War in Afghanistan ends with final US withdrawal

(30 Aug 2021) The war in Afghanistan is over.  Today, the US withdrew the last of its troops thus ending the 20-year war against the Taliban at a cost of trillions of dollars and countless thousands of lives.  The chaotic end came after the Biden White House airlifted as many remaining Americans and Afghan allies as possible before the Taliban reasserted their control over the country.  After years of fruitless conflict, the US is back where it started with the fundamentalist Taliban again in charge.

While the defeat is a bitter pill to swallow for Americans, the astrological die may have been cast 20 years ago.  The US launched the war back on October 7, 2001 in retaliation for the 9/11 terror attacks by Al Qaeda.  The chart for that day shows a very difficult planetary configuration.  The first air strikes took place near 9 p.m. local time as the Moon-Saturn conjunction were just over the horizon (1st house) in Taurus.  Since every human undertaking is marked by an inception or birth chart, this war was started with very inauspicious stars indeed since any strong Saturn influence tends to towards frustration, loss and failure. 

Unfortunately, the Moon-Saturn conjunction was only one of several weaknesses in the chart.   For any competitive endeavour, we should look at the condition of the 11th house of gains for insight into its eventual outcome.  Here we see a double affliction.  First, Mars squares the 11th house cusp within just five degrees thus reducing the likelihood of victory.  Second, the ruler of the 11th house, Jupiter (which is ruler of Pisces) is almost exactly aspected by Mars, a natural malefic.  This double Mars affliction to the 11th house made a US win all the more unlikely no matter how long the war dragged on. 

In addition, there are other weaknesses.  Mars, the planet of violence and war, is badly placed in close conjunction with the 8th house cusp representing obstacles and scandal.  This suggested that violent efforts may have been more susceptible to setbacks and thereby not achieve their intended goals.   Other problems concern Venus, the ruler of the chart, which rises in Taurus in the 1st house.  Venus is poorly placed at the very bottom of the chart in Leo and receives a forward square aspect from Saturn. Although the forward square aspect is reduced in strength, it nonetheless is a negative influence on Venus and, thus, on the chart as a whole.

Mercury, the planet of rationality and communication, is closely aspected by Rahu, the planet of disruption and confusion.  Needless to say, despite enjoying a huge advantage in terms of technology and manpower, the US and its allies could not defeat an army of devout and committed Taliban.

The final pullout of US forces highlights the current affliction of the chart ruler, Venus.   As a general rule, whenever the ruler of the 1st house (Lagnesh), is under affliction by bad planets, the entire endeavour comes under pressure.  This was definitely the case this week as Venus came under double affliction by Neptune and Mars.  Neptune, the planet of dissolution and weakness, is a malefic when in hard aspect (90 or 180 degrees) to any other planet.  The slow-moving Neptune has been in a 180-degree opposition aspect to Venus throughout 2021.  This affliction was likely activated by the faster-moving Mars, which formed a conjunction with Venus in recent days.  Thus, both Mars and Neptune were undermining Venus and thereby created the final planetary conditions for the US defeat.  Sad to say, further US problems are possible in Afghanistan when Saturn stations direct in October while conjoining Neptune at 12 degrees of Capricorn. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks are still looking strong in the wake of Fed Chair Jerome Powell's Jackson Hole speech.  Not surprisingly, Powell delivered a dovish speech which suggested that a tapering of QE asset purchases would only begin in November at the earliest, and even then only if economic conditions remained favourable.  As expected, the resulting late week rally coincided with the bullish alignment of Mercury, Jupiter and Pluto. 
The planetary outlook this week looks less positive, however.  Despite a bullish beginning to the week, the rest of the week has rising downside risk on the Mars-Neptune opposition.

For more details, check out my weekly subscriber newsletter which is published every Saturday afternoon (EST).   I outline the key technical and planetary influences for US and Indian stocks for the short and medium term, as well as currencies, gold and oil.