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Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Old Aug 19th 2021, 5:12 pm
  #121  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

Originally Posted by caretaker View Post
The government used to pay feuding neighbour warlords not to kill each other, under the guise of paying them to keep the road open. They erected towers with good fields of fire but didn't shoot anyone on the road. When a young Gordon Sinclair was reporting for the Toronto Star he took a trip worth documenting. As he prepared to relieve himself just off the road, one of his guides pulled him back, explaining that if he walked off the road he was dead. Sinclair and Hemmingway cut their teeth as cub reporters for the Star.
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.209132




Thanks I will have to look up that book.

The other thing I notice in the tribal areas, and further in, seeing men walking by side of road with what looked like bedsheets filled with something, carried on their backs.- and always a guard in front of them and behind them. I wanted to exchange money so the two Pakistani soldiers accompanying me said no problem, stopped the jeep and hailed one of this fellows. They exchanged my money, reaching into the bedsheet bundle and I found out the bundle was full of multiple currencies. Made me wonder how much foreign currency and dollars floating around Afghanistan. Then on the return, the soldiers stopped at a shop and traded some extra weapons they brought for cash, though the haggling became intense- if I had been older I would have the common sense to realize sitting in a shop with everyone armed and yelling at each other not exactly an optimum tourist experience to seek. Interesting country to be sure !

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Old Aug 19th 2021, 5:23 pm
  #122  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

Originally Posted by kimilseung View Post
Is Tugendhat claiming that the Commander in Chief of the Afghan army was the US President? That would put the whole question of US involvement in Afghanistan in the imperial side rather than the one usually presented of assistance.
Surprised that anyone in the British army thinks of the loss of 27 cities in 9 days as anything other than failure.It does seem true that they never ran, but walked. I think I understand the point he is trying to make. "Lions led by donkeys" or similar, but he hasn't worded it well at all.
I could see that trained to fight in an American way and relying on equipment and air power, that knowledge US was leaving prompted some even good units to realize writing was on the wall, and others figuring it wasn't' worth it to put up resistance. However fascinating how just a month ago in Washington claims about size and abilities of Afghan army thrown about, and now in an act of supreme self-serving blame, blame everyone else but themselves for how poorly this all has been handled. Will be interesting in years to come memoirs and studies of the situation and opinions of participants how this all came about.

Not entirely different than Vietnam- some ARVN unit fought well, some were abysmal. In both scenarios much corruption- hence always amused me that anyone familiar with Afghanistan would be remotely surprised at the extent of the corruption, I wonder what happened to all heh equipment at the American fast food establishments for the troops- did Kentucky Fried Chicken rescue their equipment ? Or will see a boom in Kabul Fried Lamb outlets ?

Yea a few heads should roll Washington and London.
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Old Aug 19th 2021, 6:02 pm
  #123  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

Originally Posted by morpeth View Post
Thanks I will have to look up that book.

I wanted to exchange money so the two Pakistani soldiers accompanying me said no problem, stopped the jeep and hailed one of this fellows. They exchanged my money, reaching into the bedsheet bundle and I found out the bundle was full of multiple currencies. Made me wonder how much foreign currency and dollars floating around Afghanistan.
In 1972, I was in Israel and wanted to get back to England. I had no ticket, and Israeli currency (lira) was not exchangeable for foreign currency. Also, you could only buy tickets out of the country with hard currency. So I went to work on a construction site in the Sinai peninsula for a few weeks, and, with a pocketful of Israeli lira, went to the old city of Jerusalem and sought out the street of (illegal) currency change. I was able to change my money for a couple of hundred US dollars, so was able to go to a travel agent and buy a plane ticket, El Al, Tel Aviv to Amsterdam.

I’d never been to the US at that time, so had never seen US bills. When I showed my money to an American she was amazed, apparently some of the bills were forty or more years old (there were several two dollar bills, and quite a few silver certificates.)

So, certainly in those days, US currency floated around in countries like that, for decades, without ever going back to America
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Old Aug 19th 2021, 6:41 pm
  #124  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

They still do two dollar bills.
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Old Aug 19th 2021, 6:59 pm
  #125  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
They still do two dollar bills.
They didn’t back then, though.

Yeah, I have a few of the current ones, and a few of the old ones, in my historical bill collection..
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Old Aug 19th 2021, 8:47 pm
  #126  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

The $2 bill is interesting really, nobody really uses it, yet they keep on printing it. No idea why, seems except for the period of 1966-1976 they have been printing $2 bills in some variation for a very long time.

They are fairly easy to get from banks, sometimes the bank needs to order them, San Diego Zoo used to give them out as change at the admission booth in the 1990's, the admission cost was even number and just about every admission back then required $2 back in change.

Most would then use the $2 later in the day as part of their gift shopping where I worked so would get more $2 notes in a typical day than $1 bills.

Top 3 method of payments back then were cash, personal check, and travelers check.

credit cards came in last at 4th, we didn't accept debit at the time which was still a fairly new fledging way to pay and rather unique.

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Old Aug 19th 2021, 9:09 pm
  #127  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

A lot of people give out $2 bills as gifts for a novelty since they are rare enough to be interesting. It seems to be an Asian tradition here. Plus, some strip clubs use them to bulk out their change, which encourages people to tip the dancers more money than they would normally with $1 bills.
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Old Aug 20th 2021, 12:48 am
  #128  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

Originally Posted by robin1234 View Post
In 1972, I was in Israel and wanted to get back to England. I had no ticket, and Israeli currency (lira) was not exchangeable for foreign currency. Also, you could only buy tickets out of the country with hard currency. So I went to work on a construction site in the Sinai peninsula for a few weeks, and, with a pocketful of Israeli lira, went to the old city of Jerusalem and sought out the street of (illegal) currency change. I was able to change my money for a couple of hundred US dollars, so was able to go to a travel agent and buy a plane ticket, El Al, Tel Aviv to Amsterdam.

I’d never been to the US at that time, so had never seen US bills. When I showed my money to an American she was amazed, apparently some of the bills were forty or more years old (there were several two dollar bills, and quite a few silver certificates.)

So, certainly in those days, US currency floated around in countries like that, for decades, without ever going back to America
I love this and other of your life stories. So interesting
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Old Aug 20th 2021, 1:10 am
  #129  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

Why was the Israeli currency not able to be exchanged?

Originally Posted by robin1234 View Post
In 1972, I was in Israel and wanted to get back to England. I had no ticket, and Israeli currency (lira) was not exchangeable for foreign currency. Also, you could only buy tickets out of the country with hard currency. So I went to work on a construction site in the Sinai peninsula for a few weeks, and, with a pocketful of Israeli lira, went to the old city of Jerusalem and sought out the street of (illegal) currency change. I was able to change my money for a couple of hundred US dollars, so was able to go to a travel agent and buy a plane ticket, El Al, Tel Aviv to Amsterdam.

I’d never been to the US at that time, so had never seen US bills. When I showed my money to an American she was amazed, apparently some of the bills were forty or more years old (there were several two dollar bills, and quite a few silver certificates.)

So, certainly in those days, US currency floated around in countries like that, for decades, without ever going back to America
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Old Aug 20th 2021, 2:15 am
  #130  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

We may see an updated version of Charlie Wilsons war......when the Mujahideen were provided with the weapons from the U.S. to fight the Russians in the 80's. The war lords are an unknown wildcard as to whether they would join with the Mujadhideen to take on the Taliban. As always, the country is at odds with itself. Good read here. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...ahmad-massoud/
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Old Aug 20th 2021, 3:11 am
  #131  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

My heart weeps for the Afghans, but there is no surprise in this. When one looks at the history of U.S. war efforts since WW2, it sucks. Korea? Fought to a draw. North and South still, technically, in a state of war under a truce. Vietnam? A disgrace that took the lives of more than 58,000 U.S. servicemen and no one knows the accurate number of South Vietnamese or North Vietnamese deaths, though surely it is considered to be between 1.5 and 3.5 million. In the end, at the treaty signing, the hubris of the U.S. Officer sent to sign for the U.S. caused him to remark that "You never defeated us on the battlefield." To which the N. Vietnamese officer responded, "That may be true, but it is also irrelevant." Of course then came the panicked and humiliating rush to evacuate people from the roof of the Embassy by helicopter. Within hours, the South was defeated and the country united. Iraq war 1....failure because it left Saddam Hussein in power, and with helicopters to attack his enemies within....and led to the sequel, Iraq 2. For the full story on what a total failure that was, buy the book Fiasco. The incompetence and stupidity will astound you. I am not sure who ****ed up the Middle East worse. Churchill or Bush. And no, I do not give the U.S. any points for a minor invasion of Panama to get Manuel Norega...nor the invasion of Grenada..a whole 4 days. If they could not handle those situations without losing, well that would be worse than humiliating. As a Vet I look at these things and curse the ridiculous misuse of the lives of military men and women. The tragedy is that it isn't the fools who start the war and plan it...who have to go and fight it.

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Old Aug 20th 2021, 5:02 am
  #132  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

Originally Posted by dakota44 View Post
My heart weeps for the Afghans, but there is no surprise in this. When one looks at the history of U.S. war efforts since WW2, it sucks. Korea? Fought to a draw. North and South still, technically, in a state of war under a truce. Vietnam? A disgrace that took the lives of more than 58,000 U.S. servicemen and no one knows the accurate number of South Vietnamese or North Vietnamese deaths, though surely it is considered to be between 1.5 and 3.5 million. In the end, at the treaty signing, the hubris of the U.S. Officer sent to sign for the U.S. caused him to remark that "You never defeated us on the battlefield." To which the N. Vietnamese officer responded, "That may be true, but it is also irrelevant." Of course then came the panicked and humiliating rush to evacuate people from the roof of the Embassy by helicopter. Within hours, the South was defeated and the country united. Iraq war 1....failure because it left Saddam Hussein in power, and with helicopters to attack his enemies within....and led to the sequel, Iraq 2. For the full story on what a total failure that was, buy the book Fiasco. The incompetence and stupidity will astound you. I am not sure who ****ed up the Middle East worse. Churchill or Bush. And no, I do not give the U.S. any points for a minor invasion of Panama to get Manuel Norega...nor the invasion of Grenada..a whole 4 days. If they could not handle those situations without losing, well that would be worse than humiliating. As a Vet I look at these things and curse the ridiculous misuse of the lives of military men and women. The tragedy is that it isn't the fools who start the war and plan it...who have to go and fight it.
+1.. Very well said.

Perhaps if politicians had to lead from the front there'd be a great deal more soul searching before starting wars...

But the trillions of dollars squandered, where did all that go?
Who sucked it all up?
In who's interest was it to keep the war going?

The level in the US swamp may have dropped a little but it'll be filling up again in no time at all... pick a country, any country at all, somewhere small that fights with bows and arrows and full of nasty little commies... Cuba perhaps.

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Old Aug 20th 2021, 5:02 am
  #133  
 
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Default Re: Afghanistan

Originally Posted by dakota44 View Post
My heart weeps for the Afghans, but there is no surprise in this. When one looks at the history of U.S. war efforts since WW2, it sucks. Korea? Fought to a draw. North and South still, technically, in a state of war under a truce. Vietnam? A disgrace that took the lives of more than 58,000 U.S. servicemen and no one knows the accurate number of South Vietnamese or North Vietnamese deaths, though surely it is considered to be between 1.5 and 3.5 million. In the end, at the treaty signing, the hubris of the U.S. Officer sent to sign for the U.S. caused him to remark that "You never defeated us on the battlefield." To which the N. Vietnamese officer responded, "That may be true, but it is also irrelevant." Of course then came the panicked and humiliating rush to evacuate people from the roof of the Embassy by helicopter. Within hours, the South was defeated and the country united. Iraq war 1....failure because it left Saddam Hussein in power, and with helicopters to attack his enemies within....and led to the sequel, Iraq 2. For the full story on what a total failure that was, buy the book Fiasco. The incompetence and stupidity will astound you. I am not sure who ****ed up the Middle East worse. Churchill or Bush. And no, I do not give the U.S. any points for a minor invasion of Panama to get Manuel Norega...nor the invasion of Grenada..a whole 4 days. If they could not handle those situations without losing, well that would be worse than humiliating. As a Vet I look at these things and curse the ridiculous misuse of the lives of military men and women. The tragedy is that it isn't the fools who start the war and plan it...who have to go and fight it.

Led by donkeys.


With very few exceptions, war is a racket where young people are sent to kill and die for the power and profit of others.
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Old Aug 20th 2021, 6:04 am
  #134  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
Led by donkeys.


With very few exceptions, war is a racket where young people are sent to kill and die for the power and profit of others.
Funny you should say...war is a racket.
Marine Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler. .He was a WW1 vet and twice awarded the Medal of Honor, for his heroism during several combat tours in Central America. An excerpt from a speech he made about war.

"War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.


https://fas.org/man/smedley.htm

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Old Aug 20th 2021, 12:20 pm
  #135  
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Default Re: Afghanistan

Originally Posted by Jsmth321 View Post
Why was the Israeli currency not able to be exchanged?
Not sure of the details, but Israel was subject to ruinous inflation and hyperinflation. A bit like Argentina and some other countries. So, back in those days, for internal purposes, the Israeli pound (lira) was protected in its purchasing power by the government for internal consumption (buying groceries etc.,) but if you needed to buy something that was valued in dollars, like a plane ticket out of the country, you had to pay for it in dollars.

So you couldn’t exchange lira for dollars in a bank. But street-level vendors would sell you dollars, presumably they had to research the realistic rate each day and add on a reasonable fee. (Remember, no Internet in those days.) I remember Israelis telling me not to worry about being fleeced, the currency traders all had a reputation to protect and were more or less honest.
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