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Thread: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

  1. #1
    Just another Member rajpoot's Avatar
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    Default ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    So apparently they're blowing each other up now. And Taliban spokesperson has termed it barbaric of course. the phrase about irony being so thick that you can cut it with a knife fits perfectly.
    While I'm all heart for the wrongly accused ones and pretty liberal when it comes to religion, I can't help but feel a slight twinge of satisfaction about this.
    Interesting questions are, what are the states directly involved going to do. Afghanistan might be happy to let them rip each other to shreds and then deal with whoever lives. I'm sure the West will have a similar outlook. Pakistan though, they're close to the Afghan Taliban, unofficially speaking, seeing as how they're mediating with them on the Afghan government's behalf ever since Ashraf Ghani took the office. However there are also fresh rumours that they're funding ISIS at least for the time being.
    Should be interesting to watch it unfold now, what with Mullah Omar also gone and the Taliban splintering.


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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    As if things weren't confusing enough, you would expect Al-Quaida and the Taliban would be allies. Allas, if they weaken eachother..

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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Didn't the Taliban once say that ISIS were too extreme for them?
    I remember Jon Stewart joked about it.

    Either way I'm not surprised that ISIS is pretty much incapable of having allies, it seems that you either join them or you are an enemy.


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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    They sure are good at making enemies, popcorn time if they piss of the Taliban.

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    Just another Member rajpoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    They are already in open conflict since early June I think, which was around when I'd first read the news that they were trying to make inroads into Taliban territory.


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    Misanthropos Member I of the Storm's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    I don't think making allies is even part of ISIS' agenda. Since they declared themselves the caliphate, every muslim state who doesn't join them joyfully is ultimately an enemy.

    So maybe it's popcorn time, maybe the Taliban will kind of crumble when their more fundamentalist factions switch sides.

    Pretty f***ed up lately, even more so than a while ago, what with Turkey and their little war against the Kurds.
    They could make it really difficult for ISIS but since they are enemies with the Kurds too, they rather not weaken them too much.

    "drop the bomb, exterminate them all..." I often find myself remembering that line.

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    Senior Member Senior Member Brenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    "it seems that you either join them or you are an enemy." Hmmm, remind me someone... But who?
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire.

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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Quote Originally Posted by Brenus View Post
    "it seems that you either join them or you are an enemy." Hmmm, remind me someone... But who?
    Hitler?


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    Member Member Tuuvi's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Quote Originally Posted by Husar View Post
    Didn't the Taliban once say that ISIS were too extreme for them?
    I remember Jon Stewart joked about it.

    Either way I'm not surprised that ISIS is pretty much incapable of having allies, it seems that you either join them or you are an enemy.
    They've been fighting with the other Jihadist factions in Syria as well. It's interesting that they've been able to be so successful with so many enemies on all sides.

    Quote Originally Posted by I of the Storm View Post
    Pretty f***ed up lately, even more so than a while ago, what with Turkey and their little war against the Kurds.
    They could make it really difficult for ISIS but since they are enemies with the Kurds too, they rather not weaken them too much.
    The Syrian Kurds seem to be committed to establishing a democratic government and I really hope Turkey will leave the YPG alone but since they follow the same ideology as the PKK they probably won't. In fact it's been reported (but take it with a grain of salt) that Turkey has fired on the YPG while they were engaged with ISIS. The YPG also claims that three of its fighters were deported while in the middle of receiving medical treatment in Turkey and instead of being sent to the Kurdish controlled border crossing they were to deported to one controlled by Jihadists and taken prisoner.

    Meanwhile Turkey has been accused of aiding ISIS by letting ISIS recruits freely cross the border into Syria and not really doing much to combat ISIS. I know the PKK are considered a terrorist organization and it's not all black and white but still I'd rather have libertarian socialists on my border than Islamic fascists. I guess Turkey disagrees.

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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    The worst thing the West EVER did was to get directly involved in these psuedo-religious wars be that in Africa, the Middle East or Central Asia. We end us spending a fortune, everyone hates us and we get blamed for not creating a New Switzerland.

    Left to their own devices they'll happily slaughter each other and even attract disaffected extremists from the West to go over as well.

    Provide if anything low tech weaponry to whichever side is loosing and leave them to it. That the Taliban and ISIS are now killing each other is just another example of this which stretches over a large chunk of the countries where Islam is the dominant religion which is a religion of peace and tolerance of course.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
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    Just another Member rajpoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    The worst thing the West EVER did was to get directly involved in these psuedo-religious wars be that in Africa, the Middle East or Central Asia. We end us spending a fortune, everyone hates us and we get blamed for not creating a New Switzerland.

    Left to their own devices they'll happily slaughter each other and even attract disaffected extremists from the West to go over as well.

    Provide if anything low tech weaponry to whichever side is loosing and leave them to it. That the Taliban and ISIS are now killing each other is just another example of this which stretches over a large chunk of the countries where Islam is the dominant religion which is a religion of peace and tolerance of course.

    Problem is that the West is already too involved to make a clean exit. If not directly through 'allies'. And some of those allies might be supporting one or the other or as it seems right now, both groups, with 'aid' they might well be getting from the West.


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  12. #12

    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban



    Looks like another

    Last edited by Shaka_Khan; 07-07-2021 at 05:41.
    Wooooo!!!

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    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    well done, taliban.
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    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Gotta say, the collapse in Afghanistan is happening far faster than I'd ever imagined. I've never been confident in the Afghan National Army (ANA) but their abandoning major cities like Herat and Ghazni without much of a fight is worrisome. They can't just hold Kabul and hope to win.
    Terrible knowing that tomorrow morning I'll likely read about Kandahar having fallen already based on the videos I saw of ANA vehicles just barreling out of the city to flee.

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    Member Member Crandar's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Quote Originally Posted by spmetla View Post
    Gotta say, the collapse in Afghanistan is happening far faster than I'd ever imagined. I've never been confident in the Afghan National Army (ANA) but their abandoning major cities like Herat and Ghazni without much of a fight is worrisome. They can't just hold Kabul and hope to win.
    Terrible knowing that tomorrow morning I'll likely read about Kandahar having fallen already based on the videos I saw of ANA vehicles just barreling out of the city to flee.
    Already taken, I'm afraid. Not a fan of the warlords' kleptocracy, but Afghanistan's feature looks even bleaker now. I don't think the internationally recognized government has any hope of keeping Kabul, to be honest. Morale is around zero and the soldiers simply surrender or just desert. The Taliban will probably face regional uprisings, but only after their opponent has collapsed. Only a major foreign intervention can save it, but so far the priority seems to be just the evacuation. ANA desintegrated super quickly and in stark contrast to the Democratic Republic, which actually survived the USSR and crushed the Mujaheddin in Jalalabad.

  16. #16
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Looks like we will get the 21st century version of the Fall of Saigon. Just terrible. I gotta say that the Biden admin really screwed the pooch on this one. The US withdrawal was far too quick, and the ceasefire from last year allowed the Taliban to gain strength before their impending final victory. We should have done it right, and drawn it out much longer to allow for everyone who helped us to get out, as they face certain death.

    On a side note, I cant wait for the inevitable Ken Burns documentary about this.
    Last edited by Hooahguy; 08-13-2021 at 04:08.
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    As far as I can tell they've swept through almost the entire North by now - though I still expect governing it is another matter. But maybe I'm wrong and everyone (except the Taliban) is just tired of 50 years of nonstop war (the experience of which led to radical compensatory transformations in other societies, but maybe this what it looks like...)

    I think I've posted before about scholarship suggesting that large differences between the level of morale of combatants allow greatly-inferior forces to overwhelm those that are larger or better-equipped on paper. I suppose the difference between the Taliban and the ANA (in paper capabilities) is not even as large as that between the Iraqi Army and early IS in that regard.

    FWIW here's a small Afghan channel where villagers(?) try foreign, mostly Indian and American, stuff, launched last year off the trend of South Asian "Try" channels. Lately a number of the channel's guests have been fleeing their homes.
    https://www.youtube.com/c/WMW555/videos
    Last edited by Montmorency; 08-13-2021 at 04:28.
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    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Its not just a morale issue, its also corruption and incompetence. I have quite a few friends who are veterans who served in Afghanistan, and to a man they agree that the ANA were hopeless wrecks. Almost no morale to speak of, theft was rampant, and soldiers would desert left and right even when things were relatively good. The government has been completely inept for some time so how can they mount an effective response in these conditions? Nation building in a land which does not want to be a nation was doomed from the start.
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  19. #19
    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Quote Originally Posted by Crandar View Post
    Already taken, I'm afraid. Not a fan of the warlords' kleptocracy, but Afghanistan's feature looks even bleaker now. I don't think the internationally recognized government has any hope of keeping Kabul, to be honest. Morale is around zero and the soldiers simply surrender or just desert. The Taliban will probably face regional uprisings, but only after their opponent has collapsed. Only a major foreign intervention can save it, but so far the priority seems to be just the evacuation. ANA desintegrated super quickly and in stark contrast to the Democratic Republic, which actually survived the USSR and crushed the Mujaheddin in Jalalabad.
    Wasn't happy to see you were right that Kandahar had already fallen. The major military presence in Kandahar has always been down at KAF (Kandahar Airfield) where 205th Corps is based and seems to still be there though the are cutoff from Kabul so unless they go to Pakistan they're completely isolated.
    The senior ANA officers that I worked with were all with the pro soviet Afghan Army so at the top in terms of experience there's no excuse for the failures. After the Soviet Union collapsed though the funds for the army dried up and the logistical links for keeping all the soviet equipment in working order also fell apart.
    Before the pull out it's not like foreign forces were even securing much of the country, NATO was pretty much just relegated to a few bases with very few countries actually doing combat roles so it's not like the Afghan military hadn't been in the driver seat yet.

    I suppose the difference between the Taliban and the ANA (in paper capabilities) is not even as large as that between the Iraqi Army and early IS in that regard.
    Its not just a morale issue, its also corruption and incompetence.
    Absolutely, I recall seeing my S3 Operations Officer counterpart at the Battalion(Kandak) level out in the marketplace selling the firewood that Kabul had sent to keep troops warm in the winter. The police Kandaks I worked with kept all the medical and fuel supplies at the HQ forcing the outposts to need to trade or sell their ammo to the locals just to get the gasoline to run the generator to pump drinking water out of the ground. The corruption and incompetence was mind boggling when I was there (I left in Dec 2013) but at the base level the Soldiers that had been in for a few years seemed fairly commited to actually fighting. The desertions were definitely common but mostly among the new recruits or anyone that got in trouble (in an illiterate military discipline is done through beatings and corvee).

    Looks like we will get the 21st century version of the Fall of Saigon. Just terrible. I gotta say that the Biden admin really screwed the pooch on this one. The US withdrawal was far too quick, and the ceasefire from last year allowed the Taliban to gain strength before their impending final victory.
    I agree whole heartedly, a more managed approach where at the very least we could provide the air power that we never really helped the Afghan Air Force buildup.

    The current Afghan Government has been in power for twice as long as the Taliban ever were, it's a whole generation of people that have grown up under it and to see it all fall apart so quickly is surreal.

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  20. #20

    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    The immorality and irresponsibility of the American strategy of withdrawal isn't in the precise timetable or in airstrikes or whatever (let's be frank, a hundred tons or two of aerial munitions can't affect the Taliban's operational progress anymore). It's in the failure to extract asylum seekers aggressively, beforehand.

    Bring Afghans stateside by the tens of thousands and sort them out here, with full financial support, as we should have been doing since February (practically speaking). We owe even more as a responsible party, but it's never too late to step up.

    Spmetla, I think after all the military misadventures of the United States aimed at statebuilding, in all parts of the world, we can conclusively affirm that military occupations can't reasonably create stable conditions from underlying instability. If anything, it only aggravates the situation, doesn't it? Soldiers can't build governments, and governments can't administer jurisdictions that are gripped by insurgency. If America can't prop up even Cuba or Haiti, maybe it should realize that it spends money only to create more problems in these circumstances. (Which isn't to say that there's nothing America could or should do, but American hard power has a terribly-ignoble record... Stick to core competencies.)


    Two different maps of current dispositions.


    Last edited by Montmorency; 08-14-2021 at 02:16.
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    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    The immorality and irresponsibility of the American strategy of withdrawal isn't in the precise timetable or in airstrikes or whatever (let's be frank, a hundred tons or two of aerial munitions can't affect the Taliban's operational progress anymore). It's in the failure to extract asylum seekers aggressively, beforehand.
    The failure to stand by those that worked hand in hand and shared danger like the many interpreters is truly embarrassing and deeply shameful to the US. Extracting all asylum seekers however would be overboard, we'd be pretty much having to transplant entire cities to the US.

    conclusively affirm that military occupations can't reasonably create stable conditions from underlying instability. If anything, it only aggravates the situation, doesn't it?
    They can but it's a matter of what risk to the soldiers are acceptable and how many are available, to actually do a military occupation of Afghanistan would have taken hundreds of thousands which was never an option. Instead we had enough soldiers to secure big bases and cities but not the countryside where most Afghans live meaning we could do 'raids' against the Taliban but at the end of the day we'd always give up whatever village or district the operation was in.


    That's why relying on Afghan police, military and 'local police'/militias was the approach that was tried.
    I'll agree though that an outside military with no linguistic or cultural understanding absolutely aggravates the situation. That's why I think this should have remained a special operations war. Once big army got involved establishing massive FOBs with thousands of troops and then trying to enforce NATO standards of security around the FOBs and all the roads linking the FOBs it absolutely aggravated the situation.

    Soldiers can't build governments, and governments can't administer jurisdictions that are gripped by insurgency.
    At no point did NATO Soldiers govern Afghanistan. The second half is correct, it's the catch-22 of counter insurgency. Instability and insurgency stops commerce and day to day life which fuels resentment. To paraphrase Mao, an insurgent is like a fish and the population is like the sea, how does a fisherman eliminate all of one type of fish in the sea?

    maybe it should realize that it spends money only to create more problems in these circumstances
    Looking at the last 20 years in Afghanistan (and Iraq) there really wasn't any long term plan and that in itself is major problem of the US and the Western World in general, we aren't planning beyond 2-10 year timelines effectively.
    After 9/11 launching some cruise missiles at Al Queda bases in Afghanistan wasn't going to be acceptable to US domestic opinion. I think even in alternate universe with Al Gore in charge the US would have go to war with Al Queda and the Taliban. The US was running on the 'high' of being the sole superpower, Russia was in a laughable state, China was hardly more than a regional threat, the US got to be the 'good guy' in Desert Storm and Yugoslavia. There's no way that the 9/11 attacks would not create a demand for a military response.
    In hindsight perhaps the war should have been essentially a 'great raid' in invade to oust Al Queda, team up with the Northern Alliance to overthrow the Taliban and then leave completely. The whole nation building part was started with as you demonstrated no real track record for it though instead of looking to Cuba and Haiti (why Cuba though?) I'd look to Somalia. US/UN failure there was the earliest indicator that western militaries and governments don't have the expertise and patience to fix a failed state.

    The terrible example of Libya is probably what would have served US interests best in Afghanistan. Military action to get rid of what we consider bad or at least placate domestic opinion, then fund a rump government and hope it can secure its country. If it can't it's really no issue so long as the problem doesn't spill over the borders (the collapse of Mali under Tuareg invasion and then the use of Libya by people smugglers to Europe).

    The response to ISIS is a good example of what should probably have been done in Afghanistan, SOF elements working with local militias/militaries to fight the 'bad guys'. The Taliban were initially kicked out using the above method, sadly staying and trying to help is what hurt the most. A SOF fight which fights the 'bad guys' but doesn't really aggravate the local population can work and keeps the US from getting into nation building.

    American hard power has a terribly-ignoble record... Stick to core competencies.)
    Well intentioned hard power with ignoble record whenever it is we throw in the towel, yes. The military is retooling for the peer to peer threats that are China and Russia and eager to forget all about counter insurgency again. SOF and the SFABs will be the tools of choice instead of military occupation to create stability.
    US soft power however is at least being used intentially again, hated how Trump loved the idea of hard power yet decried wars and undermined all the government elements that are used for soft power.
    Last edited by spmetla; 08-14-2021 at 04:24.

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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Accepting he risk of being accused of using a retrospectroscope, what the USA should have done can be seen in what they did to get Bin Laden - a surgical strike by highly trained experts after some proper CIA work. Yes, highly illegal. But that has never been a concern, has it? What would it achieve? Sod all - but this was always about settling scores rather than any, y'know, use

    Whilst NATO etc could tie up their forces in training the locals to kill the locals there is a finite amount of forces and many more local areas that need attention - be that North Africa, the Middle East, Ukraine (from a Eurocentric view point); Central America and the ASEAN from a more America-centric view; the countries surrounding Afghanistan can provide easily adequate assistance if they choose - and given that this is Pakistan, China, Iran and the other -stans well, they range from not friendly to openly hostile so having to deal with this mess if anything a benefit. If the UN wants to drop off some blue hats to get shot at well good on them.

    Last edited by rory_20_uk; 08-15-2021 at 12:07.
    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban





    Last edited by Shaka_Khan; 08-15-2021 at 11:45.

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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Some analysts in the USA thought Kabul could hold for 3 months. Is this another case of analysts creating work that the masters want?

    American, French, Israeli, German, British troops to name a few could hold it for that time if not longer. There are armies around the world whose soldiers have fought against all the odds to the last man but there was never a chance this was going to happen - the Taliban have advanced at the speed the Afghan soldiers can run and the HumVees drive the advance has been as speedy as - ISIS did in Iraq.

    Either Biden was lied to by his advisors when he said the Afghanistan could continue without the USA and allies or else he lied. Neither is particularly encouraging.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
    Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.
    "If you can't trust the local kleptocrat whom you installed by force and prop up with billions of annual dollars, who can you trust?" Lemur
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    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    Some analysts in the USA thought Kabul could hold for 3 months. Is this another case of analysts creating work that the masters want?

    American, French, Israeli, German, British troops to name a few could hold it for that time if not longer. There are armies around the world whose soldiers have fought against all the odds to the last man but there was never a chance this was going to happen - the Taliban have advanced at the speed the Afghan soldiers can run and the HumVees drive the advance has been as speedy as - ISIS did in Iraq.

    Either Biden was lied to by his advisors when he said the Afghanistan could continue without the USA and allies or else he lied. Neither is particularly encouraging.

    Or he was making the best of what he'd been left with. The US obliged to withdraw, and observers both domestically and in Afghanistan holding him to his predecessor's promise.

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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian View Post
    Or he was making the best of what he'd been left with. The US obliged to withdraw, and observers both domestically and in Afghanistan holding him to his predecessor's promise.
    I'm 100% behind the withdrawal. I was against the intervention from the start as a waste of time and money.

    He has chosen to pretend that it wouldn't implode which of course it would. There's nothing there that resembles a state, just a group of thieves looting America's money.

    Again, to criticise over a few lies compared to his predecessors wasting vast amounts of lives and money there's no comparison.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
    Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.
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    Member Member Crandar's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    The Taliban is not the North Vietnamese Army, they're not," Biden said on July 8. "They're not remotely comparable in terms of capability. There's going to be no circumstance for you to see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable
    That didn't age very well.
    Helicopters were photographed leaving the embassy compound. Two US military officials told the Associated Press that smoke could be seen rising from the roof of the building as officials destroyed sensitive documents.

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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    I wonder what happened to Proletariat and the other hardliners who used to be active here in 2003?
    Wooooo!!!

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    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Some analysts in the USA thought Kabul could hold for 3 months. Is this another case of analysts creating work that the masters want?

    American, French, Israeli, German, British troops to name a few could hold it for that time if not longer. There are armies around the world whose soldiers have fought against all the odds to the last man but there was never a chance this was going to happen - the Taliban have advanced at the speed the Afghan soldiers can run and the HumVees drive the advance has been as speedy as - ISIS did in Iraq.

    Either Biden was lied to by his advisors when he said the Afghanistan could continue without the USA and allies or else he lied. Neither is particularly encouraging.
    I imagine that the analysts had data and opinions and probably believed those assessments. There haven't been significant NATO forces in Afghanistan for a long time, most of the security has been in their hands for a long time too. To think that the withdrawal from the few bases that still had NATO forces there would cause the complete and total collapse of the Afghan security forces is mind boggling. I and my Army buddies are absolutely stunned at how totally and completely the Afghan Army and Police have just given up the field.

    Biden does bear a lot of blame though, there's a reason that Mattis resigned over Trump's wanting to just leave Afghanistan and Syria full stop. Trump's 'peace deal' with the Taliban was a farce and Biden following through with it was stupid.

    However, if the Afghan military and police really have so little will to fight then so be it, apparently we should have left ten years ago after the successful Bin Laden raid. The human tragedies that will unfold as the Taliban transition from rebels to rulers will be horrible to watch as with a battlefield victory there's really no 'negotiate.' They may moderate some things and allow more freedom than the 90s because it's probably impossible to put the internet/global communication genie back in the bottle but when they talk of amputations and stonings being a matter for the courts and 'allowing' women to leave the house by themselves it seems the medieval sharia 'roots' remain and it may just be a matter of time before they bring the sharia law down on everyone. Only time will tell, I've been so wrong that who knows.

    He has chosen to pretend that it wouldn't implode which of course it would. There's nothing there that resembles a state, just a group of thieves looting America's money.
    It saddens me to see how true this seems to be.
    Last edited by spmetla; 08-15-2021 at 18:57.

    "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
    -Abraham Lincoln

  30. #30
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: ISIS and Afghan Taliban

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    I'm 100% behind the withdrawal. I was against the intervention from the start as a waste of time and money.

    He has chosen to pretend that it wouldn't implode which of course it would. There's nothing there that resembles a state, just a group of thieves looting America's money.

    Again, to criticise over a few lies compared to his predecessors wasting vast amounts of lives and money there's no comparison.

    I wouldn't even call them lies. Just necessary talking up, even when you know what you're saying is false, because you can hardly tell the people on the ground they are useless. The statesman's equivalent of "It was lovely meeting you, have a nice day".

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