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Afghanistan Likely to Fall in 2018
October 8, 2017
by William P. Meyers

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Taliban Victory Almost Certain; it could be worse

The CIA, the Pentagon, the United Nations, and most impartial observers agree (in private, anyway) that in 2018 a Taliban victory in Afghanistan is more likely than not. But no one wants to tell it to the American voters and taxpayers.

The snows of winter are about to fall on the mountains of Afghanistan, which will signal the end of the main fighting season. Come Spring the Taliban leadership will have to decide whether or not to push hard enough to cause the current "internationally recognized" government in Kabul to collapse. They are likely to decide for a push, but there will be a debate. If there is a decision to go ahead, victory is likely. But there is always much uncertainty in war. Maybe they will decide to fight carefully for another year, to let the American-backed warlords continue to weaken.

From an American point of view (my point of view, not that of idiots like Trump and the Pentagon leadership) a Taliban victory might be a good idea. Let me be clear: I think Islam is, like all religions, a pack of lies. On an absolute scale, the Taliban is a repugnant organization. But in the real world we have to pick between real alternatives. Are there people I like in Afghanistan, who have some of the same views of human rights that I have? Yes. But they are a small minority.

The real choices in Afghanistan are: American-backed warlords; the Taliban; Al Qaeda; and the Islamic state.

Normally I hate warlords, but in the big picture the warlords aren't all so bad. They are not so good either. As far as I know, they are all just as Islamic as the Taliban, or at least pretend to be. One or another might make a better dictator of Afghanistan (from my point of view), but they can't seem to unite behind one person. They are a coalition of rivals, mostly corrupt, mostly incompetent at state building, and inept at any business other than opium production and contracting with U.S. agencies.

So the real choices are: Taliban, Al Qaeda, and the Islamic State. Or some other group of nut cases yet to emerge.

So I think the U.S. should make a deal with the Taliban, if that is possible.

How will Afghanistan fall? Aside from the ongoing slow crumbling of the war lord state, I am guessing one or more of the war lords will cut a deal with the Taliban. They dislike each other enough that changing sides would not be a big deal.

What could stop, or at least delay the fall of Afghanistan? Two things. The most likely one is the Taliban splitting into two or more pieces. In a way the establishment of the Islamic State in Afghanistan is a result of a split in the Taliban, but it is a small split.

The other thing is a major U.S. intervention, again. Donald Trump was against wasting more American lives and taxpayer dollars, when he was lying to get elected. Then the Pentagon Pimps started sweet talking him. They have gotten some results. Jim Mattis, the Secretary of Defense, has said that the U.S. is sending more troops into the quagmire, with new rules of engagement. [See Mattis Discloses at the New York Times] And more sales for the defense industry.

Donald Trump does not like being a loser, and so does not want to "lose Afghanistan," just like Lyndon Johnson did not want to lose Vietnam. The Pentagon and CIA know that the nation is about to fall, so they want to get more troops in. Probably 200,000 troops will be needed, but even the Donald won't swallow a phallus that big, at least not all at once.

I don't think more bombing runs (the likely result of changing the rules of engagement) are going to change the course of the war. Nor will an infusion of Black Hawk helicopters (remember what happened to all those helicopters we gave to the government of South Vietnam?) The people of Afghanistan are tired, and they want peace, even if it means Taliban rule.

And remember, this is Taliban 2.0. They don't want to lose the country again if they regain it. They are going to be more flexible, at least at first. They will need popular support.




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