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Taliban

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Something quite extraordinary happened in early November in Kabul. Taliban interim-Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov got together to discuss a range of political and economic issues. Most importantly, they resurrected the legendary soap opera which in the early 2000s I dubbed Pipelineistan: the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline. Call it... Read More
russiataliban
An Afghan bombshell in Moscow today: 'the country's reconstruction must be paid for by its military occupiers of 20 years.'
Facing high expectations, a five-man band Taliban finally played in Moscow. Yet the star of the show, predictably, was the Mick Jagger of geopolitics: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Right from the start, Lavrov set the tone for the Moscow format consultations, which boast the merit of “uniting Afghanistan with all neighboring countries.” Without skipping... Read More
Fiercely independent, the Pashtun have famously lived for centuries on \"the margins of Great Empires,\" evolving into more sophisticated renditions, but never far from their roots.
Photo Credit: The Cradle
It was bound to happen: the remixed Saigon moment at Kabul airport and the stunning comeback of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, led by Pashtuns, has unleashed across the West a cheap Orientalization avalanche. The whole of Afghanistan is now “threatened” by the return of the “barbarians.” Once again, Afghan women need to be protected,... Read More
On the demand for an “all inclusive government” Imagine if the French revolutionaries were asked to retain the elements of the kingdom of Louis XVI while forming the new republic to keep it all ‘inclusive’. Imagine that the American revolutionaries were asked to keep the British loyalists as a part of the new American republic... Read More
9/11: A U.S. DEEP STATE INSIDER SPEAKS Old school. Top clearance. Extremely discreet. Attended secret Deep State meetings on 9-11. Tired of all the lies. The following is what’s fit to print without being redacted. Part 1 THE PHONE CALL. Up next. “An emergency phone conference was held in the early afternoon of 9/11 based... Read More
Massoud leaving Bazarak in the Panjshir after our interview in August 2001, roughly three weeks before his assassination. Photo: Pepe Escobar
It’s impossible not to start with the latest tremor in a series of stunning geopolitical earthquakes. Exactly 20 years after 9/11 and the subsequent onset of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), the Taliban will hold a ceremony in Kabul to celebrate their victory in that misguided Forever War. Four key exponents of Eurasia integration... Read More
The announcement by Taliban spokesman Zahibullah Mujahid in Kabul of the acting cabinet ministers in the new caretaker government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan already produced a big bang: it managed to enrage both woke NATOstan and the US Deep State. This is an all-male, overwhelmingly Pashtun (there’s one Uzbek and one Tajik) cabinet... Read More
It looked like everything was set for the Taliban to announce the new government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan after this Friday’s afternoon prayers. But then internal dissent prevailed. That was compounded by the adverse optics of a ragtag “resistance” in the Panjshir Valley that is still not subdued. The “resistance” is de facto... Read More
Fatima, Maliha and Nouria
Dear reader: this is very special, a trip down memory lane like no other: back to prehistoric times - the pre-9/11, pre-YouTube, pre-social network world. Welcome to Taliban Afghanistan – Talibanistan – in the Year 2000. This is when photographer Jason Florio and myself slowly crossed it overland from east to west, from the Pakistani... Read More
It was 20 years ago today. Asia Times published Get Osama! Now! Or Else...The rest is history. Retrospectively, this sounds like news from another galaxy. Before Planet 9/11. Before GWOT (Global War on Terror). Before the Forever Wars. Before the social network era. Before the Russia-China strategic partnership. Before the Dronification of State Violence. Before... Read More
shadowarmype
So we have the CIA Director William Burns deploying in haste to Kabul to solicit an audience with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, the new potential ruler of a former satrapy. And he literally begs him to extend a deadline on the evacuation of US assets. The answer is a resounding “no.” After all, the... Read More
The horrific Kabul suicide bombing introduces an extra vector in an already incandescent situation: It aims to prove, to Afghans and to the outside world, that the nascent Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is incapable of securing the capital. As it stands, at least 103 people – 90 Afghans (including at least 28 Taliban) and 13... Read More
After 20 years and a staggering US$2.23 trillion spent in a “forever war” persistently spun as promoting democracy and benefiting the “Afghan people,” it’s legitimate to ask what the Empire of Chaos has to show for it. The numbers are dire. Afghanistan remains the world’s 7th poorest nation: 47% of the population lives below the... Read More
The Taliban delegation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tianjin on July 28th
The first Taliban press conference after this weekend’s Saigon moment geopolitical earthquake, conducted by spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, was in itself a game-changer. The contrast could not be starker with those rambling pressers at the Taliban embassy in Islamabad after 9/11 and before the start of the American bombing – proving this is an entirely new... Read More
In the end, the Saigon moment happened faster than any Western intel “expert” expected. This is one for the annals: four frantic days that wrapped up the most astonishing guerrilla blitzkrieg of recent times. Afghan-style: lots of persuasion, lots of tribal deals, zero columns of tanks, minimal loss of blood. August 12 set the scene,... Read More
August 12, 2021. History will register it as the day the Taliban, nearly 20 years after 9/11 and the subsequent toppling of their 1996-2001 reign by American bombing, struck the decisive blow against the central government in Kabul. In a coordinated blitzkrieg, the Taliban all but captured three crucial hubs: Ghazni and Kandahar in the... Read More
The ever-elusive Afghan “peace” process negotiations re-start this Wednesday in Doha via the extended troika – the US, Russia, China and Pakistan. The contrast with the accumulated facts on the ground could not be starker. In a coordinated blitzkrieg, the Taliban have subdued no less than six Afghan provincial capitals in only four days. The... Read More
China and Russia will be key to solving an ancient geopolitical riddle: how to pacify the 'graveyard of empires'
So this is the way the Forever War in Afghanistan ends – if one could call it an ending. Rather, it’s an American repositioning. Regardless, after two decades of death and destruction and untold trillions of dollars, we’re faced not with a bang – and not with a whimper, either – but rather with a... Read More
Deploying diplomatic skills refined from Doha to Moscow, the Taliban in 2021 has little to do with its 2001 incarnation
A very important meeting took place in Moscow last week, virtually hush-hush. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, received Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s national security adviser. There were no substantial leaks. A bland statement pointed to the obvious: They “focused on the security situation in Afghanistan during the pullout of Western military contingencies and... Read More
The US is on the verge of its own second Vietnam repeated as farce in a haphazard retreat from Afghanistan
Let’s start with some stunning facts on the Afghan ground. The Taliban are on a roll. Earlier this week their PR arm was claiming they hold 218 Afghan districts out of 421 – capturing new ones every day. Tens of districts are contested. Entire Afghan provinces are basically lost to the government in Kabul, which... Read More
An Afghan Tale
In the beginning, they were the Bamiyan Buddhas: the Western Buddha statue, 55 meters high, and the Eastern, 38 meters high, carved for decades since 550 A.D. from porous sandstone cliffs, the intricate details modeled in clay mixed with straw and coated with stucco. Xuanzang, the legendary traveling monk of the early Tang dynasty who... Read More
Chinese container cargo trucks after crossing the Kulma pass at the Tajik-China border. Photo: Pepe Escobar / Asia Times
This is arguably the ultimate road trip on earth. Marco Polo did it. All the legendary Silk Road explorers did it. Traveling the Pamir Highway back to back, as a harsh winter approaches, able to appreciate it in full, in silence and solitude, offers not only a historical plunge into the intricacies of the ancient... Read More
Spin masters from Washington to Brussels to Kabul are bound for many a sleepless night. World public opinion has been relentlessly shocked and awed by the chimera that the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are "winning" the AfPak combo war. Now for the facts on the ground. Immediately after the US government... Read More
Ten years ago, Taliban Afghanistan - Talibanistan - was under a social, cultural, political and economic nightmare. Ten years ago, New York-based photographer Jason Florio and myself slowly crossed Talibanistan. Those were the days. Bill Clinton was in the White House. Osama bin Laden was a discreet guest of Mullah Omar, and there was no... Read More
Ten years ago, Taliban Afghanistan - Talibanistan - was under a social, cultural, political and economic nightmare. Ten years ago, New York-based photographer Jason Florio and myself slowly crossed Talibanistan overland from east to west, from the Pakistani border at Landi Kotal to the Iranian border at Islam qillah. Those were the days. Bill Clinton... Read More
Dear reader: let's sit back, relax, and take a trip down memory lane to prehistoric times - the pre-9/11, pre-YouTube, pre-Facebook world. Ten years ago, Taliban Afghanistan - Talibanistan - was under a social, cultural, political and economic nightmare. Arguably, not much has changed. Or has it? Ten years ago, New York-based photographer Jason Florio... Read More
Apocalypse Now. Run for cover. The turbans are coming. This is the state of Pakistan today, according to the current hysteria disseminated by the Barack Obama administration and United States corporate media – from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to The New York Times. Even British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said on the record... Read More
For those wondering where United States Vice President Joe Biden bides his - vast - spare time, he has just spent quite an eventful Tuesday both at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) headquarters in Brussels. Biden's message to Europeans in panic with the financial crisis (but reluctant to bail... Read More
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The Shaping Event of Our Modern World
Analyzing the History of a Controversial Movement