Interesting: several #ISKP commanders were liquidated soon after the #Taliban broke open the prison in Kunar. Some of these commanders had travelled to #IS Centre in Iraq/Syria.
So the #Biden administration really is preparing to say #Americans left behind in #Afghanistan wanted to be left there or are at fault for being left there.
#Britain's Armed Forces Minister says there could be an #ISKP attack on the #Kabul airport within hours and the intelligence is "so credible and so imminent" that people are advised to move away.
#US has also said it has good intelligence that an #ISKP attack on the #Kabul airport is imminent.
Be curious to see later, when it is reported out, how the sourcing worked for this conclusion that an #ISKP attack is imminent. It'll either be a very interesting intelligence story, or a somewhat darker political one.
Pretty much the end of evacuations in #Afghanistan now. Had to wrap up by tomorrow anyway, really, to meet the Aug. 31 deadline #Biden imposed, and now there is the #ISKP threat.
To monitor #Afghanistan and react to threats using planes in the Gulf will almost certainly be more expensive than the few thousand #US troops that were keeping the Afghan state alive, and involve the same issue with #China just with US in a worse position
This is good from @nytimes on #Pakistan's role behind the #Taliban and indeed Al-Qaeda; needed to be more of this over the years. Pakistan's army and ISI believe this victory in #Afghanistan is theirs, and the next stage is allowing #China to exploit it.… ImageImageImageImage
#pt @nytimes: "The Afghan Taliban the Americans were fighting are, in large part, a creation of Pakistan’s intelligence service, the I.S.I., which through the course of the war nurtured and protected Taliban assets inside Pakistan."
#pt @nytimes: "In the last three months as the Taliban swept across Afghanistan, the Pakistani military waved a surge of new fighters across the border from sanctuaries inside Pakistan".
#pt @nytimes: "A Pakistani protégé, Khalil Haqqani, a Taliban leader who was a regular visitor to Pakistan’s military headquarters in Rawalpindi, is one of the new rulers of Afghanistan ... [and is] known to American intelligence as the Taliban emissary to Al Qaeda".
#pt @nytimes: "The nexus between the Pakistanis and the victorious Mr. Haqqani was indisputable and indispensable to the Taliban victory, said Douglas London, a former C.I.A. counterterrorism chief for South and Southwest Asia."
#pt @nytimes: "The head of the Pakistani army, Qamar Javed Bajwa, and the head of the I.S.I., Hameed Faiz, met with Mr. Haqqani on a 'recurring basis,' [former C.I.A. counterterrorism chief for South and Southwest Asia, Douglas] London said."
#pt @nytimes: "The Obama administration never said publicly what it suspected: that the Pakistani military knew all along that [Usama] bin Laden was living with his extended family in Abbottabad, one of Pakistan’s best-known garrison towns."
Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of SIS/MI6, "there has to be an understanding internationally that the #Taliban couldn't succeed like this without" #Pakistan, and this was a central, often ignored, geopolitical fact about the #Afghanistan engagement…
Backgrounder on #Pakistan's control of the #Taliban and its use of them to colonise #Afghanistan in the 1990s.…
#Taliban hunting down journalists and human rights activists, despite the ongoing discourse, from the #US government on down, which pretends it is an open question how the jihadists will behave now they're in power.
Last flights today because of the #US timetable. The #Netherlands openly concedes it will leave behind people who have evacuation papers. Devastating.
Perfectly said by @GrayConnolly. A shame and a disgrace that we're abandoning so many people who worked with us in #Afghanistan, and no excuses from our leaders will wash: they had plenty of time to prepare for this, they knew it was coming.
The amount of ignorance and bad faith will ensure this #Vietnam history continues to be distorted - as with the whole history of that war, in fairness - but at least this correction can be entered for those who are genuinely interested
Some really worrying signs as we come to the conclusion here
#US drawing down militarily in #Afghanistan. Evacuation coming to an end.
Yet more messaging success: a choose-your-own adventure statement that will determine life or death for thousands of people
There has been a large explosion at the Abbey Gate entrance to Kabul Airport, @laraseligman and @alexbward report.
Looks like an inghimasi attack, rather than just a suicide bombing, at the Kabul airport. Presumption is this is ISKP.
Further confirmation it's an inghimasi attack underway at the Kabul Airport
Pictures from the scene after the bombing at the Kabul airport
Pentagon confirms the explosion at the Kabul airport
There are reports that a lot of #British citizens were in the crowd that was in the immediate vicinity of the suicide bomber, and @SkyNews is reporting that #American soldiers were injured.
Latest reports indicate the attack on #Kabul airport - almost certainly the work of #ISKP - included two suicide attacks. The exact nature of the attack and the scale of the casualties remains unclear.
First indication of the scale of the casualties and their identities in Kabul from the probable ISKP attack
Americans confirmed to be among the casualties
Warnings of a possible rocket attack in Kabul. #ISKP has carried out this kind of attack multiple times over the last months.
Pentagon confirms two suicide attacks in Kabul, one at the Abbey Gate and the other at the Baron Hotel a short distance away, where 169 Afghans recovered in a US operation the other day were housed, among others.
Further casualty reports. From the videos of the scene, these numbers will certainly rise.
One thing this attack - almost certainly by #ISKP confirms - is that the #Taliban as a "counter-terrorism partner" was the most criminally irresponsible idea ever floated, by both Trump and Biden officials. The Taliban is either complicit in this or was unable to stop it.
A truly tragic day on so many levels
Taliban estimate of the casualties in an attack almost certainly perpetrated by ISKP
Four #US Marines are among the dead in Kabul, and at least three more were wounded.…
Germany has ended its presence in Afghanistan
As ever, early reports are often mistaken: it seems there were no #British casualties in Kabul…
#Afghan fatalities are over 60 and the injuries at 150 in Kabul
Reports there has just been a third explosion in Kabul
Death toll for the #US in Kabul is now 11 Marines and a Navy medic, according to officials talking to @AP.
No State Department briefing today Image
All caveats but there are reports of two more explosions - the fourth and fifth today - in Kabul.
Reports now of a new attack in the Darulaman area of Kabul, near the parliament of the fallen government
CENTCOM commander McKenzie: US expects the ISKP attacks to continue, is preparing by "reaching out to the Taliban who are actually providing the outer security cordon ... to make sure they know what we expect them to do to protect us and we will continue to coordinate with them"
CENTCOM's McKenzie says the US is "prepared to take action" against ISKP in response to this attack in Kabul.
CENTCOM's McKenzie says the ISKP operatives did not get onto the US installation and his working assumption is the jihadist blew himself up as he was being searched at the interface point.
CENTCOM's McKenzie: "We share versions of this information [on impending ISKP attacks] with the Taliban so that they can actually do some searching out there for us and we believe that some attacks have been thwarted by them. Again, we have been doing this since the 14th."
CENTCOM's McKenzie: "we also use the Taliban as a tool to protect us as much as possible"
CENTCOM's McKenzie: The US has told the Taliban of some roads it wants closed around Kabul because it has assessed that the risk of a suicide car bomb attack by ISKP is high right now. US drones and air craft are also active.
CENTCOM's McKenzie: There is "not anything to convince me" the Taliban let this attack in Kabul by ISKP happen, though he disclaims "trusting" the Taliban, while saying the US and Taliban "share a common purpose" of the US leaving by Aug. 31 and surrendering the air field.
CENTCOM's McKenzie: "I think we can continue to conduct our mission even while we're receiving attacks like this."
CENTCOM's McKenzie: "We don't believe [ISKP] have a MANPAD capable of" bringing down an airplane, though they have shot at planes, so far without effect.
CENTCOM's McKenzie: There was clearly a failure somewhere. "The Taliban operate with varying degrees of competence. Some of those guys are very scrupulously good; some of them are not. I just don't know the answer to that question."
#IS has taken responsibility for the first attacks in Kabul.
Another explosion has been reported by multiple sources on the ground in Kabul. Depending on the reliability of previous reports, this might be the sixth today.
#Biden is set to speak at 5 PM U.S. time [10 PM British time] - @kaitlancollins
Reports of a seventh explosion in Kabul, but it seems this is a weapons disposal misson by the US.
We did what we could within the constraints we couldn't choose.
#US officials gave the #Taliban a list of names of Americans, green card holders, and Afghan allies in an effort to speed their passage through jihadist checkpoints. "Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list," said one defense official.…
Biden opens by saying it was a "tough day". Image
#Biden says 100,000+ people have been taken to safety in the last eleven days, 7,000 of them in the last twelve hours. Image
#Biden: "We can complete this mission and we will ... we will not be deterred by terrorists", and plans have been drawn up to strike ISKP "assets, leadership, and facilities" at a time of US choosing. "We will rescue the Americans ... we will get our Afghan allies out". Image
First question: #Biden says he will send additional troops if needed but the military has said they do not need them and this is "the best way" to get Americans and others out within the time frame he has delimited. The response to ISKP will be "wherever they are". Image
Second question: #Biden defends reliance on the Taliban for security in Kabul since it's in the Taliban's interests to restrain ISKP and to get the US out by Aug. 31. The Taliban has given the US the "main things" it wants, Biden says. Image
Third question: #Biden: there could very well be another attack but the US is sticking to Biden's Aug. 31 deadline. Biden says the evacuations will continue after this through unspecified US means or through cooperation with the Taliban; he's very vague on why they would do this. Image
#Biden says there are some number of dual nationals and others who do not want to leave because they want to stay with their families, who the US will not take. Image
Fourth questions: #Biden says Bagram was "not much value-added", so it was shut down, and says he cannot say for certain whether or not lists of names were given to the Taliban, but it "could very well have happened". Image
#Biden has a testy exchange with a journalist in which he disclaims responsibility for this and blames the former administration. He then attacks a straw man by saying the US should not have stayed to support democracy in #Afghanistan, as if that was the issue at hand. Image
Really not sure that #Biden speech did what it needed to at this moment.
This is what makes it all so infuriating, as well as heart-breaking: there is no way in which #Afghanistan is going to be ignorable; the #US/allies will be back, just on worse terms. There was no need for any of this to happen.
Tend to agree on all points. Only addition would be to underline that in either case it means the idea that the Taliban could be a counter-terrorism partner was and is completely insane - and yet this idea has not entirely faded even now.
To put it another way: if the Taliban can beat up an Afghan UN official and not spot ISKP attack teams, they are about as much use to us in counter-terrorism terms as the Iraqi wands.

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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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