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The United States Retreat from Afghanistan

Written By: - Date published: 6:30 am, August 16th, 2021 - 140 comments
Categories: afghanistan, International, Joe Biden, us politics, war - Tags:

In autumn 2001 the invasion of Afghanistan began, and here we are 20 year later and the U.S. is all-out in just over three weeks by September 11th.

President Biden is about to get a Jimmy Carter-scale shellacking with tv footage coming of Afghani Taleban going through Kabul and in short days rifling through the U.S. Embassy as they finally take over the entire country. We won’t have seen footage like it of a U.S. embassy since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 (You don’t win re-election with defeats and withdrawals, and you won’t be thanked for it in the mid-term Senatorial races either).

NATO troops more broadly have been withdrawing since 2014, so it’s been an increasingly lonely U.S. mission as they gradually withdrew and tried to keep some of the gains they had made together. We largely got out years ago, after sterling work leading the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamiyan but also a covered-up raid in Baghlan province that resulted in six civilians killed and 15 wounded.

As with many U.S.-led interventions, the very presence of Americans in Afghanistan trod on a sense of Afghan identity that incorporated national pride, a long history of successfully fighting off outsiders, and a religious commitment to defend their homeland. Honour, religion and home make for a spectacular will to resist. It dared young men to fight. It sapped the will of Afghan soldiers and police.

The Taliban’s ability to link their cause to the very meaning of being Afghan was a crucial element in America’s defeat.

The United States has been fighting a war in Afghanistan for just on 20 years. More than 2,300 U.S. military personnel have lost their lives there; more than 20,000 others have been wounded. At least half a million Afghans have been killed or wounded. There goes over US$trillion.

Good news: no more attacks on the U.S. homeland carried out by Afghani terrorists since 9/11.

Bad news: pretty much everything else

If you want to compare Senator Biden’s thinking back when it was starting, to his thinking now, well start with Biden in 2002.

Then in 2021.

Now let’s take a moment and see what they got right.

In late 2011, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced some astonishing news about progress in health and mortality in Afghanistan. The 2010 Afghanistan Mortality Survey, the largest survey of its kind ever undertaken there, showed that from 2004 to 2010, life expectancy had risen from 42 years to 62 years. The big driver in that was a sharp decline in child mortality. As a result, nearly 100,000Afghan children per year who previously would have died now don’t.

That’s like the entire Syrian crisis didn’t happen. Brought to you by an aid agency 99% of Americans have never heard of.

By the end of Taliban rule (last time) in 2002, Afghanistan’s public health system had collapsed. To begin to resuscitate it, aid donors and the Afghan government devised a basic package of health services that cost about $4.50 per person. And they got the staff in there to make the clinics work.

All of that will collapse again within months.

And now everything else.

There has been an exponentially sharp rise in the production of opium, despite offers of ‘subsidies’ given to farmers who refrain from producing opium.

Osama bin Laden was killed almost 10 years after the invasion of Afghanistan – and he wasn’t there at all: he was in an ordinary suburb of Pakistan and well bedded in.

Afghanistan is still one of the world’s most impoverished nations and it has one of the highest numbers of internally and externally displaced refugees. More than 3.5 million Afghans are internally displaced and this number is rising rapidly every day as aid agencies struggle to provide help.

The level of literacy is still extremely low and the country ranks high on global corruption indexes.

It’s still one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

It’s about to have its government wrecked, public services destroyed, educated people destroyed Chinese Cultural Revolution style, and a fundamentalist regime installed that will make the Handmaid’s Tale look like Offred was rolling in clover.

The U.S. didn’t come to nation-build. That’s been clear from the beginning. They trained about 300,000 Afghanis to build a good standing army and protect themselves. Well that didn’t work.

The terrorist threat that the United States has defeated there has now been replaced with the high domestic terror threat from racists within the United States itself. That probably doesn’t count as success either. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/04/white-supremacists-terror-threat-dhs-409236

I’d simply like to record though that every aid worker and aid dollar that sought to do good there, and did so, should be just as recognised as people who served in armed forces to fight. To be able to go somewhere hard and seek to do good, and do it, is an achievement.

If the years of colonialist meddling, attempted land grabbing, insincerity from neighbouring countries and corruption within the Afghan establishment are considered and acknowledged as contributory factors to blame for Afghanistan’s current state, it becomes easier to comprehend why Afghanistan is still finding its feet and struggling to blossom into the free and prosperous country its people long for it to be.

Probably China will end up with the most influence in the northeast, with Pakistan influencing the south.

The effects of the Bush administrations’ decision to invade Afghanistan have been very very dark.

Biden is going to take fierce hits from many sides in the next three months over this.

My minor hope is that he commits not to do it again.

140 comments on “The United States Retreat from Afghanistan ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    The collapse of the Afghan army is shocking. I read the other day two things – one, the war cost the USA two trillion dollars. Afghanistan represents the most colossal single act of legalised corruption in absolute value terms in history. Most of the money went into grossly bloated contracts for US firms – the trillions spent has largely wound up buying flash water front homes, speed boats and SUVs for Trump voting defense contractors in places like Florida. Which brings me to the second thing I read, a US general complaining the USA didn't spend enough money on rebuilding the Afghan army and "corners were cut" leading to this collapse. How the f**k you spend two trillion dollars and somehow not have enough money for the locals who you want to do the actual fighting is simply beyond me, although apparently Afghan commanders were corrupt beyond belief with thousands of phantom soldiers on the payroll where the money was simply pocketed by corrupt officers – the oldest form of military corruption there is.

    A multi-decade cluster f**k of monumental proportions.

    Much of the blame lies with Bush and Rumsfeld – they didn;t properly consolidate their invasion before rushing off to invade Iraq, they repaid Iran’s help in getting rid of the Taliban by declaring them part of the “Axis of evil”, they thought they could remold countries into US style “democracies” by simply “making the reality” and killing indiscriminately. The hubris and blood lust of the Bush regime is beyond description.

  2. bwaghorn 2

    Has the nz government rescued the last of the interpreters and other afganis who are know in extreme peril

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    There has been an exponentially sharp rise in the production of opium, despite offers of ‘subsidies’ given to farmers who refrain from producing opium.

    It might be that a nation so keen on drone striking could make a platform delivering weedkiller to poppy fields identified by satellite. It's not like there is forest cover or the like to conceal them.

    Mind, the Taliban banned opium at one point Taliban's Ban On Poppy A Success, U.S. Aides Say – The New York Times (nytimes.com) Diplomacy might pay off – and give the US a bit more institutional depth – resolving problems in other ways than through air power can be a useful skill set.

    • Forget now 3.1

      Because the parallels with Vietnam are not obvious enough already?

      Many U.S. lawmakers and Bush administration officials wanted to adopt an aggressive approach that Washington had backed in Colombia to combat cocaine trafficking. A core part of that program, known as Plan Colombia, was the aerial spraying of herbicides to eradicate coca plants — despite concerns that the chemicals could cause cancer…

      U.S. military commanders, worried about the potential health risks to their troops, had flashbacks to the Vietnam War, when U.S. forces sprayed Agent Orange — a toxic defoliant — over tropical jungles. British officials also disliked the idea of aerial spraying and lobbied Karzai against it.

      The dissension made Karzai even more suspicious about U.S. motives. He rejected the spraying plan and reacted coolly to other proposals to restrict poppy farming and prosecute suspected opium traffickers.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-opium-poppy-production/

      • Stuart Munro 3.1.1

        The drone approach would have needed to be more agricultural than military – opium refining wasn't a laboratory process – more like a few 44 gallon drums, so blowing them up wasn't going to affect the supply in any significant way.

        Spraying was going to be broadbrush defoliant style, not carefully targeting only opium (which can be done – as with marijuana, the crop colour is distinctive). Widespread spraying would destroy all the income of small communities – a quicker way to support Taliban recruitment is hard to imagine.

  4. Adrian Thornton 4

    The Taliban walk back into power right across Afghanistan unopposed, a point of vital significance left out here…and btw the USA created that terrorist threat that you say they "defeated" another point of importance left out of your narrative…and of course you give the invading US armies casualties figures before the Afghani, that is just a given of course you should apply for a job at RNZ…..they like this sort of thing.

  5. Marcus Morris 5

    Helen Clark made a salient point on Morning Report this morning when she pointed out that tens of thousands of US troops have been based in South Korea for the last seventy years and thousands more are deployed throughout the world in "peace keeping" roles. Afghanistan's tragic history of eternal and internal conflict just rolls on.

    • Michael 5.1

      Yes she did. Clark is a well-informed observer of the world scene and no one can accuse her of being a US patsy.

  6. Stephen D 6

    Pablo has some interesting things to say. Maybe the Taliban rule won’t be as appalling as before.

    http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2021/08/calamity-or-the-price-of-neo-imperialist-hubris/

    • Subliminal 6.1

      There are many reasons to hope that this iteration of the Taliban is vastly different than that of the late 1990s.

      The first thing that I would like to say though is absolutely kudos to Joe Biden. I never thought I would be saying this about a US president but his actions with regard to Afghanistan have absolutely made the world a safer place and throw further light on the complete narcissistic incompetence of the previous 4d chess player. You want to withdraw from a conflict? This is how you do it. Thank you Joe Biden. If this is all you do it is enough.

      The next thing is that this Taliban have dissociated themselves from the extreme Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia. They appear to have won the guarded trust of Iran who now believe that there Afghan border will not be a source of anti Iranian terrorists. The Saudi/Israeli proxy Sunni v Shia war has ended in Afghanistan. This is a theme that has been spelt out clearly by all their neighbours and appears to have been taken on board.

      Women's rights are clearly an area of concern. Kabul was taken without bloodshed and most fighting seems to be dying down so civil war may have been averted. This bodes well for women given that a functioning civil infrastructure is always helpful to attain better women's rights. China will be ready to fund the infrastructure that the US trillions made little dent on. This will raise the standard of living and help women enormously.

      Much is left to do but what a start!

    • Michael 6.2

      Easy for you to say. You won't be on the receiving end of the Taliban's attentions. But I agree with you and Pablo: there are some signs that Taliban 2.0 has developed a bit of sophistication and won't be quite as brutal as its former iteration. That said, there are credible reports of atrocities and repression of women coming out of Afghanistan now. Some payback going on. Taliban are not renowned for their standards of conduct – although enforcement of discipline in ranks is known to be summary and "robust". One report, from a provincial capital captured last week, said Taliban were initially reassuring but sooon resorted to coercion of essential workers who hid away and did not turn up to work. Limited range of incentives in Taliban toolbox and lack of modern management skills?

  7. Byd0nz 8

    I knew an Afghani lady who under the Socialist Gvt achieved a University degree, both her sisters became surgeons, woman had freedoms not known before. Then of course the USA started funding the Mujahideen to overthrow the Socialists, who in turn invited the Soviets to help fight against the insurgents.

    USA money and covert actions won the day and Afghanistan returned to the dark days in which it has again returned to, so in fact America has won the war by keeping the progressive Socialists out of power in favour of the corrupt regimes that replaced it.

    In short, the war virus that is the USA has once again destroyed another land far from its own shores.

    • Adrian Thornton 8.1

      Exactly right +1, the USA has once again shown the world that it is the most extremist, violent and aggressive nation on the face of this planet today.

      This interview says it all at about 2;30into this clip

      He also points out that Ashraf Ghani rejected Taliban peace proposals when he had the chance, not the other way around.

      • Marcus Morris 8.1.1

        Just like they did in Iran when the CIA assisted MI6 in overthrowing the socialist government in the coup d'etat of 1953. It was all about oil. Surprise, surprise. The socialist government had nationalised the industry. Perfidious Albion!!

        • Stephen D 8.1.1.1

          Don't forget conniving with ITT in Chile to overthrow Allende, because he was going to nationalise the telephone network.

  8. Treetop 9

    Some regions in Afganistan day to day life will not change. The most affected is the cities due to modern western influence clashing with Taliban traditional influence. This will be a challenge when it comes to human rights.

    Covid is the common enemy of every person in Afganistan. It depends on whether or not vaccinations will be allowed and rebuilding the health system which requires money.

    How united the factions are within the Taliban will also determine how much weapons will be used in the country.

  9. Jenny how to get there 10

    No getting around it. The US has comprehensively lost the war in Afghanistan.

    So what should they do?

    Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recommends using US air power to bomb the Taliban.

    Really?

    Not even Nixon threatened that level of retribution against the Vietnamese Communists when he pulled US forces out of Vietnam.

    The US accepted their defeat and moved on.

    Thank God we don't have lunatics like Trump and Pompeo currently calling the shots.

    War has been described as 'terrorism with a bigger budget'.

    Aerial bombardment fits this description even more than warfare on the ground.

    Every military expert will tell you that air power alone will never win a war.

    Wars are won by pickets on the ground, displacing the enemies pickets, (by force).

    The US describe their bomber forces as "Air Cavalry" this is very apt. Even in the days of real cavalry, ie men on horses with sabers, it was recognised that wars are not won by calvary, but by foot soldiers.

    No matter how many bombs the US airforce drop on the Taliban, even if they use nuclear weapons. Whoever crawls out from under the rubble will still be the people that control the ground.

    So what should the US do?

    The only remaining option is to make terms with the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, and sign a treaty, binding on both sides to end the war between them.

    From the beginning the stated motive for US forces invading Afghanistan was to stop Afghanistan being a haven for terrorism.

    Only a binding treaty (on both sides), can attempt to achieve that aim, now.

    If the Taliban on their side honour it. Then one day maybe the odious Taliban regime will lose their grip on the people of that land, by their own choice.

    Maybe Western Soft Power can achieve what Hard Power couldn't.

    P.S. The weird thing is the Taliban are Sunni Muslims, as opposed to the rulers of the US enemy du jour, Iran, who are Shia.

    In world history, alliances shift all the time.

    Henry Kissinger said it;

    “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests”

    It wouldn't surprise me one bit, if one day, the US set Afghanistan against Iran.

    • Stuart Munro 10.1

      The US describe their bomber forces as "Air Cavalry" this is very apt.

      air cavalry | Description, U.S. Army, & Vietnam War | Britannica

      Though American bombers are certainly cavalier, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/new-zealand-soldier-killed-in-kuwait/QLDHTFSFIK6LNDGU5HDHLBJBAI/ air cavalry are generally the airborne equivalent of the hobelar or dragoon, of whom Bierce said: DRAGOON -n.

      A soldier who combines dash and steadiness in so equal measure that he makes his advances on foot and his retreats on horseback. Or in this case, by helicopter.

    • Treetop 10.2

      The US need to withdraw completely, this will close the chapter. Aid could be given through a third party to fund hospitals and agriculture/farming.

      I am waiting to see what the future position of Pakistan, Russia, China and Iran is when it comes to aid in Afganistan and security with shared borders. As well an influx of refugees into Pakistan.

    • In Vino 10.3

      Jenny – you write: "Not even Nixon threatened that level of retribution against the Vietnamese Communists when he pulled US forces out of Vietnam."

      What??

      Nixon knew bloody well that bombing would not work, because he had pretty well already exhausted that option long before his pathetic "Peace with Honour" settlement.

      He had already tried bombing them back to the stone age. What amuses me is that Pompeo has not learnt that lesson, and is yet again pushing an already-failed policy.

      Despite hugely heavy day and night bombing, Hitler's Germany also fought on regardless. How often does a tactic have to be proven a failed one?

  10. Forget now 11

    Good news: no more attacks on the U.S. homeland carried out by Afghani terrorists since 9/11.

    In what sense where they; Afghani terrorists? Maybe some of them trained and received support from AQ training camps in the country, but none of them were born there: 15 were Saudi Arabian, the remaining 4 being from; UAE, Egypt & Lebanon.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alleged_Saudi_role_in_September_11_attacks

    Also, the US were not particularly forthcoming with evidence to support their demands (link date is 2014 – but that seems from archival). I remember at the time, the invasion seeming more like an arrogant bully's tantrum at them being the one hurt for once than a rational response to the September 2001 terrorist attacks:

    The offer yesterday from Haji Abdul Kabir, the Taliban's deputy prime minister, to surrender Mr bin Laden if America would halt its bombing and provide evidence against the Saudi-born dissident was not new…

    Mr Kabir said: "If America were to step back from the current policy, then we could negotiate." Mr bin Laden could be handed over to a third country for trial, he said. "We could discuss which third country."

    But as American warplanes entered the second week of the bombing campaign, Washington rejected the Taliban offer out of hand. "When I said no negotiations I meant no negotiations," Mr Bush said. "We know he's guilty. Turn him over. There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt."

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/bush-rejects-taliban-offer-surrender-bin-laden-9143208.html

    • Adrian Thornton 11.1

      Good comment, thanks +1

    • Ad 11.2

      The Taliban and Al Quaeda go wayyy back to the post-Soviet days. The Taleban were formed as an extremist Islamic regime that controlled Afghanistan, and offered bin Laden sanctuary. Bin Laden as the global al Qaeda leader trained thousands of local and international terrorists in Afghani camps. In return for protection, bin Laden utilized his extensive personal fortune to support the Taliban.

      There's plenty of close documentary evidence of all that in the post-attack 9/11 Commission reports on this.

      The Taleban would likely have avoided the entire US invasion if they had handed over Osama bin Laden when the US asked them to right after 9/11.Bin Laden had been invited there by the former Mujahideen commander Abdul Rab Rassool Sayyaf. Bin Laden was the mastermind behind the deadliest attacks on US soil.

      Even Al Jazeera does the same potted history here:

      https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/18/this-history-of-the-taliban

  11. Sanctuary 12

    Trump was elected partially on a platform of no more foreign wars, and he delivered a withdrawl timeline more aggressive than the actual one we’ve seen. Public support for getting out of Afghanistan is in the mid 70s in the USA and has been for years. I don't see Biden getting too much of a hit over this, I suspect he couldn't believe his luck when Trump timelined the pullout he gets to over see.

    War weariness is a big thing amongst the (admittedly small sample set) Americans I know.

  12. Adrian Thornton 13

    Some breaking news…

    Hamid Karzai forms transition council with Abdullah and Hekmatyar

    • Byd0nz 13.1

      Good one, yea, Ashcraft Ghani will end up in a mansion somewhere in Virginia with his ill-gotten gains no doubt.

    • Michael 13.2

      No news about whether Taliban accepts Karzai and the warlords. It could string them all up from lamp posts.

  13. Brendan Waugh 14

    Thanks for a well written article.

    Yet the US Secretary of State claims that this is NOT Saigon.

    Silly man. Reminds me of the Iraqi Information Minister.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/aug/15/antony-blinken-us-mission-afghanistan-saigon

  14. KJT 15

    9/11 was not, anyone from Afghanistan.

  15. KJT 16

    After 20 Years of Lies and War, US Retreat Underway as Taliban Retake Control of Afghanistan | Common Dreams News

    "We should also consider how the lives of Afghanis would have been improved if only a fraction of the money committed to this war… had gone into improving their lives through investment in infrastructure, housing, education, agriculture," German added. "That was an opportunity that could have been taken but was ignored in favour of military solutions. And those have brought us to where we are today."

  16. Scud 17

    As someone who has done time of in Afghanistan with the RAAF, I unfortunately didn’t get my ISAF NATO Medal as I didn’t do a enough flying Missions ie 30 Missions or didn’t reach 30 days on the ground thanks to politics within the RAAF Sec Flt ie Coppers vs us ADG’s back in UAE or the Oz Army (Infantry morons) the highest I did was 29 days per deployment.

    Actually the ANDF & the ANP were doing quite well at holding the Taliban, until that idiot Trump started to negotiate with the Taliban just before he left office. But what happened after that was quite shocking especially when Biden & it’s Allied Partners started to withdraw as per the Trumps so-called negotiated deal which allowed the Taliban the freedom of movement it didn’t have while the US, it’s Allied & start slowly improving AAF AirPower.

    Here’s my take on the last few weeks of the Afghanistan Government & it’s ANDF & ANP.

    Once the AAF lost its, Advisors, Trainers/ Maintainers, Logistics support due to the withdrawal of the Western enablers. The serviceability rate of the AAF Fixed & Rotary Wing Aircraft fell off a cliff, which was quickly followed by the AAF during theweek or sometime last week went crump as the AAF Logistics & Sustainment System crashed. As the AAF could no longer provide the necessary Close Air Support (CAS) nor could it sustain the outlying ANDF or ANP posts which caused the morale & leadership collapse.

    Thence the old adage that Logistics wins wars & in this case for Afghanistan unfortunately time wasn’t on their side. COIN Warfare by nature is a very time consuming campaign & is very similar to your average Peacekeeping/ Peace Enforcement Missions that most NZer’s expect the NZDF to do (which it can’t in its current state btw because it almost has the equipment, but lacks manpower for Rise, Train & Sustainment). The last 20yrs of active fighting Us, allow the breathing room that was required to rebuild up the Afghan Government at levels had we stuck to the original COIN plan this would’ve ended very differently.

    I’m currently out bush on my community service for Dundee Beach & surrounds ie Fire Duty & our part of the NT region has into a 72hr lockdown for Covid19 Delta variant.

    • Ad 17.1

      Scud, thankyou for your service, and your hard won commentary from experience.

    • Adrian Thornton 17.2

      Your comment does not explain how the Taliban re took the entire 'occupied' country of Afghanistan in two weeks, pretty much unopposed?…It would be easy to imagine that if it had been local troops bringing western Democracy to that country in the same way it would be now getting reported world wide as a popular uprising.

      How many full time Taliban fighters do you think there are (not counting local fighters who largely stay localized) 10-20,000?, fighting a well equipped force of appox (so we are told) of 300,000?, so even without their advantage of western air cover, the ANDSF should have on paper at least been more than a match for the Taliban…however it seems that in the end, the majority of the ANDSF were not prepared to die for whatever it was that the West was offering.

      • The Al1en 17.2.1

        Seriously, how many full time Taliban fighters do you think there are (not counting local fighters who largely stay localized) 10-20,000?

        According to the US Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, estimates suggest a core strength of 60,000 fighters. With the addition of other militia groups and supporters, that number could exceed 200,000.

        • joe90 17.2.1.1

          Too easy.

          In 2018, however, Washington’s attitude changed and Donald Trump’s Afghan envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, asked the Pakistanis to release Baradar so he could lead negotiations in Qatar, based on the belief that he would settle for a power-sharing arrangement. “I had never seen any real substantiation of that point, but it just took on a kind of mythic idea,” the former official said.

          Baradar signed the Doha agreement with the US in February 2020, in what the Trump administration hailed as a breakthrough towards peace but which now appears a mere staging post towards total Taliban victory.

          The US and Taliban agreement not to fight each other was supposed to be followed by power-sharing talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government of Ashraf Ghani. Those talks stumbled along with little progress, and it is clear now that Baradar and the Taliban were playing for time, waiting for the Americans to leave and preparing a final offensive. Baradar’s life has taught him patience and confidence in ultimate victory.

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/15/talibans-abdul-ghani-baradar-is-undisputed-victor-of-a-20-year-war

        • Adrian Thornton 17.2.1.2

          @Al1en, I think I would like to see a more impartial player divvy out those numbers myself…..

          • The Al1en 17.2.1.2.1

            And you're welcome to present that impartial research when you've done some.

            • Adrian Thornton 17.2.1.2.1.1

              Well I would, however it seems that those numbers don't seem to obtainable (that I could find) outside of that one super compromised source.

    • Michael 17.3

      Interesting observations there. NZDF has people (and veterans) with consdierable experience of Afghanistan, COIN and peacekeeping/enforcement under UN Charter. We also had the Operation Burnham inquiry, which I'm not sure did more harm than good to NZDF morale and integrity. We need a "Lessons Learned" exercise now (I'm sure you're familiar with the term?). We won't fight another Afghanistan war (I'm fairly sure about that) but we will fight other wars and Operations Other Than War ("OOTW"). When we do (not if), we'll have to work closely with the ADF (as in East Timor, Solomons, etc), together with oher friends and allies. If we are to prevail, we need to think, train, equip and prepare the NZDF accordingly. I don't see any sign of this from our govt, although we do have another Defence White Paper due shortly. I hope that will stimulate the effort we need to defend our national interests.

  17. ken 18

    Perhaps if they spent all that time and all those billions on schools, hospitals and roads?

    • McFlock 18.1

      They weren't completely stupid. They did try.

      Trouble was, they half-assed it with the sections that got built and couldn't deal with the countermoves by their opponents.

      The US just can't empire. They want to, and had some successes in the Pacific and Latin America in early 20C, but they are just missing some essential piece of the puzzle. Creating bases is one thing, actually controlling occupied territory is another thing entirely.

  18. McFlock 19

    edit: crap, meant to be the reply to Ken at comment 18.

  19. KSaysHi 20

    I can't believe the US troops left so much behind.

    Speed of exit seems to be a major factor in why so much is being left behind.

    The US Central Command said it had left no less than 17,074 pieces of equipment in Afghanistan.

    "Most of this equipment is not defensive articles or considered to be major equipment," it said.

    US officials have been secretive about exactly what stays and what goes.

    Some equipment, including helicopters, military vehicles, weapons and ammunition, is to be handed over to the Afghan military.

  20. Jenny how to get there 21

    Kiwi journalist Charlotte Bellis on the ground in Afghanistan reports from Kabul.

    “Taliban seek legitimacy”

    Kiwi journalist reveals what it's like to live in Kabul as Taliban takes control

    • 10 hours ago

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2021/08/kiwi-journalist-reveals-what-it-s-like-to-live-in-taliban-controlled-kabul.html

  21. Jenny how to get there 22

    What is being done to women in Afghanistan by the Taliban?

    “They claim they are Taliban 2.0”

    Kiwi journalist Charlotte Bellis in Afghanistan, reporting live from the capital city Kabul as the Taliban take over, as other Westerners flee.

    “They are very much in control”

  22. Jenny how to get there 23

    The war must stop.

    The war cannot continue. A treaty must be signed, between the warring parties.

    The Taliban seek legitimacy, this opens the possibility of an agreement between the Taliban and the international community.

    Can a peace treaty be signed between the West and the Taliban?
    On one side, the Taliban agree to guarantee the rights of woman and girls, and the safety of human rights activists, and aid workers, and the end of terror attacks against the West.

    On the other side, the US agree to stop the bombing, and also agree to supply humanitarian and reconstruction aid.

    Then the war will end

    If not, it will continue

    Will Biden have the courage to make the first move and offer the Taliban a peace deal?

    The US has spent a $trillion dollars on the war,
    How much can they spend on the peace?

  23. Scud 24

    Hi Adrian,

    The reason why the ANDF & ANP collapse so fast, which I thought I made clear as mud?

    Was the fact the Afghan Air Force (AAF) crease to be an effective force when it flew the wings off of their Fixed & Rotary Wing Aircraft doing Close Air Support & the sustainment Missions to the troops on the ground to the outlying areas of Afghanistan.

    Once the AAF couldn’t support or sustain the Troops on the ground, the ANA &ANP collapse. Or because the US & it’s Allies withdrew it team of Mentors, Trainers, Advisors & finally its Logistic & Sustainment System finally collapse a fortnight ago or sometime last week.

    The AAF was the backbone to the ANDF & ANP, and once AAF couldn’t support them out in the badlands it was game set & match in favour of the Taliban. There is not much a squaddie or a peeler can do, where you run out of ammo, food, water, pay, & the other various supplies etc that would sustain you on operations.

    • Adrian Thornton 24.1

      Hi Scud, sorry but yes it was as clear as mud (well to me anyway)….First I am not disputing the well known and reported demise of the AAF however….

      I take it you are saying that this army, that has been supported, trained and supplied by the most powerful military (and nearly all their allies at some stage or another) the world has known for twenty years, at the cost of unknown amounts of hundreds of billions of US dollars, couldn’t build/sustain/defend its own supply lines on the ground anywhere at all within its own borders without the advantage of air cover, yet their opposition who, by comparison could only be defined as an insurgent (though highly motivated one) fighting force, did exactly that (though on a far smaller scale consummate with their size of course), even while being constantly harassed by aircraft and drones ?

      It makes no sense that that can be the sole reason (though I have no doubt that it was a large contributing factor of course) for the complete and utter collapse of the ANDSF within two weeks (and their historical inability to build safe supply lines within their own country), no the problems within the ANDSF are obviously far more deep rooted than that IMO, but for the sake of the debate let's say I do agree with your analysis, let’s leave that aside.

      Your answer still doesn't answer the original question as to why the major cities fell unopposed where air cover is far less of an issue and where, I assume combat experience, morale, motivation and discipline become more the deciding factors?…Surely the ANDSF had enough provisions within those cities to sustain a defense action for weeks if not months?

  24. Ad 25

    Since I mentioned the United States as the main protagonists, a wee note on the US politics of this.

    The governmental collapse is the most powerful political weapon that Trump could have exploded into the Biden Presidency.

    He is going to lose 10 basis points out of this no matter how it is spun. Trump could easily overtake Biden in the polls over it.

    Biden has between now and the commemoration of the September 11 attacks to generate some kind of message that he is starting again with any international use of US military force.
    Perhaps get could simply advise that he no longer has confidence in his entire Joint Chiefs and use it to clear house and start and entirely new military leadership.

    Even a successful re-launch of US diplomatic and military force across the world would only start to claw back the political losses Biden has over this.

    It is also currently a Democratic Party catastrophe. Who would want to stand with Biden in the 2022 mid-term Senate and Governor races?

    Some of those marginals Senate races for the Democrats might now start to look a little sick the other way.

    Given that most of the post talked about the US-led action being a human catastrophe for the Afghani peoples, the political impact on the ex-occupying force is also necessary.

    It will take all of Biden’s political considerable skill to generate domestic outcomes that are better than those within the Soviet Union after they were pushed out in the 1980s.

    • RedLogix 25.1

      The Cold War is long over – and in the last five US Presidential elections the American people have reliably voted for the person who promised the least foreign entanglements. Yes this will resonate badly for a couple of news cycles, but fundamentally the reason why the US left Afghanistan so abruptly is that they've lost interest.

      Yes the betrayal of the Afghani people is tragic, but those on the left who routinely decry US 'imperialism' should be celebrating, this is after all precisely the outcome they've been demanding for decades.

      In the meantime the country has been effectively handed over the to the CCP who are now the Taliban's backers and sponsors and after the latter have raped their way through the country, the former will then quietly turn it into a prison camp – and various people here will tell us how wonderful all this is.

      There will be some impact on US domestic politics, but the real chill will be felt at a gut level all across the swath of smaller, still independent nations around the globe who can now see little standing between them and a resurgence of the old game of empire.

      • Ad 25.1.1

        For the sake of United States politics I admire your optimism.

        But yes for China it will likely solidify the whole of Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran-Iraq into China's orbit. Which is extremely good for the Chinese need to be independent from the rest of the world for oil, gold, platinum, silver, copper, iron, chromite, lithium, uranium, and aluminium.

        From 1980 to 2000 to 2020, you can see the shift in which China, US, and Europe have altered in dominant influence over countries in this set of maps here:

        https://www.axios.com/china-global-influence-map-us-powerful-cfe94279-2828-4364-a791-7f793e30aa0b.html

        On balance, a more secure China is probably a good thing for the rest of us.

        Though it's a death knell for human rights and the rule of law across more of the world.

        • RedLogix 25.1.1.1

          Good link thanks.

          Note how India is now a geographic keystone on this map. And whether or not this ends up making China more secure or less remains to be seen.

          You might also find this pertinent:

          • Ad 25.1.1.1.1

            Thanks Red I will look at that later.

            The Australian notion of an “Indo-Pacific” which Ardern bought into is starting to make some sense.

        • Andre 25.1.1.2

          Somehow I can't see China having much better success in Afghanistan than all the other empires before them.

          The one constant in Afghanistan is they really really really don't like foreigners fucking with them. So they may accept assistance from one group of foreigners in order to fight another group of foreigners fucking with them. But that pseudo-alliance falls apart as soon as the current lot of foreigners are defeated and ignominiously booted out, and the assisters become the new lot of foreigners trying to fuck with them.

      • Adrian Thornton 25.1.2

        "The Cold War is long over"

        Really, you must have not been following world politics for a while…

        Russian minister: US-Russia ties worse than during Cold War

        https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/russian-fm-us-russia-ties-worse-cold-war-77362821

        A New Cold War Has Begun

        https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/01/07/a-new-cold-war-has-begun/

        I thought this would have been right up your alley, you being such an unashamed liberal imperialist Hawk and all?

        “have raped their way through the country” ….links to that statement please.

        “little standing between them and a resurgence of the old game of empire”…isn’t that exactly what the US have just failed to do..as we speak!!, or were all those illegal invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, bombings of Sysria, Lybia Somalia Yemin etc (not even getting into Latin American!) something different in your orbit?…well I guess they all have something in common, they aren’t white, which I have noticed goes a long way in justifying modern western imperialism to liberal class sensibilities…yuk.

        [I’m very busy today and under a lot of pressure, so here’s your only warning.

        I thought this would have been right up your alley, you being such an unashamed liberal imperialist Hawk and all?

        Ditch the personal insults and negative labels and stick with playing the ball, thanks – Incognito]

        • Incognito 25.1.2.1

          See my Moderation note @ 11:03 am.

        • Adrian Thornton 25.1.2.2

          I am not sure if RL would be insulted by being labeled liberal imperialist Hawk? why don't we ask him to respond?..his foreign policy politics follow all those terms quite closely?…how would you describe his foreign policy politics in your words, maybe I could use your correct terminology in the future?

          OK well maybe ‘Hawk’ he won’t like.

          [Maybe RL will, maybe RL won’t, but RL is not being moderated and you are, and you used as a pejorative, which is your idiosyncratic MO here on TS.

          I warned you about playing the ball, not the man, and yet you’re asking me how you can play the man!? Have you grown tired of “camp guards” or “guard dogs”?

          You’re wasting my time. Take the day off – Incognito]

          • Incognito 25.1.2.2.1

            See my Moderation note @ 12:41 pm.

          • lprent 25.1.2.2.2

            I am not sure if RL would be insulted by being labeled liberal imperialist Hawk?

            FFS: Silly point. It would require respect for your opinions for it to be insulting. Probably like me, he’d simply shrug it off as being “why would he care about what you think about him”.

            Incidentally in my opinion, RL is way less of a ‘hawk’ than I am. I spent time in the army. I have spent a lot of time developing training gear for soldiers to make them more effective soldiers – both in small units and for larger units. I read and think on just about every era of history for my edification and entertainment which includes a lot of military, insurgency, economic and empire based history. I like working at a strategic level in just about everything that I do.

            I’ve been doing this kind of thinking about and work around this area for about 47 years – ever since I discovered libraries. I’ve had a long time to think about what and why I’d support or work against most things I’d run up against.

            Sure my ‘hawk’ aspects are just one aspect of my character. But it is like the kind of attention I place on computers and programming (I can code well on almost everything apart from data-mining and CUDA), and my understanding of politics (I actually did that at ground level for decades as a hobby). History, strategy and understanding other viewpoints widely cross-fertilises a lot to other areas as well.

            So far you haven’t really earned much of my respect for your apparent level of understanding of things like imperialism, hawks (your ideas about which seem to be weirdly like a DC cartoon), foreign policy issues, science or most things. Your awareness and grasp feels facile, shallow and way way too full of simple slogans and labels.

            Perhaps if you explained what your understanding actually is more often than simply demonstrating your ability to simply fling labels around, then you may earn some respect. Try something new when you come back you could try to do something new for a change.

            • RedLogix 25.1.2.2.2.1

              War is the failure of politics. A truism that has several logical corollaries.

              One is that because all things human do fail, you must be prepared to fight and win wars. A strong and effective military is an insurance policy, something you hope never to use, but you need it there when shit happens.

              The second is that you really want your political systems to be fit for purpose and not prone to failure. (This would be a very large component of my motivation here at TS over the years.)

              And finally it's my view that we place far too much emphasise on political personalities, when the fate of nations in the long term is determined by their geography, demographics and ability to maintain continuity via security, trade and social cohesion.

              I find ideologies unhelpful in thinking about any of this, and as you say – ‘flinging labels about’ goes nowhere.

            • Adrian Thornton 25.1.2.2.2.2

              @Iprent, Well first off, at least we can agree about something..we both don’t respect each other enough politically to really care what the other thinks about them in those terms…though, credit where credit is due, I do resect the time and energy you have and do put into The Standard.

              I too spend far too much time and thought space reading, thinking about and talking with select friends/family ,loosely about those same subjects “military, insurgency, economic and empire based history”…however it would seem that we have come to very different understandings over some of the primary lessons that can be learned from studying that history.

              The foremost lesson to be learnt and never forgotten I think, is that when it comes to war, that governments and leaders lie, and with that one indisputable fact in mind, the absolute last thing I would ever be involved in, would be making the armies of any government more efficient at killing…or for that matter enabling them to take part in that trade in any way. Personally enabling that as an occupation while knowing the former truth, seems perverse and grotesque to say the least…but as I say, we obviously have come to vastly different conclusions on the subject overall.

              As far as my views on Liberal Imperialism goes, well you are probably right in that I don’t explain my position enough, but in my defence, that would be because I am usually just pushing back against the usual crew of Liberal Imperialists on TS and their usual lap dog and sometimes jingoistic rhetoric…I have of course in the past fully explained to all those members why I consider them to be ‘Liberal Imperialists’ and in some cases ‘Camp Guards’ (a term now banned on TS) for the Neo-Liberal status quo..it would be ridiculous to do that every time respond to them…but at the same time I feel that it is important for someone to push back against their tired old stodgy thinking in a brief way, just in case a Leftie happens to be new on the TS that day and they can see that there is more than one way to skin a cat..so to speak.

              • Incognito

                Adrian, Lprent, you and I all appreciate a good debate. We have indeed different views, but we can agree to disagree, as per your comment.

                Where we part ways is when/where you stray into making things personal in your ‘pushing back’. You can push back at content, but not at the person behind the comment; play the ball, not the man.

                New readers of this site don’t need your guidance or advice as to who are the ‘good’ Lefties, the ‘bad’ Lefties, or the Tories here. They can and should figure it for themselves without you sticking labels and big targets on them. Have you noticed that this often turns into an us-vs-them situation and/or a pile on? I have. Despite what you seem to think, you don’t have a moral mandate or the right and authority to hound others out of this site; leave the banning to the Moderators.

                The regulars and ‘usual suspects’ know by now what you think of them and each time you remind them it runs a high risk of becoming a flame war and shit fight.

                FYI, the only words that are truly banned here are the name of the Christchurch Mosque shooter and convicted mass murderer. Any other words in the list are moderated and used as and when needed.

    • Andre 25.2

      Polling suggests the withdrawal from Afghanistan is very popular. Even among Repugs.

      https://www.thechicagocouncil.org/commentary-and-analysis/blogs/us-public-supports-withdrawal-afghanistan

      I'm guessing the American public in general is just thoroughly sick and tired of being involved in the Middle East. So any poor optics from a 'botched withdrawal' will pass quickly, while the relief from being outta there will be somewhat longer lasting. Disastrous consequences on Afghanis will just get pushed into the general pool of bad shit happening to far-away people that don't affect American lives.

  25. Ad 26

    I'm also looking forward to seeing whether the media will treat the cases of Afghan interpreters who worked for NZDF somewhat better than the woman who was an ISIS supporter with children who sought to come here.

    They are not directly comparable, but we now have an opportunity – just as Helen Clark did so long ago with the refugees from the Tampa – to look after some terrified and damaged people in a place that is comparatively wealthy and safe.

  26. KJT 27

    Biden this morning. From the horses mouth. "It (Afghanistan) was never about Nation building, it was about ensuring no more Terrorist attacks on US soil".

    So. Two trillion dollars, countless dead Afghanis, a destroyed country, many more radicalised Mujiheedin,and an unfixable mess, later…… .

    • Ad 27.1

      He's going to have to spin a bit harder than that.

      It's four weeks to the September 11 20th anniversary, and he'd better do some serious political work until then.

  27. Jenny how to get there 28

    '

    Lest we forget.

    Twenty years ago; I remember seeing a cartoon depicting a Macedonian plumed helmet, next to a British pith helmet, next to a Russian felt cap, next to a US army helmet, all on grave stakes. With a sign saying; "Afghanistan graveyard of empires".

    Twenty years ago; I remember that we marched in the streets in protest against New Zealand's involvment in this war.

    Twenty years ago; I remember that the Left Wing Alliance Party membership voted overwhelmingly not to support the Labour Government's decision to send troops to support the US invasion of Afghanistan.

    Twenty years ago; I remember Jim Anderton unconstitutionally over ruled his party's democratically decided opposition to this country's involvment in the war in Afghanistan.

    Twenty years ago: I remember the collapse in the membership of the Alliance over their leader's betrayal and support for this war.

    Twenty years ago; I remember seeing, the Alliance Party President, Matt McCarten in tears at his Party leader and friend Jim Anderton's betrayal of his party and their friendship.

    Twenty years later; Will the Labour Government be offering an apology to Matt McCarten and the ten families of the NZDF who lost their lives for nothing?

    Twenty years later; Will the Labour Government cancel our country's naval support for US warlike posturing in the South China Sea?

    Will New Zealanders still be sent to die and kill in US wars of choice?

    Let us instead pledge now, “NEVER AGAIN!”

    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1810/S00113/new-zealand-military-covered-up-killing-of-afghan-children.htm

  28. Byd0nz 29

    We should cut our ties with the US, or at least never get involved with the next invasion the US will start, they are a military regime with an economy based on war and so need a new war or country to demonize, unless they turn on themselves and begin a Civil War. Leave them to it.

    • Stuart Munro 29.1

      It makes sense for NZ to try to reduce the human costs after the fact, especially under a UN mandate. But US policy folk need to have a bit of a think about why their more recent occupations have impoverished rather than rebuilt countries. The Marshal Plan was one of the best investments the US ever made, for all that most of its motivation was humanitarian.

      Afghanistan and Iraq are still living well below their pre-invasion levels – the neoliberal promises failed them as graphically as they continue to fail us here in NZ. The real Ali Babas were looting US corporates stealing infrastructure https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna4982524, not the penny ante local looters.

  29. Jenny how to get there 30

    The war must end.

    Surely everyone recognises this.

    But will it?

    The ball is in America's court.

    Will the US continue prosecuting the war by other means?

    Sanctions as used by the US are economic terrorism.

    They’re weapons of human immiseration by inflicting pain and suffering on populations of targeted nations.

    They’re war by other means on invented enemies.

    They’re used to try suffocating nations and populations into submission to Washington’s will.
    https://stephenlendman.org/2021/02/sanctions-centerpiece-of-us-war-by-other-means-on-invented-enemies/

    The Taliban as the victors in this war, can afford to be magnanimous in victory. In exchange for peace and international recognition, agree to sign binding agreements with the Western powers to protect the rights of woman and girls, and human rights activists. In return for peace, the new government of Afghanistan as well as being offered international recognition, be offered aid for post war reconstruction.*

    If the US cannot win the war, they should try and win the peace. It behoves the US government of Joe Biden to strive to get the best deal they can for the the American people and the people of Afghanistan from the Taliban government of Afghanistan and in return sign an agreement with the Taliban, not to carry on the war by other means.**

    *(It is not like the West can't afford it, The US alone can spend a trillion dollars prosecuting the war, even a fraction of that would be better than nothing, and would go a long way to ending the suffering of the Afghanistan people that feeds the resentment against the West that fuels terrorism.)

    **(To strike such a deal, and truelly win the peace, Joe Biden will have to attack the justification and expose the roots of this war to the American people.)

  30. Jenny how to get there 31

    US freezes Afghan central bank’s assets of $9.5bn

    The U.S. has frozen nearly $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and stopped shipments of cash to the nation as it tries to keep a Taliban-led government from accessing the money, an administration official confirmed Tuesday. The official said that any central bank assets that the Afghan government has in the U.S. will not be available to the Taliban, which remains on the Treasury Department’s sanctions designation list.

    https://www.panorama.am/en/shortNews/2021/08/18/US-freeze-Afghan-bank-assets/1464910

    The war is over, the time for diplomacy has begun

    The US and their international allies have been militarily defeated by the Taliban.

    This is an undisputed fact.

    Can the US accept this reality?

    Should the US government put out diplomatic feelers to the Taliban, for a reconcilliation peace deal?

    Or should the US strive to continue the war against the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan by other means?

    Is freezing Afghan government accounts an act of peace, or an act of war by other means?

    If not, when will they release them?

    When the Taliban government cannot pay the adminstrators that they have mostly left in place, Chaos and total collapse is inevitable.

    Is this what we want?

  31. Jenny how to get there 32

    Biden sends 5,000 troops to Afghanistan, blames Trump for Taliban resurgence

    Timothy Nerozzi, Washington Examiner, August 15, 2021,

    …….."When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor, which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019, that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. forces," Biden said in the statement. "Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500."

    …..Biden announced that he was raising the total number of troops in Afghanistan to 5,000 despite both Biden and Trump previously working toward withdrawing U.S. military presence in the nation….

    https://news.yahoo.com/biden-sends-5-000-troops-210600567.html

    The war is over. The have Taliban won. The US and their international allies have been defeated.

    The civilian airport has been shut down. The Taliban have control to all the roads leading to the military airport. No one leaves Afghanistan without the approval of the Taliban.

    The military options on the ground are over.

    Can the US accept this reality?

    Is sending in more soldiers the best way to achieve an orderly and safe evacuation for American Citizens and their Afghan supporters?

    Seeing the scenes of chaos around the US military evacuation, apparently not.

    The war is over.

    Instead of military planes and soldiers, maybe the US should be instead be sending in civilian planes and diplomats to negotiate for an orderly and safe evacuation of American citizens and their Afghan supporters,

    With Taliban's full spectrum military control and dominance and American military weakness which option do you think would lessen the suffering for both Americans and Afghans and garuantee the best chance for a lasting peace?

    <

    blockquote>

    Are these the actions of a country and a government that wants peace and the best results for the people America and the people of Afghanistan?

    Are these the actions of a government and a country that wants to put a line under this conflict?

    Or are these the actions of a country and a government that wants to continue the misery and suffering for both sides indefinitely?

    The war is over. We have been defeated. We need to get over it.

    • Ad 32.1

      Avoid putting large repeated comments on my pieces in future Jenny.

      • Jenny how to get there 32.1.1

        My apologies. I was doing some last minute editing of my commemt, somehow that removed all the formatting I had put in, and I had ran out of time to fix it, or delete it.

  32. Jenny how to get there 33

    Biden sends 5,000 troops to Afghanistan, blames Trump for Taliban resurgence

    Timothy Nerozzi, Washington Examiner, August 15, 2021,

    …….."When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor, which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019, that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. forces," Biden said in the statement. "Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500."

    …..Biden announced that he was raising the total number of troops in Afghanistan to 5,000 despite both Biden and Trump previously working toward withdrawing U.S. military presence in the nation….

    https://news.yahoo.com/biden-sends-5-000-troops-210600567.html

    The war is over. The Taliban have won. The US and their international allies have been defeated.

    The civilian airport has been shut down. The Taliban have control to all the roads leading to the military airport. No one leaves Afghanistan without the approval of the Taliban.

    The military options on the ground are over.

    Can the US accept this reality?

    Is sending in more soldiers the best way to achieve an orderly and safe evacuation for American Citizens and their Afghan supporters?

    Seeing the scenes of chaos around the US military evacuation, apparently not.

    The war is over.

    Instead of military planes and soldiers, the US should be sending in civilian planes and diplomats, to negotiate for an orderly and safe evacuation of American citizens and their Afghan supporters.

    With Taliban full spectrum military control and dominance and American military weakness; Which option do you think would lessen the suffering for both Americans and Afghans and garuantee the best chance for a lasting peace?

    Are these the actions of a country and a government that wants peace and the best results for the people America and the people of Afghanistan?

    Are these the actions of a government and a country that wants to put a line under this conflict?

    Or are these the actions of a country and a government that wants to continue the misery and suffering for both sides indefinitely?

    The war is over. We have been defeated. We need to get over it.

    If we can’t win the war, we should at least try to win the peace.

    • Ad 33.1

      They are the actions of the only government who can rescue thousands of people from certain death at the hands of the Taleban.

      Might be a small move in your eyes, but it's not small in the eyes of those being saved.

  33. Jenny how to get there 34

    New Zealand to deploy troops to aid citizens’ evacuation from Afghanistan

    Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand would also attempt to evacuate Afghan nationals who worked with the country

    The Guardian, Mon 16 Aug 2021

    New Zealand is racing to get its remaining citizens out of Afghanistan, and will deploy troops to assist with their evacuation after the Taliban swept to power overnight.

    Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that the country would also try to evacuate a number of Afghan nationals and their families who worked with the New Zealand deployments or in-country operations, many of whom are now in hiding and fear they will be targeted by the Taliban.

    All commercial flights have been suspended from Kabul airport, which is currently the only way out of Afghanistan. The Taliban control all land crossings.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/16/new-zealand-to-deploy-troops-to-aid-citizens-evacuation-from-afghanistan

    Would good will our troops be up against the Taliban?

    What are they going to do? Attack the Taliban check points around the air strip?

    Wouldn't that risk the lives of those we are trying to save?

    Wouldn't that add to the chaos and bloodshed around the military airfield?

    This is craziness.

    Surely a diplomatic solution would be better?

    Wouldn't it be better to send diplomats to negotiate with the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan to supervise the safe evacuation of remaining NZ citizens, and Afghan nationals who worked with us?

    Should New Zealand NZDF soldiers really be involved in a military action, in a war that has already been lost?

    Do we really have to slavishly follow every stupid action of the Americans?

    • Ad 34.1

      We send one plane and some personnel to help save a few hundreds lives from certain death at the hands of the Taleban.

      The last person to try negotiating any peace settlement with the Taleban was Secretary of State Pompeo. It's now a dog turd around his neck.

  34. Jenny how to get there 35

    “If you ever feel useless, just remember the USA took four presidents, thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and 20 years to replace the Taliban with the Taliban.”

    What’s next for the US, the Taliban and Afghanistan?

    …..virtually all of the [Pentagon] report’s proposed lessons are operational, useful mainly to prepare better for the next mission; or the next war.
    If America did not learn the lessons of Vietnam, it must learn the lessons of Afghanistan before going off on another foreign adventure.

    But that misses the greater most important lesson of all, namely, avoiding “wars of choice” altogether and at all costs…..

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/what-e2-80-99s-next-for-the-us-the-taliban-and-afghanistan/ar-AANvyob?ocid=uxbndlbing

    And if America can't learn this lesson, then at the very least, we must.

    Even if, to keep out of any future US war of choice, we have to poke out one eye, of the five eyes spook.

    And the other big question; will the current US war in Afghanistan, end with US troop withdrawals, or will it be continued by other means?

    What’s next for the US, the Taliban and Afghanistan?

    ….In Afghanistan, it [The US] is maintaining the right to act preemptively, and at will, against any emerging threats, real or perceived. In fact, US officials have defended their withdrawal from Afghanistan on the basis that they do not need to be on the ground in order to act when needed, just as they do in other parts of the region.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/what-e2-80-99s-next-for-the-us-the-taliban-and-afghanistan/ar-AANvyob?ocid=uxbndlbing

    And so it seems the war in Afghanistan will still continue, creating more grief and terror, in the form of aerial bombing and remote drone warfare. No doubt followed by Taliban terroristic reprisals, where ever, or however they can get back at the Americans. (and their allies)

    New Zealand needs to declare right here and now that we no longer want any part of it.

    • Ad 35.1

      If war continues in Afghanistan, it won't be with the United States military.

      New Zealand, contrary to your suggestion, should keep its head down and rescue people in mortal danger.

      And when they have done that they should continue to abide by multilateral UN Security resolutions.

      • Jenny how to get there 35.1.1

        Will the war continue in Afghanistan?

        "If war continues in Afghanistan, it won't be with the United States military….." Ad

        Hi Ad, I think time will tell about this one.
        The signs are not good.

        The Biden administration has frozen all of the Afghan government accounts, which is an act of war against the current Taliban government and administration. Not to mention the possibility of the continuation of "over the horizon" air attacks and targetted assassinations, (accompanied, no doubt, with secret CIA funding for anti-Taliban insurgents).

        Biden Acknowleges "Over The Horizon" Air Attacks Planned Against Taliban

        Nick Mottren – Counterpunch, July 7, 2021

        “Over-the-horizon” air operations, possibly directed at the Taliban, may rely very heavily on drone assassination and drone targeting for manned aircraft.

        On July 2, fleeing questions from reporters about U.S. plans in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden sought refuge behind the July 4thIndependence Day holiday, yet obliquely acknowledged that the U.S. will use some level of “over the horizon” air attacks to prevent the Taliban from taking power, attacks that will include drones and manned aircraft, possibly even B-52s.

        …..We have worked out an over-the-horizon capacity that we can be value added, but the Afghans are going to have to be able to do it themselves with the Air Force they have, which we’re helping them maintain.

        …..the “over-the-horizon” air operations, that reportedly may rely very heavily on drone assassination and drone targeting for manned aircraft, will be directed at the Taliban. In Congressional testimony in June, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that “over-the-horizon” operations would focus on “elements that can possibly conduct attacks against our homeland”, suggesting Al Qaeda and ISIS as targets but not foreclosing attacks against the Taliban.

        https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/07/07/biden-acknowledges-over-the-horizon-air-attacks-planned-against-taliban/

        Now that the Taliban have taken full controll of Afghanistan, will the Biden administration agree to put a line under this war and swear off "over the horizon" attacks and assassinations against the Taliban, in return for peace?

        Will the Taliban agree in to protect the rights of women and girls to go to work and school and university, (which would be a huge concession for this fundamentalist organisation), in return for peace with the West?

        Will the Biden Administration give the Taliban the international recognition they have asked for, and sign a peace treaty with them binding on both sides, in which the US swears off "over the horizon" attacks and assassinations?

        Will the Taliban Administration give the International Community assurances that they will protect the rights of women and human rights activists and sign a binding peace treaty with the US?

        The war is over. We have been beaten.

        Can we accept this reality, or will we carry on the endless and pointless bloodletting out of spite?

      • Jenny how to get there 35.1.2

        “New Zealand, contrary to your suggestion, should keep its head down and rescue people in mortal danger.” Ad

        This is not contrary to what I have been saying.

        Not, at all.

        What I am saying is that a mllitary mission will inevitabley fail.

        What are they going to do when they get there?

        Sit on the Tarmac until the people we are responsible for fight their way through the crowds?

        Are we going to send an armed contingent into the crowds to clear a path to find people it will be impossible to indentify in the chaos?

        When desperate people, without any ID, without passports, without visas, without even airline tickets, force themselves onto our plane, as has happened to the Americans, when the plane is full, will we take off and leave those we are directly resonsible for behind?

        I am saying that we must rescue these people. In my opinion diplomatic outreach to the Taliban, who are in control of the country and all its borders, would have more chance of success in rescuing those we are directly responsible for than any military mission.

        • Jenny how to get there 35.1.2.1

          It is better to Jaw Jaw than War War

          Especially if both sides have something to gain, and to war-war has given/will give us nothing.

          New Zealand has a Kiwi contact on the ground, with access to the Taliban leadership.

          Why doesn't the goverment ask Charlotte Bellis to put our diplomats in contact with the Taleban's leaders, to at least try and negotiate, and supervise, the guaranteed safe evacuation of the Afghan nationals and their families this country are responsible for?

          In my opinion a diplomatic effort, will have a better chance of success, in achieving a successful result for the people we are trying to save, than sending a military plane with NZDF soldiers into the maelstrom, that is the Kabul military airport to impotently sit on the tarmac until they are over-run.

          Since the Airfield is a not likely to be a practical departure point, (for obvious reasons), it is possible that safe passage for specially protected buses could be negotiated between us and the Taliban to take the families we are responsible for out of the country to a safe territory, just as was done in Syria.

          Watch chaos unfold at Kabul airport's north gate

          Don Lemon – CNN

          With the Taliban in control of several access points to Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport, residents desperate to flee Afghanistan have overwhelmed the airport's north gate. Stun grenades light up the night and US troops have had to forcefully repel the gathering crowds. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh

          https://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2021/08/20/kabul-airport-chaos-afghanistan-taliban-npw-dlt-intl-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/afghanistan-falls-to-the-taliban/

  35. Jenny how to get there 36

    Lest we forget

    The United States Retreat from Vietnam

    If you think what is happening around the US controlled airfield in Afghanistan is tragic and horrible.

    Just as disgusting was their retreat from Vietnam.

    Operation Baby Lift

    …..U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam Graham Martin authorized Americans to be flown out under several conditions, one of which was Operation Babylift, in which American caregivers were paired with South Vietnamese orphans….

    …..Over 2,500 children were relocated and adopted by families in the United States and by its allies. The operation was controversial because there was question about whether the evacuation was in the children's best interest, and because not all the children were orphans.

    On 4 April 1975, a Lockheed C-A Galaxy participating in the first mission of Operation Babylift crashed on approach during an emergency landing at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam.

    Out of 314 people on board, the death toll included 78 children, 35 Defence Attaché Office employees and 11 U.S. Air Force personnel; there were 176 survivors. All of the surviving orphans were eventually flown to the United States. The dead orphans were cremated and were interred at the cemetery of the St. Nikolaus Catholic Church in Pattaya, Thailand. The accident would also "stand as the single largest loss of life" in the Defense Intelligence Agency's history until the September 11 attacks because among the crash fatalities were five female DIA employees.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1975_T%C3%A2n_S%C6%A1n_Nh%E1%BB%A9t_C-5_accident

    37 New Zealanders died in the Vietnam War.

    You think we would have learnt after that.

  36. Jenny how to get there 37

    Who wants to be the last Western soldier to die in Afghanistan?

    We know the name of the first US soldier to die in Afghanistan

    We know the name of the first New Zealand soldier to die there

    What we don't know yet, is the name of the last Western soldier to die in Afghanistan.

    New Zealand is sending more troops, into that maelstrom.

    The Taliban rulers of Afghanistan say that in exchange for peace they are ready to make deals with the Western Powers.

    They want something, we want something.

    When will the New Zealand authorities start talking terms with the Taliban?

    Before or after the last New Zealand soldier dies there?

    • McFlock 37.1

      AFAIK we're sending a hercules to get some of our people out. You'd rather we leave them there and hope the Taliban don't get hardcore before our people can walk out?

      • Jenny how to get there 37.1.1

        Leave who where?

        Leave the people we are responsible for on the other side of the Taliban checkpoints?

        Leave our troops there till they are overun by the crowds?

        Leave our troops there, until the Taliban run out of patience and ‘go hardcore’ with the remaining foreign troops?

        Who do you think will come out worse from that conflict?

        IMHO, the best thing we could do right now, is pull our troops out, and send a diplomatic mission instead.

        • McFlock 37.1.1.1

          Ok, I'll make it simple for you (this might be a futile act, but many of us have time on our hands):

          1: who are we sending to Afghanistan right now?

          2: what are they being sent there to do?

          3: who do we have already there?

          • Jenny how to get there 37.1.1.1.1

            [Content deleted because it contained too many links that triggered Auto-Moderation]

          • Jenny how to get there 37.1.1.1.2

            #1

            McFlock

            22 August 2021 at 4:49 pm

            Ok, I'll make it simple for you (this might be a futile act, but many of us have time on our hands):

            1: who are we sending to Afghanistan right now?

            2: what are they being sent there to do?

            3: who do we have already there?

            All very good questions McFlock, questions that give rise to further questions, and (some) answers.

            Google is your friend

            1: Google search; "who is New Zealand sending to Afghanistan right now?"

            https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/16/new-zealand-to-deploy-troops-to-aid-citizens-evacuation-from-afghanistan

            2: Google search; "what are are New Zealand troops being sent to Kabul to do"

            https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/08/afghanistan-how-new-zealand-defence-force-plans-to-get-inside-chaotic-kabul.html

            3: Google search; "who does New Zealand have in Kabul?"

            https://www.embassy-worldwide.com/embassy/new-zealand-embassy-kabul/https://embassy-finder.com/new-zealand_in_kabul_afghanistan

            • Jenny how to get there 37.1.1.1.2.1

              2# (continued)

              McFlock

              22 August 2021 at 4:49 pm

              Ok, I'll make it simple for you (this might be a futile act, but many of us have time on our hands):

              1: who are we sending to Afghanistan right now?

              2: what are they being sent there to do?

              3: who do we have already there?

              3: Google search; “who does New Zealand have in Kabul?”

              https://www.embassy-worldwide.com/embassy/new-zealand-embassy-kabul/https://embassy-finder.com/new-zealand_in_kabul_afghanistan

              Hi McFlock, Your last question, #3: "who do we have already there?", is the most interesting. (to me at least). It gives rise to further questions.

              4: Google search; "Have New Zealand's diplomatic corps left Kabul?"

              There are no results for “Have New Zealand's diplomatic corps left Kabul?”

              5: Google search; "What is the current status of the New Zealand diplomatic corps in Afghanistan"

              As countries evacuate Kabul, China, Russia and Pakistan remain in Afghanistan — for now

              By Dong xing and Erin Handley – ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Fri 20 Aug 2021

              …..Australia closed its embassy back in May, but China, Russia and Pakistan are staying put for now.

              https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-20/china-russia-pakistan-embassies-stay-put-in-afghanistan-taliban/100387270

              6: Google search; "Where is the New Zealand ambassador to Afghanistan?"

              https://www.waikato.ac.nz/news-opinion/media/2021/as-the-talibans-grip-on-afghanistan-tightens-new-zealand-must-commit-to-taking-more-refugees

              7: Google search; "who is the New Zealand's representative in Afghanistan?"

              https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2021/02/abject-failure-new-zealand-s-involvement-in-afghanistan-war-questioned.html

              McFlock, in answer to your question #3: "who do we have already there?"

              Unfortunately I could not find out, if any New Zealand official who could negotiate with the Taliban on our behalf has remained in Afghanistan.

              It looks like they have all left.

              I may be wrong, and some brave individuals from our diplomatic mission may have stayed behind to help those who put themselves in harms way, for us, but I can't find any links to this information.

              But what I do know for certain is this, that Kiwi journalist Charlotte Bellis is still in Kabul. Charlotte is in contact with the Taliban leadership.
              As it seems our diplomatic mission have fled, the government could ask Charlotte Bellis to put us in touch with the Taliban leadership to open up negotiations on securing a safe passage for the people and their families we have a duty to protect?

              …..New Zealand reporter Charlotte Bellis on life in Taliban-controlled Kabul

              Thomas Manch – Stuff.co.nz, Aug 21, 2021

              …..“Everyone I know fled for the airport and has been evacuated, outside of a couple of freelancers. A lot of them were Americans, to be fair, but there’s very few foreign nationals around. They’ve all jumped on the next plane out.”

              …..Bellis, a self-described “white, blonde, female” television reporter who once anchored Prime News, wanted to ask the first question. Having reported on the Taliban’s swift invasion for Al Jazeera’s global audience, she knew what she wanted to ask – and the Taliban granted the request.

              “I had a quiet word with them [the leadership] about asking a question and saying that I wanted to be the first to ask, and I wanted to ask about women's rights,” she said by phone from her Kabul hotel room.

              …..she has not felt unsafe. Bellis says she has good relationships with the Taliban leaders, whom she knows from reporting on their long-running negotiations with the now-toppled Afghan government in Doha, and also, “being a New Zealander gave me a sense of security”. “They don’t really have a problem with New Zealanders.”

              https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/126121262/theres-a-feeling-of-elation-new-zealand-reporter-charlotte-bellis-on-life-in-talibancontrolled-kabul

              • McFlock

                So filtering the relevant pieces of information out of your irrelevancies, we are:

                1: sending one plane and maybe 80 personnel (to protect the plane from some of the scenes already seen at the airport, process applicants, maintain the aircraft and to provide medical support if necessary)

                2: to evacuate the people in (3) over a period of up to a few weeks

                3: about 90 NZers and local support staff who want to GTFO, and around 100 family members of the support staff.

                What's your problem with that?

                I thought you'd maybe discovered something novel, like we're going to be carpet-bombing the place or something. But no, you seem to have a problem with not abandoning people.

                • Jenny how to get there

                  McFlock

                  24 August 2021 at 12:38 am

                  ….sending one plane and maybe 80 personnel (to protect the plane from some of the scenes already seen at the airport, process applicants, maintain the aircraft and to provide medical support if necessary)….

                  What's your problem with that?……

                  My problem with that?

                  Due to the deterioating conditions in and aroundt Kabul airport, their chances of getting out the people we want to get out, is going to be exceedingly difficult.
                  Inevitably we will leave some behind.

                  At what point, (if ever), will we begin negotiations with the Taliban for the release of those we couldn't get on the plane?

                  Why don't we begin negotiations now, for guaranteed safe passage of all of them?

                  …….Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said they had so far identified 37 Afghanis who had helped, but the number of evacuees would be in the hundreds once dependents and others were included.

                  The C-130 can carry 90 troops (life raft capability limits the number to 80 for overwater flights) or 64 paratroopers.The record passenger count for the C-130 is 452 set duringthe evacuation of Vietnam. The C-130A aircraft used on this mission is prominently displayed at the main gate at Little Rock AFB

                  This is how I see the situation;
                  When military solutions have failed, and ended in debacle, you don't send in more military to solve a problem of military failure,.you are just repeating the failure.

                  What did Einstein say about repeating the same actions and expecting a different result?

                  What are they going to do? Throw stun grenades into the crowds of women and children as the Americans have been doing?

                  Fire live rounds-over their heads, until they run out of ammunition and/or are over-run?

                  Alternatively, turn their guns on the crowds?

                  We saw the same stupid hubris and arrogance when we lost in Vietnam.

                  Which is why I included the link below

                  23 August 2021 at 10:39 am

                  We just can't seem to accept that we have been beaten by a non-white people, and despite being beaten, arrogantly refusing to accept terms from them, even though we are the losers. Even when the victors want to negotiate with us.

                  How stupid are we?

                  • McFlock

                    So because we might not be able to get them all, we shouldn't try to get any?

                    Maybe we're already negotiating with the Taliban, maybe not. When they feel like it they'll put some heavy weapons at the end of the runway and that will be that for the evacuation window. But I really don't see what about an evacuation flight deserves so many outraged comments.

                    Our citizens might have some value as bargaining chips, but there's a good chance locals who helped us will be on lists, with their families. For helping us. We owe them.

                    • Jenny how to get there

                      McFlock…

                      24 August 2021

                      So because we might not be able to get them all, we shouldn't try to get any?…..

                      I have never said that. I never said, we shouldn't try to get any'. I have been saying, for a very long time now, that we should get out all those we owe a debt of service to. Leaving none behind.
                      '
                      IMHO A diplomatic mission is the best way to get all our people out.

                      While you, apparently, support a military mission, engaged in a belated half arsed attempt to get some, and abandon the rest.

                      Taking into a account the balance of forces on the ground in Afghanistan, a military mission will most likely come up short. Or worse result in more loss of life.

                      https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-01112012/#comment-541074

                      https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-28102012/#comment-539309

                      https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-14102012/#comment-534339

                      Open mike 07/10/2012

                    • McFlock

                      IMHO A diplomatic mission is the best way to get all our people out.

                      While you, apparently, support a military mission, engaged in a belated half arsed attempt to get some, and abandon the rest.

                      If there were any evidence that the Taliban regard the airlift (from all nations) as unwelcome, you might have a point.

                      I support sending a plane, medics, and some ground protection. If airnz supplied all that, we wouldn't need the NZDF. But then I wouldn't support a corporation having its own private army.

                      Does that mean I don't think we should talk to the Taliban as well? Nope. But I'd be looking sideways at supplying them the names and addresses of locals who assisted us. What are your thoughts on that?

                • Jenny how to get there

                  McFlock

                  24 August 2021 at 12:38 am

                  ….sending one plane and maybe 80 personnel (to protect the plane from some of the scenes already seen at the airport, process applicants, maintain the aircraft and to provide medical support if necessary)….

                  What's your problem with that?……

                  My problem with that?

                  Due to the deterioating conditions in, and around, Kabul airport, their chances of getting out the people we want to get out, is going to be exceedingly difficult.
                  Inevitably we will leave some behind.

                  At what point, (if ever), will we begin negotiations with the Taliban for the release of those we couldn't get on the plane?

                  Why don't we begin negotiations now, for guaranteed safe passage of all of them?

                  …….Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said they had so far identified 37 Afghanis who had helped, but the number of evacuees would be in the hundreds once dependents and others were included.

                  The C-130 can carry 90 troops (life raft capability limits the number to 80 for overwater flights) or 64 paratroopers.The record passenger count for the C-130 is 452 set duringthe evacuation of Vietnam. The C-130A aircraft used on this mission is prominently displayed at the main gate at Little Rock AFB

                  This is how I see the situation;
                  When military solutions have failed, and ended in debacle, you don't send in more military to solve a problem of military failure,.you are just repeating the failure.

                  What did Einstein say about repeating the same actions and expecting a different result?

                  What are they going to do? Throw stun grenades into the crowds of women and children as the Americans have been doing?

                  Fire live rounds-over their heads, until they run out of ammunition and/or are over-run?

                  Alternatively, turn their guns on the crowds?

                  We saw the same stupid hubris and arrogance when we lost in Vietnam.

                  Which is why I included the link below

                  23 August 2021 at 10:39 am

                  We just can't seem to accept that we have been beaten by a non-white people, and despite being beaten, arrogantly refusing to accept terms from them, even though we are the losers. Even when the victors want negotiations, and to offer us terms.

                  How stupid are we?

          • Jenny how to get there 37.1.1.1.3

            Jenny how to get there37.1.1.1.3

            24 August 2021 at 12:45 am

            #3 (continued)

            McFlock

            22 August 2021 at 4:49 pm

            ………………………………………

            3: who do we have already there?

            Apart from the 40 New Zealand military personal trapped on the airfield and unable to leave, to enter Afghanistan proper. It seems that there is only one New Zealander who could put us in touch with the Teleban to negotiate a safe release of the 37 Afghanis who helped us and their families.

            Kiwi journalist Charlotte Bellis won't evacuate Afghanistan despite Taliban takeover

            Finn Hogan – Newshub, 21 August, 2021

            A Defence Force Hercules is en route to Afghanistan to evacuate New Zealand's stranded citizens – but one Kiwi journalist with a first-hand view of the Taliban takeover won't be aboard when it returns.

            Charlotte Bellis has been on the ground in the Afghanistan capital of Kabul reporting for Al Jazeera and told Newshub Nation she will remain there to hold the city's new rulers to account.

            "I think they'll have to drag me out of here. I'm not leaving any time soon."

            https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2021/08/kiwi-journalist-charlotte-bellis-won-t-evacuate-afghanistan-despite-taliban-takeover.html

  37. Jenny how to get there 38

    '

    Continuing the war by other means.

    Will Vietnam be the first country in the world to recognise the Taliban regime in Afghanistan?

    Not if Vice President Harris can prevent it.

    FOX News

    Kamala Harris plans Vietnam visit – just as Afghanistan draws comparisons to fall of Saigon

    Dom Calicchio 3 days ago

    …..In April, Harris told CNN she was the "last person in the room" when Biden decided to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan. [whatever that means]

    …..The prospect of Harris visiting Vietnam at this particular moment raised the possibility of the worst photo op for an American in that country since Jane Fonda donned a helmet there in 1972……

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/kamala-harris-plans-vietnam-visit-e2-80-93-just-as-afghanistan-draws-comparisons-to-fall-of-saigon/ar-AANrhUV?

    • Jenny how to get there 38.1

      While you lie, people die.

      Does the Biden Administration really want the war in Aghanistan to end?

      Or does the US want to continue the war in Afghanistan by 'other means'

      If the US was really interested in what was the best for the people of Afghanistan.
      Then instead of going to Hanoi, (46 years late), to negotiate with the communist rulers of Vietnam, Vice President Harris should be going to Kabul to negotiate with the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, in an attempt to get the best peace deal that she can for the people of Afghanistan and America.

      Vice President could achieve so much, if she wanted to. Negotiating with the top Taliban leaders by defiantly not wearing a headscarf, Nothing more would symbolise to the Taliban the limits of their power, and the need for them to agree, not just in words, but in deeds, to protect the rights of woman and girls to go to work and go to school and get an education, and live independently.

      That the US is not sending their VP to Kabul, indicates the Biden administration's attempt to continue the war in Afghanistan by other means.

      Instead the VP is going to South East Asia to shore up regional support for the US next war of choice.

  38. Jenny how to get there 39

    Is Vice President Kamala Harris a moral coward too scared to try and rescue the situation, but happy to send others into harms way. Too gutless to risk her own precious skin to go to Kabul at the head of a US mission to attempt to get a peace deal with the Taliban that protects women and girls and human rights activists?

    Is Vice President Kamala Harris a vengeful War Hawk happy to let the misery and suffering of the people in Afghanistan continue, while planning for new wars?

    Is she both?

    On Foreign Policy, Kamala Harris Is a Hawk

    BY SARAH LAZARE

    Kamala Harris doesn't say much about foreign policy on the campaign trail. But a look at her record shows that when it comes to militarism, she’s squarely in line with — and sometimes to the right of — a hawkish, war-happy Democratic establishment…..

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/09/foreign-policy-kamala-harris-hawk-2020-presidential-campaign-iran-north-korea-russia

  39. Jenny how to get there 40

    "What we learn from history is that we don't learn from history" Hegal.

    Get out. Get out now.

    Who will be the last New Zealand soldier to die in Afghanistan?

    Prime Minister Ardern needs to order diplomatic negotiatons with the Taliban for guaranteed safe passage for those we have responsibilities to, and order the pull-out of our armed forces from Kabul airport right now, before the crisis descends into further chaos, and needless loss of life.

    The alternative for the Prime Minister, is to start working on her condolence speach to the families of those needlessly lost by her order.

    We need to learn from history

    The Mayaguez incident

    THE DIPLOMAT

    ByPeter Maguire – June 19, 2018

    ….Donald Rumsfeld calls the “successful handling” of the Mayaguez Incident, the last battle of the Vietnam War, “a turning point” for President Gerald Ford because it forced him “to demonstrate his command at a time of international crisis.” Not all share this rosy and revisionist view of the disastrous and unnecessary search and rescue operation that left 41 American servicemen dead…..

    “It didn’t have to happen like that. It all sounded good on paper, but it was a disaster.”

    Fofo Tuitele – Born and raised in American Samoa, "Sergeant T", Fofomaitulagi Tulifua Tuitele, better known as “Fofo",

    ….Minutes before the first helicopters landed, Ford received word that the Cambodians had released the ship and its crew.

    "The Truth About the Mayaguez Incident"

    https://thediplomat.com/2018/06/leave-no-man-behind-the-truth-about-the-mayaguez-incident/

  40. Jenny how to get there 41

    Afghanistan: US tells its citizens to avoid airport as chaos worsens in Kabul

    Afghanistan has suffered its “worst day by far” since the Taliban took over. Even the most hardened reporters have never seen anything so bad.

    Sam Clench – News.com.au

    …..The US embassy in Kabul previously warned Americans it could not “ensure safe passage” to the airport for them.

    In an “urgent announcement” today, it went further.

    “If you or any of your family are at the airport, please leave and go home as quickly as possible,” the embassy said.

    “Do not go back to the airport until the embassy removes this security alert…..

    https://www.news.com.au/world/afghanistan-us-tells-its-citizens-to-avoid-airport-as-chaos-worsens-in-kabul/news-story/bebabb4dc8e888619b00f5e365df4bce

    When the US is telling their people to leave the airport. What the hell are we doing there?

    We need to get out right now, before it is too late.

    The war is over, we lost.

    The time for diplomacy has begun.

    Prime Minister Ardern, do the right thing. To avoid further needless loss of life, order the return of our troops., and open negotiations with the Taliban victors.

    Learn from history. You won’t have a bloodthirsty liar like Donald Rumsfield to spin your failure into success.

    • Ad 41.1

      What our NZDF is doing there is evacuating people who we owe the service to evacuate.

      Do you agree with that? Or would you like our translators etc fed to the Taleban?

      • Jenny how to get there 41.1.1

        '

        The First (and last) NZDF flight lands at Kabul airport.

        Now that the NZDF's militaristic public relations stunt is over.
        Can we now finally get down to serious negotiations with the Taliban regime for the safe passage of those Afghanis who worked for us?

        Or,

        Are we now just going to say, we have done our very best for those Afghanis who worked for us, and wipe our hands and walk away?

        Fall of Afghanistan: First NZDF flight lands at Kabul, picks up evacuees

        Kurt Bayer – NZ Herald, 24 Aug, 2021

        New Zealand's first military evacuation flight to Afghanistan safely landed at Kabul last night, spending just 30 minutes on the tarmac, before leaving with an undisclosed number of relieved passengers……

        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/fall-of-afghanistan-first-nzdf-flight-lands-at-kabul-picks-up-evacuees/XS67LU4DGF47DPCWNIUAAJMZQE/

        "30 minutes on the tarmac"?"Undisclosed number"? Well we know it was more than two people then.

        How many more than two people could we have got on board in 30 minutes?

        Was the plane full?

        The NZDF are not saying.

        I am not surprised.

        As long as the NZDF are satisfied that they have done their best for the Afghanis who worked for them.
        Maybe this noble but pointless militaristic/public-relations exercise has acted to counter possible public dismay, that we have abandoned (most), of those we (supposedly) went there to evacuate.
        Then, mission accomplished. And it's all OK

        NOT!

      • Jenny how to get there 41.1.2

        Just as I predicted the NZDF military mission to Kabul airport was a farce.

  41. Jenny how to get there 42

    According to the deal struck with the Taliban, all occupation forces must leave Afghanistan by the mutually agreed August 31 deadline.

    Will that give New Zealand Forces the necessary time to withdraw all our people?

    In the deal signed between the US headed International occupation forces, and the Taliban, all occupation Forces agreed to leave the country by August 31. The Biden administration is trying to extend that time. The Taliban says the Western Forces must stick to the agreement.

    'The Answer Is No': Taliban Reject Idea of US Extending Exit Deadline

    A desperate extended family of 16 were airlifted out of Kabul airport on Sunday, stepping over dead bodies and narrowly avoiding stampedes to reach US soldiers. Now, they will be reunited with a desperate husband, father, and son in Auckland who himself fled Afghanistan after his brothers, and father, were murdered by the Taliban. Herald senior journalist Kurt Bayer reports.

    The deadline is in 7 days, at the rate of 16 evacuees a day, the NZDF will only able to airlift 112 people. Short of the 'hundreds' the Prime Minister said we will probably need to evacuate.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said they had so far identified 37 Afghanis who had helped, but the number of evacuees would be in the hundreds once dependents and others were included.

    The International Coalition forces have access to Kabul airport dependent on the good-will of the Taliban. On the 31st, that good-will will end, the Taliban will take over the airfield.

    Will the US and their allies, (including us), make a fight of it?

    Blessed are the peacemakers

    We need to pull out our troops, and instead begin negotiations with the Taliban for safe passage out of the country for all those we are responsilbe for.

  42. Jenny how to get there 43

    "There are the journalists, people in my industry, who never covered Afghanistan, never talked about it, helped make it the forgotten war all these years, now expressing outrage over the ending of it. The top U.S. generals and intelligence officials who falsely told us year after year that we were turning the corner in Afghanistan, that we were winning the war against the Taliban and building an amazing Afghan army and a democratic government, even now still insisting we stay just a bit longer."

    MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan

    https://www.msnbc.com/mehdi-on-msnbc/watch/mehdi-to-war-hawks-if-you-must-comment-on-afghanistan-how-about-starting-with-sorry-119256133799

    If the US does decide to 'stay just a bit longer' beyond the August 31 deadline.

    The test of this government's ability to stand up to the arm twisting of the US war machine and the 5 Eyes death cult.
    Will be,
    if we pull our troops out, or stay beyond the deadline too.
    ,

    (Deadline, well named. If we do cave in to US pressure to break the agreement with the Teleban and stay beyond the agreed leave date. Then the Prime Minister needs to start drafting her condolence speech to the families of those New Zealanders killed when the Taleban army storms the air base.)

  43. Jenny how to get there 44

    Charlotte Bellis is doing what we should be doing. Talking to the Taliban.

    If we want to save all 37 Afghanis and their families that the PM has identified as needing to leave Afghanistan, we should be negotiating with the Taliban for their safe passage out of the country..

    Instead, against all common sense, we have sent an armed contingent to impose our will on the Taliban.

    Now we are thinking of leaving that armed contingent in Afghanistan in defiance of the Taliban, beyond the agreed date for us to pull them out, on the excuse that we didn't have enough time?

    The Taleban have delivered us, and the rest of the coalition forces, a clear message that the continuation of a foreign military presence in their country past the 31st of August will not be tolerated.

    No doubt the resulting fire fight and loss of life will be spun into a great victory in a daring but doomed rescue mission, as an excuse to continue the war against the Taliban by other means.

    Gallipoli, Bay of Pigs, Saigon

    Do the name of these places ring any bells with anyone?

    Do we really have to add Kabul Airport to this list of ‘heroic’ and bloody failures?

  44. Jenny how to get there 45

    '

    Charlotte Bellis reporting live from Kabul, talks to Newshub.

    ….Abdul Qahar Balkhi from the Taliban's Cultural Commission spoke to Al Jazeera's Charlotte Bellis – a Kiwi – about New Zealand's humanitarian profile, during the first sit-down interview with the militant group since it took back control of Afghanistan.

    "I've recently witnessed reports that New Zealand has announced a $3 million aid, humanitarian aid, to the Afghans in this time of crisis, and we thank the generous offer of New Zealand in this time of crisis and time of need for our people, most of whom are living below the poverty line," the Taliban representative said.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/08/afghanistan-taliban-heaps-praise-on-new-zealand-over-3-million-humanitarian-donation.html

    We need to build on that good will, and take advantage of the communication channels opened up by Charlotte Bellis, and start negotiations with the Taleban for the safe passage out of the country for 'all', 37 Afghanis and their families that collaborated with us during the occupation.

    We need to stop being an American idiot.

  45. Jenny how to get there 46

    We need to stop being an American idiot. II

    Everybody else is getting out

    UK evacuation from Kabul to end within ‘24 to 36 hours’, defence sources say

    Peter Walker, Aubrey Allegretti and Daniel Boffey – The Guardian, 4 hrs ago

    Britain’s evacuation from Kabul is expected to end within “24 to 36 hours”, potentially abandoning thousands of Afghans, defence sources said as the increasingly bullish Taliban moved to prevent them travelling to the airport to flee…..

    ……the US military is believed to need two to three days to close down its operations at Kabul airport, and British troops want to be at least 24 hours ahead of that – leaving a small window for RAF flights evacuating those at risk from the Taliban’s takeover. All western forces are set to leave within days.

    Get out! Get out now, before it is too late.

    The war is over. The time for diplomacy has begun.

    Apparently, our diplomatic staff have fled the stage.

    Fortunately, New Zealand has someone on the spot. Someone with courage and integrity, respected by the Taliban.

    The Taliban pick up the phone for Charlotte Bellis.

    Our military mission is over, the time for diplomacy has begun.
    If the Government are really concerned about the welfare of those who worked for us, they nneed to immediately contact Charlotte Bellis to put us in touch with the right people.

  46. Jenny how to get there 47

    Just as I said, the US retreat from Afghanistan has been a disastrous botch up from beginning to end.

    I asked the question who will be the last US soldier to die in this lost cause?

    With the Isis attack on Kabul airport, we will probably soon know the name of that poor benighted soul.

    Why couldn't the US sign a proper peace deal with the Taliban, including the orderly evacuation of US and Afghan citizens who worked for and with the occupation forces?

    Is the US to proud to admit their defeat?

    Instead of negotiating an orderly evacuation as part of a peace treaty with the Taliban the US just had to launch a doomed Rambo like military mission. Creating a human catastrophe and making a target of themselves for extremists. The resulting carnage was as predictable as it is horrifying.

    11 Marines and Navy medic killed in Afghanistan attack. At least 60 Afghans dead

    …..At least 60 Afghans and 12 U.S. troops were killed, Afghan and U.S. officials said.

    U.S. officials said 11 Marines and one Navy medic were among those who died. They said another 12 service members were wounded and warned the toll could grow. More than 140 Afghans were wounded, an Afghan official said.

    https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20210826/11-marines-and-navy-medic-killed-in-afghanistan-attack-at-least-60-afghans-dead?

  47. Jenny how to get there 48

    Look at these faces and weep.

    Charles McMahon (left) and Darwin Judge (right).

    Charles McMahon (May 10, 1953 – April 29, 1975)[1] and Darwin Lee Judge (February 16, 1956 – April 29, 1975)[2] were the last two United States servicemen killed in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The two men, both U.S Marines, were killed in a rocket attack one day before the Fall of Saigon.

    Charles McMahon, 11 days short of his 22nd birthday…

    Darwin Judge was a 19-year-old …..

    Operation Frequent Wind, the American evacuation of Saigon, was completed the following day, April 30,…

    McMahon and Judge were members of the Marine Security Guard (MSG) Battalion at the US Embassy, Saigon and were providing security for the DAO Compound, adjacent to Tân Sơn Nhứt Airport, Saigon.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_McMahon_and_Darwin_Judge#:~:text=Charles%20McMahon%20%28left%29%20and%20Darwin%20Judge%20%28right%29.%20Charles,attack%20one%20day%20before%20the%20Fall%20of%20Saigon.

    When will we ever learn?

  48. Jenny how to get there 49

    Possibly hundreds left behind as New Zealand Afghanistan evacuation mission ends after Kabul terror attack

    Thomas Manch – Stuff.co.nz, Aug 27 2021

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/126201780/possibly-hundreds-left-behind-as-new-zealand-afghanistan-evacuation-mission-ends-after-kabul-terror-attack

    Was it going to be any other way?

    On the reports that the Taliban are conducting summary executions of civilians and senior Afghan military personal as collaborators of the Western occupation forces.

    Will the New Zealand government open negotiations with the Taliban for gauranteed safe passage of the possibly hundreds we have left behind?

    In disputed cases:

    The Teliban must provide us with any evidence they may have against any of the evacuees of war crimes, or crimes of torture?

    In exchange for their evacuation to New Zealand we must offer the Taliban recourse to present any evidence they have of such crimes against any evacuee, by remote means in New Zealand courts.

    Let's end this war.

    • McFlock 49.1

      The Taliban must…? What planet are you on?

      The war IS over. The people you say are conducting summary executions won. What can folks say to them that's easier to deal with than a trigger-pull?

      • Ad 49.1.1

        If I find the will to live I'll put up a fresh post on Afghanistan so comments can have a fresh run.

        But there's only so much bullshit I can keep down.

        TBH when I do a scan across Ethiopia, Sudan, Myanmar, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and a bunch of others it just gets a bit armchair-depressing.

    • solkta 49.2

      It is not crimes against humanity that concern the Taliban, it is crimes against the Taliban. And crimes against the Taliban is anything they no like.

    • Incognito 49.3

      Ad is not “silencing” you.

      You have scrambled your user name in the field of the comment editor and all your comments end up in Auto-Moderation where I trash them.

      HTH

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