I know some of you have strong opinions about the recent actions in Afghanistan initiated by Biden, the current POTUS. Some see the action as beneficial in the long run. Others? Not so much.

For myself, I tend to agree with Heather Cox Richardson’s perspective on the issue as she has laid out in her most recent newsletter. I particularly liked the pointed questions she asks related to “America’s interest to fight a ground war.”

As noted in various news reports, the U.S. withdrawal has allowed the Taliban to aggressively move back into Afghanistan — and this has caused some to express concerns about the Afghanistan women and how they are going to lose the independence they gained during the U.S. presence.  However, IMO, Heather addresses this issue rather well towards the end of her newsletter when she writes about the ”fate of Afghanistan’s women and girls.” 

While I know many of you are subscribers and have probably already read Heather’s commentary, for those who are not familiar with her writings, I urge you to take a few moments and click on the link.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and opinions. All I ask is “stay on topic” and “be nice.” 🙂

P.S. I thought her last paragraph was a Zinger (!) — and a perfect way to end her commentary.

51 thoughts on “Afghanistan

    • Biden is right in the concept, but the Afghanis got the government we gave them. They deserved better. Hamid Karzai was simply the best choice among the many warlords. His successors were as bad or worse. There were only crooks to choose from. Apparently, there was plenty of graft on the American side.

      Getting out is the right thing to do, but after all this time, the least we could have done was to take the time to do it right. Trump’s deadline had already come and gone, so there is no apparent reason for setting another one. There is no question that the people who helped in our effort deserve American citizenship. We could have taken all the time we needed to vet every applicant.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. The US collaboration with Saudi Arabia is a long-standing disgrace. That doesn’t make what is happening in Afghanistan any less tragic. It’s a classic example of what happens when religious fundamentalism takes over a country.

    I don’t give two shits about the domestic US politics of this or which political party is more to blame or all the rest of the finger-pointing bullshit. Only what’s going on inside Afghanistan matters now.

    I said what I had to say about this issue in this post. I’m not going to go into what I really think about it here because I’d probably get permabanned.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. One thing that seems to escape all the estimates about why the Taliban were so fast in their conquest, is that Afghanishtan is a country of many languages and tribes, but that Islam is the one thing that unites the people there. Taleban = student of theology.

    The only time Afghanishtan has known peace, in a long time, was when the Taleban last ruled the country. Western countries were told a narrative, that we paid the exessive amounts of money poured there to provide the Afghan people democracy and equal rights for women and to stop terrorism. The Afghan priesthood is in the key position in regard to the fate of the country. Do you think the regular Afghan soldier is going to fight the Taleban, if his religious leader tells him, that it is not worth the bother, or that it is actually wrong? Priesthood all over the globe, regardless of religion, mostly has conservative values. Do you think they were impressed by western ideas to put girls in school and secularism?

    As for stopping terrorism, I think that mission has failed miserably, because what else provided better propaganda for the Islamist, than the fact, that the western countries invaded Afghanishtan – a Muslim country – and have occupied it, ruled it and enforced their own values over the Afghan people.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I don’t think all the Taliban had far to travel to spread all over the country so quickly. They didn’t all come out of Pakistan. The Taliban are also Afghans. As twisted as they are, they probably have more national pride than the warlords who proved they were pretty ruthless themselves. We are only the latest nation to try to ‘help’ them. If we invade another nation, we need to not bother with setting limitations or objectives.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I am…amused…by all the liberals opining that ‘women in Afghanistan created a society for twenty years that gave us rights” The occupation created NOTHING. There was no society created. The vaunted liberal alternative crumbled in two weeks. I feel for them…life will be much worse for women under the Taliban. But life was not very good in many places during a twenty year civil war, either.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, I mostly agree with Heather Cox Richardson.

    From my perspective, the real mistake was 20 years ago when Bush (dubya) decided to invade. He could, instead, have used a few bombing raids against terrorist sites, with no invasion.

    As John Pavlovitz said in his post today, we too would be like Afghanistan if the American Taliban had succeeded in their attempted coup on January 6th.

    Liked by 3 people

    • My analogy would be if the Norwegians and Swedes invaded the American South (and Boston…and Chicago) to create some kind of non-racist social democratic society.

      (I know the Scandinavian countries have their own issues. Just let me have my little analogy. 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

      • I live in Chicago and I can verify that the bloody Swedes are already invading the city!!! It’s bloodshed here! The invading Swedes have meatball firing machine guns and they’re peppering buildings and people all over the city with them. They’re a bloody, savage group of meatball-loving monsters who’ll stop at nothing until they gain complete control of my city!!! DAMN THEM TO HELL!!!! (Friggin’ Swedes!)

        Liked by 2 people

        • And here I thought in Chicago it was all about the Mustard Mafia taking control of Big Ketchup and driving this favorite hot dog garnishing into a black market economy. I didn’t realize the Socializing Swedes were behind it all. You should get a Pulitzer for this… to go along with your Nobels. Well done, you.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. “As John Pavlovitz said in his post today, we too would be like Afghanistan if the American Taliban had succeeded in their attempted coup on January 6th.” Yep. Absolutely. And there is still very much the chance of the next American coup succeeding.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. What is the real topic, here, Nan? The plight of women and children in Afghanistan? Republican politics? The ugly fact that collaborators (anywhere) will get punished for collaborating, even though without collaborators an occupying force will either not get anything done, or will just kill everyone until someone agrees to collaborate, no matter they will pay for it later? Or it is just the fact human beings are more self-interested than truly caring and compassionate? (This list of questions is far from definitive!)
    I hate every part of what is happening in Afghanistan right now, but that does nothing for anyone. I can bitch and complain all I want, both Canada and the USA screwed up royally. But in the end no one can do anything for everyone. As small as the world has become with the advent of the Internet, geographically there is so little we can accomplish as long as we have nations and races and religions, and politicians. “You cannot please all of the people all of the time.” The logistics of the world are such that the best we can do is try to take care of our own little microcosms, and hope that someday, if there is a someday, our decendents will figure out a way to expand the size of that microcosm until it includes all living beings in the world, and then in the uninverse.
    If that isn’t staying on topic, well, I tried.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. As Titania McGrath so perceptively notes, now that the white western colonisers have left Afghanistan, the Taliban can get on with implementing their progressive intersectional feminist policies. BTW, this is what Palestine would be like – freed from the yoke of the evil Israeli occupation – under Hamas. Same religious ideology.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What is Israel doing to relieve the oppression of women and children in Palestine? Few Muslim countries are very lenient in their treatment of women. I don’t see that Palestinian women have it much better. Israel is just as oppressive as the Americans. We didn’t go into Afganistan because of the plight of women and girls. If Christians had control of the US, we would be in similar circumstances.

      Liked by 7 people

      • It was oil. The United States decided to try to cut the Taliban out of a planned pipeline project.

        Plus, plenty of profit. Cheney’s friends and colleagues did very well. “War is a Racket”

        tiledb tries to tie EVERYTHING to his pet hobby horses. There is not a single mainstream liberal or feminist who is making that claim, tiledb. That is ridiculous.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Some confusion, obviously: that claim was SATIRE from Titania McGrath who often and unfailingly points out the lunacy of the Left and the ideology of what constitutes ‘progressive’ social policy; very often, the ‘progressive’ position is no different than the worst and most oppressive anti-progressive examples. Such is the case here.

          Obviously, the Taliban’s use of Sharia removes a woman’s autonomy and she becomes a thing, chattel. This is why I pointed out a couple of Afghani women talking about not being a person under this ideology, but having spent the past 20 years in the long and difficult process of becoming a person in law and in practice, but having failed in that quest to not having documentation today… because they are not individuals! Alan Doyle, who is Titania McGrath, shows us every week a parallelism between ‘progressive ideology’ and deeply anti-female positions shared across much of the Islamic world, whose men who tolerate, support, and even practice this Islamicly justified anti-human treatment of r4eeal people in real life causing real harm but who are often the DARLINGS of the Left, presenting Islamicists as some kind of constant victim of the more horrendous and intolerant Western liberal system where women actually have achieved individual autonomy in law, now being undermined in the pursuit of transactivism.

          Liked by 1 person

    • The rise of Hamas over the secular PLO is a direct result of Israeli policy to not honour any agreements they made with the Palestinians. As is the popularity of many other Islamist movements in other countries. That and how the West has supported regressive governments in many Muslim countries – to keep the peace = to rob them of their natural resources through said regressive governments. Fruits of Capitalism?

      Liked by 1 person

      • There is no parallel between Talibans extreme conservative interpretation of Islam and Feminism, Itersectional, or otherwise. Is there? Talibans are an antithesis for Feminism. No matter how much one would try to turn the tables. Unless, one has to makebelief, that the left is just as bad as the right – to preserve their political identity, much like a religious person can ignore facts to preserve their faith (=religious identity). Does that mean, that no Feminist has ever made a stupid comment? Of course not, every political or other social group has stupid people, who have no clue what they are in support of, or who have joined for the wrong reasons. There are plenty of former Feminists, who “got better” when they realized, that it is a bad idea to throw things at their husbands – and who thought that that is what Feminism was supposed to mean. Yet, there is a difference of what are the ideological goals and values on the right and on the right of the modern political spectrum.

        To claim, that Palestine would be the same as Afghanishtan, if Israel withdrew their occupation, is sadly mislead, ignorant, or purposefully misleading. Jordan right across the border is not the same as Afghanishtan, while it is an Islamic country. The popularity of Hamas is solely based on the violet occupation and apartheid policy of the Israeli right-wing governments, that may continue to abuse and exploit Palestinians and be as corrupt as any Afghan government, as long as they can convince their voters and the Israeli people, that they are protecting them from the evil Arabs. The popularity of Hamas is built on them fighting the constant injustice, despite the fact that they are also a conservative right-wing criminal organization. The USA is unfortunately the enabler in this scheme, because no matter how much Israel brakes treaties, tramples upon human rights, destroys Palestinian infrastructure, steals land for the colonies, USA supports the Racist and Fascist Israeli governments.

        The fact of the matter is, that one most extreme right-wing politician, who eventually failed in his every other exploit, got one of his initial plans come to fruition, as the majority of European Jews moved to Palestine – the name of that man was Adolf Hitler. It was his original plan, before the war made it impossible and he following his right-wing ideology of seeing some people more deserving than others to the hilt, decided upon the “final solution”, but that is a nother story.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. There is a similarity here with the way the Taliban was able to so rapidly take over Afghanistan, and the way Fidel Castro was able to take over Cuba so many years ago. In both instances, even though the puppet government backed by the USA had built up a sizable army which was capable of defeating any uprising, the revolutionaries in both cases had the people on their side. In both cases, the government and the army folded without a fight.

    Liked by 4 people

    • The ‘people’? Well, this is certainly true if you call ‘Pakistan’ the Afghani people. But hey, they all look the same, I guess.

      Weird how people forget the Taliban is a creation of Pakistan’s intelligence service, forget or don’t know or don’t care that Pakistan (with a Sunni majority) has given aid and comfort to both Taliban and Al Qaeda for decades. (I guess replacing ‘weird’ with ‘convenient’ might be more accurate.) It is from Pakistan that weapons and training and money and safe haven for the Taliban as a military force has been granted and carried out throughout the occupation. This has been where planning has also been carried out. The planned military retaking of Afghanistan now by the Taliban was started in Pakistan in February of 2020 in direct negotiation with Trump who then announced a compete US withdrawal over 12 months in exchange for not targeting US personnel in the meantime (although Russia, bless their little hearts, stepped up to the plate and offered bounties for American soldiers in Afghanistan) and zero concern for all the NATO allies engaged with various projects throughout Afghanistan. To be clear, not a single US administration from either side of the aisle has held Pakistan to account. Nope, it’s ALL the fault of the warmongering US.

      Many of the Taliban’s leaders, in fact, have been hosted by that other Sunni nation Saudi Arabia for two decades. But because Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are regional ‘allies’ of the US outside of The Very Evil Israel who apparently deserve to be subject to the Poor Palestinian and the lucrative Pay to Slay program they run as a bounty of Israelis (See? It’s not just Russian foreign policy). So imagine trying to operate to suppress the Taliban in Afghanistan as a military commander! Yet for 20 years the West under very capable military leadership working with real allies from the West managed to do exactly that, at great cost. I wonder whatever happened to the fabled Afghan ‘oil’ that apparently motivated all of this (using the Al Qaeda attack on US soil as an excuse, of course)? When it comes to the US, every foreign policy move must always be viewed as a negative and full of fault and for corporate greed. It’s the only narrative in town.

      Well, of course this understanding of trying to operate and make significant social changes inside various influences and concerns and constraints is quite complex. Throw in the interests of China and Russia and Iran in confluence with regional power and the simplistic messaging of the standard narrative that the US government is a Bad Guy always out only for corporate interests, and we immediately get comparisons with Vietnam but never EVER South Korea. Yup, no opportunity for Western self flagellation and mea culpas in general and the targeted vilification of all things American specifically can ever slip by these eagle-eyed observers and commentators. Who needs complexity when the convenient narrative can be smeared and consumed so easily?


      • Pakistan, like Saudi Arabia, is one of our good buddies in the region. One has to winder why. But that is the only part of your comment I agree with!

        First, I think you vastly overemphasize the foreign character of the Taliban. And you also ignore that most of the native “militias” and “alliances” were as violent and corrupt. And you also ignore the role of the CIA in helping arm and create the mujahedeen. All in service of the Glorious Western Liberal Tradition ™ that you still amazingly seem to think governs American policies and actions. I find it amazing that you characterize yourself as being hard headed and realistic yet you are actually blindly idealistic and accepting of pompous American self image and propaganda.

        As for the wonderfully successful twenty year half-assed occupation. Successful programs and policies don’t crumble in two weeks. The occupation was a Potemkin Village operation from the beginning. Many of our vaunted allies were not allies. Few of the soldiers for the Afghani “government” were loyal at all to said government. Explain to us again how successful the occupation was!

        As for the oil? The Chinese are already meeting with the new government. They need oil to keep their factory for the world efforts going. It is amusing that they did not spend a trillion dollars and thousands and thousands of lives to implement a successful program.


        Liked by 4 people

        • Who said the policies were successful? I said in regards to trying to operate in Afghanistan to bring about change when constantly undermined by a Pakistani run, funded, trained, and planned Taliban, “So imagine trying to operate to suppress the Taliban in Afghanistan as a military commander! Yet for 20 years the West under very capable military leadership working with real allies from the West managed to do exactly that, at great cost.”

          My point is that the situation in Afghanistan is a very complex issue BECAUSE of its regional positioning between religious competitors but also its global importance to the Great Powers. Presenting a simplistic version that ‘US intervention is bad’ narrative (after a domestic state-sponsored terrorist attack facilitated by the Afghan government at that time, the Taliban) demonstrates a singular optic that not only utterly fails to take these complexities into account but fails to show any understanding, support, or appreciation for what was trying to be done in spite of them.

          By playing into this optic (which is what passes for virtue these days), one is demeaning the very real motives and sacrifices made by many good people in a very difficult position – not just Afghanis who tried very hard and with great courage but people from all over the Western world who tried and failed to make a lasting difference. These are the people that such an optic shames as stupid and naïve and selfish, and I think that’s reprehensible.


  8. As an “extra” to this post, I found it interesting that we’re not the only ones pulling out. As of Friday, 8/13/21, Aljazeera lists the following countries joining the U.S.

    Finland evacuates staff
    France reiterates call for citizens to leave
    Switzerland is withdrawing staff
    Norway to evacuate and close its embassy
    Germany significantly reducing embassy staff
    Denmark to shut embassy, evacuate staff

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Back in the dark ages (1982-ish) when I was studying international relations as part of a Professional Military Education (PME) class, the subject of Russia in Afghanistan came up. The guy teaching the course said, “The Afghans and Russians deserve each other.” I agreed.

    Often there are no good guys. We did what we thought we had to do (ala terrorist training centers, 9-11, etc.). But, It’s been too long. We cannot win. We don’t even know what winning a “war” would look like.

    When we occupy a country and support a corrupt government (we often must) and meddle in their Civil Wars, we fail. Viet Nam, anyone? We should have left long ago. What the Afghan military did was predictable.

    And I groan loudly it when people use phrases like, “When ‘we’ fight a war.” WE? No shit? You gunna join up?

    And, just exactly what does a Taliban look like?

    And: Religion!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I can’t think of anything we could have done differently that would have had a different outcome. Whether this year, next year, of 20 more years down the road, this was going to be the result. The initial blame falls on G.W. Bush for putting boots on the ground, which was totally unnecessary at the time, and secondary blame goes to Trump who ‘negotiated’ with the Taliban and even wanted to bring them here for a 20-year anniversary of 9/11 celebration! The Taliban supported al-Qaeda, for Pete’s Sake! So, there’s plenty of blame to go ’round, and yes, Biden’s planning takes some of the blame, too, but not the bulk of it in my book. It’s done, the best we can do now is rescue as many Afghanis as possible as quickly as possible.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. It’s time to let the Sunnis of Pashtun get back to the happy business of fighting the Shiite of Hazara. We must respect local traditions and stop the truly ugly business of Western imperialism through colonialization where even girls could go to school. Uncovered. Oh, the horror…


    • Women were so well treated in colonial era Afghanistan! Especially outside a few American-controlled enclaves like Kabul.

      Not every world situation is an American college campus fighting gender politics, tiledb. And not every situation can be solved through a corrupt, half assed American invasion propping up corrupt kleptocrats like the Afghan “government”

      Liked by 2 people

        • It was a NYT article by Malala Yousafzai called: I Survived the Taliban. I Fear for My Afghan Sisters.

          Another one is here with an interview by Masih Alinejad (who was the target of a recent Iranian abduction plot to shut her up).


        • we all fear for the women. It will be horrible. Just as it was horrible to be an African American in America during Jim Crow. Or women who are victims of sexual assault in modern day Amish communities. Send the UN Peacekeepers to Pennsylvania, stat!

          You miss the point: Islamic theocracies are terrible for women. Nobody is denying that. Where we disagree with the Cruise Missile Liberals (the pious, politically correct but otherwise identical lefty version of Neocons) is that American or western intervention can “solve” this. Two weeks. That is how long it took the vaunted liberal paradise established by the Americans to collapse. Heck, the utterly incompetent South Korean “government” took a couple of years and they fell to a well armed, disciplined invasion from a nation state (North Vietnam, not the Viet Cong).

          We spent a trillion dollars. Killed tens of thousands. How many more Americans and Afghans are you saying we should have killed to impose your Enlightenment Paradise?


        • Achieving liberal values in practice is really hard work. It faces all kinds of impediments and challenges and incredible difficulties, not least of which is falling prey to doubting its worth. Let me tell you, people who have not had these values put into law and enforced – be it black slaves or women in Afghanistan – understand their value. THOSE are the people worth listening to, not the Monday morning quarterback moralists and progressives who swim drunkenly in these liberal waters and curse the temperature.


  12. As most of my “regulars” know, I’m a fan of Heather’s newsletter — so it will be no surprise for me to quote from her latest (8/18/21) issue:

    Much is still unclear and the situation is changing rapidly, but my guess is that keeping an eye on the money will be crucial for understanding how this plays out. (bolding mine)


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