Boots & Sabers

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Tag: Afghanistan

China Reaches Out to Taliban in Afghanistan

Somehow, I don’t think the U.S. SOS is reading this right.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said China’s possible involvement in Afghanistan could be “a positive thing”.

 

He said this was if China was looking towards a “peaceful resolution of the conflict” and a “truly representative and inclusive” government.

 

His comments came after Taliban representatives visited China.

 

China said it saw the Taliban playing an important role in the peace process and rebuilding of Afghanistan.

 

“No one has an interest in a military takeover of the country by the Taliban, the restoration of an Islamic emirate,” said Mr Blinken, who was asked about the talks while on a visit to India.

 

He urged the Taliban to come to the “negotiating table… peacefully”.

Biden Administration is Abandoning Afghan Allies

This is a travesty and a stain on America. We must protect those who protected us.

Rep Seth Moulton, D-Mass., spoke at a rally on Friday to demand presidential action for American’s Afghan allies, such as interpreters who took great risks to help American troops and now are being left behind as U.S. military forces withdraw from the country.

 

Standing in Lafayette Square in front the White House, Moulton, a former Marine officer with multiple combat tours, said, “I want to thank veterans all across America, veterans of different political parties and different wars, who are coming together today and reminding Americans that we have a promise to uphold.”

 

The rally came one week after the New York Times reported that the Biden administration was notifying lawmakers that the U.S. would soon begin relocating thousands of Afghan allies to third countries while they await processing for their special immigrant visas. However, congressional members on both sides of the aisle have yet to receive details.

Taliban Retaking Afghanistan

Shame.

More than 1,000 Afghan soldiers have fled to neighbouring Tajikistan after clashing with Taliban militants, officials have said.

The troops retreated over the border to “save their own lives”, according to a statement by Tajikistan’s border guard.

 

Violence has risen in Afghanistan and the Taliban have been making significant gains, particularly in the north of the country, in recent weeks.

 

The surge coincides with the end of Nato’s 20-year military mission.

The vast majority of remaining foreign forces in Afghanistan have been withdrawn ahead of a September deadline, and there are concerns that the Afghan military will collapse.

As a matter of national interest, it was past time to pull back from Afghanistan. Notwithstanding the clumsy way in which we withdrew, we needed to do it. Unfortunately, the Afghan government is not strong enough to withstand the Taliban with their Neolithic methods.

What now? The reason we went into Afghanistan in the first place was because the Taliban, who ran the country, we providing safe haven for terrorists who attacked the U.S. It was a breeding ground for global terrorism. For 20 years, we have been successful in fighting them in their home base and disrupted their ability to strike out homeland. With our withdrawal, we are relying on the weak Afghan government to keep them in check. If (when) they fail and the Taliban takes over again, we will lose that check completely.

The good news is that 2021 is not 2000. Our advancements in technology, surveillance, and financial tools are substantial. Also, as we see from Biden’s recent attacks in Syria that went almost unmentioned, our willingness and ability to blow up a terrorist camp on foreign soil is different. Also, at least for the moment, we are more aware of the danger, but it seems that our domestic turmoil is making us ignore foreign threats at the moment. We can only focus on a limited number of things at one time.

So… we’ll see. The Taliban will have full control of Afghanistan by the end of the year. It will return to being a safe haven for terrorists who hate America. Has the Taliban learned the lesson and will keep their terrorists focused on domestic concerns to avoid 20-year forced hiatus from power? Will regional interests take more interest in their rogue neighbor? Will we go back to the state of things in 1999?

 

Time will tell.

US Exits Bagram

End of an era. I know a number of people who spent time on that base.

The last US and Nato forces have left Afghanistan’s Bagram airbase, the centre of the war against militants for some 20 years.

The pull-out could signal that the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is imminent.

 

President Joe Biden has said US forces will be gone by 11 September.

But the withdrawal from the sprawling base, north of Kabul, comes as the main jihadist group, the Taliban, advances in many parts of Afghanistan.

US and Taliban Move Toward Peace

Let’s hope it holds.

The US and the Taliban have signed an agreement aimed at paving the way towards peace in Afghanistan after more than 18 years of conflict.

The US and its Nato allies have agreed to withdraw all their troops from the country within 14 months if the militants uphold the deal.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Taliban leaders attended the signing ceremony in Doha in Qatar.

Talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are due to follow.

Under the agreement signed in Doha, the militants also agreed not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control.

 

Taliban Hold Peace Talks with US

According to them.

The Taliban held their first direct contact with a US official in a preliminary discussion about future peace talks on Afghanistan, a senior member of the insurgent group claimed on Saturday.

If correct, it marked one of the most significant developments amid efforts to find a negotiated end to the country’s protracted war.

The Taliban source described as ‘useful’ a meeting with Alice Wells, America’s top diplomat for South Asia, earlier this week.

One can hope.

Progress in Afghanistan?

Probably not, but interesting things are happening.

Afghanistan has extended its unilateral ceasefire with the Taliban following an initial truce observed by both sides over the Eid festival period.

President Ashraf Ghani appealed to the militants to follow the government’s lead and enter peace talks.

In extraordinary scenes, militants have been embracing security force members and taking selfies with citizens.

However 25 people died in a suicide attack on one gathering of Taliban and government officials in Nangarhar.

Taliban members and local residents were among the victims of the attack, province spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told the BBC, adding that 54 people were wounded.

Taliban Truce

Well, it’s something. Not sure what yet.

The Taliban have announced a three-day ceasefire with Afghan government forces coinciding with Eid later this month.

This is the Taliban’s first ceasefire since they were toppled by the 2001 US-led invasion and comes days after a unilateral truce by government troops.

The group said it would stop all offensive operations during the holiday, except against foreign forces.

The announcement came hours after Taliban fighters killed over 60 Afghan security forces across the country.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the Taliban move was an opportunity for the militants to realise “their violent campaign” was “not winning them hearts and minds but further alienating the Afghan people from their cause”.

The Afghan government’s unconditional truce follows a meeting of clerics, who earlier this week issued a fatwa condemning militant violence as un-Islamic.

The clerics were themselves targeted in a suicide attack claimed by IS, which killed 14 people outside their peace tent in Kabul this week.

The Taliban did not specify why they made the surprise decision to agree to the truce in their statement, but they did say they would consider releasing prisoners of war as long they did not continue fighting against them.

Taliban and ISIS Claim Attack of Mattis

Meanwhile, America is still at war.

The Taliban and ISIS are both taking credit for a rocket attack on Kabul airport early Wednesday just hours after U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis landed in Afghanistan for a surprise visit.

A barrage of up to 40 rounds of munitions hit the airport, including 29 rocket-propelled grenades, according to U.S. military officials.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesperson Najib Danish said later that three people allegedly involved in the attack were killed by Afghan special forces in an operation close to the airport.

Mattis had left the airport hours before the attack took place. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, also in Afghanistan, was similarly out of harm’s way when the rockets hit.

Trump Announces Afghanistan Policy

I’d rather get in or get out. I’m glad to be moving away from a static policy.

President Donald Trump has said a hasty US withdrawal from Afghanistan would leave a vacuum for terrorists to fill.

He said his original instinct was to pull US forces out, but had instead decided to stay and “fight to win” – avoiding the mistakes made in Iraq.

He said he wanted to shift from a time-based approach in Afghanistan to one based on conditions on the ground and said he would not set out deadlines.

However, the US president warned it was not a “blank cheque”.

“America will work with the Afghan government, so long as we see commitment and progress,” he said.

Mr Trump also warned Pakistan that the US would no longer tolerate the country offering “safe havens” to extremists, saying the country had “much to lose” if it did not side with the Americans.

“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars – at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” he said.

He also said the US would seek a stronger partnership with India.

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