Guest post: Speedbox – Farewell Afghanistan, hello Pakistan

I doubt that Afghanistan will ever have a musical like Evita in its honour but if Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice are looking for another project, and Julie Covington is available to sing the title track, they could have another hit on their hands.

The Afghan equivalent to Eva Perón could be Queen Soraya Tarzi who was a highly influential figure and a fierce advocate for women’s rights and girls’ access to education back in the 1920’s.  In particular, that would appeal to the Leftists.

Whilst we wait for the debut of the stage production, the Taliban are relentlessly making their way across the Afghan wilderness with an increasing number of districts and cities falling under their control.  Virtually every intelligence service expects the government of President Ghani to fall within the coming weeks without substantial Western support.  The United States has promised to provide the Afghan government with $4.5 billion a year, a large chunk of it for the Afghan security forces, and 29 Black Hawk helicopters but that pre-supposes that the government survives.

The issue troubling Western governments is that a Taliban victory in Afghanistan will be a disaster for the region due to the refugee flow it would spark and, it is very likely to embolden neighbouring Pakistan’s homegrown extremists and lead to a resurgent al Qaeda.  Even if the Pakistani government cracked down on domestic religious radicalism, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan will provide the Pakistani Taliban the same safe haven that they once enjoyed inside Pakistan.

Yet astonishingly, Pakistani authorities are almost jubilant at the speed of the Taliban advance but they may come to regret their enthusiasm.  It is well documented that without Pakistani support, the Taliban would struggle to be the force they are with Pakistan supplying weapons, safe-havens and logistical support.  Pakistani officials dismiss Western accusations about their complicity by pointing to the casualties they themselves have suffered, but it is a charade.  Some rank-and-file soldiers may have suffered but the ‘price’ was low to camouflage the relationship with the Taliban.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that Pakistani leadership don’t realize or don’t care how tenuous their position really is and how outnumbered they will be.  Afghanistan is not yet a failed state but it is a dead one walking.  If Pakistan follows, it will have no one to blame but itself.

Whilst the Pakistani government may not have recognised the problem, others have.  There is unmistakable anxiety in New Delhi that the return of the Taliban to power might precipitate the return of Pakistan-based jihadi groups that have a history of attacking India.  Separately, the governments of Russia and China are also worried by the potential fallout from an extended Afghan civil war.  Then, there is the likelihood of a massive refugee crisis.  Current reports suggest over 500,000 Afghanis have already been displaced by the Taliban’s reinvigorated insurgency.   Of particular concern for China is that a problem in Afghanistan threatens the One Belt, One Road initiative and/or a problem in Pakistan also threatens the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Yet, it is India that probably has the most to lose.

New Delhi has reportedly been scrambling to send reconciliatory messages to the Taliban – messages that have to date been unanswered.  The Afghan government meanwhile, are not pleased with the reports and is appealing for India to provide more support.  Afghanistan’s envoy to India Farid Mamundzay recently said “Should we reach a complete deadlock with the Taliban, then we would want India’s military assistance.”

It is extremely unlikely that India will send its army in Afghanistan while others have suggested a peacekeeping force under the flag of the United Nations.  The idea has already been unofficially floated at the UN although it is unclear what reception it received.  (I would imagine lukewarm, at best).

If the Taliban succeed in overthrowing the Afghani government, which is virtually certain, it will likely initiate one of those ‘games’ where every player wins a prize.  The Pakistani government will have their hands full with revitalised local extremists leading to serious security concerns for India.  Beyond that, Iran have been cultivating a tactical alliance with the Taliban (despite previous bad blood) over the past couple of years not to mention the implications for China and Russia with their commercial and military links in the region.  If Western governments completely lose their minds and return their militaries to Afghanistan, we have the makings of a colossal global flashpoint.

The entire area is riven with centuries old alliances, disputes, clashes and coalitions all mingled into a seething pot.  Tighten your seat belt and see if you can get Andrew Lloyd Webber on the ‘phone.

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30 Responses to Guest post: Speedbox – Farewell Afghanistan, hello Pakistan

  1. Zipster says:

    Minutes to fall not weeks….. going, going…. gone.

    Well that was YAD. (Yet Another Disaster)

  2. Shy Ted says:

    Here’s a song from South Pacific –
    There is nothing like a sack, nothing in the world
    There is nothing dressed in black that is anything like a sack
    Nothing looks like a sack
    You can give it a whack
    Or just send it right back
    There’s not a thing that’s wrong with any man here
    That can’t be cured by putting him near
    A girly, tiny, 9 or ten year old saaaaaaack.

    Not a topic for humour I know but we live in interesting times.

  3. Perfidious Albino says:

    If there was ever a UN mandate option it should have been in place months if not years ago. China will manage the Taliban through Pakistan – as the Orange One would have done.

    What a colossal waste of blood and treasure, albeit no doubt lucrative for the politco-military-industrial complex.

  4. Rabz says:

    Steyn’s column on this preposterous debacle:

    https://www.steynonline.com/11598/the-scale-of-humiliation

  5. V I Lenin says:

    Yet another American failure ,when are we going to wake up and refuse to enter these American Save the world for “democracy” futile costly adventures ?
    Save the world for “democracy from a country where a bunch of corrupt geriatrics can steal an election and go unpunished .
    Obviously there is popular support for the Taliban or thie ragbag of primitives would not have swept the US trained , well equipped Afghan army from the field ,now they are the best armed terrorist gang in the world .
    Whats to stop them stirring up moslems in all the other Stans , Russia and China ?

  6. JC says:

    Kobayashi’s Basilisk
    @FaeceSocietatis

    US embassy flag leaving Kabul. Must be the old version, I don’t see any rainbow patterns on it

    LOL

    https://twitter.com/FaeceSocietatis/status/1426941912825667594

  7. mem says:

    “If Western governments completely lose their minds and return their militaries to Afghanistan, we have the makings of a colossal global flashpoint.” Uncle Joe’s backers in the armaments industries have been counting on him. Whether he is cogent enough to be aware doesn’t matter as there are many behind the scenes pulling the strings. Joe’s their boy.

  8. Bar Beach Swimmer says:

    Zipster says:
    August 16, 2021 at 2:37 pm
    Minutes to fall not weeks….. going, going…. gone.

    Well that was YAD. (Yet Another Disaster)

    It gives the lie to the US intelligence services knowing what’s really going on on the ground.

    Or is it more likely that those announcements, like, for example, there’s weeks before Kabul will fall and may not do so because the Afghan army has many many more troops than do the Taliban (h/t Biden), are set ups to divorce US responsibility for the fall of Afghanistan (apart from the 20 years of not resolving anything).

  9. V I Lenin says:

    Im surprised none of Americas 14 well financed “intelligence ” services didnt see this coming ,it was as plain as the nose on your face that this would be the result of 20 years of thinking they were fighting native Americans ,although Custer proved that could end badly .
    The Swamp has as usual been totally incompetent ,they wouldnt follow the T rump withdrawal plan because Trump Bad ,so they ended up losing another war they had started .

  10. JohnJJJ says:

    Im surprised none of Americas 14 well financed “intelligence ” services didn’t see this coming
    I can bet many did see it coming. But why say it out loud?

  11. Carpe Jugulum says:

    Has anyone bothered to wake up Sleepy McGropeyhands and tell him what a fvk up he has overseen?

    Perhaps they’ll wait until he is lucid in the morning for that 15 minutes before his next nap.

  12. Muddy says:

    Intelligence services can perform their tasks to perfection, but if the political will to listen to and act upon their advice is non-existent…

  13. Rebel with cause says:

    If the West was serious about changing Afghanistan it had to be prepared to station troops there for 100 years or more. We were never going to do that. We aren’t in the business of occupation. We aren’t in the business of Western supremecy.

  14. Muddy says:

    It might have been more manageable – though perhaps politically unfeasible – to ‘shrink’ the country: create an Afghanistan within Afghanistan. Choose a handful of the most productive provinces (geographically adjacent) and defend that. Yes, I’m aware that the various ethnicities tend to group in specific regions, so it would be seen that the Government is protecting some and discarding others. I’d imagine that foreign nations might be more concerned about such a realignment of boundaries, more so than the locals. Having concentrated its forces, it is probable that the Taliban would still seek to conquer everywhere, but it may have allowed the security situation in the ‘new’ Afghanistan to stabilise somewhat. Having written that, it is possible that the Afghan Army would also have fractured, with local forces in the ‘former’ country choosing to remain and form their own militia. Which may then join the Taliban.

    While the quoted 300,000 Afghani troops sounds impressive, how many of those are phantom names? Is the 300,000 only a paper number?

  15. yarpos says:

    The big issue to me is that Pakistan has nukes. The is line of sight between the Taliban, and said weapons via their buds in Pakistan.

  16. Buccaneer says:

    This is a colossal embarrassment for the Biden government, no amount of but it was bush, Blair trumps fault can paper over how badly they have lost. Just the first in an avalanche of losing I suspect

  17. Crossie says:

    If Western governments completely lose their minds and return their militaries to Afghanistan, we have the makings of a colossal global flashpoint.

    ———————–

    They’re too busy imprisoning their populations and persecuting their soldiers.

  18. Crossie says:

    It gives the lie to the US intelligence services knowing what’s really going on on the ground.

    ——————-

    Depends what they were directed to spy on.

  19. Rockdoctor says:

    To be fair. I’d say some astute western intelligence operatives were probably belling the cat like before Pearl Harbour or even Sept 11. They were probably ignored or told to shut it. I was told yesterday that the 300,000 troops was actually less than half with ghost battalions all being paid. So there are some very rich Generals skipping to Tajikistan atm. Field int agents & SF handlers wouldn’t have been blind to that.

    As for Pakistan, I know Aussie expat presence there is quite substantial both with NGO’s andGovernment aid programs. A protected evacuation there will not be the 130 pers we are seeing now and likely be contested by one of the eventual warring factions.

    In words of Blackhawk down, tell him the (sitrep) is fluid.

  20. Enyaw says:

    Carp .. that 15 mins while he’s taking a leak .

  21. Speedbox says:

    Self evidently I wrote this post prior to the Taliban’s rapid arrival in Kabul and just a couple of days between writing and posting, rendered parts obsolete. Nevertheless, the remarks about Pakistan, India and elsewhere remain valid.

    I note that China is making soft noises about working with the Taliban government whilst sticking the knife into the Americans. Yeah, yeah, we’ll see how that works out.

    Neither China or Russia will close their embassies in Kabul and that is to be expected.

  22. Mick Gold Coast QLD says:

    Buccaneer says at 10:45 pm:

    “This is a colossal embarrassment for the Biden government, no amount of but it was bush, Blair trumps fault can paper over how badly they have lost. Just the first in an avalanche of losing I suspect”

    English would be good, with punctuation and so on. Then your opinion may be sensible.

    It certainly is not in its present form.

  23. Rorschach says:

    I note that China is making soft noises about working with the Taliban government whilst sticking the knife into the Americans. Yeah, yeah, we’ll see how that works out.

    China and Afghanistan share a border … albeit in Xinyang. A perfect path for a gas/oil pipe from China’s besties in Iran.

    The other – and scary – thing, is that China would be watching the capitulation of the US with great interest. They will see the US as weak – and that may give them encouragement to take a more aggressive posture vis-a-vis Taiwan.

    Interesting times – China will know that unless they fix the next US election they will have a Trump / De Santis type leader to contend with, and they may lose an opportunity “re-unify”…

  24. V I Lenin says:

    Liberal democracy never works in muslim 0countries the religion does not tolerate anything but theocratic dictatorships . Before that fool obama interfered in Syria , ,supposting a bunch of political chancers and isis supporters ,Christians and Yazidis coukd practice their faith unmolested , look at it now . Putin wisely supported Assad as the lesser of two evils who would keep stability in the country, very practical people Russians, strange mob who dont like woke nonsense ,take a leaf from their book .

  25. Katzenjammer says:

    Congratulations to Taliban are coming in from Pakistan, Turkey, Qatar, Hamas. Iran congratulated them on the peaceful takeover – *”Iran backs efforts to restore stability in Afghanistan”*

    Surely, if Biden had retired, Harris would have handled this much better.
    /sarc (in case it’s needed)

  26. roman says:

    Will any non-Western nation ever care about anything the US claims or wants or demands going forward? The West’s purported moral legitimacy to intervene is finished. We (speaking as an Aussie) will be expected to grovel for permission on the world stage to even offer a suggestion from now on.

    “Oh look someone from the the glorious West has got something to say. Let’s just chat amongst ourselves until we see their lips stop moving.”

  27. BorisG says:

    Lenin, liberal democracy probably not but UAE – style order is ok.

  28. Damon says:

    The singular benefit is that the free world is seen to be led by a senile old idiot.

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