American B-52H bombers are understood to be conducting an attack on the largest Afghan air force base in order to destroy the aircraft based there.

*THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN CORRECTED/UPDATED*

Countries are scrambling to evacuate their citizens, including the UK.

UK sending 600 troops to Afghanistan to evacuate citizens

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David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago

Ah default position for politicians who know they’ve well and truly flipped up. ‘See we’re doing something’

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago

I’m interested to see what B52’s drop that other platforms can’t – other than, of course, sheer tonnage.

I’ll bet it is all smart stuff and I would guess also air/oxygen gas mix explosives to flatten the place…..

I don’t think this will be subtle and we may see some super powerful conventional munitions deployed for the first time given how sensitive some of this stuff is.

Alex
Alex
1 month ago

They’re not even the largest bomber in the USAF by payload. Probably a matter of saving engine and airframe hours on other airframes.

Nate M
Nate M
1 month ago

How about the MOAB. a 1-2 of them could flat the place

Last edited 1 month ago by Nate M
Tony Reitz
Tony Reitz
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate M

If I recall correctly, the MOAB is not B52 deployable. This mission is about airfield denial.

Donaldson
Donaldson
1 month ago

Hopefully this airpower will keep the Taliban at bay while the evacuation is taking place, Some OSNIT accounts reporting Taliban are advancing on Kabul are less than 15km away…

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Donaldson

Doubt it. If they’re just targeting Mazar airfield that I think is way to the north near Qual I Jungi. This doesn’t seem to be close support to the ANA front line.

Donaldson
Donaldson
1 month ago

I was talking about all the airpower being flown in from the states and already based in the region, AC-130Js flew over last night so I would’ve imagined they’ll be malleting Taliban forces trying to capture Kabul while the evacuation is on-going.

I wonder if the Taliban has captured some Artillery and plan on making the runway unusable.

Anyhow we’ll see how this pans out in the next couple hours/days.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Donaldson

Ah, ok.

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

Looks like they have captured Shindand Airfield as well.

Whlgrubber
Whlgrubber
1 month ago

Few of these aircraft are service able and there are no aircrew to fly them. B52s deploying to bomb iran gulf ports?

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago

Massive retaliatory airpower is the way to prevent the Taliban from exporting their medieval savagery. It won’t help the people of Afghanistan. But if, after 20 years of Western support supplying funding, training.and equipment, Afghans won’t fight the Taliban, it really is their problem not ours.

Julian1
Julian1
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Unless of course thousands of refugees head to Europe, then it is very much a problem for us

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Julian1

It’s only a problem for us if we lamely allow to be. Our failure to stop migrants coming from France, a safe country, doesn’t bode well.
Boots on the ground policy has not worked and it is not a future option. But Taliban leaders need to understand they face devastating retaliation if they organise or facilitate terrorist attacks outside Afghanistan.
What other options are available?

Julian1
Julian1
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

The EU has to be far more assertive and strategic with how they deal with this and other looming issues. The need for an effective EU military where perhaps there is not the will to use NATO is paramount. Not sure taliban can be destroyed from the air….whereas they relinquished major cities to the northern alliance and west in 2001, they certainly didn’t disappear. Now you hear all the analysts, it seems obvious why the west failed in training Afghan forces. They trained them to be clones and extensions of western military but never to fight without western military. Western… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

And the Taliban recreate Al Q? : then we might, hopefully not, be reminded why Afghanistan was invaded with UN Security Council support in the first place.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago

Complete incompetence.

geoff
geoff
1 month ago

A sad and seemingly intractable situation. Britain for centuries, along with others has tried to impose it’s will and more recently, assist the creation of some kind of stable state in Afghanistan but it truly seems mission impossible. The reality is that the ordinary people of the country, especially the women will suffer a return to a Middle Ages feudal dictatorship. Perhaps there is a case for trying to split the country with the Taliban on one side and a more modern Afghan democracy on the other? That might give the anti-Taliban forces something to fight for and the Taliban… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by geoff
Marc
Marc
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

Middle Ages feudal dictatorship,that’s one way of describing it.

geoff
geoff
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

Loved the movie Steve.

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

The Afghan people do not seem motivated to drag their country into the 21st century. You cannot impose freedom. Afghanistan will now spend decades, maybe centuries in the middle ages with external powers shutting off any external threats from the air. If there is to be change it must come from within. Until then we must respect the fact that we do not live there ….

geoff
geoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

Mark I hear what you say but if Britain had adopted the mantra “respect the fact that we do not live here..” when faced with the Nazis in the 1930’s then the world might be a far worse place than it is now.

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

Good point however the Nazis weren’t having a civil war when we intervened they were invading other countries with which we had an Anglo-Polish military alliance for example.

Whlgrubber
Whlgrubber
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

Is there one truly democratic middle eastern country?

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago
Reply to  Whlgrubber

Probably not however there are countires where the populations are most probably content with the method of Government they use.

Shaun
Shaun
30 days ago
Reply to  Whlgrubber

Israel.

Chris
Chris
1 month ago

Totally bonkers they can’t recapture that equipment and fly it out.

So much money wasted.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

Probably cause more damage to themselves than gov forces 🤣

Phylyp
Phylyp
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

Recapture? For that, you’d need boots on the ground. Whose boots? Not the Afghan Army, they’re the ones who lost the city and the base in the first place. For the US or her allies to send troops back (for such a mission, not an evac), it would not go over well at all politically.

The US seem to be taking the dirty but easy fix for this problem: bomb the planes out of existence, and wipe that slate clean. “Planes in Taliban hands? What planes?”

dan
dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Phylyp

I’m sure the US told the ANA that if they run be sure to destroy the aircraft but like most things the ANA soldiers don’t listen and do what they want.

Steve R
Steve R
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

Do you propose the Americans risk the lives of more of their soldiers to capture the airbase and the aircraft to fly it out? Because it couldn’t be done without a massive fight and casualties.

I’d rather the money be wasted than more soldiers’ lives wasted.

dan
dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

Yep. The ANA ran like chickens and didn’t even bother to destroy the aircraft.

Nate M
Nate M
1 month ago

i wonder why we left and why the British army or any western army to be honest isn’t fit for insurgencies.

Sean
Sean
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate M

We left because Trump signed a deal to get out ASAP and Biden has gone along with it. Without the US there we don’t have the numbers to go it alone.
Armies are best suited to fighting other armies, not insurgencies.

Meirion x
Meirion x
1 month ago
Reply to  Sean

Because the UK armed forces have shrunk so much over decades, we unable now to presue independent actions.

Warren
Warren
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion x

I don’t think anyone of sound mind could disagree, but politicians are a different breed.

Sean
Sean
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion x

We still could pursue independent actions, but given the Soviet Union and USA have both failed in Afghanistan- as the British Empire did during the days of the great game – I’m not sure how many million men you’re advocating for the British Army…

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion x

To be fair Meirion, we are probably in a better position now (certainly by 2030) to partake in independent actions, but just look at the scale of this collapse …. Noone could put this back together, it’s turned into a walkover. As I predicted in a now censored and deleted post, the Afghan senior government and military officials have fled today, no doubt with Swiss bank accounts full of Afghan state money….. The actions we take in the future will be on smaller scale and actually achievable, with an exit strategy, not like this utter bloody mess caused by Bush… Read more »

MMBito
MMBito
1 month ago
Reply to  Sean

A global jihadist victory: For the global jihadist movement, the victory of the Taliban will be as significant as ISIS victories were in Iraq and Syria. Just as they did after those ISIS victories, many thousands of foreign fighters are likely to pour into Afghanistan to join the victorious “holy warriors” and receive military training. There they will join the 10,000 foreign fighters that are already based in Afghanistan from 20 foreign jihadist groups, including al Qaeda and ISIS, according to Afghanistan’s ambassador to the UN, Ghulam M. Isacza. Was the complete American withdrawal necessary? Of course not. In Iraq,… Read more »

dan
dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Sean

Should we have stayed 50 or 100 more years??? Wouldn’t have made 1 bit of difference. The only people in Afghanistan that are willing to fight are the Taliban.

Sean
Sean
1 month ago
Reply to  dan

Certainly not. But we could have been more intelligent in nation-building over the last 20 years. Had we been able raise the standard of living by developing the extraction of natural resources – which is what the Chinese plan to do having signed contracts with the Taliban – then civilians might not have been so easily influenced by the Taliban. If we’d had a government there that wasn’t so corrupt then the Afghan Army might have been paid, supplied with food, and actually fought. Even if all that failed, we could have handled the draw down and withdrawal better to… Read more »

Marked
Marked
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate M

We can’t stay there forever, there comes a point where you become an army of occupation and lose any support or good will you once had.

The simple fact is if the afghan people hate life under the taliban so much then they need to stand up and fight for their country and stop running away. Until they are prepared to do that it is a waste of lives sending our troops in.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Marked

Absolutely. NATO has provided training, weapons and money to pay for a police force and an army that on paper is 4x bigger than the British army. Yet there seems to have been minimal resistance to the Taliban’s reoccupation.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate M

They are fit for insurgency, we beat the Taliban and kept them on the defensive until 2014. It has taken a conventional operation for them to retake Afghanistan and it was the ANA who failed to hold them back.

Tony Reitz
Tony Reitz
1 month ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

Once the Taliban have infiltrated the major cities like they have, how do you root them out? They have no common uniform and use brutal violence to force residents to work with them.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony Reitz

You use intelligence from locals to work out who’s who, and who doesn’t belong. But above all you simply keep a high level of surveillance to prevent them from carrying out their activities and movements. The whole body count idea is not how to win an insurgency. It doesn’t matter how many of them you kill, it matters how many of their attacks you prevent.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony Reitz

However, the ana had the option to defeat the Taliban in open battle and lost it.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate M

There are very few wars where a major power has won a decisive victory against insurgents (Malaya? , Tamils rebellion? ). It does not help if many locals that you are trying to protect side with the insurgents, which seems to be the case here.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

The problem is your fighting with one hand tied behind your back. The insurgents don’t have rules to follow and more than happily use tactics that are banned by the Geneva convention /not socially acceptable to the west. If the west used similar tactics such as public beheadings etc then they would easily win, they just can’t.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Yes, totally agree it stacks the odds steeply in the favour of the insurgents.

David Steeper
David Steeper
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate M

Well according to the Def Sec after the US said it was leaving many of the other NATO states were appalled so he suggested that the UK would be willing to stay if others agreed to stay too. He didn’t detail the negative reaction but I imagine there was a lot of coughing and staring at shoes.   :wpds_shock:   :wpds_eek: 

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Nate M

Nate you are talking about something you have no clue about. We are totally and utterly capable of defeating an insurgency militarily. However to progress you need the politicians in all countries to grasp the nettle and have a workable plan to ensure peace of favourable for everyone to ensure the militants don’t revert to an insurgent action.

Karl
Karl
1 month ago

A pointless exercise. Biden trying to save face.

Badger.
Badger.
1 month ago

An excellent book on this subject is: “Return of a King” by William Dalrymple. It is a detailed account of Britain’s disastrous First Afghan War in 1839. When I read it, I was struck as to how little had changed since then.

OldSchool
OldSchool
1 month ago
Reply to  Badger.

Yes. I have also read Dalrymple’s book and recommend it highly as it is a good commentary on tribal politics and their culture of ‘negotiation’ – and you are right not much has changed. If the old British ‘political officers’ were alive today they would be shaking their heads in disbelief at the muddleheaded campaign the west has waged there for the last 20 years. The problem is as much to do with western liberal nonsense as the Afghan cultural-political landscape. As I have heard it said – in past days people inherently understood life as being essentially ‘tragic’ whereas… Read more »

Geordie
Geordie
1 month ago

Maybe they should bomb biggest taliban
Strong hold slow there advance down few hundred m.o.a.b should work

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago
Reply to  Geordie

Bomb Quetta in Pakistan ? , The Taliban base themselves amongst civilians and that makes it difficult to take them out en masse.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago

The greatest military assets insurgents have are civilians, they are used as shields to deter bombing or artillery strikes , they are convenient when killed because that supplies the insurgents with propaganda which is often believed without question by our media. By contrast, our soldiers have to follow rules of engagement.

Roy
Roy
1 month ago

The war in Afghanistan is a strategic failure for the West. The objectives set (‘democratize the country”) proved to be as unachievable as were Soviet objectives (“turn the country into a communist state) twenty years previously. Had the objectives been limited to tackling the core threat – i.e. support local leaders to prevent Afghanistan from acting as a terrorist base, a successful outcome would likely have been possible. But the strategic objectives simply departed from reality.

Sean
Sean
1 month ago
Reply to  Roy

Agreed it was mission creep that bogged NATO down there. Focus should have stayed on the removal of Al Queida and other terrorist organisations. Then render support to local leaders in raising standard of living.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Roy

Had a chat with an Afghan in the UK about it and while it was only one man’s view, he was pretty adamant that most Afghans just weren’t bothered about democracy (or much else politically). They were more than happy with a “strong man” calling the shots as long as things weren’t too corrupt and the man on the street could feed his family and have a chance to do well for himself. As you say the West have tried to foist a different system on them as the USSR did before. That might be unpalatable to a lot of… Read more »

Whlgrubber
Whlgrubber
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Well said. Eliminate AI and get out. That should have been extent of mission.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Roy

We achieved the goal of denial of Afghanistan as a terrorist base early on, by mid 2002, that goal was achieved…. Then we thought we could ‘change things for the better’, so began the folly of 20 years of western influence. It’s ultimately achieved nothing, the woman will be enslaved again. But …. Don’t expect a carbon copy of the previous Taliban government, the modern head shed is more media savvy and they really want to reach mining agreements with China and other players. Keeping the drugs trade and terrorism in check, is vital in accomplishing this aim. The new… Read more »

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 month ago

Irrelevant what kind of ordnance is used to flatten that airbase. They will of course go back soon enough to level Kabul Airport as well.

What happens next? Well, when the Taliban capture the entire country, and all foreign non combatants are removed, set up an enforceable air exclusion zone for the whole of Afghanistan.

Then they can happily go back to their medieval ways, and the rest of the world can ignore and forget them.

Oh and any terrorist incident anywhere around the world, we send the B-52’s back, and hold the Taliban responsible.

simon alexander
simon alexander
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

the americans did a deal with the taliban , the insignificant afghan govt was not present. probably went, we’re leaving so don’t attack us. how do you win in asymmetric warfare, the neocons and new labour did not know.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
1 month ago

The Taliban do not deal with anyone. They want to go back to a feudalistic world where they can rob, kill, butcher, stone and murder anyone they have a mind to. As I said earlier, let them get on with it, and any other state who wishes that.

Liam
Liam
1 month ago

Well that was a big waste of life and money.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
1 month ago

There are a series of very good articles published online by the Imperial War Museum about British operations along the (British defined) border between India (now Pakistan) and Afghanistan in the late 19th century and early 20th century, the era of ‘the Great Game’. Expeditions carried out by British Indian Army formations and with limited objectives and of duration. It is quite wrong to suggest as some do that Britain failed to occupy Afghanistan at any time. It’s only strategic significance was that it offered a route into India for a rapidly expanding Russian Empire. Afghan duplicity did the rest.… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Barry Larking
Sean
Sean
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

The Chinese are certainly concerned about Islamic terrorism being exported from there. That’s why they’ve closed the border to the Wakhan Corridor – originally created to separate Russian and British Empires – and are ethnically cleansing the Uyghurs in neighbouring Xinjiang province.

Sean
Sean
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

Probably more a problem for Pakistan given Afghan governments since the 70’s haven’t recognised the Durand Line as the border with Pakistan.

Shaun
Shaun
30 days ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

Barry, do you have a link to the IWM articles?

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
30 days ago
Reply to  Shaun

Apologies for the delay and a misleading reference. The images are sourced from amongst others the I.W.M.; however, the website I should have pointed towards is this one: The National Army Museum website.

https://www.nam.ac.uk/explore/second-afghan-war

I just followed the many links they provide. A fascinating story in no need of the Hollywood treatment. There’s a lovely photograph of some hill tribesmen ‘and British officer’ who it is well neigh impossible to identify with certainty among the group. These – on all sides – were frequently admirable men.

dan
dan
1 month ago

Goes to show that the ANA ran and didn’t even bother to destroy the aircraft the US gave them. I feel sorry for the Afghan civilians but after 17+ years, many thousands of American and allied troops killed, wounded and well over a trillion dollars spent there is nothing more the West can do. I hope we learn a valuable lesson from this and never again try to nation build again or occupy a country that doesn’t want our help. Unfortunately we never seem to learn from history….

Granny Joanne
Granny Joanne
1 month ago

A bit late on the destruction. Should have happened as troops were leaving.