Thursday, August 19, 2021



                                    Let’s roll back history.

In 1837 Persia (Iran) with the support of Russia attacked the city of Herat in Afghanistan.   England’s parliament, fearing that Russia would try to annex Afghanistan with the eventual aim of expanding into India (The Jewel of the Crown) aligned itself with the newly recognized leader of Afghanistan.  Later they deposed him and installed their own puppet governor.

By 1841 the English parliament, concerned about the increase cost of the Kabul garrison, instituted cost cutting measures which included ending the traditional bribes to local tribal chiefs.   In November of 1941 the Afghans in Kabul rioted and seized the officers compound killing the occupants.   By January the decision was made to abandon Kabul and take refuge in Jalalabad garrison.    4,500 British/Indian soldiers and 12,000 civilians fled Kabul with an Afghan force in pursuit.  All were slaughtered within a few days.


When you’re wounded and left,

On the Afghanistan’s plains,

And the women come out,

To cut up your remains,

Just roll on your rifle,

And blow out your brains,

And go to your Gaud,

Like a soldier.

Rudyard Kipling


The following spring British forces reinforced the garrisons at Kandahar and Jalalabad and retook Kabul.   English Parliament, concerned about the exorbitant cost of maintaining a military presence in Afghanistan, withdrew all their forces to India.


When something doesn’t work the first time; you do the exact same thing again and expect a different result.


By 1878 the British, concerned about Russian expansion, invaded Afghanistan. They easily took Jalalabad, Kandahar and Kabul.  The Afghan Amir agreed to a treaty with the British ceding the Khybe Pass to Britain and allowing British control over foreign policy in exchange for bribes and military protection.  The British established themselves in Kandahar along with an Afghan army commanded by an Afghan general.


In September 1879 Afghan troops in Kabul again mutinied and slaughtered the British residents.  When word reached India, a combined British/Indian force of 6,500, under British General Roberts, was dispatched to Kabul to reestablished British rule.


By 1880, a large Afghan force was forming.  Kabul prepared for a siege.


In June, Word came that that an advanced Afghan force was moving toward Kandahar.  A combined British/Afghan unit under General Burrows, consisting of a British brigade and a 6,000 Afghan army troops, was dispatched to engage them.   It soon became evident to the British officers that the Afghan Army troops could not be trusted and a plan was devised to disarm them.   But before the action could be taken the Afghan troops mutinied taking most of the horses, resulting in the British troops having to abandon much of their ammunition. 

On July 28 Burrows was notified that the Afghan force of about 12,000 had taken Maiwand.   General Burrows, with superior weaponry and 2,500 battle hardened troops decided to attack.  The battle was a disastrous loss.  1,757 dead, 175 wounded. The massacre would have been complete had not the Afghan army diverted to loot the field.  The remnants of the British forces retreated to Kandahar.

When British General Roberts in Kabul received word of the defeat, he assembled his troops and marched to relieve the garrison at Kandahar.  On September 1st Roberts attacked the Afghan forces achieving total annihilation.


The British Parliament decided to exit Afghanistan on that high note.

In one hundred and forty years little has changed in Afghanistan, other than the advancement in weaponry.  


Russia also had their disastrous turn in attempting to rule Afghanistan.



The U.S. entered Afghanistan with a mission to kill Bin Laden.  Then we, the infidels, decided to stay and form a stable democracy in a corrupt and backwards Moslem country fractured by various warlords.  Who can think this shit up?

Twenty years later we pull out, and within weeks the well-trained and well-armed, superior Afghan army lay down their guns; the government officials readily make deals with the Taliban; and the country reverts to its original state.  

We should have never tried nation building in a middle-eastern, religious theocracy that has remained in a mid-evil mind set for two thousand years.   


I am not a historian so the account is probably not accurate to the detail.   But it gives a general overview to the best of my ability.

Being a veteran of Vietnam I understand the feelings of military men who fought in Afghanistan.   When you retreat from a war, all the deaths and injuries seem for naught.  

But the problem is not the order to retreat; it is the order to engage in the first place. 

Republicans trying to make points against Biden will make comparisons to Korea, Japan and Germany which have American forces permanently based.  But, these governments are stable allies, and American soldiers aren't dying on their battlefields.

You've got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away....

the Ol’Buzzard



  1. As long as defense contractors are able to make money, it's almost impossible for the U.S. to retreat from any of its many blunders. The well trained Afghan army existed only on paper, the levels of corruption were visible to anyone who bothered looking, but as a society it's become taboo to ever criticize U.S. military policy. Say a war is wrong or unwinnable and you're immediately slammed for disrespecting the troops. Personally, I think it shows more respect to keep them home and alive than it does to ship them overseas to die for Lockheed's profit margin, but the propaganda that's been shoveled at the public for decades makes that an unpopular position.

    I don't think Afghanistan has ever truly been a country. It's been a loose collection of provinces and ethnic groups that got labelled as a country because it falls between three real ones (Iran, China, and Pakistan)and they had to put a name on a map. The only trait that's common to all the people living there is contempt for anyone and everyone who isn't part of their particular tribe. In 2014 Ted Rall wrote a great book about Afghanistan -- "After We Kill You We Will Welcome You Back as Honored Guests" -- that it's pretty obvious very few so-called experts on Afghanistan ever bothered reading.

  2. I couldn't agree more with what you wrote in your post and what Nan had to say in response. If only more people were aware of the totality of the hegemonic policies of the US instead of being distracted by... Meanwhile, we know what we know and can only share our discoveries in hope that general awareness will grow.

    So, what have I found? The first I'll mention is an article from Asia Times written in Jan 2020 by Pepe Escobar called 'The Battle of the Ages to stop Eurasian Integration.'

    The other is the first book in the Flashman series by Geo M. Fraser. In it our non-politically correct dastardly anti-hero Flashman takes part in the British retreat from Kabul in 1842. It's both hilarious and horrifying.

    Glad to see you're you're keeping the blogging faith OB.


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."