Afghanistan in the 1960s
February 2, 2013 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Remembering Afghanistan in the 1960s
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken (26 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
I actually posted a link to the archive previously, but it's great to have the additional commentary and information.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:45 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like this. It challenges this historicistic assumption I think a lot of people have that if a place is suffering from war, it's inherently some sort of forever hellhole eterna-conflict nightmare place. I'm pretty sure this comes from the insecurity weakly propping up the idea that we live in a Good Place where Good Things Happen and other people live in Worse Places where Bad Things Happen...in saeculum saeculi.
posted by threeants at 7:52 PM on February 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'll flag it as a double, ChuraChura, and see what Team Mod think.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:53 PM on February 2, 2013


Le Nouvel Observateur: When the Soviets justified their intervention with the statement that they were fighting against a secret US interference in Afghanistan, nobody believed them. Nevertheless there was a core of truth to this...Do you regret nothing today?

Zbigniew Brzezinski: Regret what? This secret operation was an excellent idea. It lured the Russians into the Afghan trap, and you would like me to regret that? On the day when the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote president Carter, in essence: "We now have the opportunity to provide the USSR with their Viet Nam war." Indeed for ten years Moscow had to conduct a war that was intolerable for the regime, a conflict which involved the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet Empire.

Le Nouvel Observateur: And also, don't you regret having helped future terrorists, having given them weapons and advice?

Zbigniew Brzezinski: What is most important for world history? The Taliban or the fall of the Soviet Empire? Some Islamic hotheads or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
posted by tripping daisy at 7:56 PM on February 2, 2013 [13 favorites]


These are amazing. #7 is particularly heartbreaking given what happens to women who try to go to school now. Makes me so angry.
posted by dry white toast at 8:22 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


"We now have the opportunity to provide the USSR with their Viet Nam war."

What a scumbag, playing with entire countries' livelihoods like that. And guys like this rarely get their just desserts.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:24 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


It was good to see that Afghanistan had a hopeful past, it gives me some hope that the country can escape the mess it's in right now.
posted by arcticseal at 8:40 PM on February 2, 2013


[The extra context seems to be worth leaving this up as a near-miss double. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 8:40 PM on February 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Glad to see this sticking around.
posted by boo_radley at 8:46 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


It challenges this historicistic assumption I think a lot of people have that if a place is suffering from war, it's inherently some sort of forever hellhole eterna-conflict nightmare place.

Yep, very much so. This applies to a lot of the Middle East, actually. When I was younger, my parents once talked about their regrets about not making it to Iran and Israel in more peaceful times; at my shocked look, they explained that it hadn't always been perpetual war in that area. It took some thinking to picture: there's never been peace in the Middle East in my lifetime, not even a colonially-mediated one.

Humans have such weak abilities to plan for the long-term that it doesn't surprise me that people cannot imagine themselves, and need to be reminded of, Afghanistan in more peaceful times. It's been several generations since it saw peace, after all.
posted by librarylis at 8:51 PM on February 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


So am I. I missed the original version, and these are amazing.
I can only imagine there are similar images from places like Iran and Lebanon as well.
posted by Mezentian at 8:52 PM on February 2, 2013


Here's the full link to tripping daisy's interview is anyone, like I was, is interested.
posted by Mezentian at 8:59 PM on February 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


We (humans) are good at fucking things up. I think we need a new hobby.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:46 PM on February 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


The lack of adult women in public is always a great sign.
posted by gertzedek at 10:19 PM on February 2, 2013


It was good to see that Afghanistan had a hopeful past.

That's not the feeling I got from these pictures. These are pictures taken inside a warzone. Americans and Soviets are already on the ground preparing the battlefield. Modernising a country seems like a euphemism for building forward bases.
posted by vicx at 10:25 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


tripping daisy: "Zbigniew Brzezinski: What is most important for world history? The Taliban or the fall of the Soviet Empire? Some Islamic hotheads or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by barnacles at 10:34 PM on February 2, 2013


Paging nickyskye... :)
posted by the cydonian at 10:48 PM on February 2, 2013


These are pictures taken inside a warzone. Americans and Soviets are already on the ground preparing the battlefield. Modernising a country seems like a euphemism for building forward bases.

I don't think that's quite accurate. The pictures were taken during the relatively peaceful rule of King Mohammed Zahir Shah, lasting from 1933 until 1973 when he was overthrown by a former prime minister, who was subsequently overthrown in 1978 by a Marxist rebellion. The Marxist PDPA initiated modernization which lead to widespread revolt and civil war. I imagine this is where the U.S. and Pakistan stepped.

Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen, Taliban predecessors.
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:46 PM on February 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can only imagine there are similar images from places like Iran and Lebanon as well.

Enjoy:

Peacetrain (Flash) (Youtube copy) is an older video by Lucas Gray, showing pictures of normal Iranians living everyday life.

Like you, I can imagine the people from Lebanon and all over the world.

These videos show us we're not the only ones.
posted by formless at 1:11 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heartbreaking, but hopeful somehow. Thanks for posting this, Stav.
posted by Drexen at 3:01 AM on February 3, 2013


As brutal as Brezinski's geopolitical math sounds, the Cold War at least did involve calculation and in fact did achieve near-complete victory (including the freeing of Central Europe) without the World War III that many people said would be its denouement. That calculation certainly seems favorable, and frankly had a lower butcher's bill, compared to the at-best-sentimental and sometimes entirely-unhinged approach to foreign and military policy of the Clinton and younger Bush administrations. My favorite thing about the Obama administration (about which I don't have a lot of favorite things) is that he has brought back the spirit of Scoop Jackson-type Democrat Cold Warriors into foreign policy.
posted by MattD at 7:19 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Brzezinski supported the Vietnam War. He was also instrumental in escalating the Soviet-Afghan War, so let's stick to the subject there.

In a nation with only 13 million people in 1970, 900,000 people were killed and millions more were injured or forced from their homes. Imagine if a war killed over twenty million Americans and displaced one hundred million in the next 15 years. That's the level of carnage that we created (with Russia) in Afghanistan.

What could possibly be your reasoning for saying the "butcher's bill" was higher under Clinton?
posted by tripping daisy at 10:08 AM on February 3, 2013


gertzedek -

I'm in Kabul right now. You do see women out and about, some clad in burkas (almost all a lightish blue), others in very mod western clothes. It kind of depends on what part of town you're in.

The burkas they wear here creep me out. Even the face area isn't open -- there's a little rectangle covered with mesh over the eye area.
posted by Alaska Jack at 10:54 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Even the face area isn't open

I thought that was the point that distinguished a burka.
posted by pompomtom at 9:31 PM on February 3, 2013


I watched something a few months ago on the lives of women in Kabul (two young 14/15 year old girls).
My conclusion from that was that I was glad I was not born a young girl in Kabul.

It made "Eve-Shaming" look like a bit of light fun a in comparison.
posted by Mezentian at 12:31 AM on February 4, 2013


breaking up Soviet Union had to be the priority, millions of people under Soviet oppression had to be freed as well as ensuring Soviets don't expand further
posted by 70150 at 3:32 PM on February 5, 2013


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