Reflections on Events in Afghanistan

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

15. Enter regional states 

The Taliban hoisted their black and white flag on the presidential palace in Kabul on September 11, which happens to be the twentieth anniversary of the Al-Qaeda’s attack on New York and Washington, DC. The symbolism is too obvious to be missed. Although the Taliban had no hand in the 9/11 attacks, it took the brunt of the US’ revenge act to invade Afghanistan. 

No doubt, the flag hoisting is an assertion by the Taliban that they have returned as the ruling elite 20 years after their government was overthrown, and that is a reality the US cannot ignore. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-15/

16. Biden’s Taliban blues 

The best part of the visit by the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Nikolay Patrushev to New Delhi (September 7-8) was that the two countries may embark upon a voyage of discovery of each other at a phase in their relationship when the US-led Quad irrevocably sets them apart and as Delhi climbs on board the US’ Indo-Pacific Strategy to fight the Chinese on the beaches, in the hills and in the air. 

The Americans are of course back on the cold war era track obsessed with weakening and possibly dismembering Russia, if they can, to realise their elusive dream of ‘nuclear superiority’. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-16/

17. Foreign Devils on the Silk Road  

The title of an unputdownable 1980 classic by Peter Hopkirk comes to mind even as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation are preparing to hold back-to-back summit meetings at Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on September 17. 

Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Treasures of Central Asia tells the breathtaking story of the intrepid men who made long-range archaeological raids in far west China looking for the lost cities of the Taklamakan Desert before they were gradually swallowed by the shifting waves of sand (and weren’t rediscovered until the early 19th century.) 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-17/

18. India’s ‘over-the-horizon’ dilemma 

In England, they’d plan a park, build it but wouldn’t complete it until they could observe  for a while the foot tracks of walkers, before deciding where to lay the pathways for optimal utility. 

The Blinken Administration and Modi Govt apparently think they don’t have that luxury when it comes to Afghanistan. That is the troubling signal out of the Congressional hearing on Monday in Washington with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

But, for a start, Blinken was rather muted in his reaction on Pakistan’s perceived duplicity in taking advantage of the US. Certainly, he would know three things. 

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Afghanistan: women are at the forefront of protests against the Taliban

Weeda Mehran

The Conversation | Septmber 14, 2021

Despite what they insisted as they swept through Afghanistan, the Taliban appear to have remained largely the same since the days they ruled the roost in the 1990s. But Afghan society has changed tremendously since they were ousted by the US-led invasion in 2001. This is shown by the level of civil resistance observed in the past few weeks, a resistance that has been primarily spearheaded by women.

Such resistance, particularly at a critical time when the Taliban are under the gaze of the international community, is testing the militant group’s claim and ability to govern “fairly” in a changed society. Over the past 20 years, a generation of Afghans has grown up in a country becoming increasingly well-connected to the rest of the world. This generation has led a lifestyle significantly different from what previous generations experienced.

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The global research community must not abandon Afghanistan

Here’s how Afghanistan’s scholars can be supported.

Two silhouetted Afghan students talk in the American University of Afghanistan
Students from the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul in 2017. The university says it is relocating temporarily to another country.Credit: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty

“The situation in Afghanistan is horrifying. We need immediate assistance.”

This is one of several distressing messages sent to Nature by researchers in Afghanistan, following the Taliban’s capture of Kabul on 15 August and the evacuation of US military forces on 31 August. Researchers are among those who are now especially vulnerable. The United States has been their main source of funding and collaborations, and that puts them at increased risk of persecution by the new rulers. Most institutions remain closed, and many staff and students — women and men — are in hiding.

For now, the Taliban has announced an amnesty, and is urging Afghanistan’s professionals to stay in the country and continue to go to work. But researchers interviewed by Nature are not taking any risks. Many remember the Taliban’s previous rule (1996–2001), and the systematic human-rights violations, particularly against girls, women and minority communities.

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US ECONOMIC WAR ON CUBA CONTINUES, EVEN AFTER WAR IN AFGHANISTAN ENDS

President Joe Biden justified military withdrawal from Afghanistan by arguing that the US must stop “military operations to remake other countries,” but its efforts to “remake other countries” like Cuba through economic warfare continue unabated.

Radhika Desai and Arnold August

The Real News Network | September 01, 2021

As the 20-year war in Afghanistan officially came to an end, President Joe Biden justified US military withdrawal in an address to the nation on Aug. 31: “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.” While these remarks suggest a potential reckoning with the longstanding US policy of imperialist intervention around the world, increased US sanctions on Cuba demonstrate that such intervention persists in the form of economic warfare. From the dire strain US sanctions have put on the Cuban economy to the corporate media frenzy that exploited protests in Cuba this summer as a justification for interventionist “regime change,” it is clear that efforts by the US to “remake other countries” are not ending any time soon.

TRNN contributor Radhika Desai is joined by Arnold August to discuss the protests in Cuba, the media narratives about the protests, and the prospect that the Biden administration will succeed in exploiting Cuba’s current troubles to achieve its interventionist ends. August is a Montreal-based author, journalist, lecturer, and the author of multiple books on Cuba, including Democracy in Cuba and the 1997–98 ElectionsCuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion, and Cuba–U.S. Relations: Obama and Beyond.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

11. US slips out of Kabul but is vengeful

The back-to-back press briefings on August 30 by General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr, commander, US Central Command and Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, on Afghanistan conveys the picture of a superpower badly bruised and embittered but remaining vengeful. This is bad news. 

Gen. McKenzie said, “Taliban had been very — very pragmatic and very business-like… they were actually very helpful and useful to us as we closed down operations”. But then, Americans wouldn’t even share with the Taliban the exact time of their “tactical exfiltration”. Nor was there any “discussion of turning anything over.” 

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12. To recognise, or not to recognise, that’s the question

At the weekly briefing in Moscow on Thursday by the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated that Russia will consider recognising Afghanistan’s new authorities once an inclusive government is formed in the country. 

To quote Zakharova, “We call for the establishment of an inclusive coalition government in Afghanistan that would involve all of the country’s ethnic and political forces, including ethnic minorities, so the question of recognising the country’s authorities will rise after the process is over.” (TASS

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13. Panjshir revolt becomes footnote

At the daily foreign ministry briefing in Beijing on Friday, Russian correspondent of Sputnik asked spokesperson Ambassador Wang Wenbin how China viewed the Taliban decision to attack Panjshir and how this will affect the Afghan situation. 

Ambassador Wang replied that “it is China’s sincere hope that all parties in Afghanistan will go with the Afghan people’s eager aspiration and the international community’s expectation to resolve differences through consultation and ensure a steady transition so that the people of this war-torn country can live free from war and conflict and build lasting peace at an early date.” 

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14. The fall of Panjshir

Panjshir has fallen to the Taliban with a bang — and a whimper. The bang is because a 40-year old legend lies shattered, the legend of the invincibility of Panjshir Valley. And the whimper is because the short-lived ‘resistance’ had a tame ending. 

A BBC report said the revolt’s two top leaders Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh were not even in Panjshir during the past 4 days at least but had left for Tajikistan and were apparently leading the so-called ‘resistance’ via Twitter. It may seem farcical and will have deleterious consequences. 

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Afghanistan Crisis: Statements by Communist Parties

idcommunism.com | August 27, 2021

Since the beginning of the rapid developments in Afghanistan and the comeback of Taliban in the power, Communist and Workers’ Parties from all over the world have issued statements concerning the situation in the country.  The vast majority of statements refer to the disastrous role of US-EU imperialism, the military intervention in 2001, as well as the immense responsibilities of the U.S. and European governments for supporting the rise of Taliban in the 1980s, primary in the war against the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. 

Read here the statement of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE)

Read here the joint statement by the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist). 

Other Statements:

Party of Labour, Austria (PdA)

On the developments in Afghanistan

The developments in Afghanistan confirm the reactionary and for the peoples devastating character of imperialist wars and interventions. The fall of the Afghan puppet government and the return of the Islamist Taliban movement to power after the withdrawal of the US and NATO occupation forces of course mean a continuation of the sufferings of the Afghan people caused by the uninterrupted interference of imperialist forces in the country for decades.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

8. US senses that Taliban is reality – Implications   

This week will stand out as a pivotal moment in President Joe Biden’s presidency. It has been a humble moment yet bold and decisive, far-sighted but tactical, and focused on America’s self-interests. It underscores that the US’ capacity to force its will on other countries (or even non-state actors) has dramatically diminished. 

To Biden’s detractors and critics, this might seem a moment of weakness — that the CIA Director William Burns had to travel to Kabul to seek a concession from the Taliban leadership to extend the August 31 deadline for the evacuations at Kabul Airport, which the Taliban political chief Mullah Ghani Baradar plainly refused. 

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-8/

US President Biden enters Roosevelt Room in the White House to give a statement on US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Aug 24, 2021

9. A political windfall for Taliban

The horrific terrorist strikes in Kabul on Thursday which killed at least 12 US servicemen and dozens of civilians will lead to a higher level of cooperation between the US and the Taliban. 

The commander of CENTCOM Gen. Kenneth McKenzie disclosed to journalists on Thursday that  the US was already sharing information on terror threats in Afghanistan with Taliban. As he put it, “We share versions of this information with the Taliban so that they actually make searches… We think they’ve thwarted some.”

Read Full Article: https://www.indianpunchline.com/reflections-on-events-in-afghanistan-9/

10. Taliban has a package deal with US. Coast is clear for new government in Kabul. 

The US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan discussed today in an interview with CBS “Face the Nation” the evolving relationship between Washington and the Afghan Taliban. Three things emerge. 

First, Sullivan disclosed that “over-the-horizon strikes” against the ISIS-K from outside Afghanistan will continue but he ruled out any return to combat missions.

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Afghanistan’s terrified scientists predict huge research losses

Smriti Mallapaty

Nature | August 27, 2021

Afghans make their way through a flooded street towards a nearby airport entrance
Afghans who hope to be evacuated head through flooded streets towards Kabul’s airport.Credit: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Shutterstock

On Sunday 15 August, geologist Hamidullah Waizy was interviewing job candidates at the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum in Kabul when he was told the Taliban had entered the city, and he must evacuate. The next morning, he saw armed militants on the streets.

Waizy, a researcher at Kabul Polytechnic University who was recently also appointed director-general of prospecting and exploration of mines at the ministry, was shocked by the city’s rapid fall. Since then, he’s lived in limbo, mostly shuttered up in the relative safety of his home.

Across Kabul, most universities and public offices remain closed. The Taliban says it wants officials to continue working, but it is not clear what this will look like. “The future is very uncertain,” Waizy told Nature.

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Afganistan, The Great Game of Smashing Countries

John Pilger

MintPress News | August 24, 2021

Afghanistan Feature photo

As a tsunami of crocodile tears engulfs Western politicians, history is suppressed. More than a generation ago, Afghanistan won its freedom, which the United States, Britain and their “allies” destroyed.

In 1978, a liberation movement led by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) overthrew the dictatorship of Mohammad Dawd, the cousin of King Zahir Shar. It was an immensely popular revolution that took the British and Americans by surprise.

Foreign journalists in Kabul, reported the New York Times, were surprised to find that “nearly every Afghan they interviewed said [they were] delighted with the coup”. The Wall Street Journal reported that “150,000 persons … marched to honour the new flag …the participants appeared genuinely enthusiastic.”

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