by Bernard P. Lawson, The Chicago Times

August 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden surrendered to Taliban dictates Tuesday by ordering all US military personnel to leave Afghanistan by August 31.  Biden believes the challenges of evacuating American citizens and Afghan allies can still be achieved, but only with the “help” of the Taliban.  Biden’s unilateral decision is a gut punch to allied leaders who want to give the evacuation more time.

Biden claims the Taliban are cooperating and that security is still in place despite a “handful” of violent incidents.  There have been disturbing reports of Taliban abuse of human rights against American citizens and Afghan allies trying to exit the county.  Americans have been beaten with rubber belts, have had passport destroyed, and Taliban fighters have threated to kidnap females.  There have also been reports of summary executions of Christians.  Even after the Aug 31 deadline, there will be thousands of people who fear retaliation from the Taliban.

The Taliban, who reclaimed control of the country nearly 20 years after being ousted in a US-led invasion following the 9/11 attacks, insist the airlift must end on August 31.  The Taliban have said they will attack the now surrounded US & Allied military forces and will hold no quarter for survivors.

At the Pentagon, spokesman John Kirby claimed that August 31st provides enough time to evacuate all Americans, but he was less specific about completing the evacuation of all at-risk Afghans that will be left at the mercy of the Taliban and growing ISIS presence.

The Biden administration does not know the true number of Americans wanting to leave the country and may have decided to cut them loose if they do not arrive by the Aug 31 deadline.  Some Republicans and Democrats reacted angrily Tuesday to the United States’ apparent compliance with a Taliban edict.

“This is a dereliction of duty on part of the President and top military leaders.  We have the capability to rescue all Americans and allies in-country . . . we do not have to be dictated to by the Taliban terrorists.  It is clear this administration does not have the political will to use military power to protect our people and allies.” said a source in the Pentagon.

In April, Biden announced the end of the United States’ war in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001.  Former President Donald Trump had previously agreed to end the war in May through talks with the Taliban.  However, under Trump, American withdrawal depended on conditions being met by the Taliban, which if not met, would have been countered with punitive airstrikes.

Biden, on the other hand, waited until the Taliban had over run the county and the collapse of the US-backed government and its army, before launching an airlift.  Biden also disbanded military response teams before evacuating civilians.  Biden also abandoned billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to the Taliban.  Some of these weapons include Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.  If we have to return, our own weapons will be used against our men and women in uniform.  One Pentagon source said “. . . standing operating procedure for a retreating army, yes this is a retreat on orders, is to destroy equipment that is useful to the enemy.”

In an unusual move, CIA director William Burns was dispatched to hold secret talks with Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul.  Some sources have indicated a secret agreement or form of tribute was paid to the Taliban to “ensure” the safe passage of US citizens at the expense of sacrificing our Afghan allies.  In other words, the Biden administration will leave our Afghan allies to the hands of the Taliban.

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said she had credible reports of “summary executions” of civilians and former security forces who were no longer fighting, the recruitment of child soldiers, and restrictions on women and girls to move freely and attend school.  Some other sources in Afghanistan have reported mass kidnappings of women and girls for use as slaves.

From 1996 until the US-led invasion in 2001, the Taliban confined women to their homes, banned television and music, severed the hands of suspected thieves, and carried out public executions.

Bernard P. Lawson, National Political Reporter/Columnist for The Chicago Times.  Views and comments expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the official position of The Chicago Times.


by H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

August 21, 2021

KABUL – Islamic State re-emerges and threatens US efforts to evacuate American citizens and our Afghans allies.  The US Embassy has now issued a travel warning Saturday, advising Americans not to travel to the Kabul Airport unless advised by an official government representative.

The embassy cited “potential security threats” outside the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport in its official notice, as Afghanistan faces a tumultuous and dangerous situation on the ground as a result of the Taliban’s forced takeover. The Islamic State, which has fighters in Afghanistan, has issued threats against Americans attempting to flee the country.

“Because of potential security threats outside the Kabul airport gates, we are advising US citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a US government representative,” the Embassy said in a warning posted on its official website.

The new State Department guidance is a sharp departure from the approach taken earlier this week.  Until Saturday, the Embassy in Kabul had advised American citizens and their families to try to get to the airport and board flights out of Afghanistan, despite the State Department’s insistence that it could not guarantee safe passage.  The latest guidance also contradicts President Biden’s assertion on Friday that Americans were having no trouble getting to the airport.

The new directive comes after Taliban fighters set up checkpoints outside the perimeter and there have been reports of Taliban insurgents beating American citizens on their way to the airport.  There have also been reports of Taliban fighters threating to kill American male citizens and take females as war prizes.


by H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

August 20, 2021

KABUL — According to a US colonel in the 82nd Airborne Division, Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue told his British Army counterpart, a high-ranking field-grade officer with the British army’s 22nd Special Air Service Regiment, that British operations were embarrassing the US military in the absence of comparable US military operations.

British sources have said they will not comply with the request since they are here to rescue British citizens, not take orders from embarrassed American generals that are hampered by political and military authorities.

As the situation grows worse around the Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul and throughout the county, US military personnel are increasing becoming hampered by military and political leaders in Washington causing a dramatic slowdown in the American rescue effort.  The main problem is lack of communication between the White House, the Pentagon, and Allied Forces. 

On the other hand, the British and other allies have a clear mission with the freedom to carry it out in due course to rescue their citizens.  In some cases, the US has become dependent on our allies to rescue American citizens while waiting for orders from the Biden administration.  Let us be clear, the problem is not US soldiers on the ground, but the ineptitude of the top leadership.


by H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

August 19, 2021

KABUL – With recent protests against the Taliban by Afghans brave enough to voice their dissent against the coming brutal regime, the Taliban is now beginning to show their true colors by shooting protesters and going door to door executing former Afghan government workers and those who worked with the United States.

The Taliban ruthlessly gunned down protesters Tuesday for simply raising the former Afghan Nation flag in protest of the Taliban.  The brutal crackdowns were witnessed in Jalalabad, Kabul, and other areas in the country.  Clearly, there is a will for freedom by some in the country.  Perhaps we and our allies left to soon?

There were earlier reports being filed by sources on the ground that the Taliban was beginning to go door to door in Kabul to exterminate U. S. collaborators, former government officials, and Afghan military personnel.  Those reports have now been confirmed and describe summary execution by hanging, gunshot, or beheading. 

In one apartment building, neighbors heard loud pounding on the door with shouting orders to open the door.  When the door is opened the Taliban goon squad enters and declares the chosen individual an enemy of the state and then proceed to drag them out of their home or execute them in their own home in front of family and neighbors.  The goon squad leaves telling residents that they too will be executed if caught hiding “enemies of the state”.

The current top targets are former Afghan military and top government officials that can pose a threat to the Taliban’s consolidation of power.  However, one has to wonder what former president Hamid Karzai was doing meeting with top Taliban leaders yesterday?  Is he now complicit in Taliban goals and coming crimes against humanity?

The fascist Taliban must be stopped and what little flame is burning in the those protesting against Taliban brutality must be flamed into a roaring fire.  Death to Tyrants.

“Give me liberty, or give me death!” – Patrick Henry


by H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

August 17, 2021

KABUL – As the Taliban promise piece with a smile and verbal assurances there are disturbing signs their statements are as trustworthy as the Devil.

Sources in various regions of Afghanistan filed reports of Taliban goon squads patrolling populated areas ready to enforce the harsh realities of Sharia Law.  There were reports of a woman summarily executed in the Takhar provinces for being in public without a burka and unaccompanied by a male family member.

In Kabul, Taliban vehicles loaded with armed militants were filmed patrolling residential areas for activists, civilian government workers, and former military personnel.  As they speed down the street, gunshots can be heard.

This is just the beginning, after hearing that the Taliban was confiscating private weapons, we now have reports coming in of Taliban “officials” going door to door hunting for other western collaborators and adding names to lists.  There have also been reports of summary executions.  This all comes after Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid declared women’s rights would be “respected” within the framework of Sharia law and that Afghans who had worked for the country’s now-defunct US military would be granted amnesty.

Prior to the post-9/11 US invasion, which deposed the Taliban government in 2001, the group severely restricted women’s freedoms, confining them to their homes without a male chaperone and enforcing strict dress codes.

According to the State Department, the situation on the ground in Afghanistan is rapidly evolving, with thousands of Americans and allies being evacuated as a result of the Taliban’s rapid sweep across the country.


by H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

August 16, 2021

KABUL — Thousands of Afghans flocked to Kabul’s main airport on Monday, some so desperate to flee the savage Taliban that they clung to a military jet as it took off and fell to their deaths.

At least seven refugees were killed in the chaos, according to US officials.

The crowds gathered as the Taliban asserted control over the 5 million-person capital following a lightning advance across the country that took just over a week to oust the country’s Western-backed government. There were no major reports of abuses or fighting, but many residents remained at home and were fearful after the insurgents took over and looted prisons and armories.  However, in other parts of the county there have been reports of the Taliban starting the process of summary execution  of opposition and the systematic physical, psychological, and sexual abuse of women.

The International Committee of the Red Cross reported that thousands of people had been injured in the fighting across Afghanistan.  Security forces and politicians surrendered their provinces and bases without a fight, most likely believing that the two-decade Western experiment to remake Afghanistan would fail in the face of a resurgent Taliban. 

“The world is watching events in Afghanistan with a heavy heart and deep concern about what lies ahead,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Afghans swarmed the international airport’s tarmac as the US military and others continued evacuation flights.  Some climbed into taxiway-parked planes, while others dangled precariously from a jet bridge.

US troops took up positions to protect the active runway, but the crowd rushed past them and their armored vehicles.  The sound of gunshots could be heard.  A helicopter did low runs in front of a US Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III as it attempted to take off, attempting to drive people off the runway.  A group of Afghans was seen hanging onto the plane just before takeoff, and several others were seen falling through the air as the plane quickly gained altitude over the city. 

According to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, US forces killed two people in the melee who were carrying weapons.  He stated that 1,000 additional US troops would be deployed to secure the airfield and supplement the 2,500 already present.

All flights at the airport, military and civilian, were halted until Afghan civilians were cleared from the runway, according to Kirby.  Hundreds of people remained trapped late Monday night, witnesses said, between American forces attempting to push them out of the airport and Taliban forces attempting to keep them in.

The Biden administration were taken aback by the Taliban offensive.  A US military assessment issued just days before the insurgents entered Kabul with little to no resistance predicted that the capital would fall within months.

The defeat threatened to undo 20 years of Western efforts to remake Afghanistan, which had resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Afghans as well as more than 3,500 US and allied troops.  The initial invasion in 2001 deposed the Taliban and dispersed al-Qaida, which had planned the 9/11 attacks while hiding in Afghanistan.

Women were largely confined to their homes under the Taliban, who ruled in accordance with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law, and suspected criminals faced amputation or public execution.

In recent years, the insurgents have attempted to project a more moderate image, but many Afghans remain skeptical.  Taliban have been know to stone women to death for the slightest infraction.