September 20, 2001
10:56 PM   Subscribe

We may end up not needing to attack Afghanistan at all. The Taliban seem to be doing a marvelous job of destroying themselves just worrying about what we might do.
posted by aaron (5 comments total)
aaron, good find. At first, I wondered about the veracity of the story just because I hadn't heard of the writer before. Looks like I should have heard of him.
posted by Bixby23 at 11:36 PM on September 20, 2001

Thanks, aaron. Although does this news really come as a surprise?
posted by canoeguide at 11:41 PM on September 20, 2001

Nice link, but actually Bixby23's link ( is just as worthy. I shivered at this prediction (dated August 10th) in the notice for the book TALIBAN by Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid:
"Rashid makes a convincing case for the explosive potential of the Afghan situation. Years from now, Kabul may well be compared to Sarajevo, the city that in 1914 touched off a bloody, drawn-out world war."

And then loads of good stuff from the subsequent interview with the author:
"Today, the U.S. has a 'get Osama bin Laden policy' but no effective Afghan policy -- which could help to end the civil war. Afghanistan is now a major regional threat not just because the Taliban are harboring Islamic extremists from more than twenty countries in the Middle East, South Asia, and Central Asia but also because of the proliferation of heroin exports, the sales of arms and other weapons, and the cross-border smuggling which is destroying all the economies in the region. Afghanistan is a black hole sucking in all its neighbors."

"[T]here has been a kind of proxy war going on between Iran and Pakistan with both sides funding and arming their respective Shia and Sunni extremists. It's led to bloody sectarian war on Pakistani soil and has devastated inter-faith relations in Pakistan."

"One extremely unfortunate development over the past few years is that Pakistan's Afghan policy has become hostage to Kashmir, in the sense that Pakistan cannot de-escalate support for the Taliban or moderate its policies for fear of losing bases for Kashmiri militants in Afghanistan."

"The opposition [within the Taliban] is really coming from those tribal groups and clans who are traditionally more moderate about Islam, and who are being disproportionately affected by the sanctions and the continuing war. Those tribes involved in smuggling along the border with Pakistan, those in the drug trade, those who want to educate their daughters or have business interests in Pakistan or Iran -- they are all being ruined by the sanctions against the Taliban and the hostile international environment against them."

"Afghanistan fought the British and then the Russians under the flag of Islam -- but there is also a strong sense of national Afghan identity, even among the most marginalized minorities like the Shia Hazaras, who have been oppressed for centuries by the majority Pashtoons. The sense of identity also comes from the fact that Afghanistan, unlike its neighbors, was never colonized in the last century and has always retained its independence. That's an important factor in this part of the world where all the other states still have the legacy of colonialism or were carved out as states as a result of colonialism."
posted by Allen Varney at 12:53 AM on September 21, 2001

It's not just the Taliban. Obviously, this is a fairly convtroversial viewpoint, but according to the US DoJ, in 1999 some 15,500 Americans were murdered, two thirds of them by guns.

So, every six months as many Americans shot as died in WTC.
posted by snowgum at 2:10 AM on September 21, 2001

I personally liked the comment that we were going to bomb them up to the stone age.
posted by darren at 6:33 AM on September 21, 2001

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