The #Taliban have ordered women to stay in their homes. A Taliban the spokesman claimed this is just a "temporary" measure until the jihadists have been trained not to harm women.…
The #Taliban have freed a significant number of #TTP ("Pakistani Taliban") operatives during their prison breaks as they took over the cities.
Pentagon refusing to say how many Americans have been evacuated and admits it does not know the true number of Americans in Afghanistan, but in such a way that it seems they're preparing a message that says Americans left behind didn't want to leave
Confirmation that the #US is withdrawing entirely from #Afghanistan on Aug. 31
A #Russian move in behind Northern Alliance Version Two, if it brings in #Tajikistan, would open things back up for #India, which is otherwise shut out of Afghanistan now that Pakistan's jihadists rule the place.
The United Nations behaving exactly as you'd expect it to over the Taliban
Whatever salve #Biden was supposed to be on relations with #European allies has not worked; the US policy and methods have been very Trumpian, and the direct harm done to key interests is arguably worse than anything Trump himself actually did.
So many terrible stories. The whole failure of the SIV process, going back for months, looks like more than just incompetence
There were so many outrages, one can forget, but here is #Trump after enjoying himself in conversation with a terrorist and then selling the #Taliban as a nationalist movement in March 2020
One of the ways #Biden has sold the #Afghanistan policy is as a way of getting soldiers out of harm's way, which seems to have almost no resonance with actual soldiers
The #Taliban will, this time as in the last, have air power of some kind
It's rather difficult for the #Taliban to not have members of the #TTP ("Pakistani Taliban") and #Al_Qaeda in Afghanistan - despite its mendacious claims - since the members of these groups so often simultaneously hold official roles in the Taliban.
There are millions and millions of Afghans alive today who would otherwise have perished because of the #NATO intervention. When doing the balance sheet, this has to be part of it
On the numbers of Americans left in Afghanistan:
It's circulating that Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah, and Hekmatyar will serve on the twelve-man Taliban council to rule Afghanistan, but ...

The sourcing: this is Press TV (Iranian state) relaying Asian News, which is quoting a source near the Taliban, citing Sputnik (Russian state)
A Pakistani journalist shares a picture from a source showing the #TTP ("Pakistani Taliban") leader, Noor Wali Mehsud, in Kabul, quite comfortable and free under the rule of the "Afghan" #Taliban |
Exactly. It's very telling, though, how many journalists, when the chips were down, found that setting a pro-Biden domestic political "narrative" meant more to them than actual human beings - or even just reporting the news.
There was a time when another Al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria, Ahrar al-Sham, voicing support for the Taliban was taken as evidence of its moderation, so the direct Al-Qaeda cast-off stands at least half-a-chance of this working.
If anyone can help, now is the time
Newest official claims about the numbers
#US did a mission outside the airport last night
A key #Biden administration's talking point is that this chaos in #Afghanistan is "just what an evacuation looks like". @mattczeller explains what nonsense this is, and knows better than most since he tried to help them avoid this, starting months ago.
Why must the liberals be like this? | Maryam Monsef (@MaryamMonsef), the Minister for Women and Gender Equality in #Canada's government, refers to the #Taliban jihadists as "our brothers".
There can be no doubt #Biden is about to consign thousands and thousands of #Afghans to death, but it seems perfectly possible there will be some substantial number of #Americans and very likely some #Europeans left behind, too.
The steady messaging of the administration is to imply if not state that there are some significant number of Americans in Afghanistan who do not want to leave with the evacuation operation before Aug. 31
#Taliban members have attacked a journalist in Kabul.
If the #Taliban is attacking journalists from prominent media establishments in Kabul, the epicentre of their "new Taliban" propaganda effort, the state of the press in the rest of the country can be imagined. (Though there is no need to guess; the reports are coming in already.)
Sceptical cat cannot move under the weight of the scepticism
A rolling catastrophe. The fact that empty flights are leaving Kabul because of Taliban *and* US cordons has been reported for days now. If the administration said it was working on it, one thing, but they just deny it's happening, keep on with happy talk
As expected ... #Taliban establishing an exclusivist jihadi emirate.
Anas Haqqani of the Haqqani Network, probably the most vicious component of the network—which includes that #Taliban and #Al_Qaeda—that under the control of #Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) just conquered #Afghanistan. He is now free to roam Kabul—and Twitter.
In 2011, Adm. Mike Mullen, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: "The Haqqani network acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency."
Highlights from Secretary of State Antony Blinken's statement on #Afghanistan from earlier in the thread below ...
#Blinken claims that 82,300 people have been evacuated from Kabul since 14 August, and 19,000 in the last 24 hours. At least 4,500 of these were Americans. At the beginning there were 6,000 Americans in the country "who wanted to leave the country".
#Blinken: there are 1,000 people "who may be Americans seeking to leave Afghanistan" and the USG is "aggressively" reaching out to ask "if they still want to leave". Some might have left, some might not really be Americans, some might want to stay.
#Blinken: The US is operating in a "hostile" environment after the Taliban takeover of the country, "with the very real possibility of an ISIS-K attack", but the mission is on track for completion by Aug. 31 "provided the Taliban continue to cooperate".
#Blinken: "Let me be crystal clear ...: there is no deadline on our work to help any remaining American citizens who decide they want to leave to do so, along with the many Afghans who have stood by us over these many years ... That effort will continue every day past Aug. 31"
#Blinken: "The Taliban have made public and private commitments to provide and permit safe passage for Americans, for third country nationals, and Afghans at risk going forward past Aug. 31."
#Blinken: 114 countries signed a statement telling the Taliban that "they have a responsibility" to "provide safe passage" to anyone who wants to leave the country, even after Aug. 31.

Blinken seems to think this "expectation of the international community" means something.
#Blinken tries to show empathy about the people in danger and also tries to butter up the press by saying how supportive he is of their work to report this out.
#Blinken clarifies the estimated 1,500 Americans left in Afghanistan does not include green card holders.
#Blinken says the US will use "every diplomatic, economic, assistance tool at our disposal" to get people left behind after the evacuation out of Afghanistan. "We'll work hand in hand with the international community".

This was in answer to a question on "reassurance".
#Blinken: 114 countries have made clear the "international expectation" that the Taliban let people leave after Aug. 31, "and we certainly have points of incentive and points of leverage with a future Afghan government to make sure that happens."
#Blinken: "I think [the Taliban] have a very strong self-interest in acting with a modicum of responsibility going forward."
#Blinken, asked specific questions about what the Taliban is already doing - blocking the roads, terrorising the population - says "diplomatic, economic, political, and assistance tools" will be used to "uphold [Afghans'] basic rights".
#Blinken: "Along with American citizens, nothing is more important to me as Secretary of State than to do right by the people who have been working side-by-side with American diplomats in our Embassy. ... We are relentlessly focused on getting the locally employed-staff out".
#Blinken: "There are still talks ... even now" between the Taliban and members of the fallen government about a "transfer of power and some inclusivity in a future government and I think it's in our interests where possible to support those efforts."
#Blinken: "If engagement with the [Taliban] government can advance the enduring interests we will have in counter-terrorism", "humanitarian assistance", and "rights of all Afghans, especially women and girls, are upheld, then we'll do it."
#Blinken: If the Taliban upholds basic rights, prevents Afghanistan being "used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against" the US and allies, and allows Afghans to leave after Aug. 31, "that's a government we can work with".
#Blinken: If the Taliban acts as the Taliban towards the population and harbours international terrorists, the US will "isolate" it and "Afghanistan will be a pariah".
"The #Taliban stopped an Afghan #United_Nations staff member as he tried to reach Kabul airport on [Aug. 22]. They searched his vehicle and found his U.N. identification. Then they beat him."…
#Taliban has blocked #Afghans getting to the airport, seemingly totally
The end of the cultural life of #Afghanistan has already begun
The #Taliban gave up their regime in 2001 rather than hand over Bin Laden. Twenty years later they - not unreasonably - feel vindicated on the point.

To be kept in mind when the next administration official says the Taliban will keep #Al_Qaeda out of AFG
"A plane carrying 240 evacuated #Afghan nationals including 126 children landed in the #Hungarian capital Budapest".…
#US tells citizens to leave the gates of #Kabul airport "immediately" and to avoid travelling to the airport without specific instructions to do so.
One assumes this is related to the #IS threat, but all very unclear right now.
My. God. Has there ever been a more pathetic display. The "liberal media" has lived down to the worst caricatures about itself.
Another sleight of hand from #Biden. It is not a secret that #Afghans have large families. If the planning only permitted those who worked with us to leave on condition they left most of their relatives behind, that was not in fact an offer of escape.
A glimpse of life outside the capital in Taliban Afghanistan
A citizen of #Australia, who is a Hazara by background, was abducted and beaten bloody by the #Taliban as he tried to get to the airport. "A gunshot [is heard] and then a woman's cry follows before the camera falls to the ground."…
A totally serious and appropriate response at this moment
Someone needs to turn off the firehose of Democratic copium. This is so embarrassing.
#Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid sat for an interview with @NYTimes. It's in the nature of such things that one is documenting the bullshit the criminals want you to hear, I guess, but the clarifications about the flat-out lies could have been better…
#pt: The spokesman denied to @NYTimes that the #Taliban was stopping Afghans leaving, then said the US should not "take out our human resources". "Music is forbidden in Islam, but we're hoping that we can persuade people ... instead of pressuring them." And so on.
This Is What the Afghan Evacuation Looks Like on the Inside…
The figures the administration is giving out really should have been treated with a great deal more scepticism to this point:
It's very difficult to understand what the @FT rationale was for allowing @LodhiMaleeha to use their pages to spread this nonsense. It's pure propaganda from the #Pakistan Army and intelligence services who engineered this catastrophe in Afghanistan…
In fairness, that is the kind of logic that has characterised the administration's entire messaging game, not to mention the policy itself, of course.

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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.…
#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.…
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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