A former interpreter, green card holder, still trapped in #Afghanistan and unable to get to the airport.
Some progress on the pace of evacuations
Biden's Aug. 22 speech on the expanded perimeter referred not to the #US or to the #Afghan forces with them, but to the #Taliban surrounding them.
Does raise some doubts about whether the necessary pace can be reached to complete this by the self-imposed Aug. 31 deadline.
The Biden team speaks this way about holding the Taliban to commitments, when it handed all the cards to the jihadists months ago. It's a bizarre kind of play-acting and make-believe, presumably designed for a domestic audience, to simulate control.
If only there had been some way for the #US to keep watch on #IS in Afghanistan and retain an ability to act against it
Hope someone follows up on this. The "kindest" explanation for Biden's steadfast slow-rolling of the evacuation of at-risk Afghans is that he didn't want to incur the political price of refugees. The alternatives are somewhat darker.
Those #Afghans that make the trek through Iran to #Turkey will find themselves confronting a ten-foot wall. The Turks, after the Syria experience, say they cannot cope with any more refugees. reuters.com/world/middle-e…
No matter the incompetence and callousness of the administration, the fundamental decency of Americans shines through
The #Taliban trying to bring pressure on the officials of the fallen government to hand themselves in - which will probably result in their murder - by threatening their families.
Interesting detail: "#American citizens have been instructed to meet at rally points in the city, and [#Qatar's] ambassador then accompanies them [to the airport in #Kabul] to guarantee safe passage" washingtonpost.com/national-secur…
A firefight at the #Kabul airport a couple of hours ago; unclear who the assailants were, but it was #Afghan security forces who repelled them.
Some details for those trying to present the #Taliban takeover as "normal"
More on this silliness about life being "normal" under the Taliban
#Qatar agreed to take in hundreds of people from #Afghanistan; already it's thousands. Despite being overwhelmed, the Qataris have pressed on, evacuating Westerners, Afghans, and running their own missions, like getting out girls from a boarding school
Another thread that one hopes is followed up: #Pakistan's ISI self-evidently has influence over key figures in major think tanks in the #US. It works less like during the Gulf dispute—with active propaganda—and more by strategic silence on key issues.
If you've ever wondered, for example, why it is that it is mentioned so infrequently in the media coverage that the #Taliban is an instrument of #Pakistan's (deep) state, part of the answer is that many of the experts journalists consult are committed to not mentioning it.
Taliban spokesperson Dr. Suhail Shaheen said the 31 August withdrawal date is "a red line ... If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations - the answer is no. Or there would be consequences." news.sky.com/story/afghanis…
#Taliban seeking to eliminate the final pocket of resistance at #Panjshir. Might well be a negotiated surrender in the end.
Even if #Panjshir negotiates a surrender with the #Taliban, there are some officials, notably the legal president Amrullah Saleh, who must know better than to trust any guarantee given to him. #Pakistan's ISI has had him marked for death for many years.
#pt: "It was common knowledge within the [British] military that Taliban field commanders were often Pakistani ... This was a source of great annoyance to the Afghans, who understood that 'the Taliban' phenomenon was an external invasion of their country." kyleorton.co.uk/2021/08/17/pak…
This is just horrifying: the attempt to laugh off the question and the switch in rhetoric to 'we don't really know what the Taliban's nature and intentions are', while still covering over by claiming he doesn't believe it exactly, but, you know, maybe.
#Australia's Foreign Minister having a normal human reaction to #Afghanistan, which is more than the White House and its media surrogates have managed.
All #NATO states are bound by the deadline the #US has set itself, so it's now a race against that
#Britain's presence in #Afghanistan could be over as soon as Aug. 25, which is a shame because it has been filling a lot of gaps for other NATO states, both for their own citizens and the Afghans who assisted their missions
So we really are approaching the end of the rescue mission: despite #Biden's promise that he would see it through until everyone was out, he made a promise to the #Taliban to be out by Aug. 31 and it is the latter promise he will be faithful to
Such a horrible situation to be working in
Let's see. If #Tajikistan joins in support to the anti-Taliban resistance, it will have to have #Russia's sign-off and it will enable #India to get back into the picture. #Iran is already involved and will get more so (esp. around Herat) in due course.
Cannot blame #Sikhs or any other religious minority for trying to get out of harm's way as the #Taliban consolidate in #Afghanistan.
No serious person can believe #China and #Russia are anything but thrilled with the #US withdrawal from #Afghanistan
"#Iran restarted exports of gasoline and gasoil to Afghanistan a few days ago, following a request from the #Taliban, Iran's Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Products Exporters' Union said [today]." reuters.com/world/middle-e…
#Biden team misleading right to the end on its handling of the at-risk #Afghans.

Again, this did not start recently: people have raised this issue *for months* and the administration took a conscious decision to do nearly nothing.
Away from the cameras, the #Taliban are of course being the Taliban
A #US State Dept. cable on Aug. 21 said the Afghan staff at the Kabul Embassy were "'deeply disheartened' by U.S. evacuation efforts and have expressed a sense of betrayal and distrust in the American government" nbcnews.com/news/world/afg…
#pt: "[Afghan] staffers [from the US Embassy] reported being jostled, hit, spat on and cursed at by Taliban fighters at checkpoints near the airport ... Some staff members ... collapsed in [the] crush of people and had to be taken to hospital with injuries".
#Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood celebrating the #Taliban/#ISI conquest of #Afghanistan on Aug. 17 as a "victory" for the "people over the brutal American occupation" and as confirming that the "spirit of jihad" remained in the "hearts of ... the umma". jabha-jo.com/%d8%a7%d9%84%d…
General Hank Taylor dodges the question about whether relying increasingly on the #Taliban for crowd control in Kabul means the jihadists are better able to dictate the end date of the #US presence.
Kirby denies the #US is engaged in "joint patrols" with the #Taliban. "You can erase that visual".
Doubtless it will be a great surprise; who can say how many ministries will be overtly given to Al-Qaeda? | "Taliban: New Govt to Be Announced Soon" shar.es/aWtcvp
There are mysteries in this world whose answers we may never know
A rather important point 👇🏻 and true even if we were legitimately "over the horizon", let alone "over the horizon, and far away", as we will be with #Afghanistan because the nearest obvious base (#Pakistan) is literally the problem to begin with.
Now we're getting somewhere: @alexbward has specific numbers on the evacuations
Individual not identified. Government says it shows the watchlist is working.
"60 Minutes", 15 May 2011: the current legal president of #Afghanistan, Amrullah Saleh, asks why the #US gives billions $ to Pakistan, knowing it gets diverted to the #Taliban. US soldiers confirm that on the ground it's obvious they're fighting #Pakistan.
For the people fighting in #Afghanistan at ground level, the fact that #Pakistan was the real enemy was never a secret
An estimate of what has been lost in hardware terms to the Taliban
Taliban spokesman claims the resistance has been cleared from the districts of Baghlan province it took, and is confined again to Panjshir

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More from @KyleWOrton

15 Sep
In Sept. 1971, the KGB's Oleg Lyalin defected from the London Embassy and told the British government about the really alarming (and some quite bizarre) "special actions" the Soviets had been planning on the West, precipitating the mass expulsion Soviet spies in Operation FOOT.
The interesting thing is that this meant the West was quite well aware, from near the beginning of Andropov's renewed campaign, that Soviet terrorism was a very real phenomenon, and yet down to the end most in the West considered it a "conspiracy theory"
The KGB recruitment of Wadi Haddad of the PFLP in 1970 was the turning point: his Palestinian group was given weapons that even Eastern Bloc states hadn't received and given tasks as various as kidnapping CIA officers and assassinating Soviet defectors.
Read 7 tweets
15 Sep
#Pakistan's claim to be a victim of terrorism rests on groups like #TTP ("Pakistani Taliban"), but it was the Army/ISI who created the jihadist emirate in North Waziristan where this group was formed, with the active and ongoing assistance of the ISI's loyal Haqqani Network. ImageImage
#pt: "The Foutainhead of Jihad", pp. 164-5.
The #Haqqani-run enclave in North Waziristan, operating with the full backing of #Pakistan's ISI, not only nurtured the #TTP the Pakistanis would later portray as a mortal foe, it of course supported the "Afghan" #Taliban and was where #Al_Qaeda organised many post-9/11 plots. ImageImage
Read 9 tweets
14 Sep
#IS established itself in "Af-Pak" by building off the Afghan Salafist community that took root in eastern areas via the Arab presence there beginning many decades ago. The Salafis had some second thoughts, but the #Taliban is now pressuring them, too. trtworld.com/opinion/the-dy…
#pt: The Taliban made an approach to IS-Centre in 2015 to ask that ISKP not be used to open another jihadist front, since this would distract from the war with the West. No dice. IS didn't even bother to reply.
#pt: The original Pakistani, mostly TTP, leadership of #ISKP was killed off quite quickly and replaced with Afghan Salafis. The current leader, though, Dr. Shahab al-Muhajir, seems to be a former Haqqani Network operative, and has peeled away other parts of that network.
Read 4 tweets
13 Sep
The lengths the #KGB went to in trying to destroy #Solzhenitsyn even after he had been expelled from the Soviet Union are extraordinary, and not entirely irrational: they understood the danger he posed to them.

<Mini thread drawn from "The Sword and the Shield", pp. 312, 317-21>
Andropov first tried to expel Solzhenitsyn in autumn 1971, but Brezhnev listened to interior minister Nikolai Shchelokov, who said the great writer should be co-opted rather than persecuted. Andropov did not forget this, and later witch-hunted Shchelokov until he killed himself.
In late 1973, after Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov wrote an open letter that encouraged Congress to override the Nixon-Kissinger administration by passing Jackson-Vanik that linked Soviet trade privileges to human rights, Brezhnev said the KGB should have cracked down from the start.
Read 9 tweets
9 Sep
#Pakistan's ruler from 1999 to 2008, General Pervez Musharraf, wrote in his memoir: "It is true that we had assisted in the rise of the #Taliban after the Soviet Union withdrew from #Afghanistan" (p. 202). Image
Even after #Pakistan's General Musharraf disparages the "obscurantist" nature of the #Taliban and the "peace of the graveyard" they brought, he writes: "Nevertheless, we still supported them, for geostrategic reasons", to minimise Indian influence in #Afghanistan (p. 203).
Musharraf tries to create a narrative where #Pakistan was not engaged with the #Taliban at inception, even though the Saudis and UAE were (p. 201-11), which is absurd, and that the ISI had lost its "leverage" over the Taliban after it came to power (pp. 203, 209), equally absurd.
Read 9 tweets
5 Sep
"Though Mr. Biden reversed other Trump policies, he was inclined to go through with the Afghan [withdrawal] ... The military argued for keeping 2,500 troops ... Bagram air base was central to the military's plans" for drones and special forces. wsj.com/articles/insid…
On 8 May, "The Pentagon wanted a discussion on an emergency evacuation of the embassy and how to plan to remove Afghans at risk, but White House officials asked that those issues be removed from the agenda"

Again, Biden cannot say he didn't know. Biden chose to leave the Afghans
Even Jake Sullivan thought closing Bagram Airbase was a bad idea, and in June there was a pause for four days. But Biden insisted on doing all this with 650 troops in Kabul, so the Pentagon could only protect either Bagram or HKIA, and Biden went with the latter.
Read 7 tweets

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