Afghanistan: the obligatory post, the inevitable defeat.

I suppose I have to say something about the fall of Kabul if only because it’s a contractual condition that I have to write about topical affairs from time to time. So let’s just make a couple of simple points.,

This is not an intelligence failure, but rather what I call a failure to be intelligent. Western estimates of how long the Kabul regime would last were based on the calculation that the Taliban would launch major conventional attacks on cities, and the Afghan Security Forces would resist. If that’s the question, the the answer – months – was reasonable enough. But the Taliban didn’t do that. They opted for a political strategy involving bribery and intimidation, and they had everything prepared well in advance. The strategy actually succeeded even better than the Taliban had expected, since they seemed to have assumed at least some resistance. The “failure,” if you like, was to understand what the tactics of the Taliban would actually be.

Second, this is a religious regime. It’s made up of people who believe in the literal truth of their religion, and think that people who don’t agree with them are heretics or apostates. They do what they think their religion commands them to do. To say they are “savage” or “mediaeval” or “misogynist” or whatever is to apply 21st century liberal standards to people who probably are unaware of them and wouldn’t take any notice anyway if you explained such things. Their God tells them otherwise. Who are you to argue with God?

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