Afghanistan Charlie Foxtrot

Current situation in Kabul right now…

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Welp, this was wildly optimistic.

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:rofl:

It happened quicker and sooner than everybody expected. Like the Spanish Inquisition.

I pity the women, girls and children who got left behind.

I think we should move the Afghanistan discussion over to a new message because as Jeff Foxworthy once said, the only way to describe it is with the word “cluster” in it.

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I was literally at the center of this chat and did not do that because I am also not very aware.

I re-watched War Machine on Netflix yesterday night. It’s always been more cringe than funny for me, mostly because it was more insightful than comedic. “We did all of the winning we were ever going to do here in the first six months. Now we’re just making a mess.”

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Meanwhile, America rediscovers (yet again) that we have been in Afghanistan since 2001.

I thought I’d given up hope like 10 years ago, but it still hurts to watch it all turn to ashes.

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That’s gotta burn man.

Apparently we are going to be bombing all the crap we didn’t already get out. Plus the lend lease stuff I guess.

I still don’t get why everyone was so against Trump doing this but Biden does it even more haphazardly and its ok. When obviously it isn’t ok.

In Kabul they are destroying documents and American flags and other symbols ahead of time privately before they are overrun.

I don’t know of anyone who thinks this is okay. I am mystified that some people thought it wouldn’t happen this way. The only reason it didn’t happen much sooner is because no one wanted to be the one to own it.

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It is so frustrating watching the US do this generation after generation to countries. We go in and say we’ll make it all better and eventually we just bail.

Vietnamese, Kurds, Cubans, Ukraine, Afghans, Hong Kong… Last time we almost toed the line for an ally like that was Korea, and I’m sure everyone in South Korea is worth it.

I don’t know if there was a great way to end this, but rushing troops in to protect troops we are withdrawing seems to be a reactive way to go about this. I also think maybe we should have done this 15 years ago. Hit hard, push the Taliban back, then let the country try to pull itself together. Though it really seems like it’s been the Taliban and it’s like running the country for centuries, just different tribes.

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Why did the US send troops in to Afghanistan?

In hindsight, maybe that was the wrong thing to do, and that other ways and means would have worked better.

But religious zealots will ignore logic and reason, and tend to be violent only to have their side enforced as “it always worked for us”.

The news coming out of there now is heartbreaking.

Bwahaha.

Our govt is totally out of touch with reality.

They now want to institute a NHI (national healthcare) as well as basic income, and the taxpayer will have to cough up.

Problem is, the taxpayer base is something like 1 taxpayer for 8 freeloaders. Totally unsustainable.

As Sandor Clegane would’ve said : “fuck off”.

If they implement it, then I will just resign and take my lumps with the bank etc clamouring for their money, I’m not going to slave for a pittance only to be taxed to death.

Yeah. Totally. :frowning:

There is a LOT of blame being flung around now. “How could we have gone from ‘It should be over a year after we leave before there’s any problems’ to ‘Well, that escalated quickly’?” “It’s Biden’s fault.” “It’s Trump’s fault.”

Republicans want to impeach Biden, including invoking the 25th Amendment. “It’s shows he’s incompetent and impaired”, “He made too-rosy statements that didn’t account for reality” or somesuch. The page showing support for being in Afghanistan has been deleted from the Republican National Committee’s website, but they say that’s misleading because they’re in the process of moving content to a new website. As of today, most or all of anything from before 2021 appears to be gone from the GOP.com website. They seem to have been extremely selective in what’s been kept.

Trump’s saying the Taliban knows he wouldn’t have put up with this and this only happened because Biden didn’t follow his plan he had for dealing with this. To me, that’s another of his “I’m your savior” tactics.

Others are putting this squarely back on Trump’s shoulders, saying recognizing the Taliban and giving them legitimacy set this in motion. The Doha agreement in February 2020 is being called “a surrender agreement with the Taliban”, a “weak agreement” that gave them too much and it hurt the Afghan government. Though Trump said he would withdraw troops, he never actually planned to. It was simply a “play” to get Afghanistan’s president to negotiate a power-sharing deal with the Taliban.

I’m going to have to watch that movie Sig mentioned. That seems to be closer to reality and in line with the other things I’ve read or listened to.

  • The U.S. tried to build a U.S.-style military for a government that didn’t exist. The corruption of the government was never replaced by one where the population would be taken care of instead of those in power.
  • The three U.S. administrations before this one didn’t bring the troops home.
  • The focus should have been on counter-terrorism instead of counter-insurgency and nation-building.
  • John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, says we did the same thing with Afghanistan that we did before and we’re going to keep doing it in the future unless we actually start learning what we need to change.

I think this is going to go down in the history books as a lesson in going there for the wrong reasons and the sunk cost fallacy. We stayed because of how much we spent before and we had to keep supporting it to get our return on investment (the Afghan government changing to better support the population). The Afghan government didn’t change, so no matter who was the U.S. president, it was always going to be messy when the troops were recalled.

That being said, there are indications that Afghanistan was better off for the U.S. being there. It just never went further to where it really needed to be.

That inherent messiness in withdrawing troops is why no one touched it before. What president wants to be the one to open that can of worms?

In this case, Joe Biden opened the can. It’s not popular, his ratings have taken a big hit (but are still higher than the former guy), and he’s getting the backlash I mentioned before. In terms of how fast the Afghan government collapsed, I think that can be attributed to once the announcements of when NATO troops and U.S. troops would be withdrawn, the Taliban knew they just had to wait a while and they’d be golden.

For his part, Biden’s sticking by his decision. “Here’s what I said in the past. There was an agreement already in place, I made a commitment and we’re going forward with it.” That does involve moving some troops back in while evacuations are under way.

Now, if President Trump had been re-elected and actually planned to withdraw the troops this year, I think it would have turned out the same way. The difference would be he’d be blaming everyone else instead of taking responsibility for it, like he’s done countless times in the past. “I got bad briefings.”, “It’s so-and-so’s fault and they’re fired.”, etc.

Would Democrats then be pushing for an impeachment and/or invoking the 25th Amendment like Republicans are doing for Biden? If so, that would be impeachment #3 for the big DT.

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“Sunk cost fallacy” is certainly relevant to the larger situation of Afghanistan.

Some things I heard today include:

  • Civilians were recommended to leave the country a month or more ago, but a lot assumed a withdraw would be delayed. This included contractors who were told to stay by their bosses.
  • Troops had been reduced to 2,500 to adhere to a treaty with the Taliban. Going above that would be considered to be breaking the agreement, and lowers the US’ international relationship. Admittedly the other side wasn’t exactly honoring the agreement…
  • Afghanistan has a pretty known history for bleeding other nations dry.

I certainly don’t think anyone is flawless here and would argue that there’s layers upon layers of mistakes that transcend political parties or ideologies.

Ain’t no rules in fight club.

Looks as if the stage is set for civil war. One side, people fighting for their freedom, the other side, the Taliban.

:Iran, Pakistan, rival warlords in the north, splinter factions of Al Qaeda, and ISIS have all entered the chat.:

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Closing Bagram first seems to be the biggest own goal. That and US troops being forced to watch other countries sortie out to get their people while they are confined to the airport.

That and maybe not telling our allies what we were doing before it happened. Ignoring allies for 36 hours during a crisis is not going to win us any favors. Not to mention making one kind of vague speech about it and your VP not saying a word as she leaves the country.

I saw this on twitter;

Within the first 100 days Biden reversed every Trump decision he didn’t like and possibly some he agreed with, but on withdrawing from a messy horrible mess, he decided to hold to the old plan? Except he didn’t even do that, it appears that he cancelled the parts of it that dealt with getting assets out.

But in any case, we did better than Sweden, their embassy just didn’t show up to work one day, leaving all their local workers wondering what was going on when they showed up and it was all locked up.

I think the people talking about “re-taking” Bagram are largely delusional. Unless you can provide a 60km security corridor from Kabul to Bagram, you are just letting the talibs murder people on the road instead of in the streets of Kabul. Too many people are thinking with their hurt pride instead of keeping the objectives in mind.

The withdrawal was long overdue. The way they did/are doing it is a nightmare. I’m not unsympathetic to the challenges and the unknowns. I suspect there is more information on the pace of the Taliban takeover that will someday come out that was a factor in the decision-making; everybody (Taliban emphatically included) was working toward that 9/11 timeline, and not pulling out when we did might have resulted in pulling out under fire instead. It still could if we take too long. The collapse was coming one way or another; the real sin was taking taking counsel of hopes instead of fears when it came time to plan the timetable.

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