By Moon Of Alabama
SPIES&VESPERS @SpiesVespers – 22:24 UTC · Jul 3, 2021
#OTD July 3 1979: President Jimmy Carter signs a “presidential finding” authorizing the CIA to spend just over $500,000 on non-lethal aid to support the Afghan mujahideen against growing Soviet influence in the region. #coldwarhist
The ‘growing Soviet influence’ was the progressive PDPA government that ruled Afghanistan but did not do as Washington asked it to do. It was the U.S. ‘aid’ to rebels which forced the USSR to intervene. Everything that followed goes back to Carter’s signature.
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On February 15 1989 the process of withdrawing Soviet military forces from Afghanistan was officially declared complete.
Now, forty two years after Carter’s signature, a defeated U.S. flees from Afghanistan.—
The Taliban’s march through northern Afghanistan gained momentum overnight with the capture of several districts from fleeing Afghan forces, several hundred of whom fled across the border into Tajikistan, officials said Sunday.
Since mid-April, when U.S. President Joe Biden announced the end to Afghanistan’s “forever war,” the Taliban have made strides throughout the country. But their most significant gains have been in the northern half of the country, a traditional stronghold of the U.S.-allied warlords who helped defeat them in 2001.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the fall of the districts and said most were without a fight. The Taliban in previous surrenders have shown video of Afghan soldiers taking transportation money and returning to their homes.
Malek Mir, a mechanic in Bagram who saw the Soviet Army and then the Americans come and go, said he was left with a deep sense of sadness at the futility of a foreign presence.
“They came with bombing the Taliban and got rid of their regime – but now they have left when the Taliban are so empowered that they will take over any time soon,” he said.
“What was the point of all the destruction, killing and misery they brought us? I wish they had never come.”
“The Americans leave a legacy of failure, they’ve failed in containing the Taliban or corruption,” said Sayed Naqibullah, a shop owner in Bagram. “A small percentage of Afghans got so rich, while the vast majority still live with extreme poverty.
“In a way, we’re happy they’ve gone … We’re Afghans and we’ll find our way.”
While the withdrawal of U.S. troops and their NATO allies has been praised by some and heavily criticised by others, there is one thing seemingly everyone can agree on: the 20-year U.S.-led mission to defeat the Taliban has been an utter failure.
Similar to its withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, the U.S. leaves behind a broken military apparatus that despite the investment of tens of billions of dollars is ill-prepared to face the tasks assigned to it.
The situation Afghanistan faces after the U.S. withdrawal is scarcely an isolated incident in modern U.S. history however. After effectively abandoning its ally South Vietnam in the 1970s, leaving behind a paralysed Iraq in 2011 and now withdrawing from Afghanistan, homecoming celebrations will be tainted by the grim prospects of those suffering the consequences of the War in Afghanistan for decades to come. The zealousness with which these military interventions are begun is only matched by the degree of subsequent indifference to the fate of the country when the realities of conflict become too uncomfortable, setting the stage for an endless repeating tragedy of interventionist disasters. Meanwhile, the local population is for generations to come unwillingly indebted to the whims of U.S. politics, a debt ironically incurred by the equally unwilling investment of trillions in American taxpayer dollars in the industry of war.
Breaking Contact Without Leaving Chaos: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan – Lester W. Grau (2007)
There is a literature and a common perception that the Soviets were defeated and driven from Afghanistan. This is not true. When the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989, they did so in a coordinated, deliberate, professional manner, leaving behind a functioning government, an improved military and an advisory and economic effort insuring the continued viability of the government. The withdrawal was based on a coordinated diplomatic, economic and military plan permitting Soviet forces to withdraw in good order and the Afghan government to survive. The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) managed to hold on despite the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Only then, with the loss of Soviet support and the increased efforts by the Mujahideen (holy warriors) and Pakistan, did the DRA slide toward defeat in April 1992. The Soviet effort to withdraw in good order was well executed and can serve as a model for other disengagements from similar nations.
Despite spending double the time and many more resources than the Soviets, the U.S. and NATO completely failed the task they had set out for themselves to do. They ignored the lessons that could have been learned from the successful Soviet operation in Afghanistan. They were, unlike the Soviets, thoroughly defeated.