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Afghanistan In Five Minutes

Oh Afghanistan, Afghanistan. That notoriously difficult land to govern. Empire after empire, nation after nation, regime after regime, have tried and have failed to pacify you. Today Afghanistan, has been given in the region the nickname “Graveyard of Empires.” Afghanistan is an incredible place. It is a mountainous landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South-Southern Asia. Most of Afghanistan lies between 2,000 and 10,000 feet of elevation. The population of the country consists of numerous ethnolinguistic groups: Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimaq, Turkmen, Baloch, Pashai, Nuristani, Gujjar, Arab, Brahui, Qizilbash, Pamiri, Kyrgyz, Sadat and others. Although the Afghan National Anthem and the Afghan Constitution each mention fourteen of this groups of people, nobody really knows how many are there.

Some notable invaders in the history of Afghanistan include the Maurya Empire, the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great of Macedon, Rashidun Caliphate, the Mongol Empire led by Genghis Khan, the Timurid Empire of Timur, the Mughal Empire, various Persian Empires, the Sikh Empire, the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and most recently a coalition force of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops, the majority from the United States, after September 11, 2001. On that fateful day, America suffered the worst attack since Pearl Harbor. 3000 Americans were killed. Thousands of others were injured, and in the years since, many thousands more have gotten sick or died from recovery efforts at Ground Zero and more will die in the coming years due to their exposure to breathable toxins in the rubble. Once we knew who the mastermind was, we went looking for him. And we found him in Afghanistan. The United States entered the country in the first-ever invocation of NATO's Article 5: "an attack on one is an attack on all," following the attacks in the United States.

However, the Taliban, who had no foreknowledge of Bin Laden's plans, refused to accept infidel foreign invaders and resisted. By December 2001, the distraction of crushing the Taliban, gave Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al'Qaeda, and other top commanders, the opportunity to flee to safety from his cave in the region of Tora Bora into Pakistan, a nominal U.S. ally. American forces did not pursue them as they entered Waziristan, the semi-wild, remote, autonomous region of Pakistan ruled by warlords, which ultimately evolved into a safe haven. Instead, the Americans settled into a strategic, cloak and dagger pursuit of Bin Laden. Eventually finding him in a compound next door to Pakistan's version of West Point, through the water boarding of three key individuals beginning with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), one of Bin Laden's strategic planners. And the rest is history. Not so fast.

The Taliban, can be said, was born out of chaos. It sprung forth from the chaotic civil war that emerged when the Soviets evacuated Afghanistan after ten years of relentless fighting. The glue that kept the various factions together to fight one common enemy, the Russians, lost its adhesiveness and they turned on each other to settled age old tribal disputes and claims of territory. As brutally repressive as the Taliban theocracy was, they brought order out of chaos. Fast forward to 2001 and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. When the Taliban realized the destructive might of the United States, and the extent to which the Americans were willing to go, they approached the Bush administration and offered peace terms, however, to their dismay, the Americans wanted blood and rejected the offer. The Americans recruited warlords that were the enemies of the Taliban like the Tajik Northern Alliance—bad hombres in their own right—and the Taliban was mercilessly hunted down. The Taliban then retreated and began a campaign of guerrilla warfare, using the same autonomous region of Pakistan, Waziristan, as their base of operations. And the Afghan gift of patience was observed with a sort of military strategic application... And here we are today.

After almost twenty years, the US has spent $2.26 trillion + dollars in Afghanistan. As of April, 2021, more than 2,400 US troops and 1,100 NATO service members, and civilian contractors have died. Tenths of thousands wounded and maimed. An estimated 70,000 Afghan national security forces have also been killed, as well as over 31,000 civilians and even thousands of Talibani. Afghanistan's President, Ashraf Ghani, has fled to neighboring Tajikistan on a Russian made transport helicopter weighted down by pallets of American $100 dollar bills. He's suspected of having hundreds of millions in secret Swiss and Pakistani bank accounts.

Meanwhile, the Afghan National Army, who hadn't been paid in months, hadn't been resupplied with ammo, equipment, or fuel in weeks, which as of last week was still showing up to fight, saw the writing on the wall and faded away. Now thousands of them will die in unrestrained retribution for allying themselves with the occupying infidels. The Taliban has their names. Their Taliban sympathizer neighbors know where they live. Their service records are in the hands of the Taliban punishment squads. It’s already happening. Whole families executed. One of the high ranking Taliban leaders, who will see to the appropriate punishment, and a point man for the Taliban talks with the Biden administration, is none other Khairullah Khalilzad, the Mullah released from GITMO by Obama back in 2014. Mullah Khairkhwa previously served as the Taliban’s interior minister in Afghanistan, where he oversaw enforcement of brutal Islamist punishments, including beheadings, before he was sent to Guantanamo Bay. He was one of the five Taliban commanders exchanged for the coward and deserter Robert Bergdahl.

As you read this, our allies are being hunted, tortured and executed. We have forsaken our brave Afghan comrades like we did our allies in Southeast Asia. Vietnam's, Laos's and Cambodia's highlands indigenous people, the Montagnards and Hmong. The Cubans at the Bay of Pigs. The Iraqis in the first gulf war. America has a shameful history of abandoning allies who place everything on the line when asked by America to join them. When our interests change and our politicians’ poll numbers dip, we run, and we abandon our allies to the mercies of our enemies. It has happened too many times before. It’s a travesty of morality and justice. Sooner or later we would have had to leave Afghanistan. That’s not the issue. The issue is how we are leaving the country. We have the mightiest military the world has ever seen and our planned retreat could have been more orderly and organized. Instead, with reckless abandonment, we have sealed the fate of thousands of allies and their families. But not only them.

There are an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 American civilians trapped in Kabul with no way to get to the airport. It’s egregiously outrageous. The Taliban will have no mercy. Man’s dark tendencies at cruelty will be unleashed at men, women and children. We have become inadvertently complicit in mass murder. Most Americans can’t even begin to process the scale of death and misery to come. But a lesson can be extracted from this man-made human crisis. A lesson to our would-be future allies. Seeing all this, would you ever join America? Would you ever put the lives of your loved ones in the hands of the duplicitous Americans? It’s a rhetorical question. The answer is painfully obvious.

History repeats itself? No. We repeat history.

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