Pepe Escobar wrote an outstanding piece on Afghanistan and he has the expertise to do so because Pepe spent a lofty amount of time in the region and knows it extremely well. Unsurprisingly, Pepe titles his excellent insight like this:
A Saigon Moment in the Hindu Kush. The US is on the verge of its own second Vietnam repeated as farce in a haphazard retreat from Afghanistan
Read it, it is how REAL journalism is done. But I am sad, really sad because this guy left us too early.
ДОХА, 8 июл - РИА Новости. Делегация политического офиса радикального движения "Талибан"* прибыла в Москву на переговоры, сообщил РИА Новости официальный представитель политофиса движения, чье руководство проживает в Катаре, Сухейль Шахин. "Визит продлится два дня", — сказал он.Сам Шахин также вошел в состав делегации.
Translation: Doha, 8 July--RIA Novosti. The delegation of the political office of a radical movement Taliban has arrived to Moscow for negotiations, stated the official representative of the movement Sukheil Shahin, whose leadership resides in Qatar. "The visit will last for two day", stated Shahin who himself is a part of a delegation.
Only real power with enough military wherewithal has real... well power and weight which allows them to broker anything: peace, war, armistice, what have you. Taliban knows that and they talk to Russia. Recall, it matters how you leave. The USSR left Afghanistan in 1989 not only undefeated but left the country which was functional. Many Afghans even today recall those Shuravi who were building schools, hospitals and infrastructure. This is well documented. Late Ahmad Shah Massoud himself is on record that if they would know what would happen to the country after USSR leaving and the collapse of Najibullah government, they wouldn't have resisted. Well, hindsight is a 20/20 vision. Per Taliban's visit--there are many other groups in Afghanistan, including transported by the US from Syria remnants of ISIS and associated Al Qaeda structures which do have an expansionist agenda and will try to continue to destabilize not only Afghanistan but its surroundings. I am sure, this is on the agenda in Moscow in negotiations with Taliban.
In related news, Russia marks today the Day of Air Defense--the only air defense in the world with unrivaled capabilities and a cutting edge technologies. Some of those technologies are beyond the reach of the combined West and will remain such for a long-long time. Speaking on this occasion to Red Star (in Russian), the Superintendent of this branch Major-General Babakov confirmed that S-500 has passed combat missile launches tests and, as he stressed, there are no analogues to this system. Yes, once you consider that a single S-500 in Kaliningrad can shoot down E-3 Sentry over Berlin, not to speak about Poland, you get the idea. Now consider also the fact that naval version of S-500 is being worked on as I type this, make you own conclusions. Russia's lead in AD and ABM complexes today is so colossal, that it does completely change a whole strategic balance calculus. I am writing the article on this now. Especially when taking into account anti-hypersonic capabilities of S-500, S-400 and other latest systems.
For the United States it creates a strategic ambiguity initially and then, if one considers the way US top brass thinks, or, rather, don't, a real gap which cannot be closed. But I am on record since 2017 that the United States lost the arms race and I do not state it lightly or in vain. That is why The National Interest tabloid dedicated the article to memoirs of once negotiator on START:
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