Afghanistan

Afghanistan today, October 28, 2021

Stroobants and Follorou report on divisions within the EU regarding the reestablishment of an EU presence in Kabul. Josep Borrell, the EU High Commisioner for Foreign Affairs, has announced the UE is sending a small group of technical experts to discuss humanitarian aid, stressing that its action in no way implies any kind of recognition of the Taliban government.

Borrell favors opening a diplomatic office to facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid and the departure Afghans who are in danger. Germany and the Netherlands support this approach. The Germans are even considering reopening their embassy in Kabul.

France and Denmark are critical of this approach, arguing that even humanitarian assistance will help the Taliban stabilize the situation in the country without acceding to the EU’s conditions that they respect human rights in order to receive such assistance.

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The situation in Afghanistan today, September 5, 2021

Ångeles Espinosa reports from Islamabad on the external challenges facing the Taliban leadership in naming a government. The announcement, originally expected Fiday, September 3, has been repeatedly oushed back. The Taliban are faced not only with overcoming their internal divisions, but also the immense challenges of providing food to the population and keeping the machinery of government working.

To meet the latter challenges they must satisfy the demands of foreign governments, international donors, and other international actors. The latter are demanding guarantees regarding human rights and the rights of women, many of which are at odds with basic tenets of the medieval Islamic ideology the Taliban have in the past espoused.




Abandoning Afghanistan: The moral costs

President Joe Biden ridiculed the Afghan soldiers who did not fight after the American withdrawal left them with no prospect of holding their own against the Taliban. Biden’s remarks were a cruel attack upon soldiers who had founght valiantly over the years, at a cost of some 68,000 lives.

He didn’t mention the girls of Afghanistan, who for 20 years displayed great courage in going to school, too many times at the cost of their lives. Angelina Jolie pays tribute to these girls and women, and their courage.


Afghanistan today, September 3, 2021: The Taliban government is forming, with no nods to Western wishful thinking

The Taliban are forming their government in Kandahar, with few concessions such as those imagined by American and Western leaders in their illusionary wishful thinking. Espinosa reports from a source close to the Taliban that the protection of women’s rights seems to be a third priority, while there sa a push toward decentralization. The latter augurs poorly for those provinces under the control of the most hardline factions within the Taliban.

Those who know Afghanistan appear to be getting it right.


Joe Biden ‘s foreign policy judgment: You can’t fill a bucket with a hole in it.

There is no rational defense of stupidity.

To base a country’s foreign policy on domestic opinion, polls, and expected election outcomes is stupid, as countless historical examples illustrate.

The majority of voters are ill-informed and have no serious understanding of what is involved in foreign policy decisions. The country depends on an informed foreign policy elite, government foreign policy experts, and leaders intelligent enough to listen to them and follow their advice.

Joe Biden set out to do something else: to adopt a foreign policy that benefits the middle class.

It just a slogan. Not even Biden or his National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan or his Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has the slightest idea what it means in operational terms.

I guess what it means for Joe Biden is that it will engender public support and help him and Democrats at the polls in future elections.

Now following such a stupid approach to foreign policy, President Biden has revealed through his disastrous decisions relating to the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, the fact that he has no strategic sense or understanding of the myriad factors and forces which interact to produce realities in the field of foreign affairs.

He has an extensive record working on foreign policy issues, as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as Vice-President in the Obama administration, and now for seven months as President of the United States.

But you can’t fill a bucket with a hole in it.

What can we expect Biden to do or say at this point about Afghanistan?

Does it matter? …
The only thing he could say that would help the country would be that he is firing Anthony Blinken, Lloyd Austin, and Jake Sullivan for the roles thay played in this catastrophe, and that he is bringing in real men and women of stature to build a new foreign policy team.

Anything else he might say, you can rest assured, will be just more smoke and mirrors.


The situation in Afghanistan today, August 30, 2021

See,

1) Jacques Follorou, “En Afghanistan, les talibans seuls aux commandes; Après le départ des Américains, mardi 31 août, les fondamentalistes islamistes, dont les principaux dirigeants se sont réunis à Kandahar, vont devoir gérer une économie à l’arrêt,” Le Monde, le 30 août 2021 (à 10h05, mis à jour à 15h33).

Taliban leaders are gathered in Kandahar for a meeting to define the contours of the new government, and in doing so to sort out ideological and personnel issues related to internal divisions.

Jacques Follorou describes the three main factions within the Taliban .


What is happening on the ground in Afghanistan? UPDATED August 29, 2021

“General amnesty has been granted,” he wrote, adding that “we are focusing on future.”
Yet there are growing reports of detentions, disappearances and even executions of officials at the hands of the Taliban, in what some current and former government officials describe as a covert and sometimes deadly pursuit of the Taliban’s enemies.

Leaving behind computer records that would enable the Taliban to identify who worked with the allies and acted as intelligence sources is inexcusable, as inexscusable as the American surrender and withdrawal which was not negotiated subject to serious conditions.
The closer you look. the more shocking and scandalous the Biden administration’s decisions and actions related to the American withdrawal seem to be.

The American military’s record is definitely mixed. While they seem to have done an impressive job with their airlift out of Kabul airport, given a disastrous lack of planning, perhaps the most enduring image of the U.S. military’s performance was their departure from Bagram Air Base in the middle of the night, without even telling their erstwhile Afghan “partners” they were leaving.

While there is ample blame to be shared by others, particularly Joe Biden, Anthony Blinken, and Jake Sullivan, Lloyd Austin was Secretary of Defense and directly responsible for the military’s failings. If there is to be any accountability for this catastropHe, Austin should be fired–along with Blinken and Sullivan.


The U.S. “playbook” for drones and self-defense under international law

See, Charlie Savage, “Afghanistan Collapse and Strikes in Somalia Raise Snags for Drone Warfare Rules; But the Biden administration is close to finishing a new…