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Messages - Cain

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1
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« on: September 08, 2021, 01:30:11 am »
Haqqani is assigned as the minister of the interior and Yacoob as minister of war.

It's pretty clear the hardliners are in charge of the Taliban regime, with appointments like this.

2
Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Curbside Pickup Only
« on: September 06, 2021, 07:02:38 pm »
Which is still better than Facebook.

3
Apple Talk / Re: Open Bar: Curbside Pickup Only
« on: September 05, 2021, 06:36:27 pm »
Get down with the kids and join Tiktok instead. Their ghost stories are better than FBs too.

4
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« on: September 02, 2021, 09:41:32 pm »
Parts are pretty major, most modern weapons systems are pretty complex and keeping the parts in-company only is a good way to ensure an ongoing revenue stream for arms contractors. No doubt you can finagle something to tide a system over, if you have enough engineers look at the problem, but since it's a way to ensure revenue for companies, they tend to be rather creative in making that difficult to achieve.

5
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« on: September 02, 2021, 03:21:15 pm »
I suspect the Pentagon was counting on a last minute change of heart from the White House, even though their hands were tied by Trump.

And besides, do they really care? The top brass will be going on to defence contractor jobs, which is notoriously unconcerned with the military having to replace stuff and indeed is rather keen on the idea, and the accountants probably ran a cost/benefit analysis and figured that dumping the stuff was probably the cheaper option than maintaining, securing and disposing of it. The Taliban won't exactly be able to order replacement parts, so they're probably not too concerned in the long run.

And basically the agreement Trump made with the Taliban was a peace deal. While the US could violate it, in theory US troops aren't allowed to attack the Taliban except in self-defence, and the Taliban have ordered their people to steer clear of remaining American forces. So unless someone does something stupid and there's an obvious fingerprint on it, like the suicide bombing the other week but with intel linking it to the Taliban, nothing will happen.

6
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« on: August 27, 2021, 08:35:47 pm »
Ahah. Looks like Northern Alliance remnants. Or, well, younger siblings and sons and daughters of Northern Alliance remnants, since all of that was 20+ years ago.

I suspect Atta Mohammad Noor and Rashid Dostum, two of the most notorious Afghan warlords, are currently in Uzbekistan as well, though there's nothing to confirm this other than their last reported location ("north of Mazar-i-Sharif") and what they did in the previous conflicts and whenever they got into legal trouble.

7
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« on: August 27, 2021, 05:23:05 pm »
Which cities are you referring to, Faust? I've tried looking but obviously there's a lot of Afghanistan news lately.

As for going back in...depends. I can't see Biden doing a U-turn, even in light of current events. I can see him launching drone strikes at whomever is deemed the responsible party...but in the longer term it will depend how much the Taliban pivot between their "responsible members of the international community with extreme views" and "actually supporting international terrorism and genocide" wings.

8
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« on: August 19, 2021, 01:31:37 pm »
It's actually not entirely clear. The Taliban do know that their attitudes on women, religious minorities etc have given them bad PR, and they do want investment coming into Afghanistan, because they are acutely aware that their inability to provide basic goods is part of what sealed their fate last time around. So they've definitely signalled rhetorically that they might be a bit softer on such things this time around.

Of course, it's easy to make a sales pitch when you're out of power, only to then go back on it once you're in control.

The thing is, the Taliban leadership is quite opaque. Haibatullah Akhundzada allegedly sits at the head of their leadership council, but he only makes statements a few times a year and wasn't very well known before the 2001 invasion. Whether he's actually in control, a figurehead or even still alive are all up for debate. Akhunzada was also a compromise candidate, back in 2016. Among the other more notable members of the Quetta Shura are Abdul Ghani Baradar, who heads the Taliban "political office" in Doha, Mohammad Yaqoob (son of Mullah Omar), who has spearheaded the current military campaign, and Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of the infamous Jalaluddin Haqqani and current head of the Haqqani network. He has close ties to Al-Qaeda and the ISI and oversees their financial and military assets in Pakistan. His relative, Abdul Hakim Haqqani, heads up the Taliban's negotiation team, at the personal request of Akhundzada, and is considered a hardliner - compared with the more moderate Baradar anyway.

9
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« on: August 19, 2021, 11:30:52 am »
I'm honestly not surprised.
 
As far back as 2016, about half of the districts of Afghanistan were under the de facto control of the Taliban when night fell. There was also a priority of overlooking the Taliban (to the point of practically supporting them) in order to contain ISIS in Afghanistan - who were and continue to be a very minor threat by comparison.

Beyond that, the Afghanistan Army only had one capable combat unit, it's counterterrorism forces that had been trained by the US - beyond that it was graft and corruption all the way down. Not to say these guys aren't fighting, because they are - Afghan forces have taken more casualties in some years than the US has had for the entire invasion - but when your commander is stealing the pay and will have you beaten to death for complaining, there's not going to be a whole lot of loyalty.

Of course the problem is more entrenched then that, in that the US never had a plan on how to integrate the Taliban back into power on any level. How best to put this...? In any kind of war, you have two options. Either you're going to kill absolutely everyone who belongs to the enemy team, precipitate a massacre. Or, at some point, you need to sit down and talk with them. Most historical war tends closer to the second, war is a continuation of politics by other means, military force is used to gain the most advantageous position in the negotiations to follow. We see this with regard to things like Nazi Germany - while the hardcore were (rightfully) hanged for their crimes, former Nazis with relatively minor blood on their hands were put in charge of Germany while the Occupation forces set about establishing ground rules. No-one liked it, but you needed these people to convince the ones behind them to lay down arms and agree to the new way of doing things.

And then you have the "no people, no problem" approach. However, and importantly, this does rely on you actually being able to kill all of them, which in Afghanistan was always going to be tricky.

Now the US had the chance to do the former. In 2001, the Taliban offered to put Mullah Omar under house arrest, enter negotiations to lay down arms and act as a political party in the new Afghan government system. Rumsfeld told them to piss up a rope, because the US policy at the time is "we do not negotiate with terrorists" and "we do not differentiate between terrorists and those who support them". That's the message they wanted to send, and as rhetoric goes it's not bad. But turning down the deal allowed the Taliban to disperse physically, build up support among the Pashto clans and tribes and put us in the situation that exists today. Between having no end-game for the conflict and not being willing to supply the forces necessary to achieve the outcome they had decided to pursue (again, logistical difficulties played a role here - supporting that many troops in Afghanistan would be hell on public finances) they always put themselves in a position where they'd be propping up a government with only partial legitimacy.

And this is without going into the very real clustefuck that is competing agencies in Afghanistan. The political types were cut out by the Pentagon. The Pentagon and the spies played at loggerheads. Different branches of the Pentagon pursued their own policies. There's whole books that focus just on that and that there wasn't a single person who ultimately controlled Afghanistan policy is part of the reason why it turned into a clusterfuck, other than the more theoretical problems of war termination presented above.

And so the moment they moved to leave, it was always going to come tumbling down. That it tumbled down this fast is mostly because the Taliban are very organised and already had an advantageous position due to previous decades of war minsmanagement.

10
Aneristic Illusions / Re: Picking Cain's Brains
« on: August 19, 2021, 02:19:27 am »
Interesting, the "inside job" angle is now looking significantly stronger:

Quote
Meanwhile, police have also arrested five officials who were part of the president's security in connection to the assassination. One of those arrested includes Dimitri Hérard, the chief of the General Security Unit of the National Palace, which is responsible for guarding the President's residence.24 police officers who protected Moïse were also being questioned.

Colombian media said Hérard allegedly visited Colombia a few weeks before the assassination, and the Center for Economic and Policy Research reported he is being investigated by US law enforcement for links to arms trafficking. Between January and May 2021, Dimitri Hérard made 7 trips from and to Colombia, Dominican Republic and Ecuador. Hérard had allegedly used an Ecuadorian identification document to travel from and to Haiti. On 22 July 2021, the Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso confirmed Hérard had access to an Ecuadorian identity card, due to his scholarship in the Eloy Alfaro Higher School of Military.

11
Apple Talk / Re: Last one to post in thread wins
« on: August 15, 2021, 12:41:01 am »
Pretty sure I win  8)

It's a fair attempt, but calling yourself "the last one" isn't enough to make you the last one.  It was never going to be that easy.

You need dedication.  Commitment.  You need to spend every waking hour refreshing this thread, watching and waiting, dangling the prospect of victory before your opponents, only to snatch it away when they drop their guard, thereby gradually whittling away at their resolve.

And you need to hold onto hope when your own victories are inexorably crushed, again and again.

No, this thread isn't going to be won by word games and cheap tricks.  It can be won only by blood.

Sounds like someone is salty they didn't think of it first

12
Apple Talk / Re: So. Walter White, etc.
« on: August 11, 2021, 03:28:03 am »
What's really depressing is the people who don't realise this and keep insisting that someone (usually Walter) is the "hero". No, he's the protagonist, which is a very different thing altogether.

13
Apple Talk / Re: Plague Diary
« on: August 05, 2021, 06:54:56 pm »
Look Dok, we've only been dealing with this for 17 months now. You can't just, like, expect people to learn overnight.

14
Apple Talk / Re: The Compleat Billy Chronicles (thanks to Zenpatista)
« on: August 04, 2021, 05:44:01 pm »
How do you think they got to Elvis?

15
RPG Ghetto / Re: Unified Vidya Games thread
« on: July 27, 2021, 04:05:45 am »
No, my computer died for a bit, so I'm trying to finish my Mass Effect trilogy vanguard playthrough (which isn't too far off) and grinding hard in ESO when I'm not (Elsweyr celebration = double drops on dragons = get rich quick scheme). But once Mass Effect is finished I'll either sit down and play that or Pathfinder: Kingmaker.

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