Taliban drive on Kabul accelerates (1) ahead of imminent US/Allied troop insertions & (2) to stage for Kabul & embassies capture by Sept 11 anniversary. If so, think Benghazi but in daylight with hundreds/thousands of attackers. Embassies destroying kit/docs. Losing Bagram insane
So much nonsense peddled in media about War esp the "there is no military solution" mantra. This is utter nonsense. The Taliban are proving there are military solutions. The Russians had military solutions in the Ukraine/Crimea & Syria. If you will the ends, you will the means.
Reality on the ground is much more important than whatever pablums you are getting through official channels. Cold weather does not begin setting in ivo Kabul for another 2 months. And, again, the Bagram airfield complex was insanely abandoned last month.

You can hope for the best but you should be prepared for the worst. The Taliban want their power over the country completed. They do not care about anything you may do unless it is a kinetic military response. The Taliban believe in military solutions. We were fools not to do so.
Left: General Sir Bernard Montgomery's one page plan for D-Day in 1944 (WW2 ends in complete victory less than one year later).

Right: US General Stanley McChrystal's plan for Afghanistan in 2011 (an already 10 year old war went for another 10 years & ends in our humiliation). ImageImage
I may have said this before but I am not interested in any future Generals memoirs of the “stab in the back” kind re Iraq and esp now Afghanistan - you had 20+ years advising politicians who knew literally nothing about War except following your advice. This is all on you, Sirs.
Will add to this that there was nothing to stop NATO/ISAF engaging realistically with Russia, India & Iran who all have significant equities (and proxies) in Afghanistan - while noting that 'our ally Pakistan' was always supporting the Taliban & had given UBL sanctuary. Image
Suspect that every embassy in Kabul is preparing for the worst and commencing its relevant destruction protocols - ie in case of being overrun & compromise of documents/communications tech, break out the axes and mallets....No Tehran 1979 etc

The inexplicable abandonment of Bagram airfield & its component bases/facilities means that reinforcing/securing Kabul is made infinitely more difficult - especially with reports the Taliban are in or have captured Maidan Shahr. It is as if no military planning occurred (at all) Image
People who criticise the Turks (often stupidly here) should bear in mind that all of our diplomats and aid workers getting out of Kabul will depend on the Turks holding the Kabul airport and keeping it open.

It is hard to overstate just what disaster looms ivo Kabul. The Allies do not have control of the Bagram airfield complex. It is unclear how many Allied troops are in Kabul to secure embassies/personnel as the Taliban advance. If we escape with minor casualties, it is a miracle.
FYI: the Royal Australian Air Force evacuated Tehran embassy personnel in 1979 => "RAAF planes are expected to arrive in Kabul as early as this week to begin the evacuation, which will be coordinated with the arrival of US and British security forces."

If this is right, then a massive race is now on - Taliban advance on Kabul vs Allied personnel extraction & embassy records/comms kit destruction. Taliban will race to get its fighters in among Kabul civilian populations to make airstrikes risk unacceptable civilian casualties Image
Joe Biden is the US President and this is on him - but there has also been a succession of military 'leaders' who got us collectively to this point & their culpability for the Afghanistan debacle must never be lessened.

If there was or had ever been a proper military planning process for the Afghanistan withdrawal, how would you know? There is a catastrophic failure at all levels of the military command chain.

Among worst case scenarios for Kabul in the next 24-72 hours: the Taliban take Kabul, allow peaceful free passage to the airport for extraction of Western personnel - but this depends on leaving local Afghan contractors & interpreters etal behind in Taliban custody. Caveat
The Taliban believe in their mission. The NATO/ISAF coalition were marking time, one year at a time. Our local hirelings knew we would leave. Absent serious military colonialism, this end was inevitable.

Reports of the Taliban in Maidan Shahr & now in Jalalabad. Kabul now in the Taliban pincers & its capitulation is only a matter of time. Note that the Bagram airfield complex was abandoned last month - when its capacity is needed now more than ever. A total military catastrophe. Image
At this stage, the 20th anniversary of September 11 will see the Taliban in occupation of Kabul and occupying what were the US and other Coalition embassies. Image
The end in Kabul seems almost nigh here - the July abandonment of the Bagram airfield complex was incredibly stupid then & could prove utterly catastrophic now esp if the Taliban start rocketing and mortaring the airfield and its runways/helipads. Image
The end is actually nigh now - the Taliban may want a permissive extraction of westerners …. Regardless we are all hostages now to the trigger sensitivities of multitudes of Pashtun gunmen who have fought across Afghanistan to achieve this moment

There is no analogy of Afghanistan to Vietnam:
1/ Vietnam matters cf Cam Ranh Bay
2/ South Vietnam was an existing state seeking Allied military assistance against communist aggression
3/ Sth Vietnamese fought
4/ Vietnam had better Generals who fought in WW2, Korea & Malaya wars
There are reports of the Afghan President negotiating or resigning. The situation is moving very fast. Immediate question is does the Taliban allow a peaceful Western withdrawal? And will Western Govts be permitted to take Afghan contractors/interpreters with them?
Afghan regime collapsing in real time => "They joined contractors, diplomats and civilians all trying to catch a flight out of the city. Those who were eligible to fly were given special bracelets, denoting their status as noncombatants."
The reports of chaos at the Kabul Airport is what happens because the Bagram airfield complex was surrendered last month. If you had planned any sort of orderly extraction, the last place you would ever have given up is Bagram 👇
It is now 0600 on Monday morning in Kabul .... a new day begins. Hard to see how the Allied extraction (let alone that of Afghan interpreters and aides) goes ahead without the Bagram airfield complex. Some large military and diplomatic decisions loom in the next 24 hours.
Bagram (~50km north of Kabul) can (must?) be secured and made orderly. Bagram was abandoned in July. The Kabul airport now has tens of thousands of civilians there/enroute. If the Afghan civilians storm Kabul airport or occupy its runway, then the whole evacuation stops 'dead'. Image
Again: what is the plan B for when Afghan civilians in Kabul start to occupy runways and stop planes from taking off/landing? As would be the logical next move if you were them

For the forseeable future, save your outrage about the Taliban retaking power in Afghanistan, as we will all likely be relying on Taliban goodwill & their keeping deals made in order to safely extract our nationals .... our local Afghans, I am now less confident about.
The Pashtun that form the basis of the Taliban have the "Pashtunwali" code for their behaviour (which is shared by like Honour cultures). One tenet is hospitality & a respect for deals struck. We will all be relying on this, I suspect.
It is 1030 on Monday morning in Kabul (temperature to reach 31°C - thirsty & hungry people). The only way that one can see this working out is with Taliban permission. Even so, it is just hard to see the extraction working without the Bagram option.

Not sure what commercial flights there were but this clears schedule for military transports arrival/departing. At same time, Afghans without food & water waiting in the heat at the Kabul terminal have no incentive to make Western departures any easier. Image
Think it is safe to conclude that there was never any military planning done on the Afghanistan extraction: you would never do it in Kabul's August, you would never have abandoned the Bagram airfield complex, and you would have planned it out & executed as a military coalition.
I realise this Afghanistan debacle is being seen in terms of Trump vs Biden (and Biden is the President) but so much of this is on the Pentagon & the US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, who is former Central Command & knows this area intimately & he & his Generals have no excuses
It was obvious that Afghans stuck at Kabul airport would (understandably) try to block the runway to leverage the Coalition planes to take them, too. If there had been a modicum of military planning done by CENTCOM, this would have been an obvious COA.

The Afghans stranded at Kabul airport doing what anyone sensible in their position would do. They are risk managing that an Allied gunship is not going to fire on them & it is not like they have anything to lose with the Taliban taking over.

Am not saying that I predicted this but it was perfectly forseeable to anyone with any common sense given the position of the Afghans - where in Kabul it is 1419 in the afternoon and 31°C, people are hungry & thirsty & desperate.

I hate to sound like a broken record but unless the Coalition gets hold of Bagram and runs it as a military airfield, I just cannot see how any Kabul extraction properly goes ahead. This is an absolute cluster of the worst planning & execution. Shamefully embarrassing.
Can someone please ask this US Army Major General who is briefing the Pentagon press just how the decision was made to abandon Bagram? Was there any planning or even thinking done?
This Admiral Kirby spinning furiously about a 'table top exercise' for the Kabul evacuation .... Kirby says 'there are changes that happen' as if Afghans storming the Kabul airport was some 'black swan' event. Foolish man. Disgrace to his former rank.
Joe Biden has been in US politics forever including opposing support to Sth Vietnam in 1975. He was the Vice President to a very inexperienced President. At the same time, the Joint Chiefs’ advice (if it exists) was clearly presented in a supine way & execution is their domain.
Some sort of deconfliction deal has been struck in Qatar with the Taliban to allow for Kabul evacuations to occur. It is not in the Taliban's interests to obstruct our leaving. Whether the Taliban will actually allow Afghans to leave is another matter.

In Kabul, it is 0647 on Tuesday morning - temperature to reach a reasonably hot 31 Celsius. Hopefully there is enough bottled water for everyone ..... as well as combat rations ....
Hardly encouraging that the (closed) US Embassy had a very good handle on how many Americans were in Afghanistan .... Every loose Westerner is a potential hostage, bargaining chip, and human shield. More signs, if they were needed, there was no planning

Given that the Taliban control Kabul and no Western Govt is sure how many of/where their citizens are - and Kabul airport is the only exit node - then the Taliban will 'call the shots' on the evacuation. Which means the Taliban's other 'shots' will have to be ignored.
Russians say that the former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul with four cars and a helicopter full of cash ....

Will add here that the Russians have their own concerns ivo Sunni salafism in the neighbouring 'Stans as well as in Russia itself - India helped sponsor the Northern Alliance & suspect Moscow's views of the new Taliban regime will track with New Delhi. Image
The US embassy has no local functions. How do they know it is 10,000, either? Each missing/rogue Westerner is a potential hostage and human shield. More evidence of just how unplanned & cluster-like this shambolic evacuation is ....

These meetings should not be overstated - PRC and Russia have different games in Afghanistan. The Russian relationship with India will mean that there are considerable limits on what Moscow will do with the Taliban. China, however, is a different case

Asked Monday if the U.S. is taking any steps to ensure military equipment does not fall into the hands of the Taliban, Pentagon logistics specialist Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor told reporters: "I don't have the answer to that question."

Further to my, "Why did we abandon the Bagram airfield complex?", clearly others were asking the very same question👇

Even more disturbing, the Taliban on Sunday released up to 5,000 prisoners held at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, including a number of "high value" al-Qaida operatives who had "been charged, tried and convicted"

It looks as though a number of ISAF Coalition members (including shamefully Australia) - all well aware of the vulnerability their local Afghan aides were placed in - have taken far too long & shown too much lethargy. It may soon be too late:

Really have to wonder whether the Obama Administration's trading in 2014 of the 5 senior Taliban commanders for the US deserter Bowe Bergdahl is part of how we got here today.

This is nothing short of a catastrophe. On any Allied destruction/jettison bill before extracting a position, these devices and their data would be among the first either secured or destroyed beyond repair. There was no military planning of any kind done.

In Kabul, it is just before 0500 in the morning ... Temperatures today to reach a hot 32°C today. Many people (esp our local Afghan interpreters/aides) are awaiting extraction - physically outside the Kabul airfield & behind a Taliban security cordon. Where is their food & water?
Have to assume that the Taliban will not be able to or want to maintain it. But Pakistan (ie China) will be very interested, indeed

“I can’t take the risk to come to [Kabul Airport] with my family," said one Afghan woman who said she had received an Australian visa.
“What should I do? There is no clear answer from anyone who I shared my concerns with.”

Scanning the news, it was obvious 3 days ago that the Taliban could secure Kabul Airport & make Western persons' extractions from Kabul conditional on our leaving Afghan allies behind …. How many Western Govts realistically contest this now? 👇

The US (alone) has up to 15,000 citizens outside Kabul. Apart from being obvious bait for hostage taking, the Taliban can put conditions on our withdrawals given the human shields it has in the form of Allied citizens unable to reach Kabul airport.

It will rapidly dawn on Western Govts amid the chaos caused by Kabul's fall that the Taliban control Kabul & the only people leaving are the people the Taliban will let leave. Do you send your troops/officials to look for 'your people'? Do you leave them behind after Aug 31?
The Taliban hold Kabul .... the capitulation and the abandonment of Bagram have consequences. The Taliban are effectively exercising a veto .... this was always going to happen.

The Kabul Airport is getting worse not better

If only there was some very large airfield complex ~50km north of Kabul, that could be quickly fortified and made a base to run the necessary large jet extraction operations for your & allied personnel ..... "If you will the ends, you will the means" Image
The simple realities as of now are:
A/ NO Allied Govt is sure how many of its citizens are in Afghanistan
B/ each Govt has to get its citizens home
C/ the Taliban control Kabul & the airport approaches
D/ short of shooting TB or getting back Bagram, the Taliban call the shots
The US Govt seems not only to have no idea how many of its citizens are in Afghanistan but no idea where they are nor how to get them to Kabul airport. There was zero planning done. This was and is all ad hoc.

It is 0133 in Kabul on Thursday morning. Sunrise is apparently at 0517 today. Temperatures will reach a hot 31°C today. The crowds around Kabul airport will be ever increasingly hungry and very thirsty. The Taliban hold all the power outside the airport runway & apron/terminal.
The 'troop cap' issues drove the abandonment of Bagram & NOT the obviously probable mission of having to effect an evacuation of Kabul ..... I hesitate to say that a 4 star General is unserious but this is an absolutely unserious & contemptible rationale.
Key parts of all military planning include developing courses of action (COAs) & alternative courses, applying "Red Team" thinking (what if this is all wrong? what are we missing?), which is all distilled into a plan, which is then resourced/positioned for...None of this was done
"Afghan staff who worked with Australian troops in Afghanistan have also pleaded with the federal government to make direct contact and help them get past the Taliban guarding the main entries to the terminal."
The view from the British side of Kabul airport - which will show you how at the mercy of the Taliban we all are as we try to make some order of this complete and utter catastrophe

Note that Austin's priorities are all Kabul-focused .... there is a subtle message being sent that, 'If you are outside Kabul airport, you are at the mercy of the Taliban and we cannot alter this reality' ... No Western Govt knows where all its people are

It is 0700 on Thursday morning in Kabul. Another very hot day begins. No Western Govt has any firm idea how many of our citizens are in Afghanistan or where they are. In every sense, we are all hostages to the Taliban controlling Kabul.
Clearly someone has been reading my tweets and this thread re the critical importance of Bagram - sadly it is not General Milley, though

The Allies only have the airport - the airport perimeter and the rest of Kabul is controlled by the Taliban. Absent some renewed urgency/forcibly commandeering Bagram, it seems very unlikely everyone one (esp our local Afghan allies) are out by Aug 31

It is Aug 19 and cannot help thinking a decision point is rapidly approaching whereby Allies either commandeer Bagram (abandoned in July!) or establish their own routes in/out of Kabul airport for their nationals & Afghan allies. Taliban have no incentive to avoid a Tehran 1979
This excellent @MPPregent graphic on the Kabul situation pays careful study. One of many reasons why the July abandonment of Bagram was such a catastrophic decision is it left evacuating Kabul by Aug 31 at the mercy of TB choke points & the hazards of a smaller Kabul airport Image
Excellent review by @JenGriffinFNC of today's dismal Pentagon briefing and the stark realities of Kabul right now.

Kabul in August is very hot - people are hungry, thirsty, tired, and very anxious. When Bagram was abandoned and Kabul capitulated, this was always a very likely occurrence.

French security police have run a convoy of their French & Afghan families from their embassy in the Kabul green zone up to the Kabul airport. The families have since been evacuated. Bravo!

One key difference between the Taliban now versus 2001 is the Taliban small arms include an enormous array of NATO and US weapons, not just the standard Kalashnikovs

The Taliban control the approaches to Kabul Airport. The only people getting through the Taliban checkpoints are the people the Taliban want to let through. The Taliban now have both the clock and the time.

It is early Friday morning in Kabul .... will be interesting what the Taliban allow to occur from around Friday midday ....
The US' Kabul embassy staff on July 13 warned that the collapse of the Afghan Govt was imminent - albeit this was a "Dissent Channel" cable. Hard to believe the CIA was not saying this, anyway. The Kabul regime we backed was obviously a dog's breakfast.

Admiral Kirby speaking to @BretBaier on FNC: table top exercises were done in May (what?) and the US based their evacuation out of the Kabul airport .... no deal restricting forces to airport. No questions as to how/why Bagram was abandoned last month if this operation was likely
Very good and brutal analysis by @generalkellogg of the Kabul evacuation thus far and its command / lack of command. Differ in that while Biden is President, the Pentagon & State Dept have really performed atrociously here.

You actually are meant to destroy the equipment you have to leave behind *before* you commence the extraction & not after .... There was just no planning done by anyone in the Pentagon who matters.

Any well planned evacuation would result in all this US kit/weapons being destroyed once it was determined it could not be extracted. There is no better evidence of the complete lack of *any* planning at the Pentagon for everything that would obviously occur in the last week. Image
It is 0615 on Friday morning in Kabul and temperatures will reach a more pleasant 26°C (every degree counts if you are wearing armour & a helmet etc). Friday prayers today - the first after the capitulation of Kabul - may throw an additional spanner in the evacuation works
The British 16 Air Assault Brigade, with 2PARA in the lead, are reportedly undertaking recovery operations within Kabul for British subjects .... service in the finest traditions of the Maroon beret here.

My thread here agrees entirely with Lieutenant Commander Crenshaw - indeed this was all obvious a week ago
In Kabul, it is 1836 on Friday evening and, for the Americans anyway, official advice is do your best to find an open gate to Kabul Airport. We are all now a week into this .... there was never any plan👇

This report is why being at the mercy of Taliban checkpoints ivo the Kabul Airport is so terrible an idea - the incentive for the TB (and allies) to steal foreign IDs (for later criminal or other uses) & create a foreign hostage population is obvious

The French & British as quasi-imperial powers [even in 2021] have a long history of complex embassy & NEO extractions - but so do the US Marines. Incomprehensible that the Marines have not been allowed by the Pentagon to do the same. This was "the plan"?

There was never any Kabul evacuation planning - there was never any of the resourcing and channels that a plan would require and open up.

It is 0434 in Kabul on Saturday morning - temperatures will reach a hot 32°C. How are the Afghans desperately circling Kabul Airport being fed, watered, abluted, keep sanitary? Many have young children with their own food & sanitary needs? This is all *in addition* to the Taliban
This Sky News UK report from the British perimeter of the Kabul Airport is heart-rending - but it does end on a very hopeful note. Unstated but clearly the British military has been recovering its Afghans from beyond Kabul. BZ to all concerned

What is happening in Biden's White House?

'The White House version, however, made no mention of a “moral responsibility” to evacuate Afghan allies.'

Simply amazing that Khalil Haqqani (of jihadi Haqqani Network) is in charge in Kabul when US Govt has a US$5m bounty on Haqqani's head & the US is also trying to run an evacuation from Kabul airport. In NYT imagery, Haqqani & his guards have US weapons!
NYT graphic showing the Kabul route from the Embassy Green Zone north along the Airport Road (through the Taliban checkpoints) to the Airport. Note the military terminal (where Allied evacuation occurs) is on the far North side - ie even harder to get to vs the Taliban & the heat Image
US Embassy Kabul has released a "Security Alert" so Americans are directed to avoid traveling to Kabul airport & to avoid airport gates. Presumably other Allied nations will similarly direct their citizens to avoid the airport. The Aug 31 evacuation end-date looks highly dubious Image
Re the Kabul situation: followers will note I, daily, mention the weather/position in Kabul for the reasons @ramsaysky lays out: it is very hot, desperate Afghans are hungry & thirsty, they have no ablutions & nowhere to go, this is an absolute shambles

As of right now, it is clear:
A/ No planning occurred for the Afghanistan evacuation - in particular, no US planning with Allies.
B/ There are tens of thousands of Afghans ivo Kabul requiring Allied protection & evacuation
C/ There are less than 10 days until the Aug 31 end-date.
In Kabul: it is 0420 on Sunday morning & temperature will reach a very hot 33°C. Around the Kabul airport are tens of thousands of desperate Afghans, who are thirsty, hungry, have traumatised children with them, and having to pass Taliban checkpoints. Less than 10 days to Aug 31
One reason you plan an evacuation out before a key is turned & a propeller rotates is significant issues around needs-based evacuees arise: children, people with disabilities etc, so you have medical personnel & medicines/aids in Kabul. The lack of planning here is just lethal.

“We are executing an alternate path,” a defense official told NBC News. This includes gathering smaller groups of people at specific locations and then moving them to the airport in intervals.

Further to the above, one of many reasons you keep the Bagram airfield complex to the *very end* is it has much more air movement capacity & it also had medical/feeding facilities that can treat and accomodate large numbers of transit personnel, eg evacuees. There was NO planning
In an alternative and well planned universe, Bagram is the air movement hub and Kabul is avoided as a place of concentration. As it is, both the Taliban & ISIL-K have Kabul as a hostage-taking environ esp if the US just ups & leaves its allies (ISAF & Afghan) on Aug 31. Image
With so few media staying in Kabul, am hoping @ramsaysky stays, as he provides a calm and honest picture of the omnishambles that is this evacuation

Shambolic US non-planning has consequences

"There have been stampedes and crushing injuries in the crowds, especially as Taliban fighters fire into the air to drive away those desperate to get on any flight out of the country."

So far, more people have died at Kabul airport in the past few days in the chaos of the shambolic evacauation than ISAF Allied troops in the last ~2 years

Lord Dannatt, former Chief of the General Staff (UK), speaking in the House of Lords on the fall of Kabul:

"...[The] world’s western superpower is looking enfeebled. The only glimmer of hope today is that the Taliban of 2021 is not the Taliban of 2001."

Great but unless Bagram is reopened & some forward movement plan changed, how does extra capacity matter if people cannot physically get to the Kabul Airport?

"The deaths come as a new, perceived threat from the Islamic State affiliate group in Afghanistan has led US military planes to perform rapid, diving combat landings at the airport, which is surrounded by Taliban fighters."

I cannot see how this evacuation proceeds to any sort of success without expanding the airport into a security zone & have Allied forces do their evacuating work as a mini ISAF. This is just a cluster. And the Aug 31 deadline has to go ASAP. If it takes another year, so be it.
At this rate - without major changes - then Aug 31 is going to come, the Kabul airport will (insanely) still be the focal point for the evacuation, the Taliban will continue to choke off approaches, and thousands of Allied citizens & our Afghan allies will still be in AFG at risk
See this excellent @MPPregent graphic - danger is in these gaps & is why Allies have to create a security zone from the airport out to its approaches. Also need a mini ISAF HQ at the airport coordinating Allied movements & providing a clear real time understanding of the Kabul AO Image
It is simply crazy - both militarily and logistically - to accept the current Kabul airport perimeter as binding when so many of our people & our Afghan allies cannot safely (or even unsafely) approach the extraction point. And this is without thinking of the approach of Aug 31.
The Taliban clearly believe they have not just the initiative but licence to abuse within gun range of Allies conduting the evacuation:

As recently as June, Biden was telling Allies that the US would remain in Kabul with a 'security presence' - imagine there was no mention of the US abandoning Bagram at this meeting, which then happened in July. Why no one was prepared for the past 10 days
The passage of accurate information from the Kabul AO to the highest echelons of the US Govt seems to be completely broken

In Kabul: it is 0420 on Monday morning & today will reach a very hot 34°C .... we are now in day 9 or 10 of desperate evacuees flooding the Afghan airport - they are thirsty, hungry, in a terrible sanitary condition & have children in tow. Meanwhile Aug 31 just over a week away
It is difficult to emphasise this enough but the conditions in Kabul now are relentlessly hot & we have evacuees who are cheek by jowl, hungry, desperate, thirsty & one wonders what the hygiene plan is for so many waiting. It is highly unlikely the TB care about 'public health'
The Kabul embassies/national compounds were in a 'green zone' & there is really just one road to/from the airport (and it is a road, not any highway). You can see the obvious channeling & "kessel" effect here. But lack of (esp US) military planning meant this outcome foreordained Image
There is only, really, one way in or out of the Kabul airport.👆

Either the Allied security zone expands to provide more guarded means of approaching Kabul airport or it seems a certainty we will be leaving people behind who should be evacuated.👇

If correct that the Taliban will not extend the Aug 31 deadline, then stay anyway & secure the evacuation. The Taliban leadership do not want to be ‘lit up’. This is all on Joe Biden now. The US either wants to be the free world’s leader - or Biden wants to be its undertaker. Image
Seeing a lot of reporting of the Qataris helping out or the Qataris being 'our friends'. The Qataris, like any nation state, do not do favours - they collect debts. And among Qatar's other patrons include Iran. Caveat.
To reiterate what this Kabul graphic makes clear: the approaches to Kabul airport are few & the airport road is pretty basic & has various Taliban checkpoints. And now Aug 31 is a redline. Either the date moves right or nationals & Afghan allies will be left behind/hostage risks Image
Anyone willing to entertain official spin on the Kabul evacuation noting Aug 31 should bear in mind that no Allied Govt:
A/ is sure how many of its citizens are actually in Afghanistan nor where they are; and
B/ is sure where the Afghans they are obliged to evacuate are located.
To wit, a prominent American liberal journalist:

The likelihood that this question is being polled versus being thought about by strategic minds is very high, sadly

In addition to the US Intelligence Community, you would have known all of this by following halfway decent open source reporting. But Biden was telling US Allies in June that the US was staying in Afghanistan - and then abandoned Bagram in July!

Noting the Taliban threats ivo Kabul in relation to any Aug 31 extension, endorse this assessment by @MPPregent of the Kabul/Bagram AO .... Question is would the Taliban want to escalate this situation in circumstances? Or would the TB want hostages? Saigon 1975 or Tehran 1979? Image
Ignore the political spin - this is the reality on the ground: the Taliban have Kabul in a vice & anyone outside the Kabul airport precinct is in their grip or is deterred from approaching for evacuation.👇

In Kabul, it is 0610 on Tuesday morning & temperatures will reach a very hot 34°C. There are thousands of people (of all ages & needs, including children & disabled) around Kabul airport in the heat, who are thirsty, hungry, etc & many more who cannot get to the airport.
The Australian Govt at the bureaucratic Canberra level really needs a massive injection of urgency now. This is just disgusting. This is wholly avoidable and it seems Ministers will have to micro-manage dysfunctional departments. Well done @rory_callinan
Joe Biden really missing in action, constantly, now, and happy to abide by the Taliban’s diktat Image
Strongly recommend this clear and detailed summation of the recent history of the Afghan War, and President Biden's catastrophic ending of it, by Lt Gen Keith Kellogg @generalkellogg who advised former President Trump.
Finally, danke, it is said bluntly and clearly by the Germans - the Aug 31 deadline has to shift right. Frankly, if only because all politicos understand is ‘optics’, Biden should want it to go past September 11. Image
Re Biden's address/rambling: the whole point of staying with a residual force was that Bagram would be held & that was where you would keep drones & other capabilities. But Bagram was the very first place abandoned in Afghanistan by Biden's Govt. There was NO planning at all. Image
If you were genuinely worried about the Terrorist threat in Afghanistan, your government would not just have abandoned the Bagram base where there was a large detention complex where AQ & Taliban were imprisoned.

This feckless and pathetic rationalisation - 'oh, there are terrorists' - makes absolutely no sense. We operated in the Iraq AO *for years* amid not just very well armed Shia militia but Al Qaeda in Iraq. No serious person entertains this excuse.

For "but Trump" brokens: the Feb 2020 obligations for Allied withdrawal were premised on the Taliban complying with its "commitment and action on the obligations". None of this necessitated abandoning embassies or Afghan allies esp given reconstruction

The ISAF coalition was always going to leave Afghanistan. We were always going to have to deal with Reconstruction issues. We were always going to have to deal with Reconciliation issues.

Kabul, Aug 2021 - with embassies & our people lost to a Taliban rout - is just not that.
Do not be fooled by spin - the local Afghans needing extraction were not just the military aides/interpreters but diplomatic & intelligence services 'helpers'. Absent the Aug 31 deadline shifting right, large numbers of loyal Afghans will be left behind.

Shot / Chaser

It was patently obvious that the Taliban would do this as a matter of brutality, extortion, and for possible hostage taking. The Taliban just do not fear Joe Biden. ImageImage
European nations have said they would not be able to airlift all at-risk Afghans before August 31.

"Even if (the evacuation) goes on... a few days longer, it will not be enough," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Bild TV.

Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K)

"The threats lay bare a complicated dynamic between the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Haqqani network, and their bitter rival, ISIS-K, in what analysts say portends a bloody struggle involving thousands of foreign fighters"

Disloyalty & abandonment is a choice:

"Britain said yesterday it still had 2,000 Afghan translators, related workers and their families to get out – and the likelihood is that there are only 36 hours left before its paratroopers have to begin packing up."
It is 0425 on Thursday morning in Kabul where it will reach a very hot 33°C … there are less than 5 days to Aug 31 & tens of thousands of Allied dependents are still awaiting evacuation outside Kabul Airport esp Afghans wading through sewage below

To be fair to the US Govt, no Allied nation is sure how many of their nationals are in Afghanistan. But if Kabul is closed off & Aug 31 approaches, the reality is a large number will never be evacuated. With no local embassies in situ...potential hostages

Seeing bonkers UK etal directions for Afghan evacuees to escape via Spin Buldak border crossing - this means leaving Kabul, entering dangerous Pashtun areas [esp Kandahar the Taliban home] & crossing ivo Quetta [Pakistan military town] when Taliban is the Pakistani proxy. Crazy. Image
When the Afghan War autopsy is done, Pakistan's role as a key perpetrator of all that was done & especially its patronage of the Taliban (in addition to UBL in Abbottabad etc), must be the subject of extensive inquiry. Sir Richard Dearlove entirely right.

One consequence of the past few weeks' catastrophe in Afghanistan is that we will be relying on the Russians esp doing us favours 'sub rosa' to effect post Aug 31 extractions - and the Russians collect debts

The groundwork for 'look, we tried' is laid. I guess as US allies, the one consolation is the US Govt has treated us Allies no worse than it has treated its own citizens marooned in Afghanistan, so there is that.

It is difficult to overstate the idiocy of those who in the Biden Administration decided to:
- abandon Bagram
- run the extraction from Kabul Airport
- rely on the Taliban(!!!) for security
- hand jihadis a list of allied Afghans!!!

You will have heard me go on & on about the value of the Bagram airfield complex [including its prison (filled with jihadi prisoners) and combat theatre hospital]. I have absolutely no idea how General Milley has not resigned or been relieved. Lunacy

Very good NYT graphic on last night's ISIS-K bombings of Kabul Airport. You will note the crowds gathered outside the gates & walls are channelled in & packed in by the cramped entries to the airport. This evacuation had no military planning-just desperate people left as targets Image
Less than 24 hours after a massive terrorist attack, desperate Afghans crowd the Kabul Airport, again wading through a sewage ditch in the hope of escaping the Taliban regime

The incompetence verges on treachery:

"The Taliban has mobilized a special unit, called Al Isha, to hunt down Afghans who helped US and allied forces — and it’s using US equipment and data to do it."

April: Biden tells Afghans the US is staying in AFG

June: Biden tells ISAF allies the US is staying

July: the US abandons Bagram, precipitating the collapse of the Afghan Regime & Army

August: Taliban take Kabul & we all madly scramble to evacuate … and at the Taliban’s mercy Image
This @MacaesBruno on Kabul's fall👇

The incompetence was staggering. Bagram was closed, thus eliminating every possibility of an orderly evacuation. Intelligence assessments were delusional, with Pentagon spokesman John Kirby reminiscent of Baghdad Bob.

The shambolic end of the Afghan War & the rout of Kabul (the 'withdrawal' still not finished) is an indictment of not just all of us Allies for taking on this Sissyphean task but of the US President & his esp abysmally 'led' & unprepared Defense Dept. This must never happen again
It is 0950 on Sunday morning in Kabul, where temperatures will reach 31°C. The question now - with the British, Canadians & Australians finishing their Afghan missions - is when do the Americans finally evacuate the Kabul Airport?
Via the NYT: statement from NATO that international military evacuations from Kabul Airport (HKIA) have finished. Does this mean the US is also finished its evacuations? If so, are the US’ military personnel withdrawing from the HKIA precinct? Image
Noting this report [via @RodgerShanahan ] of Malaysian ISIS fighters caught in Kabul by the Taliban, whose intelligence chief Maulawi Saifullah Mohammed 'said the IS prisoners would eventually “crack” during interrogation.'


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More from @GrayConnolly

Mar 11
This is how the Bailout begins ....
"If you do not bailout X, employees are not paid"
Here we go ..... that destroyed community in Ohio should say they now "identify" as an insolvent bank in California

Anyone who lived through 2008-2009 has seen the Bailout script before ... You have no excuse for being fooled, again ... "Yes, unless we bailout this bank, we will be deprived of the next cat video app, and then Xi invades Taiwan"
Read 19 tweets
Feb 27
Overwhelming majority of people are tolerant/do not care about people’s sexual orientations. But those wanting to wage a “wear the ribbon” culture war esp in NRL are trying to impose their culture on a large Christian esp Pasifika playing group. The NRL clubs get this it seems
Would add that the average football club or church is a lot more diverse in every sense than the ABC or the political class …
One of the many quite disgusting aspects of the Manly fiasco last year was the media demanding Manly - which sprang the gay pride jersey on its playing group - demanding objecting Pasifika players be sacked, knowing these players often supported large extended families
Read 5 tweets
Feb 26
"In a big country, dreams stay with you"
The Canadians and the Americans are our fellow English speaking, federations, on the massive scale .... the Canadians kept the Crown and also speak French .... the Americans kept some of the common law and speak a species of English Image
Australia viewed differently .... Image
Read 4 tweets
Jan 7
On a wet and colder day in London, very good to visit Buckingham Palace and St James Park, today. The King & Queen were not in residence but it was nonetheless good to see 'Buck House', again.
The Australian gates with coats of arms of the six Australian States that open to Buckingham Palace are in good condition.
A small but instructive matter: many of the Royal cyphers with our late Queen's markings will be in due course replaced with King Charles III's albeit whether these are disturbed, I am not sure, as QEII reigned for so long and her cypher is everywhere.
Read 7 tweets
Jan 5
Harry is alleging in 2022 that his older brother assaulted him in Harry's own home in Kensington Palace in 2019. And yet after this alleged assault, racism & whatever else allegations, etc, Harry still then wanted to stay a working part of the Royal Family in 2020 before. Hello?
One can but be thankful that Prince Philip and then our late Queen went to their eternal reward and never had to witness this .... simply abominable behaviour

Read 4 tweets
Dec 16, 2022
Good morning all & OTD in 1939, Captain Hans Wilhelm Langsdorff, Commanding Officer of the German cruiser Admiral Graf Spee, orders the ship's scuttling in the River Plate estuary, off Montevideo. Langsdorff would later commit suicide, while wrapped in the ship's battle ensign Image
This is a 2019 German news story on the German families affected by the scuttling of Admiral Graf Spee & the legacy of Captain Hans Langsdorff (who some have said died while wrapped in the old Imperial Naval ensign).

There is even now a Wiki discussion on Captain Hans Langsdorff's death & which particular German battle ensign he died draped in, after the ship had been scuttled.

Read 4 tweets

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