Hit Record High Amid Rapid Taliban Gains

A United Nations monitor issued figures on Monday showing that civilian casualties in Afghanistan have soared over the period the United States began rapidly withdrawing forces ahead of Biden's declared full exit, which is to be accomplished before the symbolic date of September 11.

Civilian casualties in the war-torn country hit record highs for the first half of the year, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in its report. "In May and June alone, when the Taliban began its surge of attacks, 783 civilians were killed and 1,609 were injured," the group indicated according to The Hill, which notes further: "In just those two months, the civilian casualties neared the total from January through April, when 876 civilians were killed and 1,915 were injured, the mission added."

Jul 27 04:30

UN Says Afghan Civilian Casualties up 47 Percent in 2021

With fighting raging in Afghanistan, a new UN report found that civilian casualties have skyrocketed in 2021, up 47 percent from the year before.

The UN’s Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 5,183 civilian casualties between January and June, of which 1,659 were deaths. The months of May and June were especially brutal. The report found nearly 2,400 Afghan civilians were injured or killed in those two months alone.

“Of serious concern is the acute rise in the number of civilians killed and injured in the period from 1 May, with almost as many civilian casualties in the May-June period as recorded in the entire preceding four months,” the UNAMA said.

Jul 26 05:48

Scores of Civilians Killed in Fighting Around Central Afghanistan

The Taliban are accused of having killed scores of civilians in multiple operations in their territory across central and southern Afghanistan recently. Taliban leaders are denying any human rights violations occurred.

Residents of Malistan, a district in Ghazni Province, claimed that the Taliban killed a number of civilians for no apparent reason earlier this month. They estimated 43 civilians were slain.

33 more civilians, reportedly including religious scholars and journalists, were killed in Kandahar. The Afghan Human Rights Commission reported that they were killed in the past two weeks.

In addition to those reports, the Taliban reportedly captured five people in Kabul Province, including four security members, and ultimately executed them. Locals claimed the Taliban tortured them, and complained that the Afghan government failed to provide security for them.

Jul 26 05:45

Ex-CIA Agent Says US Wasted Trillions on Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, Achieved Nothing

As the US approaches the completion of its withdrawal from Afghanistan, which should be over by September 11, as well as in light of more and more audible demands from Iraq to withdraw troops from its soil, questions are increasingly emerging about the assessment of the almost 20-year military presence and the success of these operations.

The US has squandered trillions of dollars on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while failing to achieve any objectives, former US counter-terrorism specialist and CIA military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi wrote in an op-ed for Strategic Culture Foundation.

In an article, Giraldi made the remarks as US soldiers leave Afghanistan after an almost twenty-year war and pressure mounts on the Biden administration to withdraw all troops from Iraq.

Jul 26 05:44

UN Fears ‘Unprecedented Numbers of Civilians Will Perish’ in Escalating Afghan Civil War

The decades-long conflict in Afghanistan intensified dramatically in the spring of 2021 as the United States and NATO announced that they would be departing the country after over 19 years of occupation. All of the country’s neighbours have beefed up security on their borders to prevent growing instability from spilling into their countries.

The United Nations has expressed fears that the ramping up of the civil war in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the US and NATO departure may result in a horrifying increase in the number of civilian casualties.

“Unprecedented numbers of Afghan civilians will perish and be maimed this year if the increasing violence is not stemmed,” the UN’s Assistance Mission in Afghanistan warned Monday in a press release accompanying a report on the situation in the country.

Jul 26 05:31

US vows to continue airstrikes in Afghanistan, as general insists ‘Taliban victory is not inevitable’

The head of the US Central Command has promised that despite the withdrawal, the US military will continue supporting the Afghan government with airstrikes against the advancing Taliban militants, at least “in the coming weeks.”

“The Taliban are attempting to create a sense of inevitability about their campaign. They are wrong,” General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of the US Central Command, told reporters in Kabul over the weekend.

Since the US began its withdrawal in May, the advance by the Taliban has intensified, with militants now claiming to have gained control of more than 80% of Afghanistan. In response, the US military has supported the government’s efforts against the Taliban through air strikes.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

When the USSR lost in Afghanistan, the world stopped being afraid of them and stopped doing business their way. The same is going to happen to the US now.

Jul 25 07:47

Taliban Wants Afghan President to Step Down Before Ceasefire

In an interview with The Associated Press, a Taliban spokesman said there won’t be peace in Afghanistan until a new government is formed and President Ashraf Ghani steps down.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen called Ghani a “warmonger” and accused him of using his Tuesday speech on the Muslim holiday of Eid to call for an offensive against the Taliban. Shaheen also brought up allegations that the 2019 election Ghani won was fraudulent. Both Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah claimed victory in the election.

Shaheen said there must be an agreement on a new government that is acceptable to the Taliban and to other Afghans. If that happens, he insisted, “there will be no war.”

Jul 25 07:47

Russia Sending Military Equipment to Tajik-Afghan Border

Russia has sent military equipment to the Tajik-Afghan border and is preparing to help its ally Tajikistan to build an outpost in the area. Tajikistan requested assistance from its allies earlier this month after over 1,000 Afghan soldiers retreating from fighting with the Taliban crossed the border.

“An intergovernmental agreement is now being prepared for signing on the provision of aid to Tajikistan for the construction of a border outpost,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko told the RIA news agency.

Tajikistan has put its entire armed forces on high alert over the violence in Afghanistan and activated 20,000 reservists who were deployed to reinforce the Afghan border. Tajik President Emomali Rahmon spoke to the country’s National Guard on Thursday and said the situation in Afghanistan is “extremely difficult and uncertain.”

Jul 25 07:27

Biden Assures Afghan President of Continued U.S. Support -White House

With the last U.S. forces on the way out of Afghanistan, U.S. President Joe Biden assured President Ashraf Ghani of U.S. diplomatic and humanitarian support on Friday as Taliban advances piled pressure on the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.

In a phone call, Biden and Ghani "agreed that the Taliban’s current offensive is in direct contradiction to the movement’s claim to support a negotiated settlement of the conflict," a White House statement said.

Jul 23 10:04

House passes bill to streamline visa process for Afghans who helped US

The House approved a bill Thursday aimed at expediting visas for Afghans who helped the U.S. military and are facing threats to their lives as the Pentagon nears the end of its withdrawal from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years.

The bill passed 407-16, with the “no” votes coming entirely from Republicans.

The bill, dubbed the Allies Act, would add another 8,000 visas to the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Afghans who helped the United States and remove several hurdles to obtaining the visas.

Jul 23 07:57

Whither Afghanistan? Getting Out Is Harder Than Getting In

The inability of the United States to comprehend what it was becoming involved in when, in the wake of 9/11, it declared a Global War on Terror, has to be reckoned one of the singular failures of national security policy over the past twenty years. Not only did the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq make bad situations worse, but the fact that no one is Washington was able to define “victory” and think in terms of an exit strategy has meant that the wars and instability are still with us. In their wake has been hundreds of thousands of deaths and trillions of dollars spent to accomplish absolutely nothing.

Jul 23 06:48

Taliban Boasts Control Over 90% Of Afghan Border Areas

The Taliban told Russian media on Friday that it now controls approximately 90% of Afghanistan's border with neighboring countries as its fight for control against US-trained Afghan national forces continues.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid made the claim to Sputnik, saying "The borders of Afghanistan with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran — about 90% of the borders are under our control … The border with Turkmenistan and the border with Iran are completely under our control. The borders of Pakistan (with the exception of a few small sections) are also under our control."

Jul 23 06:29

US Launches Airstrikes Against the Taliban

The US launched several airstrikes in Afghanistan against the Taliban this week, the Pentagon said on Thursday. The airstrikes were carried out in support of the Afghan government, which has been losing significant ground to the Taliban since the US started pulling troops out back in May.

“In the last several days we have acted, through airstrikes, to support the ANDSF [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces],” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters. He was asked about alleged airstrikes in Kandahar, but said, “I won’t get into technical details of those strikes.”

Since the US-Taliban peace deal was signed in February 2020, US airstrikes on the Taliban have declined, but they do happen. The US usually frames the airstrikes as being carried out in the “defense” of the Afghan government. For their part, the Taliban has refrained from attacking the US or other foreign troops since the agreement was signed.

Jul 23 05:31

Taliban 'Massacres' Over 100 Afghans for Being Gov't Sympathisers at Pakistan Border, Official Says

The Taliban* claims that it now controls nearly 90 percent of Afghanistan's border areas, including that with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran. The Afghan forces are currently involved in an intense fight with the Islamist insurgent group to re-take the entire Spin Boldak district at the Pakistan border.

More than 100 residents of Afghanistan's Spin Boldak have been dragged out and killed by the Taliban* on accusations of being civilian government sympathisers, a Defence Ministry spokesperson told Sputnik on Thursday.

"They are massacring people in parts of the district controlled by them. They are raiding their homes, looting their belongings, and killing them", Fawad Aman, a spokesperson at Afghanistan's Ministry of National Defence, told Sputnik.

Jul 22 08:05

TALIBAN DENY RESPONSIBILITY FOR KABUL ATTACK, AS THEIR GAINS CONTINUE

Three rockets landed in two different areas near the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan.

This happened while President Ashraf Ghani and other high-ranking officials were praying to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha on July 20th.

Images shown on national broadcaster Tolo TV showed Ghani and the group calmly continuing their prayers, as if to show that the government is on the back foot, but it hasn’t given up.

Eyes were immediately turned to the Taliban; however, the group denied the attack saying that they had decided to adhere to a weekend ceasefire over Eid. Allegedly, ISIS had claimed responsibility for the attack.

It is likely true, as ISIS carried out a similar attack in March 2020. Back then four rockets fell on the edge of the palace compound during Ghani’s inauguration as president.

Jul 22 06:17

China appoints Afghanistan special envoy as it prepares to play greater role after US troop withdrawal

China has appointed Yue Xiaoyong, a veteran diplomat with experience in the US and Middle East, as its new special envoy to Afghanistan.

Yue is replacing Liu Jian, who was only appointed to the post a year ago. Diplomatic observers said his appointment was a signal that Beijing was willing to play a greater role in the country following the US troop withdrawal.

“China has always been proactively involved in and pushing for the Afghan peace process,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in Beijing on Wednesday.

Jul 22 05:22

Taliban Has Seized Almost Full Control of Tajik Border, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Says

On Thursday, Andrey Rudenko said that Afghanistan's northern provinces are rapidly turning into a new hotspot as a result of the hasty withdrawal of US troops.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko told Sputnik on Thursday that the Taliban* had seized almost full control of the Tajik border.

He also said that Afghanistan's northern provinces are swiftly turning into a new hotspot amid the hasty pullout of US troops, with international terrorist organisations gaining a foothold in the area.

"The consequences of the US and some NATO countries' troops hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan are becoming obvious: once relatively calm northern provinces are rapidly turning into another hotspot. The Taliban almost completely control the border with Tajikistan. Numerous international terrorist organisations, such as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda branches [both banned in Russia] are gaining a foothold", Rudenko said.

Jul 21 09:57

'We lost': Some U.S. veterans say blood spilled in Afghanistan was wasted

Jason Lilley was a special operations forces Marine Raider who fought in multiple battles in Iraq and Afghanistan during America's longest war.

As Lilley, 41, reflects on President Joe Biden's decision to end America's military mission in Afghanistan on Aug. 31, he expresses love for his country, but disgust at its politicians and dismay at the blood and money squandered. Comrades were killed and maimed in wars he says were unwinnable, making him rethink his country and his life.

"A hundred percent we lost the war," Lilley said. "The whole point was to get rid of the Taliban and we didn't do that. The Taliban will take over."

Jul 21 08:01

COULD AFGHANISTAN CRISIS GIVE SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANISATION THE KEY ROLE CHINA WANTS FOR BLOC?

Since its foundation 20 years ago, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a bloc founded by Russia and China, has faced questions over its purpose.

But the recent clashes by the Afghan government and the Taliban – which have escalated since the United States made what Moscow and Beijing described as the “irresponsible” decision to withdraw all troops this year – could prove to be a defining moment for the bloc.

The issue was high on the agenda at an SCO meeting in the Tajik capital Dushanbe on Wednesday, where Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged the “SCO to play a key role in achieving peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan”.

Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.

Jul 21 06:54

How the US military got rich from Afghanistan

The departure of American troops from Afghanistan is being lamented (or hailed — see the Chinese press, passim) as a defeat. But this is a shortsighted attitude, at least from the point of view of the US military and the multitude of interested parties who feed at its trough. For them, the whole adventure has been a thumping success, as measured in the trillions of taxpayer dollars that have flowed through their budgets and profits over the two decades in which they successfully maintained the operation.

The truth of this was forcefully brought home to me once by a friend of mine who, as a mid-level staffer, attended a conclave of senior generals discussing Donald Trump’s Afghan mini-surge back in 2018. As he related the conversation, they were unanimous that the move would make absolutely no difference to the war, ‘but,’ they happily agreed, ‘it will do us good at budget time’.

Jul 21 05:32

Allies Cry To Taliban As Biden Rushes Out US Forces

The Biden administration is set to evacuate 2,500 Afghan immigrants to a military base in the United States as a Taliban onslaught stokes fears of a government collapse and retaliation against former U.S. government employees in the country.

“These are brave Afghans and their families, as we have said, whose service the United States has been certified by the Embassy in Kabul and who have completed thorough [special immigrant visa] security vetting processes,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters during a Monday briefing. “They will be provided temporary housing and services as they complete the final steps in the Special Immigrant process.”

Jul 20 05:46

Afghan refugees who aided US to be housed at Fort Lee military base with families while awaiting final visa approval

The State Department has announced that Afghan nationals who aided the military efforts in Afghanistan will be housed at a military base with their families, with thousands more still awaiting processing amid the US’ withdrawal.

The first set of applicants will be taken to Fort Lee, Virginia, according to a Defense Department notice given to members of Congress. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the base will be an “initial relocation site” for refugees whose visa statuses are the closest to completion. Over 2,500 applicants and their families will be housed at Fort Lee.

The US’ ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan has ignited fears that Afghan allies who aided US efforts, mainly as translators, could face retribution from the Taliban once the US military is gone.

Jul 19 09:06

Afghan Govt Accuses Pakistan of Giving Military Support to the Taliban

On Friday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani accused Pakistan of providing support to the Taliban and called on Islamabad to use its influence to push for peace.

“Intelligence estimates indicate the influx of over 10,000 jihadi fighters from Pakistan and other places in the last month, as well as, support from their affiliates and the transnational terrorist organizations,” Ghani said at a summit in Uzbekistan.

The Taliban and the Afghan government have been fighting over the Spin Boldak border crossing with Pakistan. On Thursday, Afghanistan’s First Vice President Amrullah Saleh accused Pakistan of giving the Taliban air support in the fighting, which Pakistan denied.

Jul 19 07:44

Airstrikes, Fierce Battles In Afghanistan: 53 Taliban Militants Killed In 24 Hrs

Kabul: At least 53 Taliban militants were killed and 38 others injured in multiple airstrikes and fierce battles in Afghanistan in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Defence said on Sunday.

In Kapisa province, 18 militants were killed and 24 wounded after Afghan Air Force (AAF) conducted airstrikes in support of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in the Tagab and Nijrab districts, Xinhua news agency reported citing a Ministry statement as saying.

Among the killed militants were three Taliban's divisional commanders, said the statement.

Jul 19 05:57

Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Where People Got Stranded Amid Kabul-Taliban Fight for Key Crossing

This comes after the Taliban* took control of the Afghan border town of Spin Boldak during a rapid offensive against the Afghan government forces last week.

Watch a live broadcast from the Chaman border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where people remain stranded on Monday, 19 July, unable to re-enter or leave Afghanistan.

This comes amid the conflict which has recently escalated in the border town of Spin Boldak between Afghan forces and the Taliban, which have reportedly taken control of the area.

Pakistan closed the border when the Taliban captured Spin Boldak, leaving thousands of people stranded on either side and bringing trade to a standstill. Although the border crossing reopens occasionally for pedestrians, thousands remain stranded on both sides of the border due to forced closures.

Jul 16 05:32

Mohaqiq Urges Negotiated Settlement to Avert Potential Civil War

Mohaqiq said that winning a victory over the Taliban by military means is not possible, stating that the peace negotiations must be sped up to resolve the conflict.

Mohaqiq warned that Afghanistan will plunge into civil war if the peace process does not reach a conclusion.

“The Taliban cannot ignore the public opinion in Afghanistan and in the world toward their military advancement,” said Mohaqiq.

Jul 16 05:12

US, Afghan’s neighbors scramble to address Taliban surge

A Taliban surge has put the insurgent force in control of key border posts, opened up fresh sources of revenue and rattled many of Afghanistan’s neighbors.

In the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, a two-day regional meeting that begins Thursday was originally supposed to deal with “connectivity” in South and Central Asia, encouraging trade ties and transport issues. But it has morphed into a high-level gathering of senior U.S., Russian and EU officials that most certainly will be consumed with Afghanistan and the impact of the rapidly advancing Taliban.

In recent weeks, the Taliban have gained control of key border posts with neighbors Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

In many instances, Afghanistan’s security forces and military have put up little to no resistance, after often being left without resupplies or reinforcements. Two weeks ago, more than 1,000 Afghan military men fled across the border into Tajikistan. The Taliban did not pursue them.

Jul 16 05:03

There's Risk of Unrest in Afghanistan Spilling Over to Neighbouring Countries, Lavrov Warns

Afghanistan has been witnessing an escalation of violence since the United States and its NATO allies began withdrawing troops from the nation, in accordance with a deal between Washington and the Taliban*, signed in February 2020.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned of a risk of unrest in Afghanistan spilling over to neighbouring nations, adding that the situation in the country is "quickly degrading".

"The threat of such a scenario remains a serious obstacle to the involvement of Afghanistan in regional cooperation", Lavrov said during a plenary session of the conference "Central and South Asia. Regional Interconnection: Challenges and Opportunities" on Friday.

Jul 15 09:17

Videos: Chaos Reigns at Pakistan-Afghanistan Border as Taliban 'Retakes' Key Crossing After 20 Years

The Spin Boldak-Chaman border crossing connects the towns of Wesh in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province and Chaman in Pakistan’s Balochistan. Nearly 70,000 people are said to use the crossing every day. The Taliban* takeover of the border town comes after days of fighting with Afghan government forces for control of Kandahar.

The advancing Taliban fighters in Afghanistan on Wednesday took control of the border crossing between Spin Boldak and Chaman after the Islamist outfit took control of the town of Wesh in Kandahar province.

The move was confirmed by the Taliban's official spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid. The Taliban last controlled the crossing in 2001, before they were driven out by the US-led coalition troops in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York.

Jul 15 06:53

Britain willing to ‘come to terms’ with Taliban and work with enemy for sake of peace if it ‘behaves’, UK defence secretary says

Despite fighting the group for two decades, Britain will engage with the Taliban should it come into power in Afghanistan, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said, “provided it adheres to certain international norms”.

In Washington for a visit with his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, Wallace said the lessons of the past 20 years “will not have been lost on the Taliban”, and acknowledged that the UK would likely have to work with the group.

Last week, the Taliban claimed to control 85% of the country’s territory. However, the Afghan leadership has dismissed this assertion as part of a propaganda campaign.

“Whatever the government of the day is, provided it adheres to certain international norms, the UK government will engage with it,” Wallace told The Telegraph. He warned that the “relationship” would be reviewed “if they behave in a way that is seriously against human rights”.

Jul 14 07:57

'Slaughter and Unspeakable Harm': Ex-POTUS George Bush Says US Withdrawal From Afghanistan a Mistake

Since the start of the withdrawal of NATO and US forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban* movement has reportedly managed to significantly extend its control over the country despite attempts by the local security forces to push them back.

Former US President George W. Bush has lambasted the decision by the White House to pull out American troops from Afghanistan arguing that by doing so Washington and its NATO allies, who are also leaving the country, are abandoning the locals and leaving their fates to the mercy of the Taliban*.

"Afghan women and girls are going to suffer unspeakable harm. This is a mistake [...] They're just going to be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people, and it breaks my heart", the former president said in an interview with Deutsche Welle.

Jul 14 06:54

Afghan Special Forces Frustrated By Taliban Deadly Hit & Run, Ambush Tactics

By many accounts from international correspondents on the ground in Afghanistan, Taliban militants are continuing to make rapid gains - particularly through unpredictable hit-and-run tactics - also in places that airstrikes prove difficult to deploy given fighting sometimes erupts in urban areas.

Especially on the outskirts of the southern province of Kandahar, a mere few hundred Taliban insurgents have kept exhausted and stretched thin US-trained Afghan commandos guessing through ambush tactics. A detailed Reuters report capturing action as it unfolded on the ground this week begins by describing:

The highly trained troops had been called in to flush out insurgents who attacked regular forces and local police hours earlier, only to find that the Taliban had disappeared into the darkness leaving behind a few civilians and wounded soldiers.

Jul 13 09:09

'Kabul Not Fulfilling Obligations Under Doha Agreement', Taliban Spokesperson Says

In an exclusive interview with Sputnik Afghanistan, a spokesperson of the Taliban* Political Office spoke of the Taliban’s vision for the future government of Afghanistan and what actions could be expected from their organisation.

Suhail Shaheen, a member of Negotiations Team of the Taliban* organisation and Political Office spokesman for International Media, talked about how the Taliban sees the future government of Afghanistan, when a ceasefire will be declared, when an Intra-Afghan dialogue can resume in Doha between the Taliban and the Kabul government delegation, how the Taliban would counter the cultivation and smuggling of drugs, how they will rebuild the country's economy, and how they have organised life for Afghans in the territories they have recently taken over.

Jul 13 08:56

Pentagon Already Says Afghanistan Is Area Of Concern

Pentagon officials are watching the Taliban's sweeping advances in Afghanistan "with deep concern" and are encouraging its Afghan partners to "step up" and defend their country amid the pullout of U.S. forces, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby announced on Sunday.

With the Taliban claiming to have taken control of 85% of Afghanistan – a statement that U.S. government officials continue to dispute – Kirby told "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace that the Pentagon was "not unmindful" of the situation.

Jul 12 09:43

Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan steps down, marking a symbolic end to 20 years of war

The top U.S. general in Afghanistan stepped down Monday, marking a symbolic end to 20 years of American military involvement here — and coming as an ascendant Taliban threatens to topple the central government.

Army Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, who has overseen the war effort for nearly three years, relinquished responsibility in a ceremony at the top U.S. military headquarters. President Biden said last week that the military withdrawal he ordered will be complete Aug. 31, but Miller’s departure is among the only pieces left. Virtually all other troops, contractors and equipment already have exited, defense officials said on the condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

Jul 09 08:09

The Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan? India’s Limited Security Options

The Taliban’s lightning-fast takeover of Afghanistan in the wake of the US’ full military withdrawal by September 11th presents certain security concerns for India, but the South Asian state only has very limited options for ensuring its relevant interests, none of which credibly involve any conventional military involvement contrary to widespread speculation about this scenario.

Jul 09 07:59

Biden Tells The World "US Has Achieved Its Goals In Afghanistan"

Update (1400ET): President Biden tells the world: "US has achieved its goals in Afghanistan"

We wonder what those goals were after all these years?

Additionally Biden said he "won't send another generation to war in Afghanistan," urging Afghan leaders "to come together to drive the future."

Jul 09 07:37

Turkey to Transport Syrian Mercenaries to Afghanistan — Syrian Opposition Report

SOHR activists have reported a deal reached between the Turkish intelligence and leaders of its Syrian factions leasers either in Afrin or other areas under the control of the Turkish forces in Syria to move them to Afghanistan in Kabul, likewise similar transferring process to Libya and Nagorno.

However, the process would be different this time as the Turkish intelligence will recruit those mercenaries via Turkish security companies with official contracts. It is worth noting that the process would start in September under the supervision of the Turkish intelligence because the Syrian faction’s members don’t trust their leaders. The main task of those mercenaries will be protecting Kabul airport, governmental institutions and headquarters and the international forces.

Jul 09 07:27

What America failed to understand about its war in Afghanistan

As the United States leaves Afghanistan after 20 years of war, there can be little doubt that we lost the war — or to put it more gently, did not attain our objectives. In recent weeks, the Taliban have advanced across the north of the country. Bereft of US support, the Afghan army and police have reportedly lost more than two dozen districts over the course of a month and are now fighting on the outskirts of key cities such as Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif. Senior US officials have warned of a civil war, while intelligence reports are said to forecast the fall of the Afghan government — which the United States has worked to strengthen for two decades — within a year.

Jul 09 07:27

Biden puts faith behind Afghan troops while defending U.S. withdrawal

President Joe Biden on Thursday issued a forceful defense of his decision to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan and denied it was inevitable that the Taliban would eventually topple the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.

In a question-and-answer session with reporters following a brief address from the White House, the president expressed faith in Afghan leaders while effectively washing his hands of America’s longest war, which he said would formally conclude at the end of next month.

Jul 09 06:31

Is Afghanistan a Failed Mission?

As in Vietnam from 1965 to 1973, the year our prisoners of war came home, America did not lose a major battle in Afghanistan.

Yet we did not win the war. South Vietnam was lost.

And contrary to the message awaiting President George W. Bush when he landed on the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, which was flaunting the banner “Mission Accomplished,” America did not accomplish its mission.

President Joe Biden said as much Thursday, when he responded to a reporter’s question, “The mission has not failed — yet.”

As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 impends, and with it our final exit from the Afghan war, the Taliban are overrunning districts at will, and Afghan troops are avoiding battle in what many see as a lost cause.

Monday, 1,000 Afghan soldiers fled into Tajikistan rather than face advancing Taliban forces.

Jul 08 09:24

Russia vows support for Tajikistan in case of attack from Afghan border

Moscow and Dushanbe are allies under the Collective Security Treaty, the Russian foreign minister noted. "If Tajikistan is attacked, this will, of course, be a subject of an immediate discussion in the CSTO," Sergey Lavrov said

Jul 08 08:32

Policy Fail: It’s Saigon In Afghanistan

Jul 08 07:27

A Saigon Moment in the Hindu Kush- The US is on the verge of its own second Vietnam repeated as farce in a haphazard retreat from Afghanistan

US Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade wait for helicopter transport as part of Operation Khanjar at Camp Dwyer in Helmand Province in Afghanistan on July 2, 2009. – The US pullout from the Pentagon’s once mighty Bagram Air Base in the dead of night, while Taliban fighters pour across the country, looks a lot like a military defeat.

And it’s all over

For the unknown soldier

It’s all over

For the unknown soldier

The Doors, “The Unknown Soldier”

Jul 08 07:10

A Generation of Afghan Professionals Flees Ahead of Taliban Advance

Afghanistan’s professional class of men and women, part of a generation that came of age under the shield of the U.S. military, are weighing the danger of rapidly advancing Taliban forces. Many are packing their bags.

Hasiba Ebrahimi is already gone. The 24-year-old actress, who embodied modern Afghanistan’s optimistic youth, was raised, like many Afghans, as a refugee in Pakistan and then in Iran. She returned to Kabul in 2014 and has since become a star in the country’s new film industry.

In a video released in November, Ms. Ebrahimi urged young Afghan women not to lose hope: “Everything is hard, but nothing is impossible.” She traveled to Australia soon after—for what she thought would be a short reunion with her New Zealand-based sister. She is still there.

Jul 08 07:07

Afghanistan Endgame: Taliban seize abandoned American army bases.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

And remember, you paid for all this!

Jul 07 12:32

A Generation of Afghan Professionals Flees Ahead of Taliban Advance

Afghanistan’s professional class of men and women, part of a generation that came of age under the shield of the U.S. military, are weighing the danger of rapidly advancing Taliban forces. Many are packing their bags.

Hasiba Ebrahimi is already gone. The 24-year-old actress, who embodied modern Afghanistan’s optimistic youth, was raised, like many Afghans, as a refugee in Pakistan and then in Iran. She returned to Kabul in 2014 and has since become a star in the country’s new film industry.

In a video released in November, Ms. Ebrahimi urged young Afghan women not to lose hope: “Everything is hard, but nothing is impossible.” She traveled to Australia soon after—for what she thought would be a short reunion with her New Zealand-based sister. She is still there.

Jul 07 10:12

Taliban launch first assault on a provincial capital, with more government forces surrendering overnight as Afghanistan's collapse since NATO withdrawal continues

The Taliban on Wednesday launched their first assault on a provincial capital in Afghanistan, since waging a major offensive against government forces, local officials said.

Fierce fighting has erupted in the western city of Qala-i-Naw, the capital of Badghis, after the militants captured all the surrounding districts of the province.

'The enemy has entered the city, all the districts have fallen. The fighting has started inside the city,' Badghis governor Hessamuddin Shams told reporters in a text message. He was later seen taking up arms to defend the city, a BBC Persia journalist reported.

Jul 07 06:22

As America Recedes, China Rises

As our July Fourth celebrations were beginning, the U.S. quietly closed and abandoned Bagram Air Base, the largest American military base between the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea.

Afghan looters were soon seen scavenging inside the base.

The long retreat of the American Empire is underway, and this longest war is likely to end in bloody retribution for the Afghans who sided with us against the Taliban and are left behind.

When the last American departed Bagram, The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. is making plans for “an emergency evacuation of the American embassy in Kabul amid concern that a worsening security situation in Afghanistan could imperil the remaining military and diplomatic corps.”

Jul 06 09:03

Will be Treated as 'Occupying Forces': Taliban Warns US, NATO Against Staying After 9/11 Deadline

Earlier, the US announced that the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan would not be complete in the near future amid speculation that the process may be finished by mid-summer.

The Taliban* has cautioned the US and its NATO allies against failing to withdraw troops from Afghanistan before the self-imposed deadline of 11 September 2021. Otherwise the troops will be treated as "occupying forces", the Taliban added.

"If [NATO] leave behind their forces against the Doha agreement then in that case it will be the decision of our leadership how we proceed. We would react and the final decision is with our leadership", Taliban* spokesman Suhail Shaheen said in an interview with the BBC.

Jul 06 08:22

China makes its move on Afghanistan: Beijing prepares to fill the vacuum left by Biden's premature military exit from the nation with $62B investment plan for its 'Belt and Road' program

While American troops were leaving their main military base in Afghanistan on Friday, China was already preparing to enter the war-torn country to fill the vacuum left by U.S. and NATO troops.

Authorities in Kabul are considering extending a $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

First launched in 2013 by Chinese president Xi Jinping, and written into the Chinese constitution in 2017, it is billed by Beijing officials as a global infrastructure development fund which aims to better connect China to the rest of the world.

Jul 06 06:40

FLASHBACK - IT'S ALL ABOUT OIL!

In 1998, Dick Cheney, now US vice-president but then chief executive of a major oil services company, remarked: "I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian." But the oil and gas there is worthless until it is moved. The only route which makes both political and economic sense is through Afghanistan.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

A reminder that all these American deaths, all that money for war, was all about a pipeline right-of-way!

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Jul 06 06:37

The Taliban Are Unstoppable In Their Momentum

The Taliban seem unstoppable all over Afghanistan, as their gains are followed by even more gains.

In recent days, the Taliban’s march through northern Afghanistan gained momentum with the capture of several districts from fleeing Afghan forces. More than 300 Afghan military personnel crossed from Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province as Taliban fighters advanced towards the border. The Afghan soldiers escaped to neighboring Tajikistan, saving their lives from the enemy.

On July 4th, the Taliban was on the verge of taking Faizabad, the provincial capital of the Badakhshan province.

Senior local officials have already taken a flight and escaped to Kabul.

Following the fall of dozens of districts of the Badakhshan province, Afghan commandos of special operation forces were deployed to the strategic city. The gains in northeastern Badakhshan province in recent days have mostly come to the insurgent movement without a fight.

Jul 06 06:22

Afghan troops are filmed laying down arms as US general overseeing NATO exit says he's shocked by how quickly they've surrendered to the Taliban and 1,000 are caught fleeing the country

Afghan troops have been filmed laying down their arms to the Taliban as the terror group shows off the American-made weapons it has seized after US and Nato troops beat a hasty retreat.

The Afghan army is collapsing across the country and the Taliban appear to be winning the propaganda war with videos to prove that they will welcome surrendering soldiers - as long as they hand over their state-of-the-art weapons and Humvee armoured cars.

The US left Bagram Airfield last week - its fortress in the country for nearly 20 years - by slipping away in the night without telling the base's new Afghan commander who discovered they had gone the next morning.

Jul 06 06:22

'Biden is going to own these ugly images': Top Republican on House of Foreign Affairs Committee slams the president over US troops skulking out of Bagram in the middle of the night

Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee has accused the Biden administration of not having a proper plan for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, placing the blame square in Biden's hands.

'We are going dark in Afghanistan and there's going to be consequences long-term to this. And at the end of the day, when we fully withdraw, the devastation and the killings and women, humanitarian crisis, fleeing across the border into Pakistan, President Biden is going to own these ugly images,' McCaul (R-Texas) told Fox News Sunday.

The US left Afghanistan's Bagram Air Base after nearly 20 years by shutting off the electricity and slipping away without notifying the base's new Afghan commander, who discovered the Americans' departure more than two hours after they left, Afghan military officials said.

It has cost the US military 2,312 American lives and $816 billion, according to the Department of Defense.

Jul 06 05:47

It’s Saigon in Afghanistan

The end of the 20-year US war on Afghanistan was predictable: no one has conquered Afghanistan, and Washington was as foolish as Moscow in the 1970s for trying. Now, US troops are rushing out of the country as fast as they can, having just evacuated the symbol of the US occupation of Afghanistan, Bagram Air Base.

While perhaps not as dramatic as the “Fall of Saigon” in 1975, where US military helicopters scrambled to evacuate personnel from the roof of the US Embassy, the lesson remains the same and remains unlearned: attempting to occupy, control, and remake a foreign country into Washington’s image of the United States will never work. This is true no matter how much money is spent and how many lives are snuffed out.

Jul 06 05:42

'No compromises' Terrifying footage shows Taliban with brand new US weapons and vehicles

Following the takeover of a former Afghan National Army base, the Taliban have come into the hands of thousands of unused weapons and vehicles intended for US and Afghan troops. From one base in Wardak province in the north of the country, Sky News showed how the insurgents have snatched an astonishing 900 brand new guns, 30 hummvies, 20 armoured pick-up trucks, thousands of rounds of ammunition and boxes upon boxes of brand new missiles and mortars.

One Taliban commander told Sky News: "Most of the time we don't rely on all of this.

"We just rely on Allah.

"But it does help us a lot and it has given us a lot of new weapons we can use in battle.

"Of course we want peace, all people want peace here, but the government doesn't want peace with us."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

And you paid for all this!

Jul 06 05:28

Tajikistan bolsters border after Afghan troops flee Taliban offensive

Tajikistan called in 20,000 military reservists on Monday to strengthen the border after 1,037 members of Afghanistan's security forces fled to the country and dozens more were taken captive by the Taliban, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The crossings, which were permitted by Tajikistan, came after the Taliban took over at least six key districts in the northern province of Badakhshan, which borders Tajikistan.

Sunday's retreat was the largest confirmed by the Afghan government since the Taliban began its northern offensive, according to Reuters.
What they're saying: Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon received assurances during a phone call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin that Moscow was ready to "provide Tajikistan with the necessary support" to the former Soviet republic at the border, the Kremlin said in a statement, per Russia's Tass news agency.

Jul 05 17:23

‘Someone’s Gotta Occupy Afghanistan,’ Grumbles Dick Cheney, Shoving Firearms Into Suitcase

WILSON, WY—Following news that the military withdrawal had ramped up after U.S. troops pulled out of Bagram Airfield, former Vice President Dick Cheney was overheard Friday muttering “Someone’s gotta occupy Afghanistan” as he shoved a cache of firearms into a suitcase.

Jul 05 08:58

The many US blunders that contributed to looming disaster in Afghanistan

On Friday, the last US soldiers left Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, which was once home to tens of thousands of American troops.

An additional 7,000 NATO troops are pulling out, as well as approximately 6,000 American contractors, some of whom have been critical to maintaining the helicopters and planes of the Afghan air force. With only 650 US troops remaining to guard the US embassy in Kabul, the United States is leaving the Afghan government to fend for itself against Taliban forces.

The headline in Saturday's New York Times trumpeted, "US departs last Afghanistan base, effectively ending 20 years of war." But this headline is a classic example of the misguided idea that withdrawing American troops will usher in peace.

Jul 05 08:40

As US Leaves Afghanistan, Spy Agencies Scramble for Options

US military bases in Afghanistan were a very popular hosting site for various US spy agencies operating in the area. Soon, the US will be closing the last of those bases and leaving.

All of those spy agencies are now scrambling around looking for alternatives, so that they can keep operating in Afghanistan after the US troops leave. They’ve been talking up this problem for awhile, but lack good answers.

Pakistan has already ruled out the idea of hosting them, and while some have suggested former Soviet states as an option, it’s not clear they’ve made any progress.

Jul 05 08:22

Afghan Forces Will Soon Switch to Offensive Stance: Official

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) will switch their operations to an offensive mode in near future, a top security official said as Taliban has been taking over territories in the last two months.

Over the last two years, Afghan forces have been on a defensive stance few times. The first time they agreed to be on a defensive mode was in 2019 when the government agreed to avoid offensive operations against the Taliban as part of efforts to move the peace process forward. Last year, defense officials said the security forces are in an “active defensive mode” that allows them to take action against the Taliban whenever they attack a security outpost or a base.

Talking to TOLOnews on Saturday, Gen. Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal, the acting minister of interior, said the Taliban is seeking to takeover supply routes, but the security forces are planning to thwart such attempts by the group.

Jul 05 08:18

China makes its move on Afghanistan: Beijing prepares to fill the vacuum left by Biden's premature military exit from the nation with $62B investment plan for its 'Belt and Road' program

While American troops were leaving their main military base in Afghanistan on Friday, China was already preparing to enter the war-torn country to fill the vacuum left by U.S. and NATO troops.

Authorities in Kabul are considering extending a $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

First launched in 2013 by Chinese president Xi Jinping, and written into the Chinese constitution in 2017, it is billed by Beijing officials as a global infrastructure development fund which aims to better connect China to the rest of the world.

Jul 05 07:59

Taliban says seizing Kabul not a military objective, but warns policy could change if foreign troops stay past exit deadline

The Taliban has hinted that Kabul could become a military target should any foreign troops remain in the Afghan capital past the US-led coalition’s withdrawal deadline, as the insurgent group continues to seize more territory.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told the BBC that any foreign soldiers who stay behind after the September exit agreement risk being treated as occupiers. He said that, while capturing the Afghan capital was “not Taliban policy,” nothing would be off the table should foreign forces – including military contractors – remain in the capital after the withdrawal was complete.

Jul 05 07:58

US Military Vehicles Falling Into Taliban Hands at Alarming Rate, Report Finds

The United States and its allies began their withdrawal from Afghanistan in May after over 19 years of war against the Taliban. Washington has promised to complete the pullout by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks – which served as the formal pretext for the invasion of Afghanistan and the start of a global "war on terror."

The US-equipped Afghan National Army is reportedly surrendering its military equipment and weapons to the Taliban at an alarming rate, with entire battalions of soldiers disbanding without a fight in anticipation of an imminent collapse of the government amid the ongoing US and NATO withdrawal from the country.

Jul 05 07:55

Over 300 Afghan troops fleeing from Taliban cross over to neighboring Tajikistan after heavy fighting, border forces tell media

Several hundred Afghan border troops were forced to seek shelter in next door Tajikistan on Saturday, fleeing a major offensive by the Taliban, which has intensified its attacks amid the withdrawal of US troops from the country.

More than a dozen districts, mostly in Afghanistan’s northeastern Badakhshan Province, have fallen into the hands of the notorious Islamist militants over the past 24 hours, security sources told local outlet TOLOnews.

The heavy fighting on the other side of the border was also confirmed by the military of neighboring Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic which is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. This is a Russian-led alternative to NATO.

More than 300 Afghan frontier troops had to cross into Tajik territory to avoid heavy losses amid clashes with the advancing militants, the press service of Tajikistan’s border forces told news agency RIA Novosti.

Jul 03 05:47

US scraps military equipment worth billions before leaving Afghanistan

The US military has destroyed more than 77,000 metric tons of military equipment - including mine-resistant troop transport vehicles - as it prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan in late 2014, the Washington Post reported today.

More than 7-billion-dollar worth of military equipment is no longer needed, or would be too expensive to ship back to the United States, and much of it is being shredded and sold locally as scrap metal, the Post reported, citing US military officials.

Donating the gear to the Afghan government is difficult because of complicated bureaucratic rules, plus US officials do not believe the Afghans could maintain the gear.

Plus, it would also be too expensive to sell or donate the gear to allied nations because of the cost of getting the equipment out of Afghanistan.

Jul 02 05:41

US Said To Be "Days Away" From Completing Afghanistan 'Withdrawal'

Several media outlets reported on Wednesday that the US is only days away from completing its Afghanistan "withdrawal," but the plan involves keeping at least 650 troops in the country to guard the US embassy and help secure the Kabul airport.

One unnamed military official told CNN that the US could leave up to 1,000 troops in Afghanistan after the "formal withdrawal," but another official insisted it wouldn’t be more than 650 troops.

Jul 01 12:22

Report: US Is Days From Completing Afghanistan ‘Withdrawal’ But Up to 1,000 Troops Could Remain

Several media outlets reported on Wednesday that the US is only days away from completing its Afghanistan “withdrawal,” but the plan involves keeping at least 650 troops in the country to guard the US embassy and help secure the Kabul airport.

One unnamed military official told CNN that the US could leave up to 1,000 troops in Afghanistan after the “formal withdrawal,” but another official insisted it wouldn’t be more than 650 troops.

The 650 number is what most outlets have reported. Initial reports said the US would leave the 650 for the embassy indefinitely, and another small force would stay until President Biden’s September 11th deadline to help Turkish troops secure the Kabul airport, which could explain the 1,000 number.

Jun 30 06:11

GLORIOUS: Biden’s Fiddling With Afghanistan Withdrawal Has Ensured the Empire Is Exiting in the Most Humiliating Way Possible

The Empire is exiting Afghanistan in the most humiliating way possible with the Taliban fast on their heels and throwing out the US-installed government from one district after another even before the Americans leave. It is absolutely glorious.

When the Americans are out the Imperial Capital will not be able to claim “peace with honor” even for five minutes. Its utter failure and defeat are already so readily apparent before they are out, and still they have no choice but continue their exit.

And to think it could have all been avoided. Sure, after the Americans left the Taliban were always going to eventually reduce the left-behind US puppet government to Kabul, a few major cities, and a swathe of the north —— but it didn’t need to happen so quickly, and it certainly need not have happened before the Americans even left.

Jun 29 05:36

It’s time for the world to dump the US’ failed Afghan experiment in the trash can of history and learn to live with the Taliban

The past 20 years of conflict have achieved nothing apart from bloodshed and pain, and now the foes the West invaded to depose are about to get back into power. Afghanistan needs an economic solution, not a military one.

To nobody’s surprise, the rapid US withdrawal from Afghanistan has resulted in a massive advance of the Taliban, who have overrun hundreds of districts in a matter of weeks and are continuing to gain territory, seizing countryside areas and surrounding the major cities.

The end of the stagnant and seemingly useless conflict is, of course, welcomed. The momentum of the group, despite their militant ideology, has always been fundamentally buoyed by the foremost desire to drive the foreign invaders away in a country that has spent most of the past 40 years in a state of ruin and despair.

Jun 28 06:21

Geopolitics, Profit, and Poppies: How the CIA Turned Afghanistan into a Failed Narco-State

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a death knell to so many industries in Afghanistan. Charities and aid agencies have even warned that the economic dislocation could spark widespread famine. But one sector is still booming: the illicit opium trade. Last year saw Afghan opium poppy cultivation grow by over a third while counter-narcotics operations dropped off a cliff. The country is said to be the source of over 90% of all the world’s illicit opium, from which heroin and other opioids are made. More land is under cultivation for opium in Afghanistan than is used for coca production across all of Latin America, with the creation of the drug said to directly employ around half a million people.

Jun 28 05:46

The Taliban tide rolls on ahead of US withdrawal from Afghanistan – déjà vu all over again

As US forces reach the halfway point of its planned withdrawal from Afghanistan, the potential for a collapse of the Afghan security forces, like that experienced by the South Vietnamese military in early 1975, is all too real.

Lawrence Peter ‘Yogi’ Berra, the hall-of-fame New York Yankee, won 13 World Series wins as either a player or manager. He is perhaps better known for his humorous quips, including one of most frequently cited – “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Many Americans who experienced the end of America’s decade-long misadventure in Vietnam must be experiencing their own Yogi Berra moment, as there are increasing signs that the Afghan security forces in the more remote regions of the country, and which no longer benefit from US military support, are collapsing in the face of an emboldened Taliban.

Jun 26 06:15

White House: Afghanistan Is ‘Not a Winnable War’

Ahead of talks between President Biden and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said Afghanistan is “not a winnable war” in response to hawks calling for the troop drawdown to be reversed.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) met with Ghani and other Afghan leaders on Thursday. In a statement on the meeting, McConnell called for a “reversal” of President Biden’s withdrawal.

When asked about McConnell’s comments, Psaki said, “The President made a decision — which is consistent with his view that this was not a winnable war — to bring the US troops home after 20 years of fighting this war.”

Later on Friday, Biden met with Ghani and vowed continued support for the Afghan government. “The partnership between Afghanistan and the United States is not ending,” Biden said. “Our troops may be leaving, but support for Afghanistan is not ending.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I told you that almost 20 years ago! :)

Jun 25 09:53

Afghan president in Washington to meet US' Biden

US President Joe Biden will meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his former political foe, Abdullah Abdullah, today to discuss Washington's support for Afghanistan as the last US troops pack up after 20 years of war and government forces struggle to repel Taliban advances, Reuters reports.

The Oval Office meeting may be as valuable to Ghani for its symbolism as for any new US help because it will be seen as affirming Biden's support for the beleaguered Afghan leader as he confronts Taliban gains, bombings and assassinations, a surge in COVID-19 cases and political infighting in Kabul.

"At a time when morale is incredibly shaky and things are going downhill, anything one can do to help shore up morale and shore up the government is worth doing," said Ronald Neumann, a former US ambassador to Kabul. "Inviting Ghani here is a pretty strong sign that we're backing him."

Jun 25 09:21

650 US Troops to Remain in Afghanistan after Complete Pullout

US officials revealed that “Roughly 650 US troops will stay behind in Afghanistan to provide security for US diplomats in the country after the main force pulls out in July.”
The US was supposed to completely pull out by May 1, but later unilaterally extended the deadline to September 11.

According to reports, the main American force in Afghanistan will complete its withdrawal in the next two weeks, but several hundred troops will remain as part of a security detail, particularly at the US embassy and at Kabul airport, the latter of which is presently guarded by Turkish troops.

Jun 25 04:14

US Intelligence Says Kabul Could Fall 6 Months After Pullout

As the US is pulling out of Afghanistan, Western media has been full of stories warning that the Afghan government will collapse shortly after the US leaves. On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal cited anonymous officials who said US intelligence assessed that Kabul could fall within six to 12 months of a US pullout.

While mainstream media reports citing anonymous officials are not the most trustworthy sources, the story is notable because hawks want to use what they see as an inevitable collapse of the Afghan government as a reason for the US to stay and prolong the war. But the fact the Afghan government is ready to fall after almost 20 years of the US funneling money into building it up demonstrates the futility of the war and is a better argument for why the US must get out.

Jun 24 07:26

Afghan Gov’t Could Crumble in Six Months After American Troop Exit, Claims New US Intel Assessment

The US, which arrived in Afghanistan in 2001 following the 11 September terrorist attacks, in April announced a withdrawal of troops, to be completed by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. However, as it hands over its military bases to Kabul's forces, the Taliban is already taking over some of the now-unguarded districts and provinces.

The government of Afghanistan, led by President Ashraf Ghani, could collapse between six to 12 months after the US completes its military withdrawal from the country, according to a revised assessment from the American intelligence community, cited by The Wall Street Journal.

Some officials cited by the outlet offered an even more dismal prognosis, suggesting the government could hold out for no more than three months against a buoyed Taliban.

Jun 23 11:31

Afghanistan’s Moderate Rebels Enter Key North Afghan Capitals in a Swift Offensive

The Taliban entered two provincial capitals in northern Afghanistan Sunday, local officials said, the culmination of an insurgent offensive that has overrun dozens of rural districts and forced the surrender and capture of hundreds of government forces and their military equipment in recent weeks.

In Kunduz city, the capital of the province of the same name, the Taliban seized the city’s entrance before dispersing throughout its neighborhoods. Kunduz was briefly taken by the Taliban in 2015 and 2016 before they were pushed back by American airstrikes, special operations forces and Afghan security forces.

“Right now, I hear the sound of bullets,” said Amruddin Wali, a member of Kunduz’s provincial council. “The Taliban have appeared in the alleys and back alleys of Kunduz, and there is panic all over the city.”

Jun 23 09:38

US Presence in Afgahinstan, Source of Expanding Terrorism: Imran Khan

Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, in an article in the US daily Washington Post reiterated Islamabad's clear stance against any US base on Pakistani soil or participation in any other military action related to Afghanistan, saying: "Our country has suffered so much from the wars in Afghanistan. More than 70,000 Pakistanis have been killed. While the United States provided $20 billion in aid, losses to the Pakistani economy have exceeded $150 billion. Tourism and investment dried up."

"Meanwhile, if the United States, with the most powerful military machine in history, couldn’t win the war from inside Afghanistan after 20 years, how would America do it from bases in our country?" he asked.

Jun 22 07:24

US May Slow Pullout from Afghanistan

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announced Monday that “The US military could slow down its withdrawal from Afghanistan due to the gains made by the Taliban insurgents.”
Kirby stressed that US President Joe Biden's deadline of a full withdrawal by September remains in place, but added that the pace could be adjusted based on conditions.

“The situation in Afghanistan changes as the Taliban continue to conduct these attacks and to raid district centers,” he told reporters.

Pentagon officials said last week that the withdrawal, ordered by Biden in April after nearly two decades fighting Al-Qaeda and helping government forces battle the Taliban, is around half completed.

Jun 15 11:00

Despite Biden Administration Claiming Afghan War Is Over, Air Force Admits It Will Never End

Of course, it won’t end because those controlling the US’ representatives don’t want it to end. There’s lot of money in war. Still, while Biden tells the people what they want to hear about a 2 decade war in Afghanistan that we aren’t winning and never were intended to win, the US Air Force seems to be saying the opposite is true.

Jun 15 05:55

CENTCOM Chief: US Won’t Give Afghan Forces Air Support After Pullout

Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, said that the US is not planning on giving the Afghan military air support after the withdrawal from Afghanistan is complete.

McKenzie’s comments appear to refute a report from The New York Times that said the Pentagon was considering authorizing airstrikes against the Taliban in support of the Afghan government after the pullout.

While McKenzie said the US is not planning to support Afghan forces with airstrikes, he left open the possibility of bombing Afghanistan if it can be framed as a “counterterrorism” operation.

“That would be the reason for any strikes that we do in Afghanistan after we leave, [it] would have to be that we’ve uncovered someone who wants to attack the homeland of the United States, one of our allies and partners,” he told Voice of America in an interview published on Monday.

Jun 14 13:01

The curious case of the United States

Internationally, the United States has punished sovereign governments that have attempted to liberate themselves from the yoke of the petro/nuclear-backed dollar, by committing some of the most heinous war crimes the world has ever seen. From commandeering the U.S. military to murder at least a million Iraqi civilians following an effort led by Suddam Hussein to ditch the dollar for the Euro, to brutally murdering the head of state of Libya following his promises to help create an African currency (with the U.S. Secretary of State openly cackling about it on national television), to playing a pivotal role in an effort led by Saudi Arabia to starve millions of Yemenis in order to advance Saudi Arabian interests in the region, the U.S. government has enforced an empire abroad, maintaining more than a thousand (known) military bases in dozens, if not hundreds of countries.

Jun 14 07:01

Taliban Rejects NATO Call for Troop Presence at Kabul Airport

With ongoing talks surrounding NATO troops, particularly Turkish troops, staying at the Kabul Airport, the Taliban has interjected, rejecting the idea out of hand, and insisting that foreign forces shouldn’t hold out hope for excuses to keep troops in Afghanistan.

“Every inch of Afghan soil, its airports and security of foreign embassies and diplomatic offices is the responsibility of the Afghans,” the Taliban said in a statement issued Saturday.

The Afghan government isn’t ruling the idea out, however, saying they haven’t decided to hand over security at the airport, but also haven’t finalized the plan, saying the matter is still under discussion.

There has been concern, given the number of diplomats in Kabul, of keeping the airport accessible. There hasn’t been much in the way of problems there in awhile, however, and the Taliban clearly doesn’t see a permanent NATO occupation of the airport as practical.

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