Aug 20, 2021Liked by Charles McKelvey

Great analysis as usual Charles. The Soviet-backed regime In Afghanistan was indeed repressive, but also managed to enact some reforms and actually initiated significant modernization an development in the country, though these efforts were poorly implemented and fiercely resited by the conservative rural majority. Nevertheless, unlike the US-sponsored government (which folded liek a deck chair on the titanic) it actually had some popular support, mostly among the Urban population and intellectuals who wanted to modernize the country. It was able to fight back against the Mujahideen (handing them a decisive defeat in the Battle of Jalalabad in 1989, when everyone expected them to fold after Soviet troops left in '89). Many Russia experts still believe that they could have continued to hold the Mujahaideedn at bay for some time if they weren't completely cut of from Russian/Soviet aid with the fall of the USSR in 1991. Portraits of Najibullah, the last soviet-backed president) can still be commonly found in many Afghan cities (though not for long I imagine).

I think Cuba is smart in taking a cautious, wait-and-see approach with the Taliban. Russia and China are not withdrawing their diplomats and will try to work with the new Taliban government, rather than oppose it. Both have very immediate security concerns in Afghanistan as any radicalism there can spillover closer to home for them.

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