What America failed to understand about its war in Afghanistan

As the United States leaves Afghanistan after 20 years of war, there can be little doubt that we lost the war — or to put it more gently, did not attain our objectives. In recent weeks, the Taliban have advanced across the north of the country. Bereft of US support, the Afghan army and police have reportedly lost more than two dozen districts over the course of a month and are now fighting on the outskirts of key cities such as Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif. Senior US officials have warned of a civil war, while intelligence reports are said to forecast the fall of the Afghan government — which the United States has worked to strengthen for two decades — within a year.

Why did we lose? I’ve been trying to answer that question for 12 years, starting in 2009 when I was a civilian officer in the far-off district of Garmser in Helmand Province. I continued to ponder the question in 2013 and 2014, when I served as political adviser to Gen. Joseph Dunford, commander of all US forces in Afghanistan, and later as Dunford’s senior adviser when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As I traveled the country with senior US military commanders, I saw that in battle after battle, numerically superior and better-supplied soldiers and police were being defeated by poorly resourced and unexceptionally led Taliban — a dynamic certain to eventually doom the Afghan government unless the United States were to stay indefinitely.

I have found no single answer to why we lost the war. While various explanations address different parts of the puzzle, the one I want to highlight here can perhaps be seen most clearly in the conversations I’ve had with the Taliban themselves, often in their native Pashto. “The Taliban fight for belief, for janat (heaven) and ghazi (killing infidels). … The army and police fight for money,” a Taliban religious scholar from Kandahar told me in 2019. “The Taliban are willing to lose their head to fight. … How can the army and police compete?”

The Taliban had an advantage in inspiring Afghans to fight. Their call to fight foreign occupiers, steeped in references to Islamic teachings, resonated with Afghan identity. For Afghans, jihad — more accurately understood as “resistance” or “struggle” than the caricatured meaning it has acquired in the United States — has historically been a means of defense against oppression by outsiders, part of their endurance against invader after invader. Even though Islam preaches unity, justice and peace, the Taliban were able to tie themselves to religion and to Afghan identity in a way that a government allied with non-Muslim foreign occupiers could not match.

The very presence of Americans in Afghanistan trod on a sense of Afghan identity that incorporated national pride, a long history of fighting outsiders and a religious commitment to defend the homeland. It prodded men and women to defend their honor, their religion and their home. It dared young men to fight. It sapped the will of Afghan soldiers and police. The Taliban’s ability to link their cause to the very meaning of being Afghan was a crucial factor in America’s defeat.

This explanation has been underappreciated by American leaders and experts, myself included. We believed things were possible in Afghanistan — defeat of the Taliban or enabling the Afghan government to stand on its own — that probably were not. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we should have abandoned Afghanistan long ago, given what we knew at the time. It does mean that the strategy could have been better managed to avoid expending resources on objectives that were unlikely to be attained. Less money could have been spent. Fewer lives could have been lost. But that America couldn’t have done much more than muddle along for years in the face of a relentless enemy is the unsatisfying, sometimes frustrating coda to our longest war.

In 2009, I went to Garmser to serve on a district support team, working alongside a Marine infantry battalion. President Barack Obama’s surge was underway and we were trying to drive the Taliban out of most of Helmand Province. I was hopeful, but also interested to understand why violence had returned after the initial calm that had followed the 2001 US invasion. My instinct based on earlier studies of Afghanistan, including Sarah Chayes’ classic The Punishment of Virtue, was that a main driver of the violence would be grievances — locals driven to fight by mistreatment at the hands of the government or its warlord allies. Indeed, I found ample evidence of grievances — land issues, oppressive policemen and government exploitation of the poppy trade.

Pakistan was also a tremendously important factor for Garmser. The country was already notorious in US government circles for its unwillingness to cooperate against the Taliban, and indeed hundreds of fighters had come from Pakistan to attack the district. Another reason for violence was infighting within the government, its military forces, and its tribal and warlord allies, who failed to unite against the common Taliban threat.

After I left Garmser, I got the chance to view the country from a wider vista as adviser to Dunford. I felt something more was going on. Grievances, Pakistan and infighting could not explain every incident of battlefield defeat. The surge was now over and it was time for the Afghan government to stand on its own so that we could depart. But too often, police and soldiers were giving up in battle. The average soldier and policeman simply did not want to fight as much as his Taliban counterpart. As a result, the government was losing ground on the edges of what we had regained in the surge. At the time, the losses were a trickle. But we knew if they continued, the government would be unable to control key cities and would be in danger of falling. That trickle of losses would eventually become the flood we are witnessing today.

Corruption was part of the problem. As is well-known, the effectiveness of soldiers and police suffered because government officials or military commanders pocketed their pay, hoarded their ammunition and diluted rosters with ghost soldiers. Yet even after accounting for corruption, the police and army were usually still numerically superior to and better equipped than the Taliban in any given battle.

A stronger explanation was that the police and soldiers did not want to put their lives on the line for a government that was corrupt and prone to neglect them. Still, I knew a number of Afghan commanders who took great pains to care for their men. Could we really rest blame on corrupt, uncaring government leaders when Taliban were fighting for less pay, with fewer heavy weapons, far worse medical care, and leaders that for years hid out in Pakistan while their soldiers fought? Moreover, the Afghan special forces — which far and away have better leaders than the Taliban and are exquisitely supported — still had great difficulty fighting without US air support and advisers.

The question nagged me as I left Afghanistan in August 2014. All of these factors were clearly important, but their sum amounted to something less than the hardship that was playing out before my eyes.

A few months after returning home, I attended a discussion at the State Department with Michael McKinley, the US ambassador to Afghanistan. We were having a lively debate about why the Taliban fight when the ambassador interjected. “Maybe I have read too much Hannah Arendt,” he said, referring to the 20th-century philosopher who argued that human action was spurred by fears and past experiences, “but I do not think this is about money or jobs. The Taliban are fighting for something larger.” McKinley captured what I was feeling but had not articulated, and what the Taliban scholar would reiterate for me five years later.

The Taliban exemplified something that inspired, something that made them powerful in battle, something tied to what it meant to be Afghan. They cast themselves as representatives of Islam and called for resistance to foreign occupation. Together, these two ideas formed a potent mix for ordinary Afghans, who tend to be devout Muslims but not extremists. Aligned with foreign occupiers, the government mustered no similar inspiration. It could not get its supporters, even if they outnumbered the Taliban, to go to the same lengths. Given its association with the Americans, the government’s claim to Islam was fraught, even while the Taliban were able to co-opt Afghans’ religiosity in service of their extremist vision. However wrongly, the Taliban could use US occupation to differentiate themselves from the government as truer representatives of Islam. More Afghans were willing to serve on behalf of the government than the Taliban. But more Afghans were willing to kill and be killed for the Taliban. That edge made a difference on the battlefield.

The explanation is powerful, but also dangerous. It can be twisted to mean that all Muslims are bent on war or are fanatics. Such an interpretation would be wrong: Islam is a source of unity and inspiration, not of terrorism or atrocity. To say that a people have sympathy for their countrymen and co-religionists over foreigners is hardly to label Islam as evil. The point is that it is tougher to risk life for country when fighting alongside what some call occupiers, especially when they do not share your faith.

The explanation came up in a variety of conversations and correspondence I have had over the years with Afghans, military commanders, tribal leaders and Taliban themselves. Kandahar’s notorious police chief, the late Abdul Razziq, was renowned for caring for his officers and something of an authority on fighting the Taliban. He told me, “Taliban morale is better than government morale. Taliban morale is very high. Look at their suicide bombers. The Taliban motivate people to do incredible things.”

A Taliban religious leader from Paktia made a similar point:

I hear every day of an incident where police or army soldiers are killed. … I do not know if they are committed to fighting the Taliban or not. Many of the police and soldiers are there only for dollars. They are paid good salaries but they do not have the motivation to defend the government. … Taliban are committed to the cause of jihad. This is the biggest victory for them.

More convincingly, multiple surveys of Taliban opinion by Graeme Smith, Ashley Jackson, Theo Farrell, Antonio Giustozzi and others have confirmed that the Taliban fight in part because they believe it their Islamic duty to resist occupation and are convinced their cause will enable them to win. Jackson’s survey of 50 Taliban, published in 2019, discovered that they described their decision to join the movement “in terms of religious devotion and jihad—a sense of personal and public duty. In their view, jihad against foreign occupation was a religious obligation, undertaken to defend their values.” Jihad was about identity, she concluded.

This thinking extends to ordinary Afghans as well, many of whom do not subscribe to the Taliban’s extremist political vision but are sympathetic to their invocation of Islamic principles against foreign occupiers. The 2012 Asia Foundation survey, the most respected survey of the Afghan people, found that of those Afghans who strongly sympathized with the Taliban, 77 percent said they did so because the Taliban were Afghans, Muslims, and waging jihad.

Over time, aware of the government’s vulnerable position, Afghan leaders turned to an outside source to galvanize the population: Pakistan. Razziq, President Hamid Karzai and later President Ashraf Ghani used Pakistan as an outside threat to unite Afghans behind them. They refused to characterize the Taliban as anything but a creation of Islamabad. Razziq relentlessly claimed to be fighting a foreign Pakistani invasion. Yet Pakistan could never fully out-inspire occupation. A popular tale related to me in 2018 by an Afghan government official illuminates the reality:

An Afghan army officer and a Taliban commander were insulting each other o-ver their radios while sho-oting back and forth. The Taliban commander taunted: “You are puppets of America!” The army officer shouted back: “You are the puppets of Pakistan!” The Taliban commander replied: “The Americans are infidels. The Pakistanis are Muslims.” The Afghan officer had no response. Or in the shorter Afghan proverb form: “Over an infidel, be happy with a weak Muslim.”

The literature to date has respectfully neglected this explanation — in a country where people have eagerly tried to convert me to Islam, where religion defines daily life, and where insults to Islam instigate riots. The largest popular upheaval I witnessed firsthand in Afghanistan was not over the government’s mistreatment of the people or Pakistani perfidy. It was hundreds of angry villagers marching miles to the dusty bazaars of Garmser, protesting a rumor that an American had damaged a Koran.

It would be incorrect to say that US commanders on the ground were oblivious to the morale problems of the Afghan army and police. Certain commanders such as Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry realized that the Afghan army desperately needed a sense of nationalism that could never be imbued by foreign forces. But that US occupation might be clashing with Afghan identity and giving the Taliban a significant advantage was rarely considered. Most generals and officials looked instead to solutions such as training, improving leadership, addressing grievances and countering corruption.

In fairness, it is possible that significant improvements in these areas might have made a difference. Theoretically, if grievances had been addressed, or if corruption had been thwarted, or if government leadership had cared more for their troops, it might have counteracted some of the morale problems engendered by fighting alongside an outside occupier. Practically, however, none of these problems were themselves easy to overcome. And it would have been even harder to overcome the Taliban’s ability to outfight, outlast and out-believe government forces — the most intractable problem of all.

Will the situation change with US departure? Will the credibility of the Taliban’s war against the government weaken when we are gone, allowing Ghani’s government to stem the tide of their advance? Maybe, but I am skeptical. Twenty years of foreign support has tarred the government in Kabul. It is all too easy for the Taliban to paint it as a puppet. In the summer of 2014, I was eating dinner, cross-legged in a garden, with two old friends — one a tribal leader, the other a security official — in Lashkar Gah, a town that is today surrounded by Taliban forces. We were talking about the pending departure of US troops, which was then the plan, and I mentioned the dangers of Afghans appearing too frequently alongside Americans. They rolled up their sleeves, pointed to their arms, and said: “The paint is already all over us. There is nothing we can do.”

Now, with the Taliban overrunning districts in the north, they will likely press their attack, further emboldened by US departure over the next few weeks. Afghan soldiers and police will suffer from the same morale problems that have plagued them for two decades. Provincial capitals and Kandahar or Mazar-e-Sharif are likely to fall, possibly within a year. After that, Kabul itself will be in danger. The capital may hold, at least for a while, but the government and its allies will struggle to survive, with little chance of regaining what has been lost.

The explanation of how religion, resistance to occupation and Afghan identity intertwined to the advantage of the Taliban and disadvantage of the government helps us make sense of America’s 20-year war. This is not the singular explanation for the outcome of the Afghan war. But it is a necessary one. Its impact is resounding: Any Afghan government, however good and however democratic, could be imperiled as long as it was aligned with the United States. The Taliban were consistently inspired to fight harder and to go to greater lengths than the Afghan army and police. In turn, the United States had to stay longer and longer: civil war in perpetual motion. If any US leader wanted to leave Afghanistan, they had to confront the prospect that the Afghan government was likely to fail, a humiliating future.

What should the United States have done? From today’s viewpoint, it’s tempting to say we should have left years ago. I don’t think that answer accounts for the dilemmas facing the United States — or, indeed, for human fallibility. The idea that we should have simply pulled stakes presumes that we could have recognized the impossibility of winning in Afghanistan much sooner than we did. Moreover, it unrealistically dismisses the terrorist threat that persisted all the way up to the defeat of the Islamic State in 2016 and 2017 and the domestic political risks of ignoring that threat.

A more realistic view might be that the Afghan war was always likely to drift toward something to be endured over the long haul, an unhappy chapter of American history with few opportunities to change course. America could not easily win and America could not easily get out. The fact we stayed so long may be tragic, but it is hardly surprising.

What we could have done is managed our strategy better. For too long, we set expectations that were too high given the difficulties of understanding Afghanistan and the obstacles we were confronting. Worse, we expended resources, especially in the 2009–2011 surge, attempting to attain massive goals within a few years. A thrifty, humble strategy that could be sustained over decades would have been better than heavy investment seeking wholesale change in a short amount of time. Such a strategy would have muddled through, deploying as few forces as possible, aware that trying to force decisive change would be a waste of resources. Obama basically arrived at this strategy by the end of 2015, having forced down US troop levels from nearly 100,000 in 2011 to around 10,000. I think we could have gotten there much sooner. The end result may well have been the same: The terrorist threat would have receded, President Joe Biden would today be pulling out troops, and the Afghan government would be on the ropes. But in the meantime we would have spent less money and lost fewer lives. That would have been a better outcome, if far from a rousing victory.

For the United States, Afghanistan was a long war but also an experience. It feels wrong to cast the entire experience as bad or evil. Better, I think, to see the good as well as the bad. I would not want to forget the friendships Americans forged with thousands of Afghans who were genuinely trying to improve their country, whether a hard-working farmer, an idealistic technocrat, a heroic commando, an overburdened policeman or a pathbreaking young woman. And I certainly would not want to forget the kindness US servicemen and women brought to many Afghan lives and their dedication to protecting Americans at home. For me, America’s Afghanistan experience is a dark, cloudy front with points of sunlight. The last thing I want to do is condemn it and all those involved.

Carter Malkasian is the author of The American War in Afghanistan: A History. He served as a civilian advisor in Iraq and Afghanistan and was the senior advisor to General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, from 2015 to 2019.

Please follow and like us:

20 thoughts on “What America failed to understand about its war in Afghanistan”

  1. What did America (and the New World Order that owns her and pulls her soldiers’ strings) fail to understand about the war in Afghanistan? It’s simple. Some people won’t submit to being abused, exploited, and pushed around, even by their own bribed and traitorous “leaders.” Religion or no. And this includes everyone, given time. The evil exploitation of others tends not to work in the long run. Even for those whose secular-humanist-corporate-Marxist philosophy does not allow for nobility, truth, honor, or justice. Is that lesson simple enough for you?

    1. Simply examine the lives of the Founders of the totalitarian regimes.

      Karl Marx [Communism]….never could get along with his family. He hated his neighbors and was always fighting with them. People were of no real use to him.

      Muhammad [Islam]….well known for his abuse of women. His history of child abuse and pedophilia are legendary.
      Favored death for anyone who did not agree with his philosophy.

      The list is very long.

  2. Hi Dr. Fetzer, Hope you are doing well.
    I wonder if there is any way you could modify the composition of these pages. I’ve tried it on several browsers on my Mac and always have the same problem where the black top section takes up nearly 50% of the page and makes it very difficult to read articles.
    Thank you,

      1. Jim, Please find screen shot. If the text is enlarged enough to read the top black expands to nearly 1/2 the page.


  3. Fascinating, interesting and enlightening article. I believe one critical and foundational point that was overlooked is that the invasion and premise for Americas longest war was based on a lie. 9/11 was carried out by the CIA, Pentagon, Bush NeoCons and Mossad. Osama Bin Laden and his supposed 19 hijacker terrorists had nothing to do with the attack. So tens of thousands of Americans injured and killed all based on a lie. Trillion from our treasury and borrowed wasted all based on a lie. Maybe even deep down we had no moral foundation for being there because our stated mission to get Osama and the government that harbored him was all based on a profound lie. Not much different than what we see today as our own government wants to force a deadly bioweapon into our blood streams pretending it is a necessary vaccine. All based on a lie. 9/11 was for many of us the wake up call. If those who are designated to protect us are actually willing to murder 3,000 Americans and them based on that lie willing to murder and displace tens of millions in several countries all based on a false flag lie what might they do in the future to further their goals? We are seeing some of the answer to that question as we witness the largest most evil genocide in all of human history.

    1. An authentic conspiracy researcher these days is presented with so much deception and rumors and opinions and spin that it is quite difficult to ascertain truth without deeper training in metaphysics, psychcology, ancient history, etc. IMO.

      How many did die on 9/11? And how? The immediate research showed very little verification of ID’s. Some say some of the “jumpers” were CGI. How about the telephone call from the guy stuck in an office or the woman in the big hole in the building?

      The down play over the years, decades, of alternative thinking has left far too many caught clinging to belief systems created and based on what the controllers have established over the decades as valid choices. The main stream narrative.

      That is why, in my experience, the history of removing Shaman, Medicine Men and Women, sacred ceremony, the use of sacred teacher plants like peyote, mesaline, hemp, or psychic and intuitive sense and more from access by others has occured. Through belittling, imprisonment, laws, murder, etc. it was used to keep control of people. Stay drunk on alcohol that leaves one in infantile behavior and not in awe of what it means to be alive sans organized anything…religion, education, etc.

      Those of us who have journeyed with Ayahuasca, pure LSD, and the other “teachers” or “doorways” understand the existance of bigger layers of reality and power and that is a threat to the controllers. The waking up of people to the danger of the toxic injections being forced on us is that sort of ah-ha cathartic moment that is now more “tribal” then individual, the “good hive mind” of consciousness not control.

      Through clever use of the methods and ideas of Bernays, Freud, Skinner, Pavlov, etc. the mass is locked in either/or paradigms of persuation without stepping out side the parameters of what is offered. And of course when we do, we are ostrisized, attacked, made fun of and more though peer group “bad hive mind” pressure and others.

      For myself JFK’s murder was the end of the story and the start of the downfall of everything. I “knew” something very important had changed but with a limited set of facts and realities at that time I could only trust my gut, but I knew.

      So just “what” is in progress these days world wide. For me it is like when one is ill, you know some of the symptoms but not the cause, but experience helps narrow things down to a close analysis…I’ve got a cold, I’m dehydrated, I’m depressed, etc.

      I believe a take over of humanity, not just nations or politial party’s, etc. is now in progress and the incremental divious behavior of the past is now out in the open arrogance of power, like the bully taunting others.

      To bet on something one needs to have some idea of the odds. In our situation now there seems to be very little guess as to what behavior is coming. But it is coming.

      WHO WANTS US TO DIE: https://www.bitchute.com/video/8CKubpwla5Lr/

      1. Movies have blurred people’s sense of what is real and what is fake. Boston Bomb is a good example. No one was injured at that fraud event. All of the vicsims were previous amputees.
        So much fake blood was used that the City of Boston had to repave the sidewalks at the event…because the fake blood was almost impossible to remove.
        The fakers even forgot to remove their smoke machine and its battery.

        The file pic reveals that the fake bombs were announced BEFORE they were set off. [Several people here do not like my pictures. Sorry, that they annoy you.]


      2. Don, not to be picky, but you may mean “videos” have blurred our sense of what is real and what is fake. Most of us know “movies”(in the common sense of the word) are fiction.

  4. Just for the record:

    America Has Been At War 93% of it’s existence – 222 Out of 239 Years
    We have over 700 ‘known’ military bases world wide.

    *Between 1898 and 1934 the Marines invaded: Cuba 4 times; Nicaragua 5 times; Honduras 7 times; the Dominican Republic 4 times; Haiti twice; Guatemala once; Panama twice; Mexico 3 times; and Colombia 4 times. All done for the corporations to get natural resources and farm land for them.

     *Eisenhower murdered over one million innocent Germans in open field prison camps, AFTER the war’s end.

     *President Truman dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki murdering over 100,000 innocent people.

     *Johnson, Nixon, and J. Edgar Hoover were at Clint Murcheson’s ranch finalizing JFK’s murder the night before.
    *George Bush allowed 9/11 to occur then murdered a million Iraqi innocents.
    *Obama dropped over 26 thousand bombs in 2016 on innocents plus allowed the drone murder of wedding parties.
    Dropping more bombs in Yemen in one week than the annual total for any prior year, or loosening the standards for “acceptable” civilian casualties.

    *President Trump increased Drone strikes by 400%; illegally attacked Syria.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Part of the historical gun confiscation consequences here and millions more world wide:

    December 29,1890. 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Calvary in a firearms confiscation “for their own safety and protection.” They were slaughtered AFTER the Sioux peacefully turned in their firearms. 200 fo the 297 murdered were women and children.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    And NOW, not seen acknowledged as the WAR it is on humanity, the vaccinations have been found to contain Graphene (GBH) The active ingredient in the Moderna vaccine which alters our RNA or DNA is called “Luciferase”.
    To reprogram our DNA to make us human-AI hybrids that are easier to control.
    To implant a Digital Vaccine ID that will allow total control over each person.

    We have all seen this coming at one logical point or another. It is the destruction of humanity world wide. :-/

  5. No offense to the author, but is he playing dumb or what? Afghanistan was almost a complete replay of Vietnam, with fewer American deaths but the same if not greater local tragedy. We had corrupt “friendly” governments and local warlords, a foreign army that didn’t know the Pashto language or Afghan culture and practices a different religion, a host army that wasn’t willing to fight, U.S. support for the drug trade, and a very determined ideologically motivated enemy. We had little chance to succeed in Vietnam and zero chance in Afghanistan.

    The majority of Afghans hate the Taliban, just as the majority of South Vietnamese feared and despised the communists. The major difference was that we didn’t build up the communists prior to our involvement, in contrast to our support of the Taliban and its predecessors against the Soviet forces in the 1980’s.

    We don’t need people like Markasian who are acting as if all this prior history never happened. We need smart people who understand the machinations of the military-industrial-anti-terror complex and refuse to allow politicians to get us into these foreign wars. But that aint goin’ to happen until we get free elections in the U.S.

    1. I’ll go along with EJ Doyle. Why were we there to begin with? What gives us the “right” to interfere in other countries problems?

      1. We were there to loot Afghanistan of its mineral wealth, including the larges lithium deposit in the world (comparable only to one in Bolivia) and the protect the poppy crop (so CIA can continue as the world’s largest drug-dealer. Natural resources and drugs. What else is new? As Smedley Butler observed, “War is a racket!”

      2. Not only is it a racket, it’s a major industry. It’s what has kept this country going since WW II. What a sad testimony to the “Land of the Free”.

  6. Ever heard of Cyber Polygon? It’s like Event 201 simulation right before the scamdemic hit. A excerpt from Shit Hits The Fan:

    Cyber Polygon is a unique cybersecurity event that combines the world’s largest technical training exercise for corporate teams and an online conference featuring senior officials from international organizations and leading corporations. The global elitists are going to test what a massive cyberattack that takes down infrastructure and the power grid worldwide would look like.

    For those who think this is not a big deal, please remember event 201, which was a simulation of a coronavirus pandemic in which the media was used to constantly push the fear manipulating the public into obedient compliance with any amount of ridiculous commands. What will cyber polygon bring? Nothing good since it a part of the World Economic Forum’s agenda for totalitarian global domination.

    Following up on last year’s cyber pandemic simulation, this year’s Cyber Polygon will hold live training exercises responding to “a targeted supply chain attack on a corporate ecosystem in real-time,” according to a report by Socialable.

    Running parallel to the training exercise will be discussions on how to tackle everything from ransomware and supply chain attacks to implementing “resilient” digital currencies, and a desire for global governance on the internet.


  7. I once wrote for a Four Corners Region mag called Inside Outside/Southwest based in Durango. There was another writer there called Rob Schulteis who lived in Afghanistan for a decade going all the way back to before the Taliban blew up the giant Budda Carvings. I remember his article on it and he had great photos of them before, after and of the Budda’s demolition explosions. A crime against humanity if you ask me. My stuff was pretty light weight compared to his war correspondence from the conflict zones. He didn’t live in some hotel in a safe area, he lived among the waring tribes. I can’t image anyone on this Earth that knows more about the place. I dug him up on Facebook but his last post is from February. I sent him a message to weigh in on this article but he’s famous for ignoring any attempt to contact him.

    His last few posts were raving about Trump’s attempted coup in January. He’s pretty out of touch with today’s reality.

    I have the cure for liberal overload… South Dakota. The people you meet are our kind of folks. I recorded a 122 degree temperature in the Badlands a few days ago. And it was thin overcast. I shuddered to think anything lived out here. Then I saw the biggest Buffalo ever stranded alone in a green prairie motionless like a statue. He looked enormous even at 100 yards plus away. The I saw a Bighorn Sheep also all by itself. Then a barn swallow landed nearby and looked lovingly at my glass of water. He looked to be made of skin and bones.



Leave a Reply