GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
Government forces in Afghanistan have suffered a bad 24 hours with the fall of the Taliban of Kandahar and Herat. The Afghan security forces have been overrun and soldiers + policemen are reported to be changing sides. The insurgent Taliban are close to a complete military takeover.
President Biden has said that he does not regret his decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan + reiterated his view that the only way to deliver peace and stability was for the Kabul government to “work out a modus vivendi with the Taliban”.
Commentators assert that Biden’s action was to protect US troops in Afghanistan who have been targeted by the Taliban. Al-Qaeda, too, is active in the country. Maybe it is the case that the two groups have outsmarted the US and forced a withdrawal which is a political embarrassment for Washington, rather like Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.
But there may be another perspective which is the US hope that the aggressive Taliban and Al Qaeda will join forces with the East Turkestan Independence Movement (ETIM) and seek to support Muslim Extremists in Xinjiang in an attempt to promote the separation of Xinjiang from China.
China remains the US #1 opponent – certainly until the 2024 Presidential Election. Biden cannot offer Trump + his supporters any electoral advantage by being seen “to go soft on China”. So Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan may have a wider geopolitical purpose – to encourage the Taliban and Al Qaeda to come together in support of Muslim extremists in Xinjiang. Remember, it is only 12 months ago that the US removed ETIM from its Terrorist List. Why?