Fall of Kabul imminent


Now with the Fall of Kabul imminent I'd like to explain it so far as I can (and there's always a chance that I'm wrong). I can simply quote a comment I wrote here a month ago to answer a question:

"The Taleban collapsed in 2001 not because of bombs but because of a cascade of desertions, local groups changing sides. The expectation was that at the very least the foreigners would take over the cities and the ring road like the Soviets did.
This is very likely what's happening now. The previously West-supported central government (basically the non-Pashtu factions) is likely collapsing without giving much of a fight because local allegiances switch again. Their troops were motivated by the foreign money, not by patriotism, faith or ideology.

This local allegiance thing is the whole reason for all that[junior officer]-level diplomacy that was done for decades with the elders of villages and such. The foreigners were trying to have such local factions on their side, and this effort has ended with obvious consequences.

Those few anti-Taleban forces that won't collapse (basically some narco warlord armies) will probably withdraw to some defensible section (IIRC they held a Northeastern valley by 2001) or to neighbouring countries other than Pakistan.

The mobile Taleban troops are very, very few compared to the astonishingly large population, but the very much armed population doesn't fight for its freedom from pseudo-theocrats, so they will lose it."

Was it wrong to withdraw? No. It's not our job to fight and pay for their freedom. The Taleban number about 0.1% of the Afghan population. It was easy-peazy to fight them off, if only the Afghans had attempted to. The Afghan society is dysfunctional and unable to maintain freedom, thus it's not going to live in freedom. (And "freedom" is really a loaded and perspective-dependent word anyway.)

You care about people being oppressed? Fine, tell me how many hours of the year you are exasperated about the hellhole dictatorship otherwise known as Eritrea!


The West sent troops into Afghanistan because there were some Pashtu-nationalist/pseudo-theocrats in power who maintained hospitality for a guy (died a decade ago) who paid and motivated some dudes (mostly Saudis) to kill Americans.

By all historical normal standards nothing more than a punitive expedition was inevitable. Toppling the Pashtu-nationalist/pseudo-theocrat regime was still within the range of normal. Establishing a government that was more friendly before leaving was also within the range of normalcy in the post-colonialism era. 

Staying there and declaring that nothing but the total elimination of the former hospitality-granters would suffice was deranged.

To keep doing it for two decades was total batshit crazy.

And now remember; elimination of the Taleban was impossible all along because they also existed in Pakistan, and Pakistan wasn't even put under serious pressure, ever. How could it be? It's de facto allied with the PRC (a UNSC veto power) and a nuclear-armed power itself.


So the sane thing would have been to leave Afghanistan by summer 2002 at the latest, and leaving the defence of the government to the warlord militias (which were worth a lot more than this 20-years-Western-trained Western-subsidised piece of shit racket known as Afghan National Army).

Now there's at least hope that Afghanistan will find peace after four decades of civil wars, albeit under the rules of Pashto tribal customs. So let's welcome the rapid fall of Kabul. The longer it takes to fall, the more the people of Kabul will suffer.

related (I consistently opposed the Afghanistan occupation bullshit):











  1. The Afghan army doesn't work and the warlords are a pest, but I still wonder why we don't see a grassroots organization fighting for the rights and corresponding freedoms we supposedly brought to Afghanistan. Could it be that many Afghans agree with Taleban rule and the ones who disagree are incapable of mounting a resistance with at least public neutrality towards their goals?

    1. The Westerners were hell-bent on importing a European state model, with one army and a national (paramilitary-ish armed) police exercising the government's monopoly of force. There was no room for an anti-taleban militia.

      Whatever alternative militias existed were warlord warbands/bucellarii. Those served most of the time as bodyguards and armed security for drug business, and only this year I saw sources claiming that at least one of the infamous warlords was re-arming for real in anticipation of a fight with the taleban.

      The root cause of failure of the 20 years state-building was the primitive, idiotic notion that the state would need to look like a European state. Pakistan was wiser - a largely European-style state, but leaving the Afghanistan-ish mountainous border regions in Afghanistan-ish self-governance.

      Efforts to establish a central state governance in the Pashtu regions were doomed to be seen as foreign rule efforts, and the Pashtu nationalists/tribalists had but one Pashtu nationalist faction to join; the taleban.

      To defeat the taleban would have required to establish an alternative anti-central government armed and political organisation that represents Pashtu nationalism/tribalism. And this one would have needed to be so attractive that it would replace the taleban even in the Pakistani border regions.

      This was way beyond the ability of the Western army bureaucracies, "intelligence" bureaucracies' and diplomatic bureaucracies' ability to think, albeit I don't doubt that some individuals knew it.

    2. Agree, I still wonder about our telegenic interview partners of empowered women and all our efforts at social change such as schools for girls. I had expected in the non-Pashtu areas they would mount some citizen militias, because they had a successful uprising against the Taleban in Mazar-i-Sharif before the Western intervention. That the north fell despite this history means in my opinion that much of the envisioned changes of society aren't backed by a significant part of the population even in the most un-Taleban areas.

    3. I wonder what the secret sauce is that enabled the PKK to stand up to the Islamic state and why there's nothing similar springing up in Afghanistan. The PKK has about 1/3 female personelle and finances itself thru drugs such as smuggling alcohol into Iran if I remember correctly.

    4. PKK/IPG stood up against daesh because they had existing armed forces in Northern Ira and existing guerilla in SE Turkey. They also had taken control of NE Syria before the rise of daesh (they weren't in the focus of the reporting because they weren't battling the Syrian Arab Army much).

      The Kurds did not very well against daesh initially, but the flying artillery of the Americans and an influx of weapons and munitions from NATO (especially Milan and other ATGMs that mostly neutralised the suicide bomb truck threat) gave them the edge.

      The Kurds of Northern Iraq got much money from the oil production at Kirkuk until about 2017 and later still some from minor fields including in Syria.

    5. The Peshmerga had oil money, the PKK had drug money, including alcohol smuggling income.
      My point is that the West tries to create new social structures with more of a say for women which are anathema for Islamists. It seems in case of the Kurds this was successful and unlike the Iraqi army, they put up a fight. In Afghanistan, we invested into similar social reforms, but the outcome for any of the mountain tribes doesn't appear to be anywhere near what happened socially in Kurdistan.

  2. ''Staying there and declaring that nothing but the total elimination of the former hospitality-granters would suffice was deranged. To keep doing it for two decades was total batshit crazy.''

    If an organization seems to be continually failing to achieve its stated mission – but refuses to alter its actions – then clearly it is simply achieving another, unstated mission. Al Qaeda and the Taliban were merely the pre-text for occupying Afghanistan. The true objective was to secure the opium fields (which the CIA used to fund its black operations), and to establish bases close enough to threaten Iran.

    1. That seems very unlikely. The CIA has a lavish black budget anyway and there were already enough bases close to Iran.
      Your points wouldn't explain why all the Europeans and for a while the Aussies were there.

      Most of the world's ailments can be explained by people being more or less stupid and organisations further stiffling intelligent thought and actions.

    2. To quote Hanlon's razor: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

      I have the strong suspicion, that people believe in conspiracy theories, because it's more comforting to believe that there is someone planning and controlling behind the scenes, rather than to face the possibility that no one is really in control and world events are caused by random chance and human incompetence.