There is now an Islamic Caliphate established in a major crossroad between the Middle East and Asia. You can no more call Afghanistan a "nation" as you can Kabul "a capital city". The former is a patchwork of tribal divisions deliberately created by the British in the 1800's in order to serve their own imperialist interests and the latter a state-of-the-art military encampment that doesn't even have a railway station. Neither the speed nor the strength of the Taliban advance can be a surprise. When Trump did the deal with them a year ago they began to prepare in earnest - victory was attained then and they used the time up to the US withdrawal, originally May of this year, to prepare their assault. Our politicians and generals, wittingly or unwittingly, looked the other way as Taliban forces advanced. When American B-52's started high-altitude bombing about ten days ago - a tactic used by the Russians in this "theatre" that signalled its failure in the 1980's war - it was obvious to everyone who had the slightest knowledge of events that Taliban forces were making the sort of swift and significant advances that would quickly overwhelm NATO and Afghan forces.
At the same time as these same politicians and generals were all guaranteeing at least a "stalemate" with the Taliban a couple of months ago, more and more elements of the rural political establishment, including some former anti-Taliban mujaheddin, tribal chiefs and Afghan National Army regulars were either joining the Taliban, refusing to fight them or fleeing to other countries. The political "elite" in Kabul have been leaving for weeks in order to be with their money in Doha; money that's been lavished on them by the planeload in a war that's been corrupt, irrational and rotten from the very beginning.
In the search to deflect from this unmitigated disaster the British state, politicians, generals, etc., have, along with their media apologists, been talking about how their actions in this 20-year old war has resulted in what they call "the fragile progress" in Afghan society. What this refers to is the small number of women going to work or being unveiled and the small number of young girls going to school. It is just propaganda but it is based on an element of greatly exaggerated truth.
The "soul-searching" among the bourgeoisie in the west now, enveloped in the rankest hypocrisy, is about what the Taliban will act like; are they a "moderated" force prepared to act from the point of view of Realpolitik? Will they continue the work towards women and girls - work that was nothing but a useful ideological cover for the most sordid imperialist machinations? You can immediately understand the fears of parents, brothers and sisters and already there are reports of the abductions and forced marriage of young females that seem to be a hallmark of jihadi forces in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. There are also reports of summary executions, beatings of women and government workers and the menace of terror that these forces carry. The Taliban leadership has undoubtedly learnt some political lessons - it has been dealing with the masters of lies and deceit for years now - but these are hard-line supporters of Sharia law and its younger, newer members appear from reports to be more al-Qaida inclined. In the provinces these forces have been genuinely welcomed by non-Taliban tribal elements that share the same fundamentalist ideology particularly about women. And of course there is al-Qaida fighting alongside them; Isis too and about a dozen other jihadi elements that are not going to be told what to do. There are reports of significant numbers of Uzbek, Tajik, Chechen and Uighur fighters from Xinjiang, with potential problems spreading towards and into Russia and China.
In its pivot to China, and thus its pivot towards India, America has been unable or unwilling to exert very much influence over Islamabad. The Pakistani's have thus struck back and this is a major point in the slide downwards of the United States and its fractured bloc. What is being expressed in Afghanistan is part of the process and acceleration of the development of capitalist decomposition; the appearance of such a reactionary force coming out of a completely irrational war is a sure sign of the times. NATO has been weakened, China, Iran and Russia will take advantage but there are significant problems here for them. The whole region is destabilised to a greater extent.
The Taliban were created almost from scratch by the CIA, MI6 and the Pakistani intelligence agency the ISI (Inter-Service Intelligence) in order to fight the Russians in Afghanistan in the 1980's. Osama Bin Laden was their designated road-builder through the strategic mountains of the country as they out-manoeuvred and out-fought the Soviet forces. Bin Laden wasn't paid by the CIA but by the ISI which was receiving enormous amounts of cash from it. There has always been a "transnational" force of Talibs going backwards and forwards across the Pakistani/Afghan border depending on conditions. Today the Pakistani ISI, or very significant elements of it, is much intertwined with the Taliban and it could be that the latter is being used in order to give the US and its "allies" a bloody-nose in their pro-Indian anti-Chinese pivots. But this could well rebound on Pakistan as the development of a total Taliban victory leaves Pakistan, like many neighbouring states, prone to extremism, terrorism and the instability that they bring.
In Britain there has been a great deal of criticism by the state and its media about the role of the Americans. It's important for the British to play this card all the way down to ministers representing the military crying on radio programmes. It is an exercise in deflecting any blame away from them in the same way that we've seen in wars in Iraq and elsewhere. Britain is totally complicit in this whole fiasco despite its "concerns" and crocodile tears but all it can do now is blame the Americans as the allies once again fall out in the face of advancing decomposition and chaos. When, under the Labour government (that supported this and the Iraq wars in Tony Blair's "crusade"), British troops in Helmand oversaw the biggest ever increase in opium production (that still forms an essential part of Taliban income), the government was reporting the "progress" that was being made. It was only a few months later that the British army had to be rescued by the Americans from attacks in Helmand. The lies continue to this day with a Home Secretary epitomising the "hostile environment" to refugees now suddenly concerned about them and those that worked "for Britain and British-values". They will mostly be abandoned along with the rest.
There's continuity in American policy here from Trump to Biden and the "America First" programmee promoted by the USA; a sign of its particular weakening along with a significant development of decomposition in a major part of the world.