CIPHER Brief professional approach
Older Americans have Saigon 1975, and helicopters from the roof of the embassy are in their memory. The previous generation of British was disturbed by the image of General Perseol handing over a large number of troops and equipment to the Japanese in Singapore in 1942. How Kabul falls into the hands of the Taliban may have practical and symbolic significance.
The announcement that the United States is sending 3,000 troops to Kabul with 600 British troops to help evacuate its citizens and the Afghans who provided assistance is a long-term response to the rapidly deteriorating situation. If left unmanaged, they can be left astray and lose the right path. Taliban infiltrators are already present inside Kabul and the forces that captured 12 Ghazni and Kandahar.Th August will be heading to the capital on his Honda 125cc motorbike.
The United States may have pledged not to launch a full-scale attack on Kabul until the withdrawal of Taliban negotiators from Qatar is completed, but elements of suspicion remain. The Taliban’s previous assurances have proved futile, and it is doubtful that individual Taliban commanders will want to step down while some of Ashraf Ghani’s ministers, top military officers, judges and officials are forced to live in exile.
It is difficult not to be impressed by the pace of the Taliban’s recent successes. In the same number of days, it captured 13 of Afghanistan’s 34 regional capitals. It is reminiscent of the extraordinary progress that the Japanese made to Singapore in 1942 as the ultimate reward for the destruction of the Malay Peninsula.
The success of the Taliban was not accidental. This is clearly the result of preparation and planning. Above all, they have learned from the experience of 1994-1996 when they finally captured Kabul but failed to capture the north, thus finding a way for the Northern Alliance parties to survive and then 9/11. Re-established itself after terrorist attacks
This time, the Taliban first focused on border checkpoints with neighboring countries (thus denying the government important supply routes and customs revenue) before taking out regional capitals and leaving Kabul (occupied). It’s never been easier. Above all, they have focused on the north, where many rural Afghans are disgusted with the Kabul government and regional militants. The north is no longer the stronghold of anti-Taliban sentiment that it was in the 1990s.
The Taliban’s advance in the north has ruled out the possibility of a re-emergence of the old Northern Alliance after the fall of the Ashraf Ghani government. While in 1996, Ahmad Shah Massoud, his brilliant military leader, managed to leave Kabul and retreat with a strategy on the Panjshir Valley, that option is hardly available today. Not only is Massoud dead, but his former followers are no longer guerrilla fighters, but members of the Afghan army, which is struggling to function without US air support.
The Taliban have also ruthlessly taken advantage of the weak negotiating position of the United States and its chief negotiator, Zalmai Khalilzad. While some members of the Taliban team in Doha, such as Mullah Baradar, may have been really ‘moderate’, there was never any doubt that the Taliban movement wanted to see the complete defeat of the Kabul government and the withdrawal of Western forces. ۔ Pakistan may have occasionally considered some form of negotiation agreement, but in the end the only surefire way to keep Indian influence out of Afghanistan (it thinks) is through Taliban rule.
The Afghan army (and especially its impressive special forces) will now gather in Kabul and be able to repel initial attempts to capture the city. Certainly, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar found it impossible to capture Kabul even with the help of Pakistan in 1992 and 1993, which changed the support of the newly formed Taliban movement in late 1994 in a world of despair.
But from 1992 to 1996, there were frequent shipments of supplies from Russia, Iran and India to Massoud and his Northern Alliance bodyguards. In 2021, the position is very different. Russia has already decided to “back the winner” and believes it has fulfilled its promise to the Taliban not to expose Islamism to the north in the Central Asian Republic (CARs). Will Iran also has Taliban channels and will keep a close eye on any return to the Taliban’s persecution of Shia Hazaras. And India has already approached the Taliban in Doha in the hope that the Taliban in power will prevent Kashmiri militant groups from setting up bases there.
Therefore, it is likely that Kabul will soon fall to the Taliban. If the Americans and British manage to deploy their evacuation forces soon, they should be able to complete the operation successfully, although there are likely to be shocking scenes at the airport as the refugee mob fires. The tip is removed from the departing plane. Regional powers, particularly Pakistan, will try and persuade the Taliban to refrain from intervening, believing that a bloody second round of Taliban rule in Kabul would be a catastrophic start. Ironically, however, the evacuation will almost certainly lead to the overthrow of the Kabul government as senior officials are forced to decide whether to take the last plane out or face almost violence and death at the hands of the victors. have to do it. It is doubtful whether any Western country will choose to maintain its embassy in Kabul. The memory of Benghazi will be very crude for President Biden.
What is certain is that there will be new popular images to compete with the images of Saigon and Singapore.
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