Last week, the Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi hastily packed a few things, made it onto a flight, and watched from the airplane window as her city got smaller and smaller.
via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/08/30/as-told-to-the-flight-from-kabul
I was running, and in the middle of my running some people made fun of me, especially the men: “Oh, the director of Afghan film is running! She is afraid of the Taliban! Ha ha ha!” I was surprised. Some girls were just walking. I said to them, “Why are you walking? The Taliban is coming!” And they started running, too.
via Conscientious Photography Magazine: https://cphmag.com/enemy-is-us/
“The single biggest mistake that a photographer can make,” Philip Jones Griffiths once said, “is to believe in the profession, to believe in magazines and newspapers. When that happens, you have already failed. One must work first and foremost to satisfy oneself.” (quoted from: Interview with Philip Jones Griffiths, by Geert van Kesteren, Brigitte Lardinois, and Julian Stallabrass, in Memories of Fire: Images of War and The War of Images, ed. Julian Stallabrass, Photoworks, 2013, p. 68)
Those of us who fought this war must now wonder: How could we have given the best parts of our lives to such a lie?
But the speed of the Taliban’s advance makes clear that this outcome was always inevitable. The enemy had no reason to negotiate, and no reputation for restraint. The only question before President Biden was how many American soldiers should die before it happened. But if leaving now was the right decision for America, it is a catastrophe for the Afghan people whom we have betrayed.
It’s a dishonorable end that weakens U.S. standing in the world, perhaps irrevocably.
via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/does-the-great-retreat-from-afghanistan-mark-the-end-of-the-american-era
On Monday, August 9th, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul posed a question to its four hundred thousand followers: “This #PeaceMonday, we want to hear from you. What do you wish to tell the negotiating parties in Doha about your hopes for a political settlement? #PeaceForAfghanistan.” The message reflected the delusion of American policy
Their comeback has taken twenty years, but it is a classic example of a successful guerrilla war of attrition.
via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-return-of-the-taliban
In April, President Joe Biden announced his intention to carry on with the withdrawal, and pull out forces by September 11th. However much he says that he does “not regret” his decision, his Presidency will be held responsible for whatever happens in Afghanistan now, and the key words that will forever be associated with the long American sojourn there will include hubris, ignorance, inevitability, betrayal, and failure.
The rapid fall of important Afghan cities comes as insurgent fighters have pressed their offensive all around the country, dividing Afghan forces as U.S. troops depart.
The Taliban seized two Afghan provincial capitals on Sunday, including the strategically crucial northern city of Kunduz, officials said, escalating a sweeping insurgent offensive that has claimed four regional capitals in just three days
For weeks, the northern city of Kunduz has suffered daily street battles. Times journalists were there to document a cat-and-mouse war for control.
The Afghan way of war in 2021 comes down to this: a watermelon vendor on a sweltering city street, a government Humvee at the front line just 30 feet away, and Taliban fighters lurking unseen on the other side of the road
Young Afghans defied the Taliban and signed on to reconstruction efforts, only to learn that U.S. and NATO forces would be abruptly withdrawn.
via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-people-were-leaving-behind-in-afghanistan
“There’s little reflection on failures and America’s role in these failures,” Akbar said. “That’s frustrating to watch. We are being left with a huge mess. We are being told to deal with it mostly on our own. Of course, it’s our responsibility. It’s our country. But it’s not a mess we created on our own.”
As bullets from a Taliban machine gun ricocheted through the street below, an Afghan soldier wearing an “I Heart Kabul” T-shirt took a brief rest. “There has been fighting day and night.”
As the planes departed and the smoke drifted lazily into the air, Captain Safi laid back on a green cot and put his hand to his temple, exhausted. At 28, he had been in the military for 11 years.
“It has been a tough decade,” he said.
As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, it leaves behind broken and battered Afghan security forces to defend the country from the Taliban and other threats.
Until recently, Lieutenant Atash was in charge of several police outposts. One sold out to the Taliban. Another was overrun. At least 30 of his officers have abandoned their posts, he said.
Afghan women know the cost of the wars started by men, and we will continue to suffer after American forces withdraw.
As men continue to bicker over the future and control of Afghanistan, I have already lost my home and my country. I worked in Kabul as a television journalist for 12 years, and finally left in November after threats to my life.
Another casualty in the graveyard of empires.
Gates told reporters he had only just learned the “eye-opener” that the Taliban were attracting so many fighters because they paid more. Generals in Afghanistan said the Taliban were giving fighters $250 to $300 a month, while the Afghan Army was paying about $120. So Gates, employing the American way of throwing more money at a problem, got the recruits a raise to $240.
And this pathetic bidding war with the Taliban was eight years in.