Afghanistan: watch what you say

[Screengrab/Al Jazeera]

The Taliban, who have swept into power by ousting the US and NATO-supported Afghan government led by Ashraf Ghani, in an almost bloodless military campaign that lasted only a short period of time, are apparently fond of saying to foreign powers: ‘you have the watches, we have the time’. They waited 20 years, and now, they are back in power. Only time will tell whether Taliban 2021 will be any better than the brutal regime of 1996. Meanwhile, the US and its allies can only squirm at their optimistic assessments of Afghanistan’s political future. Here is a sample.

“The history of military conflict in Afghanistan [has] been one of initial success, followed by long years of floundering and ultimate failure. We’re not going to repeat that mistake.”

— President George W. Bush, in a speech at the Virginia Military Institute

April 17, 2002

Source: Craig Whitlock, Washington Post, December 9, 2019

“This army and this police force have been very, very effective in combat against the insurgents every single day. And I think that’s an important story to be told across the board.”

— Then-Army Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, praising the Afghan security forces during a press briefing from Kabul. Milley is now a four-star general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

September 4, 2013

Source: Craig Whitlock, Washington Post, December 9, 2019

President Biden, in response to a question by a journalist.

Q: Is a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan now inevitable?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, it is not.

Q    Why?

THE PRESIDENT:  Because … the Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped — as well-equipped as any army in the world — and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban.  It is not inevitable.

The U.S. intelligence community concluded last week (in mid-June) that the government of Afghanistan could collapse as soon as six months after the American military withdrawal from the country is completed, according to officials with knowledge of the new assessment.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2021

Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister,  proclaimed: “there is no military path to victory for the Taliban” 

August 07 2021

Source: The Guardian

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