by Rory Stewart
Thursday, 16
December 2021
Debate
17:10

It’s time for the West to engage with the Taliban

As a winter crisis looms, the Afghan people need our support more than ever
by Rory Stewart
Credit: Getty

The Taliban won the war in Afghanistan. Perhaps it was inevitable, perhaps it was not. But it is in any case a reality. And the consequences of the international withdrawal are horrifying. Half of the nearly 40 million people in Afghanistan are now at risk of famine and starvation. Covid-19 has spread across a country with next to no vaccination or medical ventilator capacity. The economy is broken. Prices and unemployment are soaring. Health care systems are disintegrating. And there is no coherent long-term strategy to prevent a major terrorist threat from re-emerging.

Yet all is not lost. Despite the debacle this summer, the war’s end came with remarkably little bloodshed. That was not the result of any U.S. or NATO policy but it was a welcome and surprising outcome. Moreover, despite having been bitter enemies for two decades, NATO and the Taliban found a modus vivendi this summer, as the latter even helped us (imperfectly) evacuate more than 120,000 people at risk as Kabul fell. That tacit cooperation suggests a path forward for counterterrorism policy as well.

Alas, these silver linings to the withdrawal are both at dire risk. It will prove little solace that civil war and massive revenge killings were averted this year if many hundreds of thousands of Afghans suffer preventable deaths from starvation and privation this winter. Moreover, if we refuse to engage with the Taliban at any meaningful level, its leadership might have less and less motivation to rein in terrorist movements that could again take root there. And economic collapse and isolation risk provoking deeper instability, insecurity and repression.

The international community should now look seriously at making a deal with the Taliban to address these risks. And they should do so very quickly before the harsh winter and starvation fully sets in.

Although it lost the war against the Taliban, the United States and its allies are still able to influence events on the ground. There is the last resort of military action, such as air-strikes against the Taliban, should they again ally with al Qaeda. What is more relevant, however, is the international community’s tool kit of positive incentives. The international community should not use humanitarian aid as a threat against the Taliban (threatening to starve Afghans to achieve leverage over their government is neither practical nor moral).

Instead, we could deliver humanitarian aid and a basic level of development support to key sectors of the Afghan economy — including the export economy — immediately, not as part of a negotiation. (There are for example more than a million rural women working in the carpet industry who could be exporting their rugs). The U.S. and its allies could ensure that sanctions do not impede such aid and development. 

But the United States and the international community also have other significant things to offer that could influence Taliban behaviour — including diplomatic recognition, more generous development and technical assistance, and access to that country’s foreign bank accounts.

The Taliban, and Afghan people, desperately need all these things. Judging by their relatively restrained behaviour this summer and autumn, the Taliban seem to know it. They have also shown that, for the most part (though still directed by a misogynistic and hard-line Pashtun male leadership), they can at least generally enforce their decisions through the ranks, maintain security and aid delivery across most of the country. NGOs and UN agencies have been able to distribute aid and development assistance to much of the population in order to resuscitate some economic activity and tackle starvation.

In exchange for diplomatic recognition, and gradual, conditional access to funds as well as other resources, the Taliban might be expected to meet minimal standards of human rights and fair governance. Negotiators could push hard for crucially important goals such as: education, even if separate, for girls and women; legal rights for girls and women, and for people from minority ethnic and religious groups; equal access to food, health care, and job opportunities for all elements of society; and denying terrorists safe haven there.

Any deal would also need to ensure full protection and access for development and humanitarian workers, including internationals. The international community would need a presence on the ground, in the form of technical assistance teams and a small (possibly UN staffed) peace observation mission, to ensure that the bargain is kept and to assist where desired in its implementation. This kind of bargain may now be the only realistic route to avoiding consequences far more horrifying than anything that has so far followed the international withdrawal from Kabul.

Rory Stewart, a senior Fellow at Yale’s Jackson Center, is a former UK Secretary of State for International Development, and the author of “the Places in Between”.  Michael E. O’Hanlon holds the Phil Knight Chair on defense and strategy at the Brookings Institution. Obaid Younossi is director of the defense and political sciences department at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.

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Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
9 months ago

If the taliban don’t want to accept help on the west’s terms, but would rather starve their own children and women because of a barbaric, religious, mass mindset straight out of the stoneage, how possibly can such people be helped?
I notice neither China nor Russia nor Pakistan nor India want to touch Afghanistan on the taliban’s terms with a bargepole – none of them are helping there on the scale the situation demands.
If we wanted to help the Afghans, why did we abandon a country full of children (40% of all Afghans are apparently under 14), to the taliban just a few weeks ago? The taliban are either adult enough to take ownership of their own population, or they are not. If they are not, then on what possible grounds would you act as though they are, and recognise them? If they are, then they are adult enough to accept the West’s help on the West’s terms, not theirs. Either we have a responsibility to those children, or the taliban do – it can’t be both in the current circumstances, why is this not patent?
As to the ‘…relatively restrained behaviour…‘, well, countless stories of summary executions and torture of Afghans who worked for the Americans or the UK, says you are totally soft-peddling this.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

“If the taliban don’t want to accept help on the west’s terms,”

Stop your Cultural Imperialism. They want help – but NOT your ilk telling them how to manage their Families, how Husband and Wife, Parent and Child, Laws and Courts, City Streets, Employment Law, Education Laws must work – Just leave their culture and religion and laws and society to them – Give them the MATERIAL AID, and leave out the F**ked Up attempt to make their culture as messed up as ours is. Let them have their culture messed up in their own ways; ways they have had for Millennia.

“If the taliban don’t want to accept help on the west’s terms, but would rather starve their own children and women because of a barbaric, religious, mass mindset straight out of the stoneage, how possibly can such people be helped?”

They think us the utterly depraved ones – the women singer saying how porn at 11 years old wrecked her – that is baseline how sick the West is under Liberalism a-morality. They DO NOT want that, and yet that liberalism is what your sort say they must accept or you will not give them food…. And – they have EVERY RIGHT to their Religion! And it is not your job to edit and ‘Fix’ it to your tastes.

“As to the ‘…relatively restrained behaviour…‘, well, countless stories of summary executions and torture of Afghans who worked for the Americans or the UK, says you are totally soft-peddling this.”

Have you ever been out into the world? Do you know what usually happens after 40 years of war resolve? Mass retribution – mass killings, displacement, total horrors… Some atrocities happened – but it would appear the Taliban have acted with restraint.

And Really!

“The taliban are either adult enough to take ownership of their own population, or they are not. If they are not,”

OK, you seemed to have snoozed through the last 40 years….as have your SHEEP up voters. 1980 USSR invades, we respond by arming the mujahideen with Billions and Billions of $ through ISI, and KSA created the Taliban in the Western Frontier Deobandi Salafist Madrassas. We do this to cause the USSR to bankrupt themselves in Afghanistan war – so use the country as a place to hold the proxy fighting part of the Cold War.

Then we do get USSR out, and then Talban gets control, and so we go in to ‘Get Osama’ (an insane excuse). Really we go in for Industrial Military Complex reasons – and once in the 4th wave, Neo-Marxist, Postmodernist MSM, NGOs, and their lackeys in the American intellectual (Universities and gov) Left/Liberal camp make it a war against the ‘Patriarchy’ and so another 20 years of war for our political weird reasons.

Then we finally give up – one morning Brandon wakes up and says ‘But-Out’ so we do – leaving an utter MESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Any you condense this 40 year war history into

“The taliban are either adult enough to take ownership of their own population, or they are not. If they are not,””

You little desk rabbits need to not be so quick to figure out other lands and people and war and famine and religion and economies and disaster and such – and use your limited background to come up with a one line answer…

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

“…They want help – but NOT your ilk telling them how to manage their Families…

My name is little Hibatullah Akhundzada,
An’ the Bairns don’t even have a fire
So the wife says “Hibatullah, go to Kabul Town!”
And if they don’t give us half a chance, Don’t even give us a second glance
Then Hibatullah, with my blessings, burn them down!

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

1899, the same mindset as the sheep posters here, By Rudyard Kipling:

“Take up the White man’s burden —
Send forth the best ye breed
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild —
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.

Take up the White Man’s burden
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times mad plain.
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.

Take up the White Man’s burden
The savage wars of peace
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch Sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hope to nought.

Take up the White Man’s burden
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go make them with your living,
And mark them with your dead!

Take up the White man’s burden
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light: —
“Why brought ye us from bondage,
“Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden
Ye dare not stoop to less —
Nor call too loud on freedom
To cloak your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your Gods and you.

Take up the White Man’s burden
Have done with childish days —
The lightly proffered laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers! ”

I suppose that is what you all want – go over to these childish people’s lands and ‘Fix’ their stone age religion, culture, mindset, education, society – and give them all the Blessings of a-morality, broken families, Nihilism, Solipsism, atheism, endemic depression, hook-ups, eating disorders, single motherhood, which you call Progressive Liberalism.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains, jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your gawd like a soldier.
Rudyard Kipling 1892

Afghanistan has always been a violent and ruthless place. Your defense of the Talaban’s good intentions is unconvincing. Your condemnation of colonialism doesn’t raise enough guilt from me to make me forget that anti-colonialists in general, and specifically the Taliban in this case, have a history (herstory?) of mass murder. They can’t be trusted with food aid or money.

Last edited 9 months ago by Douglas Proudfoot
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I would be inclined to agree with you, except for two things; many of them do want what had become available over the twenty years and has now been removed at the point of a gun, and secondly, why should we continue to pay anything at all on their terms rather than ours?
That said, since there is no alternative legitimate government, we must recognise them whether we like it or not. We should then relieve starvation, provided food isn’t purloined by the men with guns, or used by them as leverage, which may be difficult. We should continue to encourage steps towards self-sufficiency in food, although it doesn’t help that their population has doubled in the last twenty years, one reason why there are so many young men willing to play with guns; that, and their ‘culture and religion and laws and society’.

Ri Bradach
Ri Bradach
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

There is no obligation on the part of anyone to help. If they choose to offer aid but place conditions upon that help – as is the aid provider’s choice – then your friends have a choice: accept an offer to move into the 21st Century from the 14th or continue to stay there.

The people of Afghanistan then have a choice: support these fundamentalists as they did for the last 20 years against the West (no Islamic “brotherhood” countries will do a thing to help Afghanistan, regardless of who is in power) or depose them.

Frankly, as a Westener, let me say this: I will never vote to open our borders to you again and I do not care what you or your people do to one another within yours. I will never part with a penny to support any version of you and I will oppose with all my fibre any politician that chooses to salve their pathetic need to virtue signal with the blood of other people’s children.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
9 months ago

Juxtapose this:
“…Moreover, if we refuse to engage with the Taliban at any meaningful level, its leadership might have less and less motivation to rein in terrorist movements that could again take root there…”
With this:
“…threatening to starve Afghans to achieve leverage over their government is neither practical nor moral…”

If this means anything, it means the taliban are free to blackmail us, but we must help them unconditionally, *even if they do*. Notice a problem with this line of persuasion?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

sigh..

Taliban have NEVER been Proselytizers. The Taliban Religion is a Salifst form of Deobandi Sunni Islam – Coupled with the native Afghani Social and Cultural Tribal Code of ‘Pashtunwali’

Talib are a sect of Sunni which is Highly Cultural Specif to the Pushtu People. It is a Tribal Sect of Sunni of the Afghani’s, who are an utter isolationist people – it has no wish to Convert foreign societies, it is an inward looking Islamic Sect, because it is very culturally specific.

You confuse Whabbism – which is the Sunni Sect of Arabia – and as you should know Islam swept out of Arabia to take 1/3 of the world because the Arabian Islam is TOTALLY Proselytizing, its purpose is to convert all to Islam.

But that is NOT Taliban’s way. They have no wish to wage international Jihad.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Your post makes a lot of sense, but has nothing to do with Prashant Kotak’s post, which I won’t explain again, because if you don’t understand his explanation, you won’t understand mine.

Julia H
Julia H
9 months ago

To clarify, according to Rory Stewart we are responsible for all those we evacuated from Afghanistan, and all those we left behind? It is our job to feed everyone and provide medicine and technology to support nation building? We should carry on as though we were still in the country doing what we’ve been trying to do for the last decades and ignore the collapse of the former government and associated infrastructure, seamlessly recognising the Taliban and welcoming them into the international fold in the hope they’ll behave? At what point do the people of Afghanistan take responsibility for themselves and the support that they have consistently provided to those for whom the acquisition of power is more important than feeding their population? They have waged war against modernising their country. Let them own it.

James Joyce
James Joyce
9 months ago
Reply to  Julia H

Spot on! Excellent commentary. Rory is a global citizen, quick to blame “us for all global wrongs. “We” must do this, “we” must do that. It is “our” fault.
Cheers, Rory–it’s not our fault at all. It’s their fault! It’s their fault that they support a fundamentally and irredeemably corrupt society of absolutely no interest to the West–except staying out of it and making sure that the Afghans stay in Afghanistan and not come to the West.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Julia H

We Should NOT have mass Muslim Migration to the West. The West should be Christian for the main part. Also the typical economic/political ‘refugee’ from the MENA are not going to add much, but cost a great deal over time.

BUT Islam is at least Moral. It has a terrific Moral backbone, something the West has lost almost completely. I do think that is the strength they do bring as a migrant. They are ‘Of The Book’ (Old Testament, 10 Commandments)

Julia H
Julia H
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

It’s not the sort of morality I wish to see taking over my country, thanks. Primary schoolgirls in hijabs and men burning copies of The Satanic Verses in East London are not in the least bit enriching in my opinion. We ought to have stamped on both as soon as they happened but of course we just rolled over as usual.

Last edited 9 months ago by Julia H
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

There’s some truth in what you say, but when a religion dominates, one tends to find that some pay lip service but act quietly in an amoral way, while others become so zealous that they find a justification for acting other than the religion expects.

James Joyce
James Joyce
9 months ago

“Moreover, if we refuse to engage with the Taliban at any meaningful level, its leadership might have less and less motivation to rein in terrorist movements that could again take root there. And economic collapse and isolation risk provoking deeper instability, insecurity and repression.”
Why is this any of our business? Must the West be in Afghanistan forever because of 9/11? Perhaps it would be better to “harden the target” and make it less likely that Saudi extremists can harm the US or the West? Weren’t most of the 9/11 attackers Saudis? Maybe we should have invaded Saudi Arabia.
What do we owe the Afghan people? One letter writer in the WSJ answered as follows: I suppose it depends on whether we were there to help them or they were there to help us.
I believe we owe them nothing. We should “acknowledge” that they won, just as we acknowledge gravity, maths, etc. Perhaps if we wanted to “acknowledge” the Taliban, help the Afghan people, the West might not have exfiltrated 120K of the best and the brightest leave Afghanistan. May I suggest that (what some believe are) their considerable talents and abilities of use in today’s Afghanistan? Did their exfiltration help Afghanistan? The Afghan people?
The problems that Rory is so worried about also exist in the West, especially the US. Perhaps tens of millions of people have inadequate medical and dental care, many don’t have proper food to eat, they are often victims of unspeakable violence that has been essentially normalized…..the list goes on.
I hope Rory had fun on his walkabout; may I suggest a walkabout in the US so he can see how much help the US needs?

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
9 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

I’m sorry to have read this comment, because it’s just so far from my idea of how the world ought to work, and how the world must work if we are to have a decent common future. Engaging is always better than not engaging. And engagement needs to be restrained, as civilised as possible, optimistic, forward-looking. Because that approach immediately nullifies the language of hate and miscomprehension on which catastrophes, like the Afghan one, are based.

James Joyce
James Joyce
9 months ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Sorry to have to read this comment…?
With respect, I won’t apologize. It seems we have a respectful agreement on how the world should work, and I’m not seeking a “common future,” whatever that is.
Of course we must accept reality and engage with other countries. A country like Afghanistan may need “help,” with the real question is “how much help should we give them?”
Helpfully, I’ve done the calculations for you and arrived at the correct number: zero! They can “Let’s Go Brandon.” Not our job to nation build a corrupt country of goat “herders” from the 6th Century and turn them into a Jeffersonian democracy. Girls can’t go to School? Too bad, so sad, not my business.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
9 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

So why was it “your” business to spend all those years and all that money there ?

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

It seemed like a good idea, but it depended on the USA, or at least we believe that, and once that support was withdrawn, and precipitously at that, the argument can be made that we can cut our losses. After all, it’s not as though we’re flush with money. How much do the USA and UK now owe?

Last edited 9 months ago by Colin Elliott
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

When you used to go into a china shop it would say ‘You Break It, You Bought It’

“The problems that Rory is so worried about also exist in the West, especially the US. Perhaps tens of millions of people have inadequate medical and dental care, many don’t have proper food to eat, they are often victims of unspeakable violence that has been essentially normalized…..the list goes on”

Our poorest are the world’s well off – just look it up.

AND prices are cheaper in USA than elsewhere – food is cheaper in USA, energy is, clothing is…. AND the government gives so much out in ‘food stamps’ The poor in USA have all the food they ever could need, way more – that the poor manage their money so bad is the issue. At least compared to the developing and third world – I have seen enough starving babies out in the hot sun in the world – to know that poverty is not a thing in USA.

James Joyce
James Joyce
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

With respect, this is just wildly wrong. Should the US battle with the DRC for who can be the poorest, the most miserable, have the least?
I am not defending the poor–I would like to stop importing them at the rate of millions per year–but you simply don’t know what you are talking about, mate. To say that “poverty is not a thing in the USA” boggles the mind. Tens of millions of people in America do not have $400 squirreled away for an unexpected expense.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

“Tens of millions of people in America do not have $400 squirreled away for an unexpected expense.

That is because we have inculcated the mindset of wastefulness and not saving. I lived poorer than any of what you call poor – for years. I always saved if I was making more than the dollar a day I lived on for years (1970s, 80s Dollars). I lived years and years by working minimum wage in USA, saving enough for me to head off on another year long travel out of my pack – that I would work 80 hour weeks, and not spend one penny more than just the basics to live made that possible.

Self Induced Poverty is what we have in USA with 90% of the poor, willful poverty. Drugs, alcohol, broken marriage, sloth, and a culture of Failure.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
9 months ago

Pakistan has given tacit support to the Taliban in recent years. So if the UK does decide to throw money at Kabul, every penny should be deducted from the £300 million per year that the UK lavishes on Pakistan in so-called development aid.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
9 months ago

The Taliban won without any plan for the future. They were completely irresponsible. Their only goal was power. They made no provision to feed their country. Their ally, Pakistan, made no provision to feed Afghanistan either. Why is this the West’s problem?

Just like in Vietnam, we’re giving peace a chance! If it’s a disaster, that’s on the winners, not us, the losers. Just as we didn’t kill 2 million Cambodians, we won’t kill however many Afghans die because the Taliban can’t feed the people they conquered. It’s always the case that when we fight “limited wars,” we fight to lose. When we lose, really bad things happen, which by definition are beyond our control, because we’ve lost.

What does Pashtun culture say about the Taliban’s responsibility for the deaths from famine their takeover will cause? Do the they bear any responsibility? Why is everything that goes wrong our fault by default? They won. We lost. Do we now owe them all the aid they need to maintain power on their terms, just because they didn’t plan to feed their own people? Why? Because we fought a war with a strategy that guaranteed we would lose? Or just because Allah wills it?

Last edited 9 months ago by Douglas Proudfoot
Giles Toman
Giles Toman
9 months ago

They made their bed, now let them lie in it.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Giles Toman

you made their bed and Fu* ked it all up – now fix it

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

That’s ridiculous, it was the Taliban which over and over again sabotaged development, roads, education, hospitals, streets, through murder, IEDs, and suicide bombers, diverting resources to military effort instead of agriculture, infrastructure and government. So who fu*cked up the country? They intended to replace the government, and succeeded. Why? To appeal to their enemies for the help they’d just expelled?

Giles Toman
Giles Toman
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I don’t care if they all die, frankly. We have our own problems and our own people that we should help before worrying about this far-off mess.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
9 months ago

If Afghanistan, the Taliban, want the help and support from rich Western countries then they should have to beg for it. If they want aid then that comes with conditions. Twenty years of Western gun barrel diplomacy didn’t work maybe twenty years of conditional aid might have more success. Set up an international aid commission, through which all charities and aid must flow and be sanctioned. The Afghan government get NOTHING without demonstrable, acceptable, governance and change. No money, charities or aid can operate in Afghanistan without going through the commission, period. It is for the Afghans to decide what is acceptable and if they choose starving babies over debated reforms then that is their decision, period. It is not for the UN or the West to give the Taliban the option of drug production and bullets while the international community take care of the Afghan governments day job, it is one or the other and it is up to the Afghanistan government, of whatever flavour, to decide where that balance lies.

Chris Eaton
Chris Eaton
9 months ago

I tell you what, Rory, why don’t you carry your liberal self down to Afghanistan and give all your money to them.

Ri Bradach
Ri Bradach
9 months ago

So, let me summarise: the West must help because the West lost the war to give Afghanistan a future that has hope. If the West does not legitimise a regime founded on hate, then this regime will sponsor terrorist acts against the West.
How about we just seal the border (non of the neighbours want to do business with the Taliban, even the Pakistanis that provided them with safe harbour during the war against Western values)?
Western values were entirely rejected and thousands of western lives lost or radically reduced in trying. Why should we now give these people the benefit of the Western values they rejected?

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
9 months ago

A fair and balanced view of the realities of the situation IMO, completely conditional on the “and gradual, conditional access to funds” part.
The West should focus solely on providing food, medicine and technical assistance long before providing any cash.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

They need cash. To make an economy – one not based on USA Military occupation – they NEED lots of money.

They need Mines as they are mineral rich – which mean huge equipment, power plant, dams, roads, Pipelines. Billions and Billions.

Then they need peace, and they need Iran and Baluchistan and Pakistan to get the transport going and this means Good Diplomatic Process – Mines do not open till the place is somewhat secure – this process MUST begin NOW as it takes a decade to get a mine working.

Then need an Economy! This takes investment AND security. USA needs to be the one getting this going – if they are to ever recover.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I thought the atheist Chinese were the next thing there? Interesting.

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Then let their Muslim friends help them, why is it always the US that is expected to prop people up?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Mike Wylde

you broke, it you bought it

Bob Bobbington
Bob Bobbington
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Afghanistan was broken before Britain, Russia or the US got involved, and what’s more, it was broken in a way that had a serious detrimental effect on the West. They tried to fix it, at enormous cost, and they failed. There is cosmology for the failure, no doubt, and terrible culpability for the chaotic withdrawal, but the West is not wholly responsible for the mess in Afghanistan – we are not even the most responsible of the parties involved. Islamic terrorists, their apologists, and Pakistan bear at least as large a responsibility.

David McDowell
David McDowell
9 months ago

Unfortunately he’s right. Recognition is not unconditional approval but it’s not ostracism either. We lost.

James Joyce
James Joyce
9 months ago
Reply to  David McDowell

Touche! We lost!
Bruce Springstein–back when he was good–wrote:
Had a brother at Khe San
Fighting off the Viet Cong
They’re still there
He’s all gone…..

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Alice In Chains – ‘Rooster’, the song he did about his father’s experience in Vietnam – Great Song – well worth a listen as it evokes a mood so very well

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAE6Il6OTcs

‘Galveston’, Glen Campbell, another great Vietnam song –

“I still hear your sea waves crashing

Wile I watch the cannons flashing”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDRXADEJuKo

Thinking of a girl back in Galveston wile in combat in Vietnam, and hoping he makes it back alive to his home and love….

So, you Modern Sheep – where is your great music of the poignancy of the war from Iraq and Afghanistan? The Great Poetry that such conflict and upheaval in society always brought forth – Till Now. The modern young are such useless, talent less, fools – some rap Cra* maybe – but others – where is the Sassoon, Yeats…

“He stirred, shifting his body; then the pain
Leapt like a prowling beast, and gripped and tore
His groping dreams with grinding claws and fangs.
But someone was beside him; soon he lay
Shuddering because that evil thing had passed.
And death, who’d stepped toward him, paused and stared.

Light many lamps and gather round his bed.
Lend him your eyes, warm blood, and will to live.
Speak to him; rouse him; you may save him yet.
He’s young; he hated War; how should he die
When cruel old campaigners win safe through?

But death replied: ‘I choose him.’ So he went,
And there was silence in the summer night;
Silence and safety; and the veils of sleep.
Then, far away, the thudding of the guns.”

Siegfried Sassoon

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago

Does anyone know how/why/if it has recently seems to have become impossible to block people on here?

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
9 months ago

If the majority of comments on here is an accurate guide to our civilisation, then we’re doomed.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago

Hi Rory – I am very proud of your walking trip through the region, and your military history. Although you are a bit hard nu-Liberal.

But I 100% Agree – NORMALIZE relations with Afghanistan. Put the past 100% behind. Have them as a Friend. Realize they are a sovereign people and may manage their internal affairs legitimately, as they wish, (and in alignment with their traditional ways since the times of Alexander.)

Give them food and necessities aid generously. Without oversite. Taliban are not too corrupt, they need to rebuild, they need to be part of the World, and we should be their friend and sponsor. They need mines, pipelines, roads, and Stability, so they may become self sufficient. They need us to help them join the global trade networks. (not China as China will rob them blind)

I have respect for the people, my time there was the best in my life, (hopefully they treat the Hazra and other Shia Minorities fairly) and wish them well, and wish they become Our friends, not enemies ever again. These people do not respond to the stick, try the carrot.

BUT>>>>>>

“The international community would need a presence on the ground, in the form of technical assistance teams and a small (possibly UN staffed) peace observation mission, “

I believe the 20 year war on the ground with the West was because the utterly corrupt, Neo-Marxist, Post-Modernist MSM and NGO’s got in and made everything about gender issues. Then the NGO’s got running the ground, and the Lobbyists – and they were 4th wave Feminist Ne-Colonialist Troublemakers. They made it all about changing the culture – and the Pashtun do not bend, they are what they are.

We failed in Afghanistan because it became a playground for our ultra Lefty Liberal Women to mess with the men. The Code of the Pashtunwali is centered on Gender issues, ones very much at odds with Western Feminists – and so that became the entire cause of our ‘Gender Industry’ (Gender Industrial Complex) – it took over the entire mission in Afghanistan. Afghanistan was wrecked because the NGOs, with their lackeys in the MSM, made it all about changing the gender situation, changing their society and culture and religion, not about fixing the tangible issues, and letting them alone otherwise.

If the West sends in a new round of 4th wave Feminist, Neo-Marxist, Postmodernist, Woke tyrant NGOs and overseers things will NEVER get better there. We will drive them to the Chinese, and they will be a problem for decades.

Keep the Western Cultural Imperialists OUT! And send in aid, and normalize diplomatic relations, and become Friends of them. That is the way forward.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Hi Sheep, you either do not have two brain cells to rub together, or have swallowed the MSM’s Kool-aid, or have no idea of life outside your sheltered rabbit life.

Give me more down votes – I wear them with pride coming from you all. baaaa

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Ah, a short post.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

yes

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

And getting shorter!