Friday/ Afghanistan: what’s next?

Kandahar, in particular, is a huge prize for the Taliban. It is the economic hub of southern Afghanistan, and it was the birthplace of the insurgency in the 1990s, serving as the militants’ capital for part of their five-year rule. By seizing the city, the Taliban can effectively proclaim a return to power, if not complete control.
– By Christina Goldbaum, Sharif Hassan and Fahim Abed writing in the New York Times

Lester Holt spent 10 minutes on NBC’s Nightly News on the Taliban’s unsettling takeover of Afghanistan.

Retired US Army general David H. Petraeus and Commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2010 & 2011, said on the radio today, that pulling out is a mistake, and that US forces need to go back in. It’s too late for that. Twenty years of effort and tens of billions of dollars of aid, to train an Afghan army, succumbed to the local corruption and internal strife there. The Biden* Administration has made it clear that the US troops are leaving, no matter what.

*Yes: Joe Biden is still the President of the United States. The delusional My Pillow guy had long touted today as ‘Reinstatement Day’ (which would see Trump put back in office). 

Map by Encyclopedia Brittanica.
Afghanistan is a mostly mountainous country (the Hindu Kush Himalayas) with 38 million people and 34 provinces. It is about as big as Texas. In the south is the Registan Desert. Afghanistan is the biggest producer of opium in the world. Most Afghans live in poverty and literacy rates in Afghanistan are among the lowest in the world, at 43%. The Taliban controls an estimated 65% of the territory, as of this week. [Map from FDD’s Long War Journal, figures from]

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