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Afghanistan
February 17, 2004 6:19 PM   Subscribe

Women in Afghanistan are still widely oppressed, opium production is flourishing, Kabul is running out of money, and elections may have to be postponed (Karzai denies this). Afghanistan is still a mess.
posted by homunculus (53 comments total)

 
you could at least pretend that this surprises you and maybe avoid a bit of the impending flame war.

me, I like fire. We should bring this kind of democracy to america, shut the women up, light up the pipe with worthless dollar bills and say fuck it, we didn't really elect the president anyway.

Afghanitstan will always be a mess so long as the world powers use it in their little war games.
posted by jmgorman at 6:30 PM on February 17, 2004


Certainly, a lot more needs to be done in Afghanistan before that country even gets close to getting sorted out.

It is a disgrace that some European governments would criticize doubled efforts by the United States as a "unilateral" approach and withhold funds in response. What's the story there?
posted by techgnollogic at 6:44 PM on February 17, 2004


Clearly, it's some European governments who are to blame.
/snark
posted by spazzm at 6:52 PM on February 17, 2004


"Afghanitstan will always be a mess so long as the world powers use it in their little war games."--does that mean that it was in great shape before we went in to root out the Taliban? The Taliban, after all, were allowing Ben Ladin and his merry pranksters to train there and would not close down the camps or hand him over. And, oh, yea: 9/11 had something to do with it.
posted by Postroad at 7:28 PM on February 17, 2004


does that mean that it was in great shape before we went in to root out the Taliban?

Yeah, and we sure got rid of them. Just like when there was this huge problem with drugs, and we had the War on Drugs, and now you can't get drugs anymore.
posted by RylandDotNet at 7:36 PM on February 17, 2004




does that mean that it was in great shape before we went in to root out the Taliban?

No. The Taliban was not an organic growth in Afghanistan. It was the result of the "little war games" of outside forces. This agrees with, rather than contradicts jmgorman.
posted by Hildago at 7:40 PM on February 17, 2004


The Taliban, after all, were allowing Ben Ladin and his merry pranksters to train there and would not close down the camps or hand him over

The Taliban also kept opium production in Afghanistan to record lows. Ousting them has increased production a hundred times flooding the globe with cheap heroin, but hey, how else can we keep all those judges, lawyers, police, corrections, etc, etc employed?

Get real. 9/11 had anything to do with an invasion? Shah! Try invasion was inevitable because the Taliban halted consideration of Unicals pipeline prompting threats that probably prompted 9/11. Or maybe it's just because we could, I dunno. All I do know is we destroyed a lot of people and their homes to oust that government only to give false hopes to those we didn't kill and then did little to nothing to restore any semblance of prosperity in that region.

And then we went to Iraq...
posted by LouReedsSon at 7:57 PM on February 17, 2004


ITS ALL ABOUT OIL!

BUSH LIED, PEOPLE DIED!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:12 PM on February 17, 2004


It's up to the citizens of Afghanistan. That beacon of newsworthiness, the Zoviet Times, might verily carp and whine until the dead goat comes home, but the import here is that the United States is somehow to blame for backwater tribal intransigence, theocracy and criminal activity. No money? 11 billion dollars?
Not buying it.

Welcome to the thirteenth century, via the twentieth or so.
posted by hama7 at 8:16 PM on February 17, 2004


ITS ALL ABOUT OIL!

BUSH LIED, PEOPLE DIED!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood


Jesus, do all you dittoheads get a newsletter or something? There's been a rash lately of this crap where conservatives "mock" liberals this way. Way to stick to the talking points, Steve.
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:20 PM on February 17, 2004


Afghanistan is STILL a mess, huh? Here's a news flash: I'm STILL an asshole.

You don't care? NOW you get it.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:30 PM on February 17, 2004


The "it's up to the citizens" bit doesn't wash when the whole point of invading Afghanistan was not just to rid the area of the Taliban, but to bring stability to the region, in order to help prevent terrorism in the U.S. over both the short and long term.
posted by raysmj at 8:39 PM on February 17, 2004


All I do know is we destroyed a lot of people and their homes to oust that government only to give false hopes to those we didn't kill and then did little to nothing to restore any semblance of prosperity in that region.

1979--

Mass killings
US ambassador killed
Taraki is killed and Hafizullah Amin takes the Presidency.
Amin is executed, and he is replaced with Babrak Karmal.
Soviet Union (Russia) invade in December.

2000--

May--Taliban torture and kill civilians in the Robatak Pass
(on the border between Baghlan and Samangan provinces).
September--Taloqan finally falls to the Taliban.
December-- UN Security Council Resolution 1333 is adopted; additional sanctions against the Taliban for their continuing support of terrorism and cultivation of narcotics, etc.

2001--

January--Taliban torture and kill numerous civilians in Yakaolang (Hazaras).
March--Despite pleas and requests from various international diplomats, Islamic scholars, the Taliban destroy ancient historical statues in the Kabul Museum, historical sites in Ghazni, and blow up the giant Bamiyan Buddhas from the 5th century. World expresses outrage and disgust against the Taliban action.
April--Ahmad Shah Masood visits Europe to gather support against the Taliban.
April--UN accuses Pakistan of not allowing adequate supply of food and medicines to displaced Afghans, at the Jalozai camp, near Peshawar.
posted by clavdivs at 8:44 PM on February 17, 2004


On a historical note, after the current situation has passed, I guess the only two countries on the planet left that *haven't* invaded Afghanistan at some point will be Iceland and Costa Rica.
Seriously, strategically Afghanistan is a cake walk to invade, and impossible to conquer. A good reference is the historical novel, "Flashman", which gives a really good description of the end of the British occupation.

Practically speaking, it should be divided, with the Pushtun regions unto themselves, with everybody else on the other half. Failing in that, a national "death penalty" should be imposed, where refugees from the four corners of the world should be flooded into the country and take it over, ending once and for all the tragedy of that place.

With 29 out of every 30 people non-Afghans, it would be the end to the 3000-year-long war.
posted by kablam at 8:52 PM on February 17, 2004


Jesus, do all you dittoheads get a newsletter or something? There's been a rash lately of this crap where conservatives "mock" liberals this way.

*checks newsletter*

Damn, how did you find out!?!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:53 PM on February 17, 2004


Newsflash : I'm a dedicated liberal (I guess, though i have lots of political sub-tendencies too) and I'm getting annoyed with the "Bush lied and people died" meme.

Just sayin'


And it's not all just about oil either.


Steve mocks a mockable rhetorical foe.....not appropriately here on this thread, I would say, but the rhetoric he's trundling out does come from real, prominent left political sites.
posted by troutfishing at 9:08 PM on February 17, 2004


Right. Let's all cry a river for Afghanistan.

If their government had a) refused refuge to Bin Laden, or b) supported our efforts to bring him to justice, none of this would be an issue. If you ally yourself with a shit bag who executes on his plan to murder thousands of Americans than are (and should be) SOL.

Personally I think the U.S. (by which I mean Bush & Co) missed a great opportunity when we decided not to rebuild Afghanistan. Building Afghanistan into an economically strong nation would have been a huge blow to those who want to recruit terrorists. The $300 billion we're wasting on Iraq would have done that and then some. Instead it remains a breeding ground for Al Qeada.

But frankly, after 9/11, I don't care if they all rot.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:11 PM on February 17, 2004


OK clavdivs, you obviously know far more than I do about the evil regime that is/was the Taliban, hell, you probably know far more than me about every topic known to man, but my point is how do we always justify regime change at the expense of innocents being oppressed by said regimes? I guess it just fucks me up is all.
posted by LouReedsSon at 9:19 PM on February 17, 2004


i was against the invasion in theory but I am glad the US is there. I want them to do more, and make lots of capital investments into the country. Poverty is the main problem there... if the US does what it does best (make $$$) for Afghanis, I am sure that things there will improve a lot.
posted by chaz at 9:28 PM on February 17, 2004


y6: I think it's an issue, not because we were neccesarily unjustified in going into Afghanistan after bin Ladin, (we had a lot of international support on that one, so I won't argue on it), but rather because of what we failed to do in Afghanistan before we went into Iraq. Which is a fancy way of saying that we should have finished nation building in Afghanistan before we pretended to have the time, money, or ability to do it in Iraq. As it stands, the Afghanis are being brutally punished for the crimes of the Taliban, and being denied attention since we've apparently decided that their nation isn't really worth rebuilding.

"Knock, knock."
"Who's there?"
"Afghanistan."
"Afghanistan who?"
"Exactly."
posted by kaibutsu at 9:38 PM on February 17, 2004


Ousting them [the Taliban] has increased production a hundred times flooding the globe with cheap heroin...

Just a rhetorical question, LouReedsSon: As the Taliban was not only guilty of all clav mentioned, but also known to treat Osama bin Laden as an honored guest--what would've been your alternative to "ousting" them? Do you think they weren't given a fair warning by the international community to cooperate, even before 9/11? With whom do you think they were allied? I'm honestly curious to know specifically what you think would have been a better course of action, other than invading.
posted by dhoyt at 9:39 PM on February 17, 2004


Why did the Taliban support Bin Laden? Stupidity, religion, money? I'm not sure, but I seem to recall that they were willing to agree to the US demands to hand over Bin Laden but with conditions, which the US rejected, subsequently leading to the invasion.
posted by Onanist at 9:42 PM on February 17, 2004


then did little to nothing to restore any semblance of prosperity in that region.

Are you honestly saying that you expected peace & prosperity by now in Afghanistan--two years into US occupation--after hundreds of years of abject poverty in that region?

I dunno, the tone of your previous post sounded almost nostalgic for days when the Taliban kept opium production to a minimum. I'm confused.
posted by dhoyt at 9:46 PM on February 17, 2004


WAM. BLTU? NIP!
posted by keswick at 9:53 PM on February 17, 2004


There's been a rash lately of this crap where conservatives "mock" liberals this way.

And how many times have I heard a liberal use the "why does [insert name here] hate america/freedom?" line. Over and over and over post after post...

Both sides mock. To pretend that either takes the high road is a little short sighted.
posted by justgary at 10:18 PM on February 17, 2004


hama7:

What are you saying? We gave it the good old college try, and too bad it didn't work?

Why not victory?
posted by Ptrin at 10:30 PM on February 17, 2004


You know, come to think of it, Bush did lie! And people died, too! Not only that, but, gosh darn it, I think oil did have a lot to do with it!

By crikey, now I'm steamed!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:33 PM on February 17, 2004


Er, the point is that the US created the Taliban, by funding fundies to fight the soviets in the 80's.

So if the US and USSR had left the place alone, it would probably be OK, but not that great for women.

If the US had just let the soviets take over, 9/11 would never have happened.

But obviously invading Afghanistan was a proper response to 9/11. Invading Iraq, on the other hand....
posted by delmoi at 12:38 AM on February 18, 2004


the point is that the US created the Taliban
We didn't make these monsters.
American Enterprise, Dec, 2001


Ever since the September 11 attacks, it's become a matter of faith on the American Left that the United States somehow created the terror-loving Taliban regime.

The United States made mistakes under its last three Presidents, and it's possible that a different foreign policy could have stopped the Taliban from emerging. But America's errors were almost entirely sins of omission. Here's what happened:

The anti-Soviet mujahedin funded by the U.S. consisted of seven factions. Some were fundamentalist Muslims who envisioned an Islamic state along the lines of Saudi Arabia. About as many had a cosmopolitan orientation and wanted a Westernized state similar to Turkey. The Taliban were not among the mujahedin factions at all, and all of the Taliban's important leaders, including Mullah Omar, were out of the country, mostly in Pakistan, during the war against the Soviets. Some American aid surely did seep into Taliban organizations, but only as one group among many.

Partly because of their ideological diversity, the mujahedin failed to unify when the Soviets withdrew in 1989. Afghanistan lurched from regime to regime as living standards deteriorated.

Anxious to control the lucrative Afghan trade in opium poppies, the Pakistanis supported the Taliban, whom they believed would be weak and easy to manipulate. The United States did not aid the Pakistanis in these efforts, and actually cut off financing to them at about the same time in the wake of Pakistan's nuclear tests.

Wealthy Saudis did, however, support the Taliban, some because they sympathized with the Taliban's vision of a pure Islamic state; some because they feared a more pro-Western government would aid the tapping of Central Asia's vast energy resources, undermining oil prices in the process; and some who saw their donations as "protection money" to keep the Taliban and their ilk out of Saudi Arabia. The Taliban, for their part, began a military campaign in 1994 and consolidated control over 90 percent of the country by 1996. Some mujahedin fighters joined them, but the Taliban's leaders had never worked with the United States.

In the mid 1990s, the U.S. did little to stand in the way of the Taliban, probably the single worst mistake of American foreign policy during the '90s. But we didn't create the Taliban, or Osama bin Laden.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:14 AM on February 18, 2004


Steve_at_Linnwood I hope you understand that your quote reads like "Technically speaking, the US can claim it did not actually create the Taliban; but once it got attacked by them, it sure has tightened the relationships with their creators".

techgnollogic: Looks like those smelly Europeans can't put up with a bunch of gratuitous insults and a few unilateral actions without crying foul!
posted by magullo at 2:57 AM on February 18, 2004


Sorry dhoyt, I'm the one who's confused... I don't support governments that oppress it's people or support and house terrorists, nor am I "nostalgic" for a time in another land I couldn't possibly know anything about (having rarely journeyed far from home), but I do tend to get worked up over inocent lives lost merely because of a "someone had to pay" mentality. I just keep thinking there must be a better way is all.
posted by LouReedsSon at 5:15 AM on February 18, 2004


I'm still interested in an answer to the question you sidestepped: "What would you have proposed was a rationale alternative to ousting the Taliban, given the circumstances?"
posted by dhoyt at 6:25 AM on February 18, 2004


And how many times have I heard a liberal use the "why does [insert name here] hate america/freedom?" line. Over and over and over post after post...

Touché, justgary, touché. I am humbled.
posted by RylandDotNet at 6:29 AM on February 18, 2004


Not to mention: "Why would you assume peace and prosperity would be in achieved in two years after such a long dismal socio-econonic situation in that country?"
posted by dhoyt at 6:40 AM on February 18, 2004


Not to mention: "Why would you assume peace and prosperity would be in achieved in two years after such a long dismal socio-econonic situation in that country?"

Well, there was that whole "being promised it would" deal by the guy who later forgot to give any funding to the country.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:57 AM on February 18, 2004


"Why would you assume peace and prosperity would be in achieved in two years after such a long dismal socio-econonic situation in that country?"

I don't think anyone would assume that.

But I think what we did assume, or at least hope, was that things would get better. And they haven't. The fact is that we could have done some very small things to win hearts and minds since the country was in such bad shape. We fuel more terrorism by invading and occupying.

And what XQUZYPHYR said. Everyone in the region knows that Bush lied and is now ignoring his promise. Which breeds more terrorism.

Frankly, is there *anything* Bush has done to try and stop the source of terrorism against the U.S.? it seems like everything he is doing is galvanizing hatred for the U.S.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:03 AM on February 18, 2004


techgnollogic: Looks like those smelly Europeans can't put up with a bunch of gratuitous insults and a few unilateral actions without crying foul!

Magullo, if the United States cut aid funding and abandoned developing countries because of European insults and unilateral action, you'd be calling the US government a bunch of pussy crybabies. To say it is ok for Europe to do the same is sad.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:28 AM on February 18, 2004


techgnollogic, you're way up a ladder of inference, my friend.
posted by magullo at 9:17 AM on February 18, 2004


Magullo, if the United States cut aid funding and abandoned developing countries because of European insults and unilateral action, you'd be calling the US government a bunch of pussy crybabies.

A) "Europe" can't act unilaterally, by definition.
B) When has the US ever waited for European insults or actions to cut funding or abandon developing countries?
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:18 AM on February 18, 2004


A) Individual European governments can and do, as does the European Union.
B) The argument I made was not that the US has never cut funding for aid anywhere, or that we've never withdrawn from anywhere, but that if we did so in response to some French foreign minister calling us a bunch of ignorant hicks, it would be disgraceful.
posted by techgnollogic at 10:12 AM on February 18, 2004


you probably know far more than me about every topic known to man

?

If you do not like rebuttals to your statements, simply say so. Being insulting in a tepid manner only makes me want to write my own insults towards myself. I can do this and in a more accurate and timely manner. All is that i ask is to say so, say Clav self-abuse time.

but, i simply put a few facts out to say that i do not agree with you.
posted by clavdivs at 10:22 AM on February 18, 2004


Being insulting in a tepid manner only makes me want to write my own insults towards myself. I can do this and in a more accurate and timely manner.

hahahhaha
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:34 AM on February 18, 2004


I'm not sure if exchanging inferences for cliches will actually strengthen your argument.

"If the United States cut aid funding and abandoned *European-initiated and led projects* in developing countries because of European insults and unilateral action ... "

... what would you think?
posted by magullo at 1:11 PM on February 18, 2004


You mean if France and Germany got attacked and the attacker was hiding in and being protected by country X and France and Germany asked for our help and we thought it was a noble cause and got involved and then wanted to have veto power over how the French and the Germans were proceeding in pursuing their attackers and then France and Germany said "This is our project, do you want to help us or not?" and French and German people called us names and then we pulled out and said the French and Germans are assholes for not listening and doing it our way, would we be acting like pussy crybabies?

Yes.
posted by techgnollogic at 4:05 PM on February 18, 2004


hehe, sorry clav, wasn't trying to insult you at all, I swear it! But your answer has me wettiung my pants! :)

dhoyt... I could care less who runs Afghanistan, or any other country but mine, so I propose no method of ousting anyone. I wish we wouldn't bother "fixing" other nations until we get this one right.
posted by LouReedsSon at 8:28 PM on February 18, 2004


said the French and Germans are assholes for not listening and doing it our way, would we be acting like pussy crybabies?

Yes.


I pretty much agree with this last part, which is why the

Liberty Toast

and

Freedom Fries

moves (as well as others) look so lame.
posted by magullo at 1:23 AM on February 20, 2004


The Taliban were backed by Pakistan, the country that America chose to align itself with after the Al Qaeda attack.This was because they had been studiously ignoring the only man who could have brought unity and freedom to the people of Afghanistan.
Abdul Haq was the man for the job. Sadly it seems he couldn't be backed by the CIA as he was seen as a loose cannon. He was more commited to Afghanistan than making himself rich, and therefore not a reliable puppet.
He publicly predicted all that unfolded in Afghanistan after 1992 when the US pulled out. I believe that he could have prevented the country sliding into the failed state it is now, if he were given minimal international assistance.
He died trying to bring about a revolution against the Taliban, walking into Afghanistan with 20 men. This form of heroism is an anachronism in todays world.
posted by asok at 4:46 AM on February 20, 2004


Liberty Toast and Freedom Fries are lame, no doubt. Axis of Weasels is funny though.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:21 AM on February 20, 2004


No, it's innacurate, puerile and insulting, like the other two. I wouldn't be expecting any goodwill AT ALL from the recipients. In fact, I'd be embarrased to ask - for MY sake and THEIR sake.
posted by magullo at 8:32 AM on February 20, 2004


of course you were insulting and now your being smug, like a child who cannot think about a real issue.
Lou bin Lou.
do you need a diaper?
posted by clavdivs at 9:22 AM on February 20, 2004


ouch...
posted by LouReedsSon at 5:41 PM on February 21, 2004


huggies work well for those ouchies
posted by clavdivs at 8:44 PM on February 21, 2004


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