Putin draws a line
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
When big countries fight, sometimes little guys caught in between actually benefit.
When Russia was fighting the Taliban in the 80s, the US armed them, creating, among other things, a massive world terrorist threat.
Now that the US is firmly entrenched in a 16 year quagmire in the same place, Putin just offered to return the favor.
See for yourself:
Speaking at press conference, September 5th
The US has been accusing Russia of arming the Taliban all year. The neocon mouthpiece, The Atlantic magazine, just ran a big article about it. And Rex Tillerson has been saying as much.
Russia insists that this is ridiculous, because they would be hurting themselves, because the Taliban are actively trying to destabilize the Muslim countries on Russia's periphery, and in fact, Russia has spent the last couple of decades doing everything it can to foil the Taliban.
However, if pushed too far in the Ukraine, Russia might figure it is now worth it. Maybe they already have.
The strategy worked before in Vietnam with spectacular results. It was as much the Russians who defeated the Americans in Vietnam as the North Vietnamese. They sent massive and vital arms, and advisors, without which the Vietnamese would have never won.
That might be why John McCain hates Russia so much, that and because the neocons pay him to.
Here is a fascinating Russian TV report about Trump's recent decision to increase troops in Afghanistan. (Full transcript follows below)
The announcer at the beginning lays out the Russian view of Afghanistan, particularly ridiculing the American accusation that his country would ever support the Taliban, given their past.
The second part of the segment has interviews with two top Russian experts on Afghanistan, a former ambassador, and a top military advisor who studied the situation in detail back in the day and advises Putin today. They both explain that the American situation is hopeless, and that they cannot win.
Very interesting insight from people who know the situation well.
The reporter in the second segment is a legendary Russian military journalist, Alexander Sladkov.
This is the entire segment with both parts
This is the second half, with the interviews with the Ambassador and the senior military advisor. He was Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff of the Armed Forces of the USSR from 1989-91, and before that, the President of the Russian Military Academy of Sciences. One can surmise that this man knows a lot about the situation.
Here is the full transcript:
"This week, Donald Trump announced a new strategy for the US in Afghanistan. To assist the 8,000 soldiers, who are already there, they're sending another 4,000. Commanders are promised additional authority. This is basically the entire news.
This is the third consecutive US President who promises peace, but instead, continues the longest war in US history. He's the second president to renege on election promises to withdraw from the region while doing the exact opposite.
This is a gesture that resembles Obama's style. According to Trump, the reinforced US military will fight terrorism. The hidden meaning of this strategy was unexpectedly revealed by Secretary of State Tillerson. He accused Russia of supplying arms to the Taliban movement. As always, without any proof.
This is absurd. Russia has been supporting anti-Taliban forces in the country since the mid-1990s. The famous Northern Alliance, a union of Afghan field commanders, effectively fought the Taliban movement, having copied the Afghan Army, which was created by Soviet military experts. But, Tajik Ahmad Sah-e Masud and Uzbek General Dostum had help not just via advice, but also via arms and equipment. This way, Moscow protected Uzbekistan and Tajikistan from the spreading Islamic radicalism.
For the same reason, in 2009, we gave our airspace to the US for their operations in Afghanistan. This is one of the biggest examples of military cooperation between two countries in post-war history. Although, Washington assured that the war would be short, and that nobody was planning an occupation. But it worked out differently.
Tillerson's new speech isn't just another attempt to play the Russia card. The State Secretary has precisely pointed out where the US contingency strikes will take place — on the Taliban movement. If the Taliban get hit from the south, they will logically retreat up north, to the borders of our Central North Asian partners.
The experts also assume that the US will deliberately push the radicals out to Western China.
Also, the plans for the US' fight against terrorism have been announced. They're to take place deep in neighboring Pakistan. If a conflict takes place here between Washington and Islamabad, the North Korean issue will seem like child's play. Pakistan has real nuclear warheads and completely operational missiles.
Anyway, this week will be the beginning of some new scenario of reforming a giant region. Our military correspondent, Aleksandr Sladkov, reports on the dangers."
And the second part:
"The West likes peace and quiet in their own home. But American and European soldiers fight outside their homes.
Take Afghanistan, for example. The US has almost retreated from this country, they said their goodbyes, left their instructors to train Afghan soldiers.
But now, a reverse process is taking place. The Yankees have received orders to fight. The limited contingent of US troops in Afghanistan is increasing. There are new forces arriving all the time. The war carousel is spinning and is getting bigger.
The undefeated Taliban are taking over new territories. In 16 years of their campaign, Americans couldn't beat them. While supposedly leaving, the US military left 6 bases in Afghanistan. And now Trump made the decision to bring in 4,000 soldiers to those bases.
Even 10,000 won't make things any better. We all remember that recently there were 100,000 Americans there. They made Afghanistan what it is now. From a geopolitical point of view, Afghanistan is a strategically vital region. Being there allows access to India, Pakistan, and other countries. They can threaten Russia from there, like they did the Soviet Union.
The US deployed in Afghanistan on October 7th, 2001. The first strike was with MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), which immediately made it to Afghan bazaars at $2 a piece. Afghans themselves didn't eat them, worried there might be non-Halal food items in there.
New US troops were unexpected for Afghanistan and its neighbors, as well as for all essential players in global politics. This includes former allies in the fight against the Taliban. Besides 100,000 Americans, 50,000 European soldiers fought in Afghanistan. There were also tens of thousands of reps from private military contractors.
There was an anecdote-like occurrence. It was around Bagram, which is just north of Kabul. To avoid being attacked, they paid a fee to the Taliban. They just made a deal — for a certain amount, they'd be in the clear. This way, they left each other alone.
If we try to remember Trump's early statements, during his election campaign, he questioned what they were even doing there. Why did we waste 1 trillion dollars and over 2,000 American lives? I won't continue this. I won't maintain this business deal. There were clear hints that they must retreat from there.
The US deployment will definitely be disliked by Pakistan. They've been influencing Afghanistan for decades. The majority of forces that oppose the government in Kabul were trained in Pakistan. The US preferred to ignore this fact. They even stated that it was Russia who supplied arms to the Taliban.
All of a sudden, after 16 years, the Americans started to worry. The situation hasn't changed in 16 years. They remembered that Pakistan provides cover for terrorist camps, etc... Folks, where have you been for the past 16 years? Nothing has changed.
It's not that the entire Taliban movement will be pushed to Pakistan, who, by the way, have nuclear weapons. Americans are prepared to fight there as well. They've already done it without approval from Islamabad. We can all remember the scandal with Bin Laden's house being stormed in Pakistan. It's hard for me to imagine that Pakistani forces left such attempts without a response.
If such a conflict takes place, the entire region will be on fire. Their main goal is to change the situation in the Middle East, using underground terrorist forces. Tajikistan is also in danger. That's where Russia's 201st Military Base is located.
In the early 1990s, Afghan field commanders often took their troops to the Panj River, in attempts to take control over the neighboring mountains. The Tajik Army was just starting to form then. The Republic was protected by the Russian military then. At the same time, they armed and trained their Tajik colleagues.
Tajikistan, its authorities, its military are very well aware of the situation, as far as I know. They're preparing for possible attacks. They'll be able to face-off against the enemy if that happens.
For the Americans, creating a viable army in Afghanistan was a problem. Former generals and officers, trained by the USSR, were laid-off. Western military personnel became the new instructors. Americans have been there for 16 years. They prepared this army, these forces. So they must answer: Why can't Afghan forces, who have so many advantages, deal with the Taliban?
The result after 16 years — 1 trillion dollars wasted, 2,300 dead and 17,000 injured American soldiers. Tens of thousands of civilian casualties. An increase in drug production and endless war. In addition to that, terrorist attacks have risen dramatically. They attack embassies, business centers, police headquarters, defense ministry sites, and universities.
There was another attack on a mosque in Kabul during Friday prayer services. As a result, over 20 people were killed and dozens were injured.
Aleksandr Sladkov, Vitaly Duplich, Pavel Vydrin, Vesti."
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