12:16 GMT +313 December 2018
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    Afghanistan: Uncertainty Reigns Supreme

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    Andrew Korybko
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    Everything in Afghanistan is in a state of absolute uncertainty as President Ghani's cabinet is in crisis, the Taliban's on the upswing once again, Russia postponed its peace talks, and fake news abounds.

    The country's National Security Advisor quit last week following the Taliban's recent spree of offensives all throughout the country, though the president refused to accept the resignation of his Defence Minister, Interior Minister, and head of the National Directorate of Security shortly thereafter. The sharp split between the military-intelligence elements of the Afghan permanent bureaucracy or "deep state" and the civilian one represented by President Ghani hints that the country might soon become even more dysfunctional than ever.

    It was partially because of this that Russia decided to postpone its planned peace talks in Moscow that were originally planned for next week, though this announcement came on the same day as a fake news report alleging that either Russian or Tajik jets bombed Taliban positions in northern Afghanistan, which was refuted by both of those countries and the armed opposition. It's still unclear exactly what happened — if anything at all — and what purpose the dissemination of these lies into the Mainstream Media was supposed to serve, but it nevertheless contributed to the confusion over the country's direction at this critical moment.

    Trump's policy of cracking down on the Taliban has visibly failed and Erik Prince of Blackwater infamy is now making the rounds on cable TV trying to convince the American President of the need to replace the military with mercenaries. At the same time, the pro-American Afghan government is expected to hold trilateral talks with India and the US' top Mideast enemy Iran from 9-12 September in Kabul as they seek to leverage India's investment in the Iranian port of Chabahar to the benefit of Afghanistan's reconstruction, though not without also improving Iran's influence in the country to America's chagrin. It also shouldn't be forgotten that Daesh is active in the country.

    Altogether, Afghanistan is confronting interlinked and worsening "deep state" and domestic security crises, the abrupt postponement of the Moscow peace process following fake news about Russian airstrikes in the country, the failure of Trump's Afghan policy and possible replacement of US troops with mercenaries, growing Iranian influence in the country, and Daesh, thus making the situation more uncertain than it's been for years.

    Almas Haider, Islamabad-based TV Anchor, Geopolitical Analyst, and Executive Director at Regional Rapport, and Syed Ali Zia Jaffery, Research Associate at the Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research at the University of Lahore and Associate Editor of Pakistan Politico, join the show.

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    Taliban, Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan
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