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Shaggy Warriors, In Scooters, and On Donkeys

The reason why US and NATO effort failed in Afghanistan, is overwhelming support among Afghan (and Pakistani) people for Taliban ideology and interpretation of Islam. Even most Afghan allies of US/NATO army are not any exception. America needs to rein-in their defense industry, their so-called foreign policy experts and defense think-tanks. Quite simply, most of the time understand next to nothing of the real world. US can definitely be a force for good in the world but its militarization over the past 60 years and especially over the last 20 years has done nothing – nothing at all – for its’ reputation as a competent, well-meaning nation. Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and so on. Iraq was an unmitigated disaster – you’d be hard pushed to say or find anything good to say about the invasion and the loss of ethical ballast that went with the invasion and occupation. Afghanistan too. The bullying of Iran is not working and the support for the Saudi led genocide in Yemen has been utterly disgraceful.

If shaggy warriors, in scooters, and on donkeys, with sandals, armed with Kalashnikovs and RPG7s manage to defeat the masters of the world with their satellites, cruise missiles, drones, F18 and barracks with self-service and air conditioning, does it not mean that maybe, just maybe they have something more that cannot be bought? Years of chaos, civil war, and utter destruction likely led many Afghans to tolerate draconian rule by the Taliban in 1996 in return for some stability and an end to the fighting. In contrast, today’s Kabul has enjoyed 20 years of relative stability and prosperity. Afghans enjoy their cell phones, women play important roles in the economy, and there are lucrative business opportunities for the Taliban that did not exist in 1996. Many/most Muslim women also support that, barring when it affects them as in specific issues but broadly support that ideology. They now claim to desire a free press and end women oppression within the boundaries of Muslim law and tradition … this is not the Taliban that harbored Bin Laden’s al Qaeda in 2001.

Can this be a true generational transformation of a modern Taliban? I doubt this language of moderation lasts long – but from what I’m hearing I am hanging on to a weak fabric of optimism that perhaps there will be change for the better Afghanistan. Taliban takeover will encourage Islamic fundamentalism and Islamic extremists worldwide. A major source of money for Taliban is hefty donations from Gulf countries and many Muslims from across the world including western world (despite of strict international financial regulations.) It’ll, in turn, inflame religious extremism among other religious groups, many of whom are now having political connections in the USA, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India, France, Germany, Indonesia, Australia/NZ, etc.

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The balance of power dynamics have been changing for a while now & a major inflexion point has likely been reached far removed from those that existed 20 years ago. New threats have evolved with China assuming the role of the regional hegemony flexing it’s arms about trying to scare it’s neighbors. Pakistan, while being apparently joined at the hips with China has also been the Taliban’s originator including safehouse provider. Indeed Osama bin Laden was taken not from Afghanistan but from inside Pakistan, a stone throw away from a Pakistan army establishment. Pakistan was taking US money for fighting the Bush’s war on terror” while cultivating their own “dogs of war” in the form of the Taliban. However present day Taliban 20 years later have long discarded their milk teeth & may surprise Pakistan by sidelining them & trying to chart their own destiny as a designated “Emirate”.

The triangular relationship between the Taliban, Pakistan & China will present interesting dynamics given China’s repression of the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang & China’s interests in furthering it’s regional interests through the Belt & Road initiative.

 

Sjorne Shen

 

 

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READER COMMENTS BELOW

10 Responses to “Shaggy Warriors, In Scooters, and On Donkeys”

  • PAP mandate strong:

    No shame.

    USA not the first to fail.

    Britain was first during 19th century but failed.

    Then came USSR which also failed. Almost 10 years.

    Then now USA also failed. No big deal. Almost 20 years.

    https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/B8fR3W_9OhlrLIbh5enZMg
    阿富汗老百姓为何选择塔利班,真相比你想像的更残酷

    Afghanistan is not really poor country. Besides their people, their culture and lifestyle. The country basically make up by alot of mountains.

    Afghanistan’s resources could make it one of the richest mining regions in the world. … The major mineral resources include chromium, copper, gold, iron ore, lead and zinc, lithium, marble, precious and semiprecious stones, sulfur and talc among many other minerals.

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  • xoxo:

    Maybe we should be more concerned with our own taLEEban first?
    Afghans can take care of themselves,i am sure.
    We cant even ask govt to give sinksPOOR more helpeven as FTs are GIFTED WITH HANDSOME FURLOUGH from the money looted from our Reserves?

    Taliban,i dont care.
    taLEEban is what sgs shud worry about,isnt it?

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  • No wonder:

    The important lesson to learn is that there is no such thing as a humanitarian war.

    Close to home, there are misguided Hongkies and Taiwanese.

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  • Ant:

    One day, Chinese army will be tested by Pakistan & Afghanistan combined. It would be interesting to see if China can take over as police chief.

    Is not easy to bring down the ant empire ok. The Vietcongs went underground, Afghan into the mountains.

    The country don’t have CCTV in every block, street nor lift.

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  • sad:

    Sad to see so much incompetent that put so many lives in Danger.
    Stupid leadership.
    Sad day for the world.

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  • oxygen:

    @ PAP mandate strong

    Yes, geologically, Afghanistan is very rich of mineral endowment. I bet CIA in the last 20 years must have done a lot of aeromagnetic survey using aircraft and drones.

    PAP mandate strong: Afghanistan’s resources could make it one of the richest mining regions in the world. … The major mineral resources include chromium, copper, gold, iron ore, lead and zinc, lithium, marble, precious and semiprecious stones, sulfur and talc among many other minerals.

    But the country is dissected by tribal wars, endless. Finding mineral deposit is one thing, development (costing billions of dollars for big mining projects) and peaceful sustaining operation is another.

    On political risks, I would rate Afghanistan a lot worst than Africa ( itself worst then south America) or Mongolia, maybe same as Russia or its former satellite states like Ubekistan.

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  • BK:

    Thank u @ Sjorne Shen. US eating crow, that is quite certain long before the hasty evacuation.

    The real dynamics is not about US role, since Obama,US no longer wants the role of the global policeman.

    The real dynamics is what the regional hegemons will do, absent the global policeman. Indeed the players are Iran, Pakistan, India, Russia and China.

    Whatever China may complain, they know US pins the troublesome elements in Afghanistan onto itself. Now that US leaves, China decided that to mitigate those elements, lets embrace them/ Talibans. Even among online China, the usual acquiesce crowd, many fear for women’s rights and violence by the Talibans.

    Easy to say dont interfere in another nation’s biz, but being the first to accept the Talibans, China has got itself an uneasy frd, optics not exactly a resounding wow, internally or externally.

    China is not going to get a free hand in Afghanistan, India will want to assert itself, and so will Russia if Islamic elements make their way to Russia again.

    China wants to be a hegemon, well, they have it. Not sure if it is any joy.

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  • Sjorne Shen:

    @BK
    Gd evening, bro, nicely summarized geopolitical conundrum, and creatively offered. I think the long game is getting lost on everyone, and the debacle in Afghanistan could be Biden actually playing three-dimensional geopolitical chess against China, Pakistan, Iran, and Russia. This catastrophe could all end up into a beneficial endgame for the United States. It is the headache of those geographically closer within their hemisphere, no longer Uncle Sam’s.

    Truly, the exploiters from China, Russia, India, and Pakistan now will have to wrestle with those backward provincial powers in the “Land That Time Forgot.”

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  • BK:

    Yo bro, good weekend (:

    The thing is, with US in Afghanistan, all the regional hegemons, can seat back and mock the US.

    With US gone, the permutations become alot more complex. They think US is the problem. But neither China or Russia are powerful by themself to control Afghanistan. The lull in regional power struggle has been postponed due to US, but, the Pandaro’s box is opened.

    US hegemony disliked by some, have benefitted small countries and weaker powers. With the US umbrella gone, nations will drive up military spending, frictions directed at US will be redirected to neighbors.

    Trump not unfairly,had said US is burdened too much to keep the peace in Europe and Asia. US will be around for sometime, but its electorade wants govt to be inner directed rather than externally, regional conflict must rise as US pulls back.

    No other power has enough fear factor of military or economic clout to enforce “rules”. We may say good riddance to US, but dont be too sure whats coming is better, can be alot worse, alot.

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  • Sjorne Shen:

    Oh yeah, bro,
    Why does the US have to be the world’s police while China quietly consumes industries and corporations globally without sacrificing a single Chinese soldier? And some *allies* have the gall to say “Biden’s abrupt unilateral path was “throwing US and everybody else to the fire”?

    Biden was courageous enough to be the one to make the necessarily difficult decision. Not to say the roll out was without problems. He certainly could have done better on the optics. But the facts are grim — The Taliban is in neighboring Pakistan, a country armed with nuclear weapons. This could be a global problem.

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