Fall of Kabul, 2021

While the US prepared their exit by 9th September 2021, the Taliban rose to become the dominant political and military power in Afghanistan. After capturing Herat in the extreme west, the Taliban proceeded rapidly towards the east, where the bigger cities like Kabul and Kandahar are located.

This is not the first time the Taliban has risen to power following an unstable Government in power in Kabul. In 1995, a civil war started in Afghanistan, following which the Taliban rose to power. After a failed attempt, the Taliban established their base at Herat on the western part of the country, and again launched an offensive to Kabul. Kabul fell in 1996 and Afghanistan passed into the hands of the Taliban. The siege was only for 5 years, but it resulted in Afghanistan’s economy rolling back at least 25 years.

Mass destruction, killing and raping of women, and blowing up of archaeological monuments are features of the Taliban regime. US troops gradually repealed the Taliban from 2001 onwards and took up Kabul. However, they could not completely wipe out Taliban leadership and ideology and it soon gained momentum in remote parts of the country. Though the Taliban were a nightmare for the women, Taliban support still built up on a large scale across the remote regions. The US alleged that Pakistan sponsored the Taliban providing them shelter in Quetta.

Several countries like India, Afghanistan Government, the US, Russia alleged that Pakistan is a safe haven for terrorist organizations. The allegations were proved right when Osama-bin-Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 US bombardment attacks was found and killed in Pakistan. For a brief period, the progress of Al-Qaeda and Taliban were overshadowed by the rapid progress of ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and their suicidal attacks in other parts of the world. Heavy bombardment by the US, Russia and other world superpowers ensured that ISIS didn’t last long. While the world helped Syria and Iraq wipe out ISIS, the US was making peace talks with the Taliban to ensure peace in Afghanistan. After the fall of ISIS, the Taliban still held their ground with military and finance aid from neighbouring countries that allegedly include Pakistan.

Things took a decisive turn as US President Joe Biden ordered the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by 11th September, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The US made a peace deal with the Taliban, where mutual peace and unity between Afghanistan Government controlled areas and Taliban controlled areas were signed. However, as soon as the withdrawal of US troops started, the Taliban started capturing one city after another in bitter street fighting. Within 3-4 weeks, the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, the southern city of Kandahar, the western city of Herat was captured by Taliban forces.

The Afghan military provided almost zero resistance to the Taliban attacks, most of them switched sides taking the opportunity of lack of nationalism and leadership from the Government. Despite Joe Biden assuring that Afghanistan is self-sufficient in military power to combat any Taliban uprising, the reality shows a completely different picture. Covering almost the entire Afghanistan, the Taliban now attacked Kabul from all sides. The Afghanistan President, Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul on the night of siege and took refuge in either Tajikistan or Uzbekistan. Street fighting started in Kabul but there was hardly anyone loyal to the Afghanistan Government and most has switched sides. Kabul passed into the hands of the Taliban, who now proclaimed their country as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

The fall of Kabul in August 2021, marked the beginning of a new era of Taliban rule over Afghanistan. Parts of the city, around the airport, where most of the foreign residents living in the country are escaping were spared from damage. As soon as all foreign countries finish their evacuation of citizens, entire Afghanistan will pass into the hands of the Taliban. Many Afghans want to leave the country to find shelter in other developed countries but are unprepared given how quickly the Taliban captured one city after another. While Taliban rule is a nightmare for women and minorities, they have no option other than hope that the new rule of Taliban will not be doing mass raping or ethnic cleansing and treat everyone with respect and give importance to education and growth of the economy of the war-torn country.

Written by – Himadri Paul

Will it get more bluer or more redder?

Biden vs Trump:

The election battleground in the US seems too close to call. At the same time, the US future stands on a razor-edge. Democratic candidate Joe Biden is within an arm’s distance of the White House after taking the narrow leads in Wisconsin and Michigan’s critical states.

The fight between blue and red or the democrats is seemingly turning to a bottleneck with nobody arriving at the needed 270 seats. Joe Biden is on the path of success, with Trump trailing behind with a slender margin. His outcry seems to add to the woes of Donald Trump. Joe Biden needs to clinch only one more battleground state to defeat the new President.

The democrats have already won the fiercely contested prizes of Michigan and Wisconsin, part of the hue Blue that slipped away from the democrats four years ago. Even after two days of the election, a stable result couldn’t be announced.
The present presidential race could be among the tightest in American history.

In the year, 1824, John Quincy Adams won in the House of Representatives after no candidate for a clear majority in the Electoral college. Rutherford Hayes won by a single vote in 1876 (185-184), and in 2000, George defeated AI Gore(271-267).

In 2020, in the see-saw elections, Joe Biden has polled more than 70 million votes, with Trump bagging 66 million votes. Joe Biden also broke the record of Barack Obama (66,862,039 votes) in 2008, thereby carving his name in US elections history. Moreover,Trump’s campaigners had put into action the legal strategy, which the President has signaled for weeks, attacking the voting process’s integrity in the states where the results could mean his defeat. Democrats scoffed at the legal challenges in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia.

Biden vs Trump

However, legal challenges are afoot, and they could complicate things by accusing each other of trying to steal the election. The flurry of court actions did not seem destined to impact the election outcome. In other words, Democrats’ hopes to control senate are turning up with Joe Biden inching forward towards the victory. Over 140 million votes have been counted so far .

Voters have turned to record in the numbers for the vice president. The democrat candidates’ team announced that they were confident of getting 270 electoral college votes. Mr. Biden himself tweeted, ‘Be patient folks. Votes are being counted. And we feel good about where we are.’ Meanwhile, Donald Trump failed to accept, claiming he was a ballot fraud victim and got cheated. He even threatened to go to court in every state that had backed Mr. Biden.

US

Alongside the reasons that swept Mr. Biden by a right margin can be attributed to the following. The difference that made Joe Biden walk into a streak of success with a leap pending can be numbered as few. Women favored Biden, and men were inclined towards the new President, Donald Trump.

Biden was able to sweep high in the big cities while Trump kept the rural counties in his kitty. Biden was backed up by the poorer voters too. He dominated among those aged less than 30 but was behind Trump, who had voters aged 50. The inauguration date is on January 20. If Biden wins, he will be 78 and the oldest person to be elected since Trump.

Written by Ramyasree D.

US WELCOMES UK’S HUAWEI BAN AND RELIANCE JIO PRAISED BY POMPEO

The United Kingdom has banned Huawei from its 5G network after December and the already installed gear would expect to be removed from the networks by 2027. United State government welcomes the UK’s ban from future 5G networks and also praises Jio for prohibiting Chinese companies’ types of equipment. It could mean the tower of 5G is delayed for two to three years and may cost up to 2 billion pounds.

 “We welcome news that the UK plans to ban Huawei from future 5G networks and end untrusted Huawei pieces of kit from existing networks. With this decision, the united kingdom joins a growing list of nations from round the world that are standing up for his or her national security by prohibiting the utilization of untrusted, high-risk vendors,” Pompeo said in a statement.

 Huawei is considered to be a pivotal issue in the geopolitical war between China and the US which claims the firm poses a significant cybersecurity threat and data can be stolen. It is a major U-turn after the Prime Minister said in January that the Chinese firm could be allowed a limited role in the future of faster technology but the American President, Trump pressured the UK to ban Huawei.

“The government agrees with the national cybersecurity sensor advice the simplest way secure our networks is for operators to prevent using new affected Huawei equipment to create the UK’s future 5G networks so from the end of this year telecoms operators must not buy any 5G types of equipment from Huawei.”- UK’s digital secretary, Oliver Dowden said.

The decision is an addition to a new feather in a cap of American government, which has been pushing allies to washout Huawei from their 5G networks, claiming that the Chinese firm is untrusted to national security. Chinese administration may lead to counter-attacks against Nokia and Ericsson if European countries move to ban Huawei.

 “Listening to all or any the rhetoric it had been clear the United Kingdom had succumbed to pressure from China hawks bashers,” said Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom.

 He also hoped that Chinese students would still be welcomed in the UK and also added that China was not seeking an Economic decoupling.

On the other side, Secretary of state, Mike Pompeo praised clean carriers like Jio in India.

 “We will still work with our British friends on fostering a secure and vibrant 5G ecosystem, which is critical to transatlantic security and prosperity.”- Pompeo added.

Donald Trump has also appealed to the Indian Prime Minister and other world leaders to ban the company. Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani had told Trump about Jio is the only network in the world to not have a single Chinese component. He also announced that it has developed 5G telecom solutions and it will be ready for trials as soon as the 5G spectrum is available.

 “India’s clean app approach will boost its sovereignty, national security.”- stated Mike Pompeo on India’s decision to ban 59 Chinese applications.

                                                                          -Saswati Chattopadhyay