REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS

Afghan culture and people

POSTED BY: DREAMTROVE
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 11, 2022 07:29
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 8585
PAGE 1 of 2

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 5:10 PM

DREAMTROVE


Niki,

This is for you. It's time for me to shut up and listen. Tell us about Afganistan. I mean, what it's really like, not the political ping pong the US is playing. I want to get to know the area, and I think that everyone here does, or should. If you can, tell us what you know, and include any links to any information that tells it how it actually is, and I mean, real world not political.

When I talk to foreigners about American, it's very strange. They think the US is politically driven, and yet, really, most of US politics is just theater for us. What the govt. does doesn't affect our day to day lives. Occasionally it does, but just as an obstacle. MSM probably has more effect than the govt. I'm just curious about knowing the real Afghanistan.


NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, November 27, 2009 1:51 PM

DREAMTROVE


>>Crickets<<

Bump

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, November 27, 2009 5:50 PM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


That was a shock: Thank you. Thank you for your civility, I expected you to lay into me (or maybe you haven't read my last response over there...) And thank you for wanting to know. I'd have to think about it to do a decent job, and I spent so much time on the last post that now it's dark, and, and...

But I can never resist, so I'll make a small start. Hopefully small. Apologies for the size of some of the pix, I just haven't got the energy to resize them. At least I resized the ones that would cause folks to scroll for the text.

My dad was sent to Afghanistan to help build Ariana Afghan Airways in 1958. They had tried to educate engineers here, but those brought here refused to go home. Not surprising. Ariana still exists, to my surprise; when we got there, their idea of "maintenance" was to fly the planes until they fell down in the desert, then walk away. Literally.

Because they did then, and many of them still do now, live in the age of Christ. That's the quickest and best picture I can give you. Driving in from the airport we passed a man leading a donkey with a woman and child on it. Mom cried "My gawd, it's Mary, Joseph and Jesus!"

There were no roads then...I doubt there are many good ones even now. The desert moves; it's a country where the northern half has 140-degree Summers, six-foot-snow Winters. Rivers flood, wash out bridges, and the desert never stops moving.


What isn't desert is rock. Now there is much more vegetation I see, but it became a desert in part because the Kuchis (nomadic tribes: camel caravans) used it as a trade route between Russia and everywhere else, and chopped down trees as they went through for campfires, etc. They helped create a desert.

Kabul is at 6,000 feet; the highest peak is 25,557 above sea level. It's a high desert. The mountain range is the Hindu Kush..."Hindu Killer"...an impentrable length of crags covered in snow that make the Alps look like gentle, rolling hills. Life is harsher than about any place on earth, except maybe the deserts of Africa or the North Pole. Survival is difficult at best, and poverty is the order of the day. Even the lakes were surrounded by desert and little else:







This is NOT a painting:


The houses were made of a combination of mud, donkey dung and straw...the floors dirt. If it was a bad rainy season, they just "melted".


In Kabul at the time (bear in mind that was 50 years ago, now it is much Westernized) there were "sewers", called Jui Ditches...upstream a horse might be relieving himself, downstream a woman washing clothes, further a child bathing or someone drinking. The disease rate was so bad (and I doubt THAT has changed much) that the saying was if a child lived to the age of ten, all that could kill him was a knife or a bullet.

And there were plenty of those. On Ramadan and other Muslim holidays, everyone stayed well within their compound walls...if they had compounds (which all non-natives did). Also when the Kuchis came through. The Kuchis didn’t veil their women; back then the men drove the sheep down from the high pasture, the women took the camels (loaded with goods and nets full of lambs) along the rivers (I imagine they stick closer together now, judging from the photos) and they’d meet up at night and strike huge, black tents.



The foreigners got used to it; mom went to an afternoon bridge game, suddenly one of the women arrived hollering "knife fight!" and all the American women raced out to see it. They naturally resented our not using the chadri, and some people were stupid. Story is one American woman went to a cocktail party in a strapless gown; she came back with a knife in her back. Stupidly, she had taken a “ghadi” (horse-drawn taxi; driver faces forward, you face backwards):



The punishment for stealing was cutting off of the right hand. This was a death sentence; meals consisted of a giant bowl of rice, their flatbred (called "nan", it looked like a snowshoe, was thrown against the walls of a stone pit and, when it started to slide, it was done and removed) and sometimes meat (always mutton). You ripped off a piece of nan, wrapped it around the meat and scooped up rice. Since it was a communal bowl, the right hand was used for eating; the left for going to the bathroom. No right hand = no food.

Nan:



Note use of right hand:


Imagine a street with a stoplight--which was new when we got there--how do you tell a hundred-camel caravan to stop when the light goes red? Usually there was a policeman there; when it turned red, a man on a donkey might want to go through, the policeman whould whistle him to stop, the guy would shout back, and whoever shouted loudest won. The only cars were jeeps except those few of us who brought our own...dad had our pink, black and white Dodge shipped over and sold it when we left; it was a big deal.

The childhood death rate you wouldn't believe, and the lifespan was about 40 back then--and a 40-year-old looked about like an 80-year-old here. Men couldn't afford wives until they were "old"--at which time they could marry any girl over the age of about 12 if they could afford to pay her dowry. I played with my Nana's daughter; one day we were playing in the compound when Nana came out with an old, bearded man in dirty clothes and they talked. She laughed at one point and pointed to us--mom said later he thought I was her daughter and upped his price by two goats and a sheep. She always held that over my head: "If you're not a good girl I'll find you a husband like him". I was 11...you believe your mother at that age!

Nana was "selling" off her daughter because she was dying. At 35.

Virtually all the foreigners had servants, except the Russians, who all lived in one huge house in a compound...we rarely saw them and didn't know what they did. For all she was a royal bitch, my mom had balls; she insisted on doing her own shopping.

People had servants because the way you shopped was to go to the bazaars and choose your food. At the butcher's you would point to the part of the skinned sheep that you wanted (there was no beef or fish; it's a landlocked country and only the shah owned cows). The butcher would shoo the flies off the carcass and hack off however much you wanted. This is a fat-tailed sheep; the fat from the tails was used as a lard in cooking:



At the fruit stand (they did have WONDERFUL fruit, especially melons and pomegranet) you had to judge your melons carefully; the farmers would inject them with water to make them bigger (remember the Jui Ditches?), so when you cut one open, it would gush water.



A jewelry store:


The candy seller's wares were put out in piles on woven "plates", from which he again shooed the flies off to scoop out what you wanted.

The other “stores’ were little holes in the wall—a guy sitting cross-legged in front, and you pointed to what you wanted.



There were beautiful rugs (tho' not as beautiful as those made in Kashmir:



We did most of our food shopping at the Comissary, which was a two-room building with whatever could be imported. I remember jaw-breakers were the only candies available. And I had been the typical "I don't want to drink my milk" when we got there; after almost four years of Sanilac, when we got on the plane home I asked for three tall glasses of REAL milk, and was an addict until I was in my 30s. It's amazing what not having something will do to you.

The American swimming pool (natives used the Kabul River...remember jui ditches? Multiplied...when it ran at all) had cockroaches in it. Not like you know; these were big, and they flew, swam and walked. You had to brush them away from the ladder to get out.

The Afghans were all convinced all Americans were rich...it's not hard to imagine, given the contrasts. We lived simply, but that was still incredible to them. The foreigners rented the best houses--ours was the shah's wife's sister's husband's house. There was no "queen", women had no standing. Any female over the age of 12 could not be seen in public, or in her own home by anyone male other than a relative, without a "chadri". It's the head-to-floor-length cover you might or might not have seen in pictures. Yards of material to the ground, shorter in front for hands to reach out from under, with only a woven square where the eyes are. Conceive, if you can, of 140-degree heat, dust everywhere, and walking in it. Or in the rains (which were brief before the snows) with mud weighing down the bottom. It's inhuman.



The women cooked the food, served the food, then adjourned to a separate room to eat. They swathed their babies; our bacha's wife had twins, came to mom crying because one of them had died; mom went to their house and was aghast at the filth of the remaining child and how tightly he was swathed. She went ballistic and taught his wife about basic cleanliness.

Which was a concept barely understood. A country with little water makes for few baths. In the desert, the Kuchis had it better, somewhat. One caravan carried the lambs (netted on top of the camels) and their goods and went overland; the other with women and children drove the sheep and followed the rivers, and they met up at night. If a woman was going into labor, she dropped behind a rock and had her baby, maybe with a midwife; then they caught up with the train...if they couldn't, "in sh'allah" (as god wills it). The elderly just dropped behind when they could no longer keep up and died in the desert. It was a way of life.

They are a very suspicious, hard people...but win their trust, and they'd die for you. And they were pretty willing to give that trust to Americans back then, we'd done nothing to them (yet). Once we drove through a village in the snows, our driver lost control and the jeep slid into a ditch. There had not been a human being in sight when we came, but suddenly men appeared from everywhere, laughing, and lifted the jeep and put it back on the road, laughing "daiwana American" (crazy Americans).

They laughed easily and a lot (I don't know if they've changed by now, after the Russians, the Taliban and now us). They love bright colors and everything they made was covered with beautiful detail. Their busses were completely covered with painted words, pictures, embellishments, and the horses that pulled their "ghadis" (horse-drawn buggies) had tassles and adornments.


I gotta quit, my back is killing me. The people, I loved them—and many soldiers have spoken about getting to know the Afghans and have fallen in love, too. They’re a fierce, suspicious, proud, winning, warm people…or they were then, I don’t know how much the intervening years have changed them. Here's a few pictures, just to give you an idea:



Look at the pride on the legless guy's face and his posture; that pride dies hard. These are the PEOPLE we're bombing, who die along with the Taliban and al Qaeda. Just so's you know.




NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 9:54 AM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


I realize it's the weekend and not many are here, but given the total lack of response to (seeming to represent a total lack of interest in) this topic, I am not going to take it any further.

Given my personal feelings, I can't help saying that it seems like people here, and probably most of America, are more interested in discussing Afghanistan as a basis for debating the political and military aspects, rather than leaning about the people we are killing.

Okay, so I'm bitter. It's like that with every country we invade, and I find that inexplicably sad. I spent hours, until late in the night, trying to give people a taste of what it's like where we send our men and what the people and culture of the country we've invaded and occupied for eight years are like.

I'm not really surprised at the lack of interest. When we came back from Afghanistan and people asked where we'd been, the inevitable response was "Isn't that some place in Africa or something?" Nobody would care about or even know about Afghanistan now if we weren't at war there, and most don't care about AFGHANISTAN even now, much less the Afghans.

It's human, but sad; if we bothered to learn anything about the culture and people of places like Vietnam, Iraq, Korea, etc., maybe we'd make better decisions.




NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 10:19 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Niki

Thanks for posting the info.

It's a lot to absorb. And it's like finding out about any different culture. You go from, "Yeah, I get this." to "Why in the world would folks ever do that?", and back again - over and over. Pretty extreme "over and over" with the Afganis, it seems to me.




"Keep the Shiny side up"

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 10:19 AM

RUE

I have a vote and I'm not afraid to use it!


I'm just back from a long trip, so I wasn't around for the orginal postings. I AM interested, but I don't have much to say.

The picture of the legless man did stand out to me, though.

***************************************************************

Silence is consent.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 10:59 AM

FREMDFIRMA



Sorry, Nik...

I was waiting to see other peoples responses, since I most of this already from my working with RAWA.

Unfortuntely, it is pretty true that most americans are quite blind to anything outside their own borders - the Pashtun folk I know north of here find that immensely irritating.

-F

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 11:25 AM

GINOBIFFARONI


Sorry Nikki,

I'm very interested...

just haven't been at the computer until now today...




Either your with the terrorists, or ... your with the terrorists


Lets party like its 1939

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 11:28 AM

NEWOLDBROWNCOAT


can't imagine how I missed this thread , since Wednesday 'till now.
Fascinating.
As to a reaction: We have almost nothing in common with them. I can't see any way that our presence there can help them. The scale of the problems there is so extreme, it would take a minimum of 50 years, and tons of money, to start making a real change there, and as a nation, we can't guarantee anything for more than 4 years, most things beyond 2-- the Presidency and the Congress change that fast.

( I had more to write, but I can't get my head around it, so I'll just close here.)


NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 12:03 PM

DREAMTROVE


Interesting stuff.

Of course it prompts more questions, So I'm writing these in a second window, while I'm reading, so here's my running commentary thoughts...


If you check the time stamp, it was before your vitriolic post, but then I bumped this afterwords, because I thought it was a better thread. Mostly what bothered me about the other is it was degenerating into partisanship. And *yes* people on the right have the same frustrating experience that people on the left do: The other side endlessly defending the stupid war of their party, as well as other pointless actions. I think we could make a lot of headway by just admitting that both major parties are wrong, even if they are on our political side. But I digress... Afghanistan.


"Ariana" Probably ironically a derivation of Aryan. (for those with their irony sensors off, These are people who would also name something Hindu Kush.) Sorry, I find these contradictions humorous and at the same time very telling.

The society you describe is not dissimilar to that of early christian societies, but some north african nomadic behavior.

Just curious: Do these people graze animals? This is a very desolate landscape, the sort that grazing and herding might create over a couple thousand years.

Also, language/culture. Are they all muslims? or do you find animism in remote areas, or trace aryan beliefs?

There's a level of dysfunction here that you don't find across the border in western China, where the culture is Altaic, rather than Aryan or Semitic.


We eat naan here to, as I suppose they do in most of the world. I see a quick search reveals that it is persian in origin, like Paneer, though both are things you would be more likely to find I think now in India than Iran.


Sharia law is always a death sentence. 80% of all Sharia amputees die from complications. In our own early history, a man sentenced to be shot, could be shot, and survive, and the sentence was considered to be carried out. This is probably the reason for hangings.

Quote:


The childhood death rate you wouldn't believe, and the lifespan was about 40 back then--and a 40-year-old looked about like an 80-year-old here.



Yes, I would. I have wondered about the aging. I noticed this several times with Afghans. Is it the opium? Or something else in the diet? You don't see this so much with indo-aryans or with iranians.


Okay, animals: I'm guessing there was extensive grazing in the past which we part of the ecological collapse.


The roaches are a nice apocalyptic image, reminiscent of HG Wells. I imagine that's how it goes: The most resilient life form continues to feed off of everything else when life dies. The altitudes here point to a water table collapse, which meets with the deforestation, similar to the sahara, SW US, and similar situations. Fragile ecosystems at higher altitudes, though you can kill any: IIRC, parts of Xinjiang are below sea level.

"The Afghans were all convinced all Americans were rich"

Most of the world is. In the case of the Afghans, they're right. What's weirder is that Czechs have this image, when actually, we're no richer than Czechs. Conversely, lots of Americans think of countries like Mexico and Korea (maybe not anymore, but say even 5 years ago) as poor, though they are no poorer than the US. Not to mention western stereotypes about Sub-Saharan Africa...


Sheep, that's worse than cattle, environmentally speaking...


Obviously there's some pretty severe Sunni extremism in this. My Iranian friends didn't believe this existed outside of Saudi Arabia. So far my experience has been that the Shiia have no tolerance for this sort of thing. It gives more of an insight into why the two are not going to get along anytime soon.


But back to the people and land.

Another quick search reveals that the environmental collapse is pretty similar to africa, and not surprisingly, is more likely to kill the present inhabitants than anything else (the logical fallacy often used is: But we've lived this way for 1000s of years. The reality is: a) yeah, and look at your environment, and b) that's when there weren't 100 million of you, counting both sides of the border.)

"Disaster" probably isn't too strong a term.

I usually avoid criticism of islam for obvious reasons, but I do have to make one comment:

That is not the world's best argument for islam. I get the women's rights angle, but common sense dictates that its nothing in comparison. I have to gnaw over whether this is even a salvageable situation, and if not, where they going to be refugees to...

Hmm... gnawing. The pointlessness of the war is definitely exaggerated by this picture. No infrastructure, resources, nor habitable environment, there' essentially nothing to conquer except 50 million people or so either side of the border. Outside of that, antarctica is probably a more valuable piece of land. I doubt they can subsist there, so the society could only continue in its present state for another couple of decades absent some form of massive intervention involving a huge cash sink, the way Saudi Arabia and Israel exist, being class A disaster states themselves.

A final environmental comment: the lack of property ownership in a society clearly aids collapse in the presence of animal grazing.

Anyway, I digress again. Do continue...

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 12:06 PM

KPO

Sometimes you own the libs. Sometimes, the libs own you.


I will always have a lot of time for rich, personal accounts of the country of Afghanistan like this one Niki, and the other thread as well. Thank you.

Hmm, still don't know what the best course of action is for the good of this nation and its people though. My inclination is a temporary troop surge combined with new efforts to talk to the 'moderate' Taliban. I don't think we'll ever be able to 'build up' the Afghan state though, around Karzai, through troop/police training or whatever, so that it's strong and cohesive enough to keep stability on its own. I wonder if we might achieve better 'nation building' working directly with amenable local warlords, and fostering trade and prosperity amongst the people under them, but not democracy. This might be the best we can do.

But I don't know, just thinking aloud. A withdrawal to me still just seems irresponsible.

Heads should roll

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 1:25 PM

PIZMOBEACH

... fully loaded, safety off...


Thanks Niki. It's hard to believe this is a place that we need to send more troops to.

Dexter Filkin's book "The Forever War" is about Iraq and Afghanistan. It is one of the most compelling books I've ever read. I think it's the kind of book that a journalist hopes they are lucky enough to have a chance to write one time in their lifetime.

I can't get it out of my head that there's something else going on, some thing they're not telling us. Looking forward to Obama's speech Tuesday.



Scifi movie music + Firefly dialogue clips, 24 hours a day - http://www.scifiradio.com

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 2:48 PM

DREAMTROVE


Good insights all.

I just had a thought, so I wanted to make a pre-emptive suggestion. I created two threads, one about the war, its impact, and nature; the other about afghanistan, its culture and people. I just wanted to try to keep these two ideas separate. Alternate ideas to the war proposed here are good. I also posted some questions to Niki, should she have time.


Oh, and Nik,

I'm not dodging the topic on the other thread, that thread was created for a specific topic, which I'm interested in. I am dodging an argument, which I always do. Opinions differ, that's life. I'm just interested in new ideas. I tend to ignore opinions, which may be why Pirate News' posts don't bother me: When I get to the part that's pure opinion, I skim or skip. I'll form my own opinion from the facts, an I assume others will do the same. I don't have all the facts and can't hope to, but I can have more than I did. For instance, Karzai controlling the majority of Kabul is news to me. Since it's more recent than the article I read, I''ll accept it until I have time to research it further. (I fully expect the Karzai govt. to fall. I kinda feel bad for the guy, since when it does, he is not likely to survive.)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 3:40 PM

GINOBIFFARONI


Quote:

Originally posted by pizmobeach:
Thanks Niki. It's hard to believe this is a place that we need to send more troops to.

Dexter Filkin's book "The Forever War" is about Iraq and Afghanistan. It is one of the most compelling books I've ever read. I think it's the kind of book that a journalist hopes they are lucky enough to have a chance to write one time in their lifetime.

I can't get it out of my head that there's something else going on, some thing they're not telling us. Looking forward to Obama's speech Tuesday.



Scifi movie music + Firefly dialogue clips, 24 hours a day - http://www.scifiradio.com



Another interesting book, that I have just started to reread is " The Hidden War" by Artyom Borovik

http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-War-Russian-Journalists-Afghanistan/dp/08
0213775X


While its focus is on Soviet troops, the parallels of fighting the same people, in the same country, with similar enough tactics and the effects on the troops trying to understand what and why is very interesting...





Either your with the terrorists, or ... your with the terrorists


Lets party like its 1939

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 3:42 PM

GINOBIFFARONI


Quote:

Originally posted by dreamtrove:
Good insights all.

I just had a thought, so I wanted to make a pre-emptive suggestion. I created two threads, one about the war, its impact, and nature; the other about afghanistan, its culture and people. I just wanted to try to keep these two ideas separate. Alternate ideas to the war proposed here are good. I also posted some questions to Niki, should she have time.


Oh, and Nik,

I'm not dodging the topic on the other thread, that thread was created for a specific topic, which I'm interested in. I am dodging an argument, which I always do. Opinions differ, that's life. I'm just interested in new ideas. I tend to ignore opinions, which may be why Pirate News' posts don't bother me: When I get to the part that's pure opinion, I skim or skip. I'll form my own opinion from the facts, an I assume others will do the same. I don't have all the facts and can't hope to, but I can have more than I did. For instance, Karzai controlling the majority of Kabul is news to me. Since it's more recent than the article I read, I''ll accept it until I have time to research it further. (I fully expect the Karzai govt. to fall. I kinda feel bad for the guy, since when it does, he is not likely to survive.)



Likely wind up like Diem,... but the guy has bought his own bullet

the real question is what next




Either your with the terrorists, or ... your with the terrorists


Lets party like its 1939

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 3:49 PM

GINOBIFFARONI


Niki,

In one of our posts you refered to a scene from Lawrence of Arabia...

I was wondering if you had seen this movie

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099356/

A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia




Either your with the terrorists, or ... your with the terrorists


Lets party like its 1939

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 4:33 PM

NEWOLDBROWNCOAT


Quote:

Originally posted by GinoBiffaroni:
Quote:

Originally posted by pizmobeach:
Thanks Niki. It's hard to believe this is a place that we need to send more troops to.

Dexter Filkin's book "The Forever War" is about Iraq and Afghanistan. It is one of the most compelling books I've ever read. I think it's the kind of book that a journalist hopes they are lucky enough to have a chance to write one time in their lifetime.

I can't get it out of my head that there's something else going on, some thing they're not telling us. Looking forward to Obama's speech Tuesday.



Scifi movie music + Firefly dialogue clips, 24 hours a day - http://www.scifiradio.com



Another interesting book, that I have just started to reread is " The Hidden War" by Artyom Borovik

http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-War-Russian-Journalists-Afghanistan/dp/08
0213775X


While its focus is on Soviet troops, the parallels of fighting the same people, in the same country, with similar enough tactics and the effects on the troops trying to understand what and why is very interesting...





Either your with the terrorists, or ... your with the terrorists


Lets party like its 1939



Another worthwhile book, introduced to me by a co-worker who is a John Birch Society member, is

Charlie Wilson's War

the inspiration for the movie of the same title. The movie is fun and interesting, and a fair record of the events, but doesn't really provide much insight into the situation . Wonderful performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman, though.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 6:10 PM

GINOBIFFARONI


Another source I like is columnist Eric Margolis...

read a few of his books and wow, amazing his connections... early in his career he toured Afghanistan during the Soviet War... in the hills with the Afghans.

One of his storys is he was given a guide to cross over from Pakistan, a young guy who was on a rest leave... because they were worried someone would recognize him. I guess his job was to walk around Kandahar until he found a smallish group of Russian soldiers.. he would then get close, pull a pistol, blaze away then run... How many have you killed? he asked oh 60-70 I think the guys says... yikes


http://www.ericmargolis.com/political_commentaries/the-pot-calls-the-k
ettle-black.aspx


here is one about corruption and what he thinks will happen next


and his book American Raj is quite interesting too






Either your with the terrorists, or ... your with the terrorists


Lets party like its 1939

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 6:24 PM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!


























That is all you need to know. Or we'll Pat Tillman your ass.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 28, 2009 7:29 PM

DREAMTROVE


I'm not having a lot of doubt on John's sanity here, but war on the war thread? Nvmnd, carry on.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 3:36 AM

GEEZER

Keep the Shiny side up


Niki.

I was wondering if you had any insight into whether folks in Afghanistan consider themselves as belonging to an Afghani nation, or mostly as belonging to their particular tribe, clan, group, etc.? maybe it'd work just as well to split it up?

"Keep the Shiny side up"

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 4:14 AM

PIZMOBEACH

... fully loaded, safety off...


Quote:

Originally posted by GinoBiffaroni:
Another source I like is columnist Eric Margolis...

read a few of his books and wow, amazing his connections... early in his career he toured Afghanistan during the Soviet War... in the hills with the Afghans.
http://www.ericmargolis.com/political_commentaries/the-pot-calls-the-k
ettle-black.aspx


here is one about corruption and what he thinks will happen next




Oh, wow, that's goooood, painful and good - looking forward to reading more from him.
It makes me feel like I've come full circle though, back to where I was before I took part in any thread discussions here. Politics: It's pointless to follow it since there's nothing I can do with that knowledge other than to look informed in social situations - that's just pretentious and vain. Better to spend the time learning a new language ...

More from Margolis:

http://www.ericmargolis.com/media_video.aspx

Scifi movie music + Firefly dialogue clips, 24 hours a day - http://www.scifiradio.com

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 6:23 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them. SECOND: I am so very sorry I libelled you by labelling you a Russian Troll. I apologize for this. http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.aspx?bid=18&tid=64646&p=2


Niki- thanks. Busy now, but will reply later.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 6:41 AM

DREAMTROVE


Geezer,

good question.

I'd like to add Pakistan to that.
The indo-aryan civilization and associated ethnic groups really end abruptly at the banks of the Indus River, and everything to the west of that is in essence "Persia," but some of that land was randomly denoted "Pakistan" by Britain. How do Afghans feel about tribes on the Pakistani said also, not to mention the former soviet republics, or Iran?


Niki,

Geezer asked a good question above, I thought I might add to that, and also mention, assume anything posted here is addressed to you unless it's obviously not.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 8:31 AM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


Wow, I'm overwhelmed. I never expected this much interet. Thank you guys for reading and wanting to know more; so many questions! All this is one more reason I love this place; SMART people and curious ones, that's so special today.

I can't answer your questions adequately with what knowledge I have and without those friends I have to talk to who know the current situation. I'll have to take some time and talk to a couple of Afghan friends before I can respond properly; I'll spend the day doing so and write a proper response later today.

It's so important to me that Americans understand, and I've always felt that each person I can give a better understanding to is a small step forward; perhaps they'll talk to another. It's about all I can do for the people of Afghanistan, aside from financial contributions to this or that group, and my love for the people makes it more than worth taking the time to do that.

I have several resources beyond my friends and my knowledge of how it was "back then". Among them is something I stumbled across purely by accident which has been a real joy; there is a website put up by people who went to the same school I did in Kabul, the American International School of Kabul. Some of them return to Kabul (despite the situation) annually, and they're well versed in the current situation. I'm one of the three people who were there as long ago, so more recent members know more about more current events. So I'll go there as well and ask some of your questions.

Thank you again for your interest, I'll be back with hopefully as cogent answers as questions you've provided.




NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 2:04 PM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


Bear in mind that what I know comes from the Afghan friends I have here, from their relatives and friends still living there, and from my time there--I'm told many of the things I experienced then have changed little in the intervening years, so are still relevant. Beyond that, on the larger, geopolitical level, I am ignorant. Some of the younger Afghans I know only know of Afghanistan from their families, who laud the day of the shah to the sky, so their knowledge reflects that. It would take a while for anyone to get anything from family still living in Afghanistan. Better information would come from the folks at AISK, but it’s Sunday and nobody’s responded to my post yet there.

Quote:

Pretty extreme "over and over" with the Afganis, it seems to me.
Yes, Geezer, you got it; their culture is so dramatically different from ours, that it’s hard to grasp. Iraq and Iran are extremely modern in comparison, tho’ much has changed in the urban environment. Kabul is much more like the cities in Iraq and Iran nowadays, tho’ still has a long way to go to catch up with India, etc. But the MENTALITY, which was unchanged for thousands of years, takes a long time to get past.
Quote:

I was wondering if you had any insight into whether folks in Afghanistan consider themselves as belonging to an Afghani nation, or mostly as belonging to their particular tribe, clan, group, etc.? maybe it'd work just as well to split it up?
The population of Afghanistan is divided into a wide variety of ethnic groups. Because a systematic census has not been held in the country in decades, exact figures about the size and composition of the various ethnic groups are not available. Therefore most figures are approximations only. Best guess as of 2009 is that they’re relatively evenly divided between Pushtun and Tajik, maybe 5% more Pushtun, and roughly 25% made up of 6-10 other ethnicities.

They display pride in their religion, country, ancestry, high regard for personal honor, clan loyalty, readiness to carry and use arms to settle disputes and above all, their independence. That doesn’t make for great cohesiveness, and it’s never really been “cohesive”. Distances between tribes/villages, as I said, makes for little intermingling, so groups tend to continue their cultures separately. Yes, they all consider themselves Afghan, strongly so, but within that nomenclature, very much loyal to THEIR form of “Afghan”. Breaking it up would be a real mess; tho’ some areas are mostly one or another, trying to decide which area was “mostly” one thing or another might actually be impossible. Their strong sense of independence from the outside world is first and foremost.

The tribal system, which orders the life of most people outside metropolitan areas, is potent in political terms. Men feel a fierce loyalty to their own tribe, such that, if called upon, they would assemble in arms under the tribal chiefs and local clan leaders. Some say, and I agree, that the tribal system is the best way of organizing large groups of people in a country that is geographically difficult, and in a society that, from a materialistic point of view, has an uncomplicated lifestyle. That pretty much describes Afghanistan. Like I said, Shah Zahir knew this and tended to more “unite” the country and deal with the outside world, as well as his own area around Kabul, than try to govern the whole country. In rural areas, Karzai is a joke for the most part—DT has spoken to that pretty fully.

By the way, something that has always pissed me off with newscasters and pundits: “Afghani” is the currency, “Afghan” are the people. Our news media sometimes doesn’t even learn the small things in reporting on other countries, which bugs me. I so often hear them mispronounce or misidentify, etc., it helps remind me that they’re only talking heads!

Fem, I kinda figured you were educated on a lot of this, and yes, I have always found it inexorably sad that Americans care so little about understanding other cultures. I believe it’s partly our isolation; if we were situated in the middle of Europe or something, we couldn’t help but be exposed to others…of course, if we were in the middle of Europe, we’d be 50 tiny countries by now no doubt…

New:
Quote:

We have almost nothing in common with them. I can't see any way that our presence there can help them. The scale of the problems there is so extreme, it would take a minimum of 50 years, and tons of money, to start making a real change there, and as a nation, we can't guarantee anything for more than 4 years, most things beyond 2-- the Presidency and the Congress change that fast.
You’re right that we have virtually nothing in common, and that our military presence can’t help…much anyway. And you’re right it would take at least 50 years—obviously more, since it’s been 50 years since I was there, and given that “modernization” started in 1919, much has changed, much has not or gotten worse.

On the other hand, a lot of that lack of change is because of the Soviet invasion, fighting that, the Taliban and now us. While we were there and before that, strides were made that, if they hadn’t been destroyed, would have made quite a difference by now. While taking a country from the time of Christ to the twentieth century quickly seems impossible, they were progressing. Here’s a not-brief-enough history of forward movement there:

A lot of stuff started with Shah Amanulla Khan in 1919, who was the first to open the country to Western influence. He and most of the leaders following him traveled to the West, and/or were educated in the West, and started reforms because of things they’d seen and learned there. He started the modernization of Afghanistan, made elementary education compulsory, fought for women’s rights, and was the first to try to do away with the chadri. That and co-education schools his administration enacted alienated tribal and religious leaders, and he was forced to abdicate in 1929. A cousin reigned for a little while thereafter, tried to consolidate the country, abandoned Amanulla’s reforms in favor of a more gradual approach to modernization until he was assassinated in 1933.

The longest period of stability in Afghanistan was when the country was under the rule of Shah Zahir (Mohammad Zahir Shah), who ruled from 1933-1973, and was Shah when we were there. It was he who finally managed to remove the chadri, build universities and back women being able to be educated and work, etc. Daoud (Mohammed Daoud Khan), the Shah’s brother-in-law, took over in a coup while the Shah was on an official overseas visit in 1973, and became the country’s first “President” (which is a joke). In 1978 the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan overthrew Daoud, killing him and his family.

The PDPA apparently did a lot of good stuff too. They moved to permit freedom of religion and carried out an ambitious land reform, waiving farmers' debts countrywide. They also made a number of statements on women’s rights and introduced women to political life. The New Kabul Times editorial declared: “Privileges which women, by right, must have are equal education, job security, health services, and free time to rear a healthy generation for building the future of the country ... Educating and enlightening women is now the subject of close government attention.” Many people in the cities, including Kabul, either welcomed or were ambivalent to these policies. However, the secular nature of the government made it unpopular with religiously conservative Afghans in the villages and the countryside, who favoured traditionalist 'Islamic' law.

Then of course, in ’79, the Russians came and destroyed most of the progress and the country. Most of us know about some the horrors of the Soviet occupation. It resulted in the killings of between six hundred thousand and 2 million Afghan civilians. Over 5 million Afghans fled their country to Pakistan, Iran and other parts of the world. Progress ground to a halt and the country was devastated. After the Soviets left (mostly defeated by the mujahideen, whom we had armed and supported, along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia), the U.S. and its allies lost interest in Afghanistan and did little to help rebuild the war-ravaged country. Because of the fighting, a number of elites and intellectuals fled to take refuge abroad, which led to a leadership imbalance in Afghanistan. Fighting continued among the Mujahideen factions, which gave rise to a state of warlordism. In 1994, over 10,000 people were killed in Kabul alone.

Enter the Taliban, and by the end 2000 they controlled 95% of the country. During the Taliban's seven-year rule, much of the population experienced restrictions on their freedom and violations of their human rights. Women were banned from jobs, girls forbidden to attend schools or universities. In late 2001, in came the Americans, and the mujahideen Northern Alliance overthrew the Taliban, took Kabul, and many local warlords switched allegiance from the Taliban to the Northern Alliance. That’s been the battle ever since. The National Assembly sat in December 2005, and was noteworthy for the inclusion of women as voters, candidates, and elected members. As the country continues to try to rebuild and recover, it is still struggling against poverty, poor infrastructure, large concentration of land mines and other unexploded ordnance, as well as a huge illegal poppy cultivation and opium trade.

Sorry about the length, but I wanted to show you that between 1919 and now a lot of progress toward joining the 20th century was made, despite upheavals, wars and politics moving them forward and backward. If they could just get some help, they’d rebuild and continue moving forward…if the Taliban would let them! And if we didn’t abandon them, as we have every damned country we’ve invaded. I understand our own needs and how pressing they are, I’m just sad to pretty much know we will abandon them.

DT, you said I did this after my other post, but I know I didn’t see this until after I wrote that response. I don’t know why the time stamp shows otherwise, but if you’ll notice, I started my response here with
Quote:

That was a shock: Thank you. Thank you for your civility, I expected you to lay into me (or maybe you haven't read my last response over there...)
I know when I found this thread I worked until way too late in the night to do it properly, beyond that I can’t figure it. I didn’t feel anything partisan about what I wrote over there, I was expressing my opinion, and as I said before, yes, there was anger involved. I don’t think I’ve ever “defended” the war in Afghanistan, my feelings are ambivalent on that subject. I don’t want our people to die in a senseless war, but I care about the Afghan people and what they would experience under Taliban rule.

As to Ariana, I can find no origins for the choice of the name. All I can find is that it is the Latinized form of Greek referring to the inhabitants of Ariani, a region of the eastern countries of ancient Persia, which includes Afghanistan. To my amusement, I also found:
Quote:

An interesting footnote to that event was that the Shah of Afghanistan personally designed the logo for the new airline, the very same logo which is still proudly retained. The design represents the Afghan Swallow whose graceful fight has always delighted Afghans throughout the ages, and the blue field was inspired by precious stone lapis lazuli, found uniquely in the high mountains of Afghanistan.
There’s no mention of how disasterous the initial attempts to train people over here was, just “Some thirty PanAm technicians and managers were assigned in a full-time basis to the joint venture”, one of which was my dad.
Quote:

Just curious: Do these people graze animals? This is a very desolate landscape, the sort that grazing and herding might create over a couple thousand years….I'm guessing there was extensive grazing in the past which [was] part of the ecological collapse.
Yes, they graze Karakul Sheep, one of the three “fat-tailed sheep” breeds; the Persian lamb where karakul comes from (that tightly-curled sheepskin from which they make hats and jackets and stuff). It was an important export at the time we were there. Fat-tailed sheep were bred to have their characteristic fat tails, which can make up 1/6th of their body weight, and which is used as a lard in cooking. You can see how huge their “butts” are in that photo of the butcher. They were also bred for their ability to forage and thrive under extremely harsh living conditions. They provide milk, meat, pelts and wool, so are a valuable commodity in a primitive civilization.


Cattle didn’t exist when we were there, only the Shah had them, so there was no beef—that appears to have changted. Goats are also raised for their usefulness, and donkeys abound. As to horses—Arabians naturally, and they’re a story unto themselves.

But the grazing of the karakul weren’t responsible for Afghanistan’s geography. They were bred and used BECAUSE it’s a desert: “Fat-tailed sheep are hardy and adaptable, able to withstand the tough challenges of desert life”. It’s always been a desert, and the kuchis cutting down what there was for firewood pretty much wiped out what wasn’t already.
Quote:

Afghanistan is a dry, landlocked country, consisting mainly of rugged mountains, barren plateaus, and wind-swept steppes and deserts.
Altitude ranges from1,500 feet to 20,000 in the peaks, which makes it what I guess we’d call “high desert”. It’s listed as semi-arid to desert, Crops cover less than 10% of the land; most grazing is done between Summer and Winter areas. So we can’t blame the ruminants!
Quote:

Also, language/culture. Are they all muslims? or do you find animism in remote areas, or trace aryan beliefs?
Dunno about “beliefs”, animistic or Aryan, but the population is over 99% Muslim; 74–80% Sunni and 19–25% Shi'a. I wouldn't know about "beliefs" per se, especially in more remote regions. Remember, we lived in Kabul, and tho' we did a lot of traveling, it was mostly tourist stuff and I was only 9-11. Most of what I know now comes from self-educating after I was grown and what memories remain.
Quote:

We eat naan here to, as I suppose they do in most of the world.
I’ve had Indian nan; it’s nothing like Afghan, tho’ they bake it much the same. Also had nan in an Afghan restaurant which we used to have here in San Rafael (how I miss it; disappeared couple of years after 2001). What I had there was an “Americanized” nan, much lighter (as is the Indian, tho' it was also flatter) and not baked in pits like Afghan nan, of course. Never found proper Afghan nan in America—it was gritty, buckwheat stuff, pretty solid and I will always miss it! I know Afghan friends who make it, but they agree that without the pit, it’s just not the same. ;o)
Quote:

I have wondered about the aging. I noticed this several times with Afghans. Is it the opium?
Goodness, most Afghans don’t USE opium, it’s an export crop. And the aging was worse when we were there (I think?) than now, so there was little or no opium then. No, blame the harsh life and the land for that one. The most recent estimates I can find say
Quote:

The average life span is 44 years, that is twenty years less than other developing countries. One of six pregnant women dies for each live birth with the country having the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world. With 7.5 children to every woman, the country has one of the highest fertility rates in the world but every 28 minutes a woman dies during childbirth and 54 per cent of children are born stunted.
http://www.rockwallheraldbanner.com/opinion/local_story_081012825.html
?keyword=topstory


Given the above, it’s not hard to figure how a harsh land and harsh living age one rapidly.
Quote:

I doubt they can subsist there, so the society could only continue in its present state for another couple of decades absent some form of massive intervention involving a huge cash sink.
Well, they DO subsist there…can’t speak to if the population zoomed, but it’s not likely to for a long, long time, and it wasn’t a huge amount of cash that was allowing them to progress as far as they had until the Soviets invaded, so… Most of their advancement was internally-driven prior to the Russians. Yes, it’s primitive and harsh, but they’re a tough people and perseverant to the point of obstinacy. I have faith in their survival; considering how many flew the country during the Russian occupancy and that many are now returning, I refuse to give up hope! They will survive, and if I know the Afghans, given half a chance, they will advance again. Please don’t count them out so easily.
Quote:

the lack of property ownership in a society clearly aids collapse in the presence of animal grazing.
It didn’t “collapse” for thousands of years, so that doesn’t hold true. Given, it’s a different world, but that doesn’t absolutely portend “collapse”. There is land ownership and farming, and in time more will return/increase. They also have a lot of natural resources, which I didn't know...they are the only place lapis lazuli oomes from (that I did know) and have extensive untapped resources (which may make them valuable down the line when they can be tapped). Right now the resources are difficult to get to, but they have huge amounts of gold, copper, coal, iron ore and other minerals.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey and the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Industry,
Quote:

Afghanistan may be possessing up to 36 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 3.6 billion barrels of petroleum and up to 1,325 million barrels of natural gas liquids. This could mark the turning point in Afghanistan’s reconstruction efforts. Energy exports could generate the revenue needed to rebuild and modernize.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghanistan#Economy

I didn't know all that.

KPO:
Quote:

I wonder if we might achieve better 'nation building' working directly with amenable local warlords, and fostering trade and prosperity amongst the people under them, but not democracy. This might be the best we can do.
I agree. Democracy in the Middle East is SUCH a foreign concept, and so far removed from any form of government they can easily comprehend, I think it’s just plain wrong to try and force it on them. There’s a lot wrong with monarchy, a LOT. But one thing is true; Afghan monarchs never looked to conquer beyond their own borders, really, and WORKED to better the people. What they did from 1919 until the end of monarchy speaks for itself. In my own personal view, I don’t see politicians, “democracies”, etc., as having the same personal interest in the welfare of the country and its people. Perhaps this is because it’s such a harsh land with so little to move it forward, I don’t know; but I know that what’s happened to it since other governments have intervened hasn’t been good.
Quote:

A withdrawal to me still just seems irresponsible.
Thank you for that. I know our needs are many right now and taking care of home is vital, but we DID invade there, and I think that carries a certain responsibility. I have no answers, just that.

Piz, thanks for the suggestion, I will look for it. I found Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner” extremely moving and gave me a wider view, too—it’s a novel, but much more than that. It covers the period from the end of the monarchy through to the Taliban, tells the story of two Afghan boys of two very different classes, and it’s good reading, as well.

Yes, NewOld, Charlie’s War fascinated me too, and I highly recommend the book for exactly the reasons you described. The movie is Hollywodized; Charlie wasn’t as responsible for what happened as the movie makes out, and the situation was much more complicated.
Quote:

How do Afghans feel about tribes on the Pakistani said also, not to mention the former soviet republics, or Iran?
I can’t answer that right now; the answer I would give is from Afghans living here mostly, and their view is skewed by American politics. The Afghans I know hate anything having to do with Russia, not surprisingly, but beyond that... I know there has historically been bad feeling on either side and several wars between Pakistan and Afghanistan; I know the Afghan refugees fled to Pakistan and that created tensions; but that’s about all right now. I would imagine that to those not living near the borders, they care little about either country; on the border regions, I’d bet there’s a lot of bad feeling on both sides. If I can get a better answer, I’ll add it.

There, that brings me current, and I’m pooped. Sorry it’s so long. There is a lot more I could say about the country “I” know, like my first post, but I don’t know how interested anyone is, so I’ll refrain. If I can come up with any better or more current answers to any of the questions, I’ll add them; right now, there’s only one friend I can talk to today, and some of this comes from him, and I haven’t had any responses from the AISK folk yet on their forum.

Thank you muchly for being interested and for your questions, it is really appreciated. I hope I’ve helped in some small bit to answer them and to expand your understanding of a country I love very much.




NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 2:20 PM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!


Police officer Jack McLamb reported on his radio show today that Obama's Afghan heroin production has increased 3,000% since the US/UK invasion.
http://republicbroadcasting.org

I stand corrected on my old news of 1,400%.

Can't allow those pesky Taliban to stop opium farming.

Where would CIA get its funding then?

Quote:

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

21 October 2009 - Afghanistan has a monopoly on global opium poppy cultivation (92 per cent), the raw material for the world's deadliest drug - heroin. The size and impact of the opium economy in Afghanistan were documented in the Afghanistan Opium Survey 2009 published in September.

In a new report, Addiction, Crime and Insurgency: The Transnational Threat of Afghan Opium, UNODC shows the devastating consequences that the 900 tons of opium and 375 tons of heroin that are trafficked from Afghanistan every year have on the health and security of countries along the Balkan and Eurasian drug routes, of countries in Europe, of China, India and the Russian Federation.
It documents how the world's deadliest drug has created a market worth $65 billion, catering to 15 million addicts, causing up to 100,000 deaths per year, spreading HIV at an unprecedented rate and, not least, funding criminal groups, insurgents and terrorists.

The report's findings reveal a number of anomalies. One such anomaly is the incongruence between the large quantities of heroin being consumed and the small quantities being seized. Approximately 40 per cent of Afghanistan's heroin is trafficked each year into Pakistan, about 30 per cent enters the Islamic Republic of Iran and 25 per cent flows into Central Asia. In Afghanistan, corruption, lawlessness and uncontrolled borders result in an insignificant 2 per cent interception rate of the opiates produced, compared to 36 per cent in Colombia for cocaine.

An anomalous but widely known fact is that, since 2006, much more opium has been produced in Afghanistan than is consumed worldwide. The report confirms that there is now an unaccounted stockpile of 12,000 tons of Afghan opium - enough to satisfy more than two years of world heroin demand. "With so much opium in evil hands, the need to locate and destroy these stocks is more urgent than ever", said Mr. Costa.

www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2009/October/unodc-reveals-devastatin
g-impact-of-afghan-opium.html



Pentagon pays the opium farmers $30/lb, CIA sells it retail for. But most US heroin is Mexican Black Tar, thanks to Obama's wide-open invisible border via NAFTA and North Amerikan Soviet Union at SPP.gov.

Quote:

Opium-poppy cultivation fell 22 percent to 123,000 hectares (303,810 acres) as average farm-gate prices for dry opium dropped 34 percent to $64 a kilogram (2.2 pounds), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said in a report. The 2009 harvest yielded up to 6,900 metric tons (7,605 tons), enough to make about 1,000 metric tons of heroin, the Vienna-based UNODC said.

www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601091&sid=aAshbP0J.JFE



Opium $30/lb wholesale
Heroin $90,000/lb retail
------------------------
300,000% Markup = 99.97% Net Profit for CIA & MI6

The 12,000 ton "surpus" explains why CIA/MI6/UN wants their Afghan production reduced, a tiny bit, to keep retain prices and profit high. Hence the fake "war on opium farmers", as US troops guard the farmers while they harvest their crops.

Opium Wars of the British Empire and Yale Skull & Bones to force the world to become its heroin addicts
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_Wars




NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 2:26 PM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


Oh, go away, PN...there's another thread about the politics, etc., of the war...why don't you go play there? McLamb is almost as much of a crazy as you are, in my opinion, and I wouldn't trust him or anything he says as far as I could throw him. What you posted has nothing to do with this thread and belongs over there, as DT said.




NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 2:36 PM

GINOBIFFARONI


Quote:

Originally posted by piratenews:
Police officer Jack McLamb reported on his radio show today that Obama's Afghan heroin production has increased 3,000% since the US/UK invasion.
http://republicbroadcasting.org

I stand corrected on my old news of 1,400%.

Can't allow those pesky Taliban to stop opium farming.

Where would CIA get its funding then?




As long as your smoking it John, they will always have an export crop...


NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 2:52 PM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!


Funny how CIA agent and teen cocaine dealer Obama plans to legalize opium in Afghanistan.
http://cria-online.org/3_6.html

Quote:

Originally posted by Niki2:
Oh, go away, PN...there's another thread about the politics, etc., of the war...why don't you go play there? McLamb is almost as much of a crazy as you are, in my opinion, and I wouldn't trust him or anything he says as far as I could throw him. What you posted has nothing to do with this thread and belongs over there, as DT said.



Officer McLamb was Phoenix PD Intelligence Division, and "the most-decorated cop in PPD history" BTW. Today he's calling for the immediate arrest of Hussein Obama Soetoro, but not calling for military coup d'etat and martial law to arrest Obama like billionair sockpuppet opium addict Rusty "Rush" Limbaugh.

Why does your post sound like you're salivating over Afghan a$$et$?

Why does your post read like CIA'S WORLD FACT BOOK?

www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html


NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 3:52 PM

KPO

Sometimes you own the libs. Sometimes, the libs own you.


Quote:

but we DID invade there, and I think that carries a certain responsibility.


Yep, as well as a geopolitical interest in the stability of the country. At the same time though, I do think we need a plan that involves an exit strategy. It'll be interesting to see what Obama announces in his upcoming speech.

What were your thoughts Niki during the Afghan election and run-off? Did you or the Afghan people you know, have any hopes that real progress towards working democracy might be made? Was there anything promising about the unsuccessful challenger, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, who was reportedly cheated out of a fair election?

Heads should roll

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 5:26 PM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!


I want to hear from the Afghan citizens who are members of this forum.

After 8 years and $1-trillion of invasion, occupation and democracy, I'm sure every citizen now has internet access and gold-plated toilet seats.


NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 6:35 PM

GINOBIFFARONI


Not that many Afghans have access to news from outside the country, but Niki, how do you think people there would react to the Germans recent resignations over their unfortunate airstrike...


http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,663820,00.html


the Defense Minister, the deputy defense minister, the head of the German Military all have resigned



NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 8:25 PM

DREAMTROVE


Again, responding as I read... lots of interesting stuff:

Quote:

The PDPA apparently did a lot of good stuff too. They moved to permit freedom of religion and carried out an ambitious land reform, waiving farmers' debts countrywide. They also made a number of statements on women’s rights...


Without looking it up, I'm going to make some spot guesses, and then guess an Afghan reaction:

1. People's democratic is of course an international codeword for communist, following the rule "all advertising is a lie."

2. Communists tend to assimilate cultural traditions into a socially engineered mechanical form of universal equality.

3. I'm guessing that the Afghans are going to hate this idea. Probably more than the individual issues, the massive uniform movement towards a secular western "modern" society will get mixed reviews among the young, and prompt civil war among the general population.

4. This idea probably came from China.

Now I'll go look it up.

okay,

1.. check.
2. check
3. check
4.. Duh. Wrong. It came from Russia. Sorry, I thought we were back in some other decade... Oh, wait, we were. 1965. Now that's odd. Usually "people's democratic" is a good indication of China, and "socialist republic" means russia. This is some time before the Soviet-Afghan war. but it does go on through it.

Okay, continue...

Quote:


Then of course, in ’79, the Russians came and destroyed most of the progress and the country.



This also seems at odds with itself If the PDPA *was* russian communist, about which I seem to see no debate, then it was the loss of control that prompted the russian invasion: I seem to remember an incident involving the slaughter of 2,000 or so Russian citizens by an anti-PDPA group. Don't quote me on this, but my memory is thinking this was northern alliance. I don't have the story... searching

Here's a motherlode of history:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Democratic_Party_of_Afghanista
n


Here's more
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_war_in_Afghanistan

I think Brzezinski's comment is very telling.

Moving on...

As an absolute non-defender of the USSR, I feel some information is lacking here:

Wiki agrees with your casualty figures. I know that no one has a kill ratio like that, so can we attribute this to anything? To be credible, there has to be a cause:
1. Civil war and tribal conflicts
2. Widespread famine or disease
3. Opportunistic genocide by some local group.
Just the reality that 100,000 soviets even with 300,000 allies can't kill 2 million afghans. Actually, they can't approach anywhere near those figures without suffering truly massive casualties. US involvement makes matters worse, but something else is needed to justify these figures.

Quote:


Enter the Taliban, and by the end 2000 they controlled 95% of the country.



:?

Sorry, that's a dubious me. 45,000 of them? I get that they controlled Kabul, but the thought of 95% of the country, esp. given the history of regional conflicts, them and what army? If they had influence, it had to be something other than force, because they simply don't have enough force.

I tend to put these sorts of notions down into what I call the Cortez factor: Cortez attacked and defeated Montezuma II after years of urging by the Meshiko, or Mexicans as we now call them, and at the threat of excommunication and death by the crown of spain. But when he did it, he did it with 500 spaniards with guns, horses and ships.

Most histories end there.

The significant factors missing are that Cortez had an army of 300,000 or so Mexicans, against 15-30,000 Aztecs. It was a rout. That, and the fact that Montezuma had practically zero local support outside of his own army (read: Montezuma is Aztec for George W Bush) But I digress. Many histories have missing pieces like this.

This missing dynamic grows in importance with the telling. The history, of course, we mostly know, but the Taliban, who now number around 25,000, according to wiki and also the DoD, in a country with 3 million combatants, about 100,000 of which side with us, and another 100,000 are us, with contractors, also according to the DoD. It's hard to see the US enforcing any agenda with this kind of force, but harder to see the Taliban doing so.

Also, it's just not very credible to see the US as champions of justice, and not only because we armed the anti-soviet revolt in the first place, igniting or upscaling the conflict; but also because we lack neither power nor will to do good here.

However, it's equally rough on the US to blame us for endemic systematic problems in a population of 50-100 million people because of the presence or absence of a small military force. Society should take care of itself without a mommy imperial state taking care of it. I site not only the obvious example of neighboring Iran which seems to be doing fine without any intervention from us, even though the radical muslims are in charge, but also the relative success of Pakistan, which I would generally consider to be a disaster, but not compared to Afghanistan.


Aryan is the name of the civilization of Kashmir, the founding state of the present day empire of India. The Aryans get their name from the PIE Aryo, for acre, and the derivation means "those who farm/cultivate." Over the years, the meaning of the name changed to "the hospitable" or "the accepting" because of the way they were viewed by other peoples of the region.

The present day Aryans are the Indians, and the term helps unite people of different nations, and also religions, be they hindu or muslim. Culturally, islam is semitic, and hindu is aryan.

In the west we use the term Indo-Aryan to refer to the ethnicities east of the Indus river, which is largely a skin color designation (Self identifying Aryans have dark skin) but there are also cultural reasons.

Historially, the Aryans extended westward through Persian and Assyria, and these are often considered Aryan or Aryan hybrid cultures.

For the confused:

There's evidence that the Celts were also an Aryan culture, by root of Dagistan, but this is the only real appearance of an aryan culture in Europe.

I mention this because of the German use of the term. The Germans were very aware that they were not Aryans. I'm now convinced that this usage was an attempt to gain an alliance with India against Britain, right down to the use of the swastika.

Aryan, of course, is a culture, not a race. The race of these various peoples was likely whatever it was before they were invaded by aryans around the 3rd millennium BC.

But back to topic, yes, the Afghans would be aryans, but the word would be mutated, like the Perisian "Iran" and the Celtic "Erin."



Quote:

It’s always been a desert


I think we're on different timescales here.

I looked before for a timescale of the desertification of afghanistan, and couldn't find it, I'll look again. I'm wondering whether we're talking 100s or 1000s of years. Fat tailed sheep show up in Waziristan, but the evolution doesn't imply an arid climate, it's just that after desertification, that's what is left. eg. There are the same number of cacti per acre outside of the desert as there are in the desert, it's just that in the desert, there's nothing else, so they're much more visible. I've read this many times, but also experienced it, and it's always a surprise to be in a tropical jungle environment, and run into a cactus. Of course they're not as large, but I'd say, from personal experience, they're probably more common in the non-desert.

There are no natural deserts, but I assume we all know that, it's just a matter of primitive humans or moderns ones. My first result for "desertification of central asia timeline" gives me no clues, but some interesting historical footnotes

http://asianhistory.about.com/od/centralasia/tp/Central-Asia-Timeline.
htm


still looking

Interesting history:



search...

Okay, wiki comes through again. The area's decline began during the second millennium BC, and by 1000BC had given rise to nomadism (That will do it) I guess we can predict the deterioration from there. Obviously right now it's at that very critical stage where we're decades away from a total collapse, given the population. Most of the country must have already collapsed as an ecosystem, but somewhere people are growing poppies, which is a good sign.

I'd say if we had a full geologic breakdown, it would start with a low rainfall fragile ecosystem like the one Byte lives in, and that degenerating after the aryan introduction of horses and agriculture, (2500BC?) to a steppe environment too weak for widescale agriculture, (1000BC) followed by total collapse, region by region, until the present day.

So, to reform my earlier prediction: Imminent collapse of the ecosystem: Yes, imminent collapse where the humans are *now*. But this has probably been a perennial problem like in Africa: the human then move to somewhere else, after the collapse, and cause somewhere else to collapse.

Sorry, this disaster definitely pre-empts any political or social considerations: It makes no difference how many rights people have if everyone dies.

Again, I think on the surface it looks like the same story as africa: nomadic tribes with animal herds are the main hazard, poor farming techniques secondary.

Someone is farming a still green area:


Quote:

So we can’t blame the ruminants!


I assume this is a joke. Of course, technically, we can blame the humans who herd the ruminants, the ruminants are always the problem, but left to themselves, they would dissipate, and not be concentrated to the level where they would be so massively destructive.

It's a basic law of nature. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

Keyword: fence

If you remove humans, actual fences or not, then the concept of forced location is lost, and the ruminant moves to where the grass is greener, allowing the less green areas to recover.


Beliefs, IIRC there's some residual animist belief structures in "Pakistan" Swat valley, Waziristan, etc. This is more common in XinJiang, which as I said is Altaic. Aryan culture can be animist, or it can be more structured like hinduism. I guess I was wondering about "native" belief systems, if there were any left. Sometimes they disappear completely except for an imprint left on the invading religion, such as central american catholicism. Of course, there are still lots of native americans in C.A.

Quote:

I was only 9-11


Watch out! that's a homeland security search word (sorry ;) lol)

Given that naan is Persian, it's bound to change as it crosses cultures, just like any other food (cheese, bread, pizza? Try ordering a pizza in Italy some time, then sicily, then austria, then try it in the US :) )

Quote:

Goodness, most Afghans don’t USE opium, it’s an export crop. And the aging was worse when we were there (I think?) than now, so there was little or no opium then. No, blame the harsh life and the land for that one. The most recent estimates I can find say


:?

Dubious on all accounts. If you really want to make an insane mujahideen ;) Actually, it always struck me that the girls eyes in that Natl Geo image as being opiate eyes. That insane look...

But also, Harsh life on the land doesn't do it. Look at Africa. Sure, they have a short avg. life expectancy but mostly it's war and disease.

Something is wrong, at any rate. Living the hard life on the land probably helps. Check out my neck of the woods sometime. Of course, we have the winterpeople advantage.

Quote:


Given the above, it’s not hard to figure how a harsh land and harsh living age one rapidly.



Except the lack of basis in science. Malnutrition could be a factor.

As for subsisting, I'm going to wager that my slow relocation of populations model will be the reality. It's like Africa and Timbuktu. Once the center of an empire, which now essentially resides in Lagos. But more to the point, there were many earlier imperial centers and cities lost in the Sahara.

You misread me again. I'm not giving up on the people, I'm just looking at this geologically: It's a disaster. Radical reform would be essential, alas.

The degeneration *did* happen for thousands of years, I just looked it up, above. It *didn't* from 35000BC to 3500BC because of the absence of agriculture, and probably a resulting much lower human and animal population.

The current acceleration of collapse is undoubtedly due to the population increase. This is a topic which has been widely discussed and researched in the adjacent former soviet territories as well as pakistan and india, so I'm not shooting in the dark here. Afghanistan seems to be somewhere between a "somalia" ecological situation and a "nigeria" one. Nigeria is collapsing in parts, but has the the high population levels as does Afgh.

It's a concern, and one best not ignored. I'd go so far as to say it's the elephant in the room, it's so obvious that everything else is almost a footnote.

BTW, the above take is the CIA's take on Africa: The environmental crisis is so severe that even HIV and a world war are secondary concerns. They go into it in much more detail. You can find lots of Africans who have written a great deal about this. The most recent total disaster is Rwanda, post genocide, which has led to a total ecological collapse from one of the world's more lush biodiversity hotspots and green environments to a rapid depletion and destruction. The place on Earth I'd put first in the "we're all going to die" ecological crisis is India though.

Before denying the threat due to some sense that this is a cultural offense of sensibilities, I just want to say: Don't shoot the messenger. There's an extremely serious problem here, and anyone who wants to defend these people on their current land is going to have to deal with it. Any threat from us or anyone else is chickenfeed. Of course, it's hard to build any real solutions while someone is bombing you into the stone age.

No amount of gold will stop the loss of water.

Right now, it's raining here. How much gold do you trade one inch of rainfall for? A trillion? Ten trillion? I suspect there's no rate of exchange that will be acceptable, but given time, hopefully, there will be a scientific solution which will answer how much it will cost. Oh, and expect it to be on this scale. Of course, it only helps if the land hasn't turned to sand first.

Sure, there are probably natural resources that can economically support the people. Ecologically supporting the land will be tricky. If everyone moves into the cities, then they'll end up dependent on someone else, which seems to work for Saudi Arabia, for now.

Oh, I knew about the natural gas, because we took that over as soon as we went. Guarding the pipeline has always been our main mission in Afghanistan. It's not, by itself, enough reason to go to war. I'm still not sure I understand this conflict. I have lots of other ideas. But mainly I'm just trying to learn about the people and their land. Their land is a critical issue, passed that, there are cultural issues that will take time. Any stable lifestyle should be preserved, or have the right to be. Something here isn't stable.


Again with the support the US military presence. That does strike me as a partisan position. I don't see Afghans wanting us there, that we would help them, or that it would not be a recruiting poster for the most anti-American group there.

I am not going to credit that 25,000 (currently) Taliban fighters will defeat 3 million armed combatants to control an area the size of Afghanistan, let alone western Pakistan.

I would say "Staying seems genocidal."

You just said yourself that the Soviet-US aided "civil war" conflict took 2 million lives. This is what foreign intervention does for Afghanistan, as far as I can tell.

Yes, sure, I just said that this country *clearly* has a more pressing issue than politics.

However, they are not going to be able to deal with that problem while there is a war going on in their country.

If the Taliban win, it can only be for one reason: They have the support of the people. They can't possibly suppress the people, they simply don't have the means to do so.

If that happens, then so be it, but it's not our call, it's theirs. If they want a freer society, they have to choose one. If that free society is tied to the US or Russia, and we are tied to genocide against the Afghans, then, *no*, that ideology will *not* win popular support.

Sorry for the aside, but I need to attack the position of China House Rules:

I respectfully disagree with IIRC Eleanor Holmes Norton. If we break it, we have not bought it. We cannot buy someone else's country or people. If we break it, we've lost all credibility to having anything to do with repairing it. Okay, maybe they can ask us for war reparations, in cash, but someone with some credibility can fix it.


Did anyone here, after 9-11-01 suggest that we hire Bin Laden Construction Company to rebuild the Twin Towers?

All hands?

No one?

Nobody came up with this brilliant solution to the problem?

Okay.

I rest my case then.


That said, thanks for the insight.

John's point about opium is very sound. The US uses opium in widespread legal application in medicine. The opium crop of Afghanistan could actually fund the economy, but someone else is making the money. Again. Like with the Natural Gas.

Big surprise there.

Anyway, Nik, John's comment is pertinent to the subject of Afghanistan, I probably said more about the war here than he did, as did you, and Pizmo.

Don't be poster-specific in your responses. We had a debate about that here recently and everyone agreed to treat each post anew, regardless of the poster. I think it was Kathy's idea, correct me if I'm wrong, but no one had a problem with it, so we basically all agreed, and I'm passing it along.


John, you make an excellent point. Not about Niki being a drug dealer. Or Obama, though I have my doubts... but this:

Quote:

Pirate News:
I want to hear from the Afghan citizens who are members of this forum.



Oh, first I want to point out: Notice how I ignored the rant and opinion and went right to the salient point? That's the filter.

Okay, now, the point. Yes, can we get some Afghans.


Niki,

This is to you, see above, see if you can answer John's request, inspite of the snark. You are the person who knows Afghans, maybe you can get some on here to discuss.

And now, for the real challenge: Find someone that disagrees with you, politically. Not someone who agrees with us, but probably someone who disagrees with all of us. But someone informed. Maybe a couple people. See if you can get anyone here, but particularly anyone who lives, or recently lived, in Afghanistan who might view things from some other perspective that "what America can do for Afghanistan" (your perspective if I read you right) and "what America would do *to* Afghanistan" (my perspective) <-- I think most have already fallen on one side or the other of this line. But how about a fresh perspective. I don't care if it's pro-taliban, pro-al qaeda, pro-communist, just as long as it's afghan, and not just a back up voice to lend authority.


KPO

Obama made some very telling statements on the election, they went about like this:

Obama: I think that Karzai should concede that he lost the election
Hillary: We support Karzai
Obama: We support Karzai

I think I know who is in power now. Oh, and I don't think the runoff will fool anyone, just my two cents, but then a sham democracy, what else is new? How many non-sham democracies can you name?

I can say that the Iranians voted for Ahmadinejad, even Israel doesn't doubt that, the Palestinian voted for Hamas, and the Iraqis voted for Maliki and Talibani, that's about where I run out on credible elections, worldwide.

No one voted for Zanu-PF ;)


Gino,

John said citizens, I think he was being sarcastic, but he makes a good point. Niki knows some ex-pats, who are probably citizens, and some people who live there, or spend time there. Bring them in. Let's here their side of the story.

In general, remember, ex-pats tend to slant against the local dominant power and in favor of the US. That's why they're here, instead of there.

Though a kurdish friend of mine who had fought against the islamic revolution in iran recently said to me "I think Khameni is a good guy. He's trying. I think perhaps he's the only thing keeping a lid on the radical islamic extremists."

I was floored by that comment. It's so different from the way we view it. But gnawing it over, I can see his logic. The extremists turn to the ayatollah for leadership. Without him, they might just go off on their own into looneyland like they do in much of the muslim world.

Still, a radical admission for someone who you fought a war against. I actually find this in the rest of the world: They demonize the enemy less. Massive carnage situations like yugoslavia, and they can sit down and debate it in a more civilized way than americans can debate democrat vs. republican policies (there's a difference?)

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 29, 2009 11:38 PM

GINOBIFFARONI


" Still, a radical admission for someone who you fought a war against. I actually find this in the rest of the world: They demonize the enemy less. Massive carnage situations like yugoslavia, and they can sit down and debate it in a more civilized way than americans can debate democrat vs. republican policies (there's a difference?) "


Oh no.... One of the places I worked at, we had quite a few Croatians, and about a half dozen Serbians... things became bad enough they transfered all the Serbians to a different building...

Nothing civilized at all, might you most of these guys actually fought, perhaps less involved folk would be less emotional


Couple of things I'd like to add, Niki can correct me if I'm wrong

One of the reason the Taliban are viewed the way they are is because of the lengths they go to in order to keep foreign influences out... but look at what foreign influences have brought to Afghans, for every bit of progress an equal of greater amount of suffering. Not saying I agree with it, but can understand the view, and post 2001 hasn't exactly changed that model

The second involves why the Soviets went into Afghanistan, Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski actually started that war by arming and funding Muslim extremists in Afghanistan, in the hopes that any successes those movements had against the shaky communist leaning government would spread into the southern Soviet republics and destabilize the entire USSR into some type of civil war

http://terrorism.about.com/b/2007/01/02/al-qaeda-and-the-us-a-longer-r
elationship-than-we-might-have-thought.htm


of the Soviet invasion Alexander Haig said

" Between the Soviet Unoin and Afghanistan there is only the thin line of the Amu Darya. Because of this any successful Islamic movement at your southern borders will inevitably influence the Soviet Muslim republics. I can see Brezhnevs logic "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulbuddin_Hekmatyar

this guy said in 1987 " If the mujahedin persistently continue to fight, the day will soon come when the occupied lands of Soviet Central Asia will be liberated "

So two things really, the Soviets were faced with a nightmare situation. The US was at least partially responsible in provoking the original Soviet invasion...









Either your with the terrorists, or ... your with the terrorists


Lets party like its 1939

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, November 30, 2009 4:35 AM

DREAMTROVE


Gino,

1. Ah. We've had different experiences. I was in Slovenia, actually a few times. There's none of this in Slovenia, even among those who fought in croatia et al, but perhaps that's self-selecting. They ended up in Slovenia by avoiding conflict.

2. & 3. I see a real problem with long posts. I made very similar points, and agree, but it got lost in the shuffle

2. I just said Bin Laden held that, you could see why, didn't make him right, but by his experience, but yes, the Taliban feel the same, as undoubtedly do most Afghans. The issue here is who can make the argument that they are the ones who will bring about this change. This was a big problem for the sandinistas: The people liked their ideas, but did not like the fact that they, sometimes unwittingly, brought foreign intervention.

3. I just quoted Brzezinski saying this. It's also in the wikipedia link, but yes excellent points, all.

I need to work on communications skills.

I want to clarify one point that I was trying to make and took too long to do, and that's about subsistence lifestyle, which I think Niki took as an attack of Afghans, it's not. It's a comment on another myth: "these people have lived this way on this land for thousands of years" We know this both is and isn't true, but the story can be told much better in pictures, these ones from africa:

These people have always lived on this land, right?

No, they havent. They've lived near by.

They used to live here

Then they lived here

Then they thought they'd try here

They're almost done here

And moving in here

and after they're done, they'll try here

Someday, they'll try here

When they started, their home looked like this

We know that from satellite photos, and from the evidence everywhere, we can tell where they've been:

They need better solutions


A little ecological perspective, and yes, we *can* destroy the planet, but only piece by piece. Somethings gotta give. Don't let it be the Earth, for the betterment of the planet, and the people on it.

Peace out.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, November 30, 2009 9:47 AM

FREMDFIRMA



I made mention of this discussion, such points of it as I understand, to one of my unofficial contacts over there, and they pointed out to me that the villages generally don't *care* who is in charge so long as they are left unmolested, which is what they primarily desire - life goes on, much as it always has, and to the minds of those involved, always will, right ?

So saying that the Taliban "controlled" them is kind of a misnomer, since their response to the Taliban, and *any* other interloper, is prettymuch thus.

"If I bend knee to you, will you go away ?"

Being that it's pointless to tax them, and they have nothing much to take, that is prettymuch how it goes - they don't care much about anything beyond the borders of their own village and lands, but you start droppin bombs willy nilly and kill off some of their people, they tend to hold *serious* grudges about it, especially if Badal is invoked.

But essentially, most of em just want to be left the hell alone, which of course sets them at odds worse against any "organized" empire like the Soviets, or us, cause such empires are damn nitpicky, and will spend ridiculous effort to try and civilize/convert/tax/etc them, which just annoys them and they can wait you out for generations, cause in their mind, sooner or later YOU will be gone, but their village is still gonna be there, it's how they think.

Blow up their village though, and you're lookin down the barrel of a REAL problem.

As for the urbanites, I dunno so much, most of the contacts I have are girls who have fled to RAWAs sanctuaries and safe houses - which now that you know something about that world, gives you an idea of just how tough, mentally and physically, these girls are.

While I do wholly support RAWA, personally I am more of a mind that the solution to old set-in-their-ways hardheads who value women as baby factories isn't exposing and educating them, being that they won't listen and the rest of the world wouldn't care if they did know, but it's not my decision to make.

Unfortunately for the USA, History supports them, would be conquers come and go, but still, afghanistan is afghanistan.

-Frem

Reccommended Viewing.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beast_(1988_film) <-Add manually.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, November 30, 2009 11:15 AM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


Yes, I agree 100% that we need to get out, KPO; I wish we could leave people to help the country recover, but not military—the trouble is, military has to be around to protect the others, and I don’t know what Karzai or the Taliban would do to subvert their efforts, and it’s all so complex, I can’t even guess.

Dr. Abdullah (whether it’s two Abdullahs or one is unclear) was senior advisor to Masoud in the 1980s, and apparently became his successor. Masoud seemed to be more promising, but Abdullah had a certain amount of promise, too. He was foreign minister in the Karzai administration for a time, but when the Northern Alliance members who were in that government were ousted, he was tossed out too. That was a shame; the Northern Alliance never gave up fighting the Taliban; if we’d had THEM as allies all along, who knows?

Abdullah isn’t as charismatic as Karzai was, but the Afghans have completely lost faith in Karzai because of the corruption and his (as Abdullah says) “disconnect between his government and the people. I don’t know if he would have been better or not…the information I get is conflicting; some liked him, some thought he’d just be “a new boss, just like the other boss”. Beyond that, I don’t know much.

Gino, the Afghans really don’t pay attention to stuff outside Afghanistan. Most of them consider all the foreigners fighting there as “American” unless they actually meet them, and even then attribute whatever they do to the American interference. I’m sure there are politically savvy intellectuals who pay attention, but none of my friends are such, and the general attitude is that America is behind everything happening.

DT, your post is way too long for me to respond to in kind, it would take ages. And remember, what’s I’ve been talking about is Afghanistan and it’s people and culture; my knowledge of politics, and the interest in same of the Afghans, is limited. I had to look a lot of stuff up to answer the questions posed yesterday, to fill in what I, nor my Afghan friends, didn’t know, So I’ll just try to hit the highlights:

Yes, the PDPA was a communist organization. Per Wikipedia:
Quote:

The government promoted state atheism. Men were obliged to cut of their beards, women were not allowed to wear the burqa any longer, and most of the mosques were placed off limits at the start of the regime. The mosques re-opend in the 80s, because the party tried to win more supporters. The government also carried out a new land reform among others.
When the PDPA rose to power in Afghanistan they moved to prohibit traditional practices which were deemed feudal by the party. They banned bride price and forced marriage among others and the minimum age for marriage was raised. They also stressed the importance of education in Afghanistan. The government stressed education for both women and men, they also set up literacy programmes in the country. These new reforms were not well-received by the majority of the Afghan population (particularly in rural areas). As many saw it was un-Islamic and was seen as a forced approach to western culture in Afghan society as many tribal societies in Afghanistan tend to be conservative.

From what I’ve found and been told, your # is only partially true.
Quote:

I'm guessing that the Afghans are going to hate this idea. Probably more than the individual issues, the massive uniform movement towards a secular western "modern" society will get mixed reviews among the young, and prompt civil war among the general population.
Most urban Afghans like the idea of modernization; they did when we were there and I’m told that didn’t change. Remember what I get is from people originating in Kabul, Kandahar and other urban areas. From what I read, it was the villages which, as it said, are more conservative, didn’t like the idea, nor the idea of what they considered “outsiders” deciding how they should live. There was no civil war among the general population; remember, the villages and cities were separated by long distances which were difficult to travel.

As to the Russian invasion being at odds with the PDPA, Wikipedia gives the first hint:
Quote:

The PDPA "invited" the Soviet Union to assist in modernizing its economic infrastructure (predominantly its exploration and mining of rare minerals and natural gas). The USSR also sent contractors to build roads, hospitals and schools and to drill water wells; they also trained and equipped the Afghan army. Upon the PDPA's ascension to power, and the establishment of the DRA, the Soviet Union promised monetary aid amounting to at least $1.262 billion. On December 5, 1978, a friendship treaty was signed with the Soviet Union and was later used as a pretext for the Soviet invasion.
While the PDPA was communist, I’m not sure they were initially “Russian communist”. They seem to have pretty much opened the country to invasion by the Russians without intending to.

The Afghans have long been great at playing both sides against the middle…as I’ve said, did so excellently while we were there, and continued the practice thereafter. I’d guess Russia finally had enough and decided to stop “playing” the game. Just a guess. Afghanistan was viewed as a buffer state by the USSR all along, just as the US viewed it, and the Afghans played that to their advantage. It wsn’t worth anything on its own, obviously, just as land to act as a buffer.

That helps explain why the genocide that followed their invasion. They didn’t need people, nor a government except what they controlled, and probably didn’t care a lot about the survival of the Afghans themselves. It was the land that was important, and control of it. Unfortunately that’s been how most of their invaders considered it, and part of why nobody ever held it…I don’t think sufficient troops or attention were paid to holding it by any conqueror; the Russians were no exception, nor are we. Most of the time people dismiss Afghanistan and its people and underestimate their determined, stubborn independence.

As to the casualty totals, there have always been wars and tribal conflict; always been widespread famine and disease (as you can see by what I initially posted); and while I doubt “opportunistic genocide”, certainly the Russians had no trouble slaughtering many. Remember, initially the Afghans only had crude weapons with which to fight back, so slaughter was easy, especially considering the people never bowed down to the invaders, so they were always making trouble; massacreing an entirevillage as retribution or to make an “example” was probably easy, but didn’t stop them…so slaughter was inevitable. Giving Russia credit for all the deaths might well explain the high casualty numbers. I also found “troops found themselves drawn into fighting against urban uprisings, tribal armies (called lashkar), and sometimes against mutinying Afghan Army units. These forces mostly fought in the open, and Soviet airpower and artillery made short work of them”, which kind of says a lot.[

As to the Taliban “controlling” 95% of Afghanistan, it’s not that difficult to imagine. Given the rural inhabitants’ conservatism to begin with, what the Taliban brought in wasn’t that alien, just “moreso”, and given the power the mullahs have always had there, I imagine it would only take one regional “mullah” (or representatives of same) to “control” quite an area. No doubt it wasn’t perfect control, but would have been accepted far more than any foreign interference, at least initially, and as a stabilizing force after all the strife. Ah, I see Frem has come in and answered it PERFECTLY, so I’ll just agree 100% with his answer and let it go at that. There you see exactly how it is, and understand my answers to how they feel about this or that outside their immediate lives. Thank you Frem, MUCH appreciated!!

As to desertification, I think your argument has one major fallacy; it’s not only man who creates a desert, nature does so as well. Changes in climate over time creates deserts, and moving land masses do as well. It’ Afghanistan has some of the most complex and varied geology in the world. Bear in mind it has historically been an area of much tectonic activity, partly related to its position at the western end of the Himalaya. And yes, I was talking about thousands of years: “The bedrock geology of Afghanistan can be thought of as a jigsaw of crustal blocks separated by fault zones, each with a different geological history. This jigsaw has been put together by a series of tectonic events dating from the Jurassic.” http://www.bgs.ac.uk/afghanminerals/geology.htm

I strongly disagree that there are no “natural deserts”. If you consider “natural” as being “made by nature”, she makes them all the time, and has done so throughout Earth’s history. I take your point, but I maintain that Afghanistan’s desert and geography wasn’t created by man, only “enhanced”. Yes, the Kuchis were probably the first (or most voluminous) inhabitants, tho’ they didn’t “inhabit”, they “passed through” on their trade routes. Initially they didn’t herd animals, their caravans carried trade goods, so tho’ they made their imprint passing through, they wouldn’t have created a desert by themselves. Proper habitation started late, by Earth’s standards, and was sparse until recent history.

There is farming now, has been for hundreds of years I would imagine, and raising of livestock, and the kuchis still travel through…more often now herding their sheep from Winter pastures to Summer. While I recognize what you’re saying about the future, I don’t think mankind created Afghanistan’s ecology, I think they impinged on it and their increased population furthered the development. I was serious about the ruminants…we can’t blame them for all the deserts in the world, and we can’t blame them totally for Afghanistan’s ecology.

Certainly the degeneration probably did happen for thousands of years, but that doesn’t speak to what it degenerated FROM initially, and I believe that Afghanistan was an arid, mountainous region long before man came along. If you look at the difference from the tip of India North, it shows. The Russian area above Afghanistan is a similar environment. I didn’t take your remarks as being an attack on Afghans, I disagreed with how and why it was a desert. As to the future, I simply don’t count the Afghans out, nothing more.

As to pizza, we had it in Northern Italy, and it was almost identical to what we have in America, except they cut it in squares rather than triangles. I don’t disagree that foods change with the culture, that’s obvious. I was sad that Bamyan (the restaurant here in San Rafael) served what I took to be a more “Americanized” nan, but restaurateurs change their dishes to appeal to the culture, obviously.

Okay on opium, yes, research shows it’s a serious problem now. I’m guessing it’s a matter of pride that the don’t want to admit to an addiction problem. Apparently it’s been grown as a traditional crop for centuries in the mountainous border areas, but now is widespread, as we know, and has become a serious problem for the Afghans themselves. And yes, you probably know the origins of “assassin” was “hashasheen”, as far as killers. But I don’t think the eyes of Afghans in Nat. Geo. can be put down to opium, I find that a real reach. Given their history and intermingling of cultures, the Mongol influence in Afghan makeup is still pretty strong—the joke was Afghan men were often more beautiful than the women, but what we saw were women with gorgeous, huge eyes (tho’ admittedly the men too, and the men had these lovely loooong eyelashes and dark eyes that…well, I’ll stop there or I’ll start drooling!).

As to length of life, certainly malnutrition has played a part, but I considered that part of the harsh life, as well as disease, which is rampant, and lack of medical facilities. Populations develop; lifespan was much shorter for us in the past, too, and now all the talk about people living TOO long abounds. Populations evolve, depending on nutrition and health, lifespans increase. Afghanistan had little of either for milennia. The harsh climate weathers the skin, which contributes to people LOOKING older than their years; for women, continuous childbirth shortens lifespan. I don’t see as much correlation between Afghanistan and Africa as you do; life in some African areas is certainly harsh, but I think you’d find that life span in many poverty-stricken Asian countries is shorter than in Africa—that’s only a guess, but I’d bet on it. Asia is an unkind master; Africa has many lush areas, Asia has few. .
Quote:

Don't be poster-specific in your responses
You make a lot of flat statements and give instructions, but that one is truly laughable. Who here doesn’t make poster-specific responses?!?! Who here hasn’t snarked at PN for his obvious insanity? I’ll just leave it at that, except to say that in communication, it can be much more effective to say things like “If it were me”, “I might suggest” and so forth, rather than “Don’t”, “You should”, etc.

As to getting any Afghans to come here, I won’t even try. I DO try to help them understand that the more Americans get to know about Afghanistan and Afghans, the more it would help, and some agree (some are convinced nothing will change our views). But they have lives, few bother with the internet, and I don’t know any who are on forums of any kind. I can guess their response: “You tell them for us”. Even those who live here or were even born here aren’t interested in the same things we are, and there are few who belong to a generation born here by parents born here. Things like that change with time. I would be better able to get opinions from those on AISK…and some of the members there are Afghans, so I’ll put the question out.

I skipped a lot because it doesn’t pertain or is too voluminous to address.

Just a quick aside: I have my own opinions on how much or if the “Clintonistas” run Obama or his government. I can easily see anyone, diplomat, citizen or President, initially reacting as he did against Karzai, then over time accepting that it is he with whom we must deal at this time unless we want to encourage further strife. Just my opinion.

To clarify, I don’t know any Afghans currently living in Afghanistan. Some of my friends still have family/friends there and what I hear comes from them…some travel to and fro, but I don’t know them. As to
Quote:

ex-pats tend to slant against the local dominant power and in favor of the US
that’s not what I’ve experienced. Those I know are still fervently Afghan first, appreciate America as a place to live in, but have strong anti-American feelings about what we’ve done/are doing there.

Gino, I agree
Quote:

One of the reason the Taliban are viewed the way they are is because of the lengths they go to in order to keep foreign influences out... but look at what foreign influences have brought to Afghans, for every bit of progress an equal of greater amount of suffering. Not saying I agree with it, but can understand the view, and post 2001 hasn't exactly changed that model.
The Afghans have always sided with their own against outsiders, even if they don’t necessarily like their own. The Taliban is awful, but it’s Muslim in the extreme, and Afghanistan is Muslim, some places in the extreme.

Yes, DT, shorter posts would help. I’ve devoted 2-1/2 days to this thread, and while I sincerely appreciate the interest, I’d like to discuss the people and culture more, the politics less. The current politics and how they came to be are outside my knowledge, so it takes a lot of searching the internet to answer the questions. Wading through long discussions of politics, ecology, history of other countries, etc., is a lot to wade through and I usually have no easily-obtained answers to them. In short: I’m pooped. If you want to know about Afghanistan from what I know, please feel free to ask me; if you disagree, I’ll try to find things that either prove the point or prove me wrong, but I just can’t go on all day like this, and since it’s not in my nature to NOT respond, I get trapped into doing so.

Thanx again; if I can get any better answers or get any Afghans from AISK over here, I will. I, too, think it would be fascinating to hear what they have to say. Frem, your response came in before I posted this and I just saw it…I thank you deeply for your contribution, and have incorporated reference to it into my answer on the subject. And both comments “they can wait you out for generations, cause in their mind, sooner or later YOU will be gone, but their village is still gonna be there, it's how they think. and “would be conquers come and go, but still, Afghanistan is Afghanistan” say it all.





NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, November 30, 2009 12:19 PM

DREAMTROVE


Niki

Your post is incredible in length. Interesting stuff in there, it is a haystack though...
Quote:


Who here doesn’t make poster-specific responses?!?!


ya missed the part where i said we had recent summit thread on this and decided collectively not to do it. Since then, everyone has been very good about this.

You missed "partisan wars" when (no offense intened guys) rap, geezer, hero would line up on one side, and sig, kathy, citizen on the other, and many responses were poster based. I think that no one here wants that to return, so when I see something that's poster-specific, I just try to remind people that we essentially agreed not to do this. It wasn't my idea, I forget whose it was, but the thread is in the archives.


As for ecology, speaking from a position of science, sure, some ecosystems are more fragile than others. There still in no natural desert. Nature abhors a vacuum, and sorry, even if it were up to debate, which I think it's not, it's definitely off topic here.

The fact of the matter is that afghanistan clearly *does* need eco-coping technology in the way that africa does, and that this automatically becomes a major issue which pre-empts any political concerns. (I'll even support the commies if they would do it, yes, I do know reason: Anything beat the "everybody dies" solution.)

This isn't politics, it's just an observation, I've been researching as you post, and found some stuff, that was sort of the "look up in the sky and happen to notice a comet headed for earth" sort of thing that you just have to mention...

These issues have been discussed very widely by africans and they have extensive programs to try to deal with them, I just thought those would be applicable to afghanistan, given what I read. Curiously, they share something in common with the SW US: High elevation of the base plains.


But back to the people and culture, I agree. I appreciate the time you've taken. I had the feeling that there were a number of people here that were interested.

In the interests of saving time, much of the historical details you posted were in the wikipedia entries, which I linked to in an earlier post. Yes, you were right on the money on just about all of it, but if it takes you a long time to write out a history that is already written, you can save yourself a little work by linking it.

You see some people here are very used to doing that, I wish I were myself. It's something like this:
The PDP (link) was losing support, and the russians lent them a hand, which lead to the soviet invasion (link) etc.

Not that the above is a statement about afghanistan or comprehensive, just that it's a time saver for you, and then if there's something in the link which you think is inaccurate, you can just state that, like

The rise of the taliban didn't quite happen the way (link), because there was an additional issue of xyz.

Just a suggestion to make it less taxing on yourself, something I'm trying to learn to do myself.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, November 30, 2009 12:36 PM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


Could you tell me where this summit thread is so I can read it please? I come almost daily, so I'm not sure how I missed it, but as fast as things move here, maybe I did. Thanx.

I do usually cut and paste, but sometimes I put it in my own words if it's something I want to add to or word it shorter. I also insert cut and pastes from other sources besides Wikipedia when I find something additional, if I already know the facts are accurate. Also I find it easier to read that way myself than going to links. Just FYI




NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, November 30, 2009 4:15 PM

DREAMTROVE


It's in the archives, I don't remember the title, maybe the original poster does. I'm not entirely sure that it was this year, but it wasn't too long ago. It could be that you missed it, but it also might have just predated you.

I have to say that myself I had some trouble being objective to Wulf which I feel bad about. I did try to encourage him to post on other subjects than race or 2nd amendment, and when he did, I answered them objectively, but when he posted on race or 2a, I did sort of *roll eyes* here we go again. So sure, everyone slips once in a while, but it's a goal to shoot for.

Mike just made a comment in a separate thread to the effect of "next election cycle" watch things flare up again. But so far it's been a better way to communicate, it was a good idea whoever had it. I find, even if it's someone I have issues with or completely disagree with, it help, because there's less hostility, and I think that actually has brought some old members back to the forum who weren't posting for a long time.

So, true, some people can continuously say things that you object to, but then, usually it's best to let it slide.

If I can think of a phrase posted...

First google attempt returned a thread by Pizmo on Jan 9, but that wasn't the one. It might have been Pizmo's thread...

Okay, google is being useless on the exact phrase match. I think they don't index them all.


Side issue:

This is just the sort of thing that prompts dicussions like the recent one about thread titles. Before that, thread titles were pretty random, and I'm not about to go through the last year of threads to see which one it might be, it probably doesn't have a descriptive name. All I'm finding on my google searches is references to it, but no link. It was a similar sort of thread to the one we just had about thread titles.

Anyway, it was a mutual agreement, but of course there are no rules here, people can troll endlessly if they want to, but thing did calm down a lot after that.

I'll give one scan through the archives

It's hopeless. A large organizational nightmare and 1000s of threads and I'm only back to mid november, nondescript titles, subject to change without notice. I just found other references to it, to the effect of "I do respond to the post" and "I try to respond to the post, but he always posts the same" so those comments clearly came after the original thread.

Anyway, if you find it let me know, but that was the general idea. I suggest trying it, leads to a more peaceful existence, and communication.


Oh, re mike's comment, cross thread here, I think that it was more of a madhouse at election time, but it had been a madhouse during much of the bush years. People have mellowed out a lot now.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Monday, November 30, 2009 5:55 PM

FREMDFIRMA



Thanks, Niki.

Thing is, I know more about that backwater stump of a country than I ever really wanted to, since I am involved in more machinations related to it than I am willing discuss here or anywhere else, and the reason for the latter is simple.

Sooner or later, as a sop to whatever puppet regime we try to prop up, the State Dept is going to get around to classing RAWA as a terrorist organisation, especially should they ever start takin any of my advice - and when that happens a lot of people who meant only the best are gonna fry for it, and I damned sure do not intend to be one of em.

You know what they say about no good deed goin unpunished, yes ?

Anyhows, heavens bless em, those girls could give the Taliban a couple points on stubborn.

They seem to think that if only they could get their message, their plight, out far enough, out wide enough, to many people or the right ones, make the world know - that folk would come to their assistance, and I did not intially have the heart to tell them, but eventually I did.

The world knows, such as it is, and.. they. do. not. care.
It's just that simple.

But of course, they don't wanna hear that, they don't wanna believe that, and so they don't - denying the bloody obvious in a fashion not all that different from the tribal elders who they decry, but it's a waste of time to point that out since it only gets you cussed out in Pashto anyways.

And yeah, they are stubborn as a goddamn donkey, not a ONE of em has ever taken my offer to pave the way into the US for em, they'd rather stay and "fight" the good fight, much good that it's done em so far.

They know all too well that my answer to the problem of jackass village elders is - no elders, no problem, yes ?
And for all that they do not care for what I say, they listen despite themselves - stubborn they are, stupid they ain't, and that's why someday those fundamentalist assholes are in a heap of trouble.

See, they do not want to kick off a social revolution with a bloody massacre, despite that being historically the ONLY way such changes ever have or ever will come to afghanistan, for a fact, and I would be more than happy to be proven wrong about it, but I kinda doubt it, you know ?

It wouldn't take half the effort outsiders would think, since logistically these villages have no way to support each other beyond throwing in with the roving warlords of what we mistakenly call the "northern alliance" and frankly they'd rather eat sand, shit bricks and die than do so, life ain't worth enough around there to put up with crap that would make it more miserable.

And they have ZERO air power or transport, none whatever, which under the right circumstances if they got their shit together, would be available to RAWA once a credible effort to clean house got rolling, and ground transport along with the fuel to use it would come right from the start, which would treble in effectiveness once the nomads (kuchies ?) saw which way the wind was blowing and decided to play along and be on the dishing end instead of the receiving end cause there is a little bad blood goin on there and it wouldn't take a whole lot - besides which they have an AWFUL dark sense of humor and would get a good belly laugh out of putting one in the ear of those asshats, all the while also laughing at their own folly in being something of traditional asshats themselves, albeit more tolerant ones, since all they really ask for acceptance is that you keep up and contribute your fair share of resources or effort - they'd not be happy with outside help, but once they saw which way that wind was blowin, well, "inshallah", right ?

Start from one end, and work to the other, systematically wiping out every male over the age of ten and burning the chadri? in a heap thereafter, and on to the next, and the next - ignore the cities since that isn't and never has been, where the real power in afghanistan lies, again, once they see which way the wind is blowin...

And a dark wind it would be, since bloody massacre is, unfortunately, the accepted and traditional manner of resolving such social disputes and always has been dating back at least a thousand years, and yes I bloody well *KNOW* what a horrible thing I am suggesting, but the casualties from such an event would actually be not much more than how many casualties are in fact caused by those fundamentalist dickheads and their primitive, blockheaded ways in any five years running, especially when occasionally going toe to toe with whoever the conquerer of the week is for the sake of pride and honor, and the treatment of women who don't play along with their chauvanistic ways.

Anyways, they should be thanking Allah that the women of aghanistan are gentler than folk take em for, cause the thought of them ever acting on my advice instead of their better nature oughta scare the piss out of them, since they *do* listen to it, and sometimes act on it in minor ways, despite knowing I am an infidel and a yellow scarf who's horrifying intentions are all too clear.

If the wind of Kali ever does blow in afghanistan, however, they'll have scarce time to regret it before it reaps the dark and bitter harvest they have sowed for generations.

And that's ALL imma say on the topic.

-Frem

"It's a revolution!" - Lucrezia Noin: Gundam Wing

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 4:46 AM

JONGSSTRAW


What did the Russians want with this place 30 years ago? What was their goal?

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 6:40 AM

DREAMTROVE


Jong,

Russia has long had ambitions on Iran, The history of the two is actually interlinked: Parthians and Scythians are split more on a latitude than anything else. With the takeover of numerous parts of the former Persian Empire and a previous invasion of Iran, this is all fairly straightforward.

Immediately, they were in Afghanistan to prop up a collapsing communist govt.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 6:55 AM

JONGSSTRAW


Quote:

Originally posted by dreamtrove:
Jong,

Russia has long had ambitions on Iran, The history of the two is actually interlinked: Parthians and Scythians are split more on a latitude than anything else. With the takeover of numerous parts of the former Persian Empire and a previous invasion of Iran, this is all fairly straightforward.

Immediately, they were in Afghanistan to prop up a collapsing communist govt.


Thanks for that Dream. When the US supplied weapons to the Mujahdeen to fight the Russians, they were not radical Muslims intent on Jihad against the West ( I saw Charlie Wilson's War ), so when did the fundamentalist Muslims, aka Taliban, arrive? And how long was the Taliban in power before Al Qaida found a home there? If we pull out of Afghanistan and the Taliban take power again, will this be a real threat to anyone?

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 7:11 AM

NEWOLDBROWNCOAT


Lovely piece on the current military situation in Afghanistan, and the military future, in Slate this morning.

http://www.slate.com/id/2236148/

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 8:08 AM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


JS, back when I was there it was also to keep a safe buffer country, they weren't out for conquest, just matched us in giving things to Afghanistan to keep us from getting a foothold...this was during the Cold War. Later it was as DT answered for me; to prop up a failing Communist government; again partly to ensure THEIR control of the country as opposed to anyone else's. Remember, the Afghan government INVITED them in, idiots—when we were there, the Shah knew who and what Russia was and never would have done so; he just played them against us, and kept our presence and friendship as a bulwark against an invasion. Everyone then knew one would come sooner or later.

I can't say whether DT's estimation is the whole answer or what I believe, but I don't think the initial invasion was a straightforward intent on conquest in the entire region, as they hadn’t made any attempt at occupying Afghanistan in all its previous history, or whether it was just because they saw their buffer state slipping out of their control. Tho’ he posted some time ago that “assume anything posted here is addressed to you unless it's obviously not”, he has information about Afghanistan that I don’t possess and our views differ on some things.

As to your questions, here's a brief history of the Taliban and Al Qaeda's beginnings and timeline, taken from several sources.

The mujahideen, various loosely-aligned Afghan opposition groups, initially fought against the incumbent pro-Soviet Afghan government during the late 1970s. At the Afghan government's request, the Soviet Union became involved in the war. The mujahideen insurgency then fought against the Soviet and Afghan government troops during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. After the Soviet Union pulled out of the conflict in the late 1980s the mujahideen fought each other in the subsequent Afghan Civil War.

The United States viewed the conflict in Afghanistan, with the Afghan Marxists and allied Soviet troops on one side and the native Afghan mujahideen on the other, as a blatant case of Soviet expansionism and aggression. The U.S. channelled funds through Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency to the native Afghan mujahedeen fighting the Soviet occupation in a CIA program called Operation Cyclone, as you know from Charlie’s War. The Soviet Union finally withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. With mujahedeen leaders unable to agree on a structure for governance, chaos ensued, with constantly reorganizing alliances fighting for control of ill-defined territories, leaving the country devastated. Toward the end of the Soviet military mission in Afghanistan, some mujahedeen wanted to expand their operations to include Islamist struggles in other parts of the world, such as Israel and Kashmir. A number of overlapping and interrelated organizations were formed to further those aspirations. One of these was the organization that would eventually be called al-Qaeda. So they were there first; the Taliban came later.

There was no such thing as a Taliban until the Afghanistan’s civil war in the wake of Soviet troops’ withdrawal in 1989. Hundreds of thousands of youths, who knew nothing of life but the bombings that destroyed their homes and drove them to seek refuge over the border, were being raised to hate and to fight, “in the spirit of Jihad,” a “holy war” that would restore Afghanistan to its people. They were schooled in Pakistan’s madrassas, religious schools which, in this case, were encouraged and financed by Pakistani and Saudi authorities to develop militantly inclined Islamists. Pakistan consciously intended to use the madrassas’ militants as leverage in its attempt to control Afghanistan. The Taliban’s most original aims were to “restore peace, disarm the population, enforce Sharia law and defend the integrity and Islamic character of Afghanistan.

The Pakistani intelligence ISI, the Pakistani military and Benazir Bhutto, who was prime minister of Pakistan during the Taliban’s most politically and militarily formative years (1993-96), all saw in the Taliban a proxy army they could manipulate to Pakistan’s ends. In 1994, Bhutto’s government appointed the Taliban as protector of Pakistani convoys through Afghanistan. Controlling trade routs and the lucrative windfalls those routes provide in Afghanistan is a major source of lucre and power. The Taliban proved uniquely effective, swiftly defeating other warlords and conquering major Afghan cities.

The Taliban initially enjoyed enormous good will from Afghans weary of the corruption, brutality, and the incessant fighting of Mujahideen warlords. Their reputation had grown through various actions such as a group of Taliban militants sent to arrest a warlord who had captured two teenage girls and raped them. The 30 Talibs, with just 16 rifles between them—or so goes the story, one of many near-mythical accounts that have grown around Omar’s history—attacked the commander’s based, freed the girls, and hanged the commander by their favorite means: from the barrel of a tank, in full view, as an example of Taliban justice.

The first major military activity of the Taliban was in October-November 1994 when they marched from Maiwand in southern Afghanistan to capture Kandahar City and the surrounding provinces. By September 1996 they had captured Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.

As to whether the Taliban would be a real threat to anyone, I can’t answer, nor I think can anyone else. Certainly it would be a returned threat to the Afghan people; whether they’d allow Al Qaeda back in, to make a base there, or not, can only be a guess. I would guess not, as they originally took Afghanistan away from them and the aims of the two groups are diametrically opposed in some ways. Still, both are intensely Islamic, so nobody can guess for SURE whether the Taliban would constrain their power in the region or adopt Al Qaeda’s more international philosophy. I would guess not, but it’s only a guess.

The Taliban most likely would not be a threat to anyone outside the area, and not to us; Al Qaeda has long gone international, isn’t powerful in Afghanistan, is apparently moreso in Pakistan now, and we’re not focused on going after them.

I hope that answers your questions, thanks for asking.




NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 8:30 AM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


Frem, I fully understand your frustration with RAWA, and I agree with your assessment. I work more with the Afghan Women's Mission, an arm of RAWA, which is more geared to the support of health, educational, and other programs for Afghan women. It seems a more viable effort.

DT, thanx for looking for that summit thread, I'm sorry it was such a difficult search. But given it's so far in the past that you couldn't find it, and that everything I've seen since I came here has been filled with people posting to other people personally, not to mention the personal snarking, I don't think it means much to people anymore.

I actually found it interesting that you chided me on it, given all I've seen. To say I'm the only person who does so would be laughable, which I know you didn't, but you seemed to indicate that it has been agreed to by all, which obviously it hasn't. So I'll continue as I have, thank you. I TRY to be civil to everyone and not get dragged into the various firestorms, but I'll express my opinion, personally or otherwise. Maybe you should chide Mike and the others about this more often, perhaps that way things would return to more how you feel they should be. Apologies for my sarcasm, I just found your remarks ironic and, well, personal.

I won't post further about Afghan culture and people unless specifically asked to, as I'm not sure anyone's interested in more at this point. At least hopefully I've given those who were interested a taste of another culture, and I hope that's a good thing.




NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 9:06 AM

JONGSSTRAW


Quote:

Originally posted by Niki2:
JS, back when I was there it was also to keep a safe buffer country, they weren't out for conquest, just matched us in giving things to Afghanistan to keep us from getting a foothold...this was during the Cold War. Later it was as DT answered for me; to prop up a failing Communist government; again partly to ensure THEIR control of the country as opposed to anyone else's. Remember, the Afghan government INVITED them in, idiots—when we were there, the Shah knew who and what Russia was and never would have done so; he just played them against us, and kept our presence and friendship as a bulwark against an invasion. Everyone then knew one would come sooner or later.

I can't say whether DT's estimation is the whole answer or what I believe, but I don't think the initial invasion was a straightforward intent on conquest in the entire region, as they hadn’t made any attempt at occupying Afghanistan in all its previous history, or whether it was just because they saw their buffer state slipping out of their control. Tho’ he posted some time ago that “assume anything posted here is addressed to you unless it's obviously not”, he has information about Afghanistan that I don’t possess and our views differ on some things.

As to your questions, here's a brief history of the Taliban and Al Qaeda's beginnings and timeline, taken from several sources.

The mujahideen, various loosely-aligned Afghan opposition groups, initially fought against the incumbent pro-Soviet Afghan government during the late 1970s. At the Afghan government's request, the Soviet Union became involved in the war. The mujahideen insurgency then fought against the Soviet and Afghan government troops during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. After the Soviet Union pulled out of the conflict in the late 1980s the mujahideen fought each other in the subsequent Afghan Civil War.

The United States viewed the conflict in Afghanistan, with the Afghan Marxists and allied Soviet troops on one side and the native Afghan mujahideen on the other, as a blatant case of Soviet expansionism and aggression. The U.S. channelled funds through Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency to the native Afghan mujahedeen fighting the Soviet occupation in a CIA program called Operation Cyclone, as you know from Charlie’s War. The Soviet Union finally withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. With mujahedeen leaders unable to agree on a structure for governance, chaos ensued, with constantly reorganizing alliances fighting for control of ill-defined territories, leaving the country devastated. Toward the end of the Soviet military mission in Afghanistan, some mujahedeen wanted to expand their operations to include Islamist struggles in other parts of the world, such as Israel and Kashmir. A number of overlapping and interrelated organizations were formed to further those aspirations. One of these was the organization that would eventually be called al-Qaeda. So they were there first; the Taliban came later.

There was no such thing as a Taliban until the Afghanistan’s civil war in the wake of Soviet troops’ withdrawal in 1989. Hundreds of thousands of youths, who knew nothing of life but the bombings that destroyed their homes and drove them to seek refuge over the border, were being raised to hate and to fight, “in the spirit of Jihad,” a “holy war” that would restore Afghanistan to its people. They were schooled in Pakistan’s madrassas, religious schools which, in this case, were encouraged and financed by Pakistani and Saudi authorities to develop militantly inclined Islamists. Pakistan consciously intended to use the madrassas’ militants as leverage in its attempt to control Afghanistan. The Taliban’s most original aims were to “restore peace, disarm the population, enforce Sharia law and defend the integrity and Islamic character of Afghanistan.

The Pakistani intelligence ISI, the Pakistani military and Benazir Bhutto, who was prime minister of Pakistan during the Taliban’s most politically and militarily formative years (1993-96), all saw in the Taliban a proxy army they could manipulate to Pakistan’s ends. In 1994, Bhutto’s government appointed the Taliban as protector of Pakistani convoys through Afghanistan. Controlling trade routs and the lucrative windfalls those routes provide in Afghanistan is a major source of lucre and power. The Taliban proved uniquely effective, swiftly defeating other warlords and conquering major Afghan cities.

The Taliban initially enjoyed enormous good will from Afghans weary of the corruption, brutality, and the incessant fighting of Mujahideen warlords. Their reputation had grown through various actions such as a group of Taliban militants sent to arrest a warlord who had captured two teenage girls and raped them. The 30 Talibs, with just 16 rifles between them—or so goes the story, one of many near-mythical accounts that have grown around Omar’s history—attacked the commander’s based, freed the girls, and hanged the commander by their favorite means: from the barrel of a tank, in full view, as an example of Taliban justice.

The first major military activity of the Taliban was in October-November 1994 when they marched from Maiwand in southern Afghanistan to capture Kandahar City and the surrounding provinces. By September 1996 they had captured Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.

As to whether the Taliban would be a real threat to anyone, I can’t answer, nor I think can anyone else. Certainly it would be a returned threat to the Afghan people; whether they’d allow Al Qaeda back in, to make a base there, or not, can only be a guess. I would guess not, as they originally took Afghanistan away from them and the aims of the two groups are diametrically opposed in some ways. Still, both are intensely Islamic, so nobody can guess for SURE whether the Taliban would constrain their power in the region or adopt Al Qaeda’s more international philosophy. I would guess not, but it’s only a guess.

The Taliban most likely would not be a threat to anyone outside the area, and not to us; Al Qaeda has long gone international, isn’t powerful in Afghanistan, is apparently moreso in Pakistan now, and we’re not focused on going after them.

I hope that answers your questions, thanks for asking.




Cites?...Just kidding! Thank you for that informative & eloquent answer. It seems there is no justification to remain in Afghanistan.

Obama and his speech tonite:

I don't usually watch any of Obama's speeches, but I will watch him tonite. I've got to hear how he is going to "sell" this troop increase to the country & the world. Amazingly, he still is getting no love from Republicans even on this issue, and he is completely alienating his support from the Left. From domestic issues to this, he is upsetting folks of all political persuasions. The man's poll numbers are sinking fast, and this surge in Afghanistan will likely only send them lower. I almost feel empathy for the guy, as he inherited this bloody un-finished mess. He has many no-win situations challenging him it seems, and although his original enthusiastic supporters thought he was so special that he could solve all our problems, he now seems to be just quite ordinary and human. That actually makes him more likeable to me than ever. Unlike others of my conservative ilk (especially famous ones), I don't enjoy stomping on people when they're down. 2010 politics aside, he is our President. He cannot be made to fail at everything. It's a bit of a disgrace how he is being treated in general, but on the other hand, his being in lockstep with Pelosi & Reid on controvertial domestic issues are dragging him down into vitriol and further polarization. He was supposed to be better than that, at least smarter than that.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 9:40 AM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


Hoo boy, JS, if you wanted cites, I'd have a heck of a time! ;o) Most of it comes from Wikipedia and my own experiences, but I found things that filled in and expanded on several other places, some at About.com, some at others. The history is pretty easy to trace, it's finding details that took a bit.

I agree about no reason to stay, if you don't care about the Afghans and their country...certainly I don't think there's any threat to the US.

I agree with what you said about Obama, and it is a shame. ALl this has pretty much brought our government to a halt, and while it grinds along slowly at the best of times, I hate to see it hampered even more the way it is currently. I, too, wish there was less of a "bring Obama down, no matter what" mentality, and the extremes to which it has brought people. Humans are strange, politics even stranger!

Thanx for your interest, it heartens me that anyoe is interested in this stuff.






NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

YOUR OPTIONS

NEW POSTS TODAY

USERPOST DATE

FFF.NET SOCIAL