Now... a newsletter:

Hello guys, I'm here to address some breaking world news: Afghanistan has fell to the Taliban. Twenty years of fighting nation and the country just fell to that vile organization of fundamentalist reprobates. It's almost surreal. There was no heavy fighting, no destruction, the Afghan Army simply rolled over and gave them the red carpet all the way to Kabul. Already the panic and misery has begun as Afghans unwilling to return to the misery ruled their lives are taking to the airports to get away. This is a repeat of scenes from Saigon and Phnom Penh when people were in a mad craze to leave their countries juxtaposed with the surreal vistas of the Taliban simply walking through the streets without opposition and entering the presidential palace like tourists!

The bastards pulled a fast one on the US as they promised peace until the withdrawal was at its last stages. Now like a gambler who called a bluff and won the pot they're coming in to collect their winnings.

And people are leaving! There's a stampede to the airports as people fear their return, the barbaric misery of 90s and the war of the 2000s.

In retrospect I should've seen the signs such as the corruption and weak commitment of the government, especially the Afghan National Army, who my friend revealed never even had its own corps of engineers, not to mention quite incompetent in counter-insurgency; plus the ethnic and sectarian tensions that divide the country as much as its geography, exploited by cynical and unscrupulous neighbors for their bullshit foreign policy goals. Lastly, there was no real nation-building, just juggling the vested interests of too many hustlers in and out of the country. This is another sad opening to a sad chapter to a proud yet broken people.

When I wrote my one-shot it was inspired from my sister's coursework which featured Afghanistan. I was amazed at how much the country was back in its feet. It seems unbelievable emerged from the rubble that fast. In retrospect too it masked some of the glaring flaws that done a long way to undo the country's progress. My one-shot reflected the optimism and hope of the time. Now it seems like a big "too soon" joke which I would've laughed bitterly if it wasn't for the implications. As if the terrible year of 2020 wasn't enough.

People are laying the blame on either the US or Afghanistan for this. My friend was particularly harsh on how the US tries to disclaim responsibility for its bad decisions in their campaign and made some right-on-the-nose comparisons with the US attitude during their withdrawal from South Vietnam, finding it laughable the claims that "we never lost, the Afghans did," laying the blame on them for said bad decisions which the Afghans were ultimately not privy to. He was just as harsh, if less so, on the Afghans for lacking the spirit to defend their country. Let's not forget side actors like Pakistan and Iran whose insidious foreign policy machinations contributed to the chaos and misery in the country and their main creditor, China. There are perhaps more vultures out there though I can't name them without probable cause.

Now Linkin Park's last work for the Medal of Honor, Castle of Glass, seems appropriate in the bittersweet sense. Rest in peace, Chester Bennington. May your legacy live on in the hearts of fans, may people remember you as the wonderful human being that you were in spite of the pain. I would go on to eulogize the Medal of Honor franchise but that's another story entirely. To save you that trouble, consider EA's deplorable conduct for much of this decade, and perhaps all the way back to '92 with what they did to Ultima.

Lastly, the winds of war are fluttering again. The Northern Alliance which was led by the legendary Ahmad Shah Massoud mustering again to fight their old enemies the Taliban, or at least that's what reports on the ground say. Already ANA still in the fight are flocking to their banner, bringing hardware like armor to the Panjshir province where Massoud's son Ahmad Massoud and Vice-President Amrullah Saleh have fled. The ANA commandos, the cream of the crop of the ANA and who actually did much of the fighting for two decades in spite of making up ten percent of the army, have nothing to lose as they face execution by the Taliban. Will they bear the banner of freedom just as they did in the past? Or will this now-corrupt world bring them down to level of their enemies? Either way blood and tears would flow for a long time. There's nothing we can do about it, we can only try to mitigate the worst of it as much as we can on our part.

-Anime Borat.