View Full Version : Who destroyed Afganistan?
May-28th-2002, 06:28 AM
"We have information that there will be some big suicide attacks in the United States,'' he said. ``We know it will happen. We have information. We know the situation. The Americans and the British are the big enemies. They have destroyed Afghanistan.'' - Fazul Rabi Said-Rahman, Taliban army corps commander for eastern Afghanistan.
Oh yeah, all those years of internal war and war with Russia had nothing to do with it. Seems to me we have largely turned rubble into smaller rubble. I'm sure there have been stray bombs that missed the mark ... there always are, but the country as a whole was destroyed long before we got there.
May-28th-2002, 06:50 AM
Taliban punk. I prefer the voice of opposition.
Written before 9/11, I give you the words of Ahmad Shah Massoud. If only we had listened.
I send this message to you today on behalf of the freedom and peace-loving people of Afghanistan, the Mujahedeen freedom fighters who resisted and defeated Soviet communism, the men and women who are still resisting oppression and foreign hegemony and, in the name of more than one and a half million Afghan martyrs who sacrificed their lives to uphold some of the same values and ideals shared by most Americans and Afghans alike. This is a crucial and unique moment in the history of Afghanistan and the world, a time when Afghanistan has crossed yet another threshold and is entering a new stage of struggle and resistance for its survival as a free nation and independent state.
I have spent the past 20 years, most of my youth and adult life, alongside my compatriots, at the service of the Afghan nation, fighting an uphill battle to preserve our freedom, independence, right to self-determination and dignity. Afghans fought for God and country, sometime alone, at other times with the support of the international community. Against all odds, we, meaning the free world and Afghans, halted and checkmated Soviet expansionism a decade ago. But the embattled people of my country did not savor the fruits of victory. Instead they were thrust in a whirlwind of foreign intrigue, deception, great-gamesmanship and internal strife. Our country and our noble people were brutalized, the victims of misplaced greed, hegemonic designs and ignorance. We Afghans erred too. Our shortcomings were as a result of political innocence, inexperience, vulnerability, victimization, bickering and inflated egos. But by no means does this justify what some of our so-called Cold War allies did to undermine this just victory and unleash their diabolical plans to destroy and subjugate Afghanistan.
Today, the world clearly sees and feels the results of such misguided and evil deeds. South-Central Asia is in turmoil, some countries on the brink of war. Illegal drug production, terrorist activities and planning are on the rise. Ethnic and religiously-motivated mass murders and forced displacements are taking place, and the most basic human and women’s rights are shamelessly violated. The country has gradually been occupied by fanatics, extremists, terrorists, mercenaries, drug Mafias and professional murderers. One faction, the Taliban, which by no means rightly represents Islam, Afghanistan or our centuries-old cultural heritage, has with direct foreign assistance exacerbated this explosive situation. They are unyielding and unwilling to talk or reach a compromise with any other Afghan side.
Unfortunately, this dark accomplishment could not have materialized without the direct support and involvement of influential governmental and non-governmental circles in Pakistan. Aside from receiving military logistics, fuel and arms from Pakistan, our intelligence reports indicate that more than 28,000 Pakistani citizens, including paramilitary personnel and military advisers are part of the Taliban occupation forces in various parts of Afghanistan. We currently hold more than 500 Pakistani citizens including military personnel in our POW camps. Three major concerns - namely terrorism, drugs and human rights - originate from Taliban-held areas but are instigated from Pakistan, thus forming the inter-connecting angles of an evil triangle. For many Afghans, regardless of ethnicity or religion, Afghanistan, for the second time in one decade, is once again an occupied country.
Let me correct a few fallacies that are propagated by Taliban backers and their lobbies around the world. This situation over the short and long-run, even in case of total control by the Taliban, will not be to anyone’s interest. It will not result in stability, peace and prosperity in the region. The people of Afghanistan will not accept such a repressive regime. Regional countries will never feel secure and safe. Resistance will not end in Afghanistan, but will take on a new national dimension, encompassing all Afghan ethnic and social strata.
The goal is clear. Afghans want to regain their right to self-determination through a democratic or traditional mechanism acceptable to our people. No one group, faction or individual has the right to dictate or impose its will by force or proxy on others. But first, the obstacles have to be overcome, the war has to end, just peace established and a transitional administration set up to move us toward a representative government.
We are willing to move toward this noble goal. We consider this as part of our duty to defend humanity against the scourge of intolerance, violence and fanaticism. But the international community and the democracies of the world should not waste any valuable time, and instead play their critical role to assist in any way possible the valiant people of Afghanistan overcome the obstacles that exist on the path to freedom, peace, stability and prosperity.
Effective pressure should be exerted on those countries who stand against the aspirations of the people of Afghanistan. I urge you to engage in constructive and substantive discussions with our representatives and all Afghans who can and want to be part of a broad consensus for peace and freedom for Afghanistan.
With all due respect and my best wishes for the government and people of the United States,
Ahmad Shah Massoud.
May-28th-2002, 08:03 AM
It is hard to believe that after we propped up the Mujahedin with Stingers and other arms, and intelligence, we then pulled out completely after the soviet loss. We made no attempt to use the influence that we had just bought, and instead left a vacuum for others to fill.
So instead of a having freindly regime with a country in the heart of a very unstable region, with borders on the southern soviet/Russian flank of moslem republics, the terrorist regime in Iran, and even a strip of land abutting China; we turned our backs on them and left Afghanistan in the hands of the warlords.
We certainly didn't play that one right.
Maybe it wasn't something to be played. Who knows how long the goodwill would have lasted after the country broke down into petty fiefdoms. But we didn't even try to at least back a strong faction and attempt to influence the outcome.
It seems that we don't want to do the dirty work, or the heavy lifting for the long haul any more.
Hell, we didn't even maintain enough of a presence in order to have human assets in the country to provide intelligence.
May-28th-2002, 11:28 AM
Thats a very intellegent, well written piece. It is too bad no one listened to the cries for help in Afghanistan.
Hopefully in the future the US and others will respond more effectively to future problems like Afghanistan. I was impressed with US response to the problems in Zimbabwe, where they suffer under a tyrant who wont allow truly free elections. Whereas Canada, my country, was trying to appease other African nations by taking a soft stance against Zimbabwe and Mugabe, the US and Britain took a hard stanced-freezed Mugabe and his followers foreign assets and put them on a travel ban.
May-28th-2002, 01:27 PM
I guess you can see why they shot Massoud just before 9/11. He would have been an easy, broadly-accepted leader to replace the Taliban.
Terry, it's hard to say how things would've turned out if we'd tried nation-building in Afghanistan - Look at what happened in Somalia or Lebanon, or even some of the difficulties we're having now. I think we would've been viewed as another occupying force. Then again, I may very well be wrong. You are certainly correct in that we failed to have any kind of coherent plan to deal with the aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal.
For anyone who thimks racism is bad in the US (and I will be the first to admit we do still have some problems in that regard), it pales in comparison to places like Afghanistan or most of the Middle East. Racial hatred and racial killings have been a way of life there for decades. Pakistani support for the Taliban was based not on religion or political commonalities, but rather on a shared Pashtun ethnicity. The reason they were able to gain power was that the Azeris, Turkmenis, and other ethnic groups were busy fighting each other.
Romo, I wholeheartedly agree w/ you on Mugabe. Besides playing the race card and ruining his own country, the lack of agricultural output caused by his seizing of white owned farmlands is already causing widescale famine in southern Africa.
One last rant about US foreign policy. Just weeks prior to 9/11, we gave the taliban tens of millions of dollars in aid to thank them for executing druglords, even though we knew they were one of the most oppressive regimes on earth. It is a shameful legacy left from some of the more fanatical proponents of the war on drugs.
May-28th-2002, 03:14 PM
Your frustration is shared by me, although it certainly wouldn't have been that easy. We have a funny way in this country of winning wars and losing the peace that follows. Americans, contrary to popular belief, tend to be slow to anger from a military standpoint. When someone gets our attention, however, we tend to react and see the military solution through. Besides, with Vietnam and Korea, we've learned hard lessons about attempting military action in the absence of national will.
This also means that we typically want little to do with our enemies' internal politics once we've removed the physical threat. We (unfortunately in this context) like quick, tidy solutions, and then to move onto other, more pleasant things.
While that means that in fact we pose no threat to colonize or subjugate other countries (popular militant Islamic propaganda to the contrary nothwithstanding), it also means that we often do too little to ensure peace in the nations we defeat militarily, other than to flood them with "aid". Unfortunately, this all too often leaves others to benefit from the power vacuum and the economic aid, even when they are not really our friends.
Our national will simply doesn't tend to have staying power beyond "defeating our enemies". It's why I think that if you scratch any American, including those favoring international bilateralism, UN intervention, etc., what you'll find is an isolationist. It's just our national psychology if you will, fed of course by our history, and by the fact that we're largely able to operate that way given that we're separated by the world's two largest oceans from the rest of the world. Also, our populace tends to focus on advancing itself within our system, and our democratically elected government doesn't need international crises and wars to keep itself in power the way dictatorships do. In other words, our nationalism doesn't extend to conquering other countries.
All of this is to say that we stood little chance of making a real difference in Afghanistan. Ask yourself one thing - a decade ago could you have convinced most of your friends that a recently-liberated, little, impoverished and landlocked country in southern Asia was a big enough issue for our country to have a large presence in? I doubt it. And so I also doubt that we could have realistically mustered sufficient political will to support an effort to rebuild that country successfully.
In addition, I doubt that the Afghans would have allowed us to play a large role, given their national suspicion of meddling foreign governments and puppet regimes which exists because of their long history of those things. I think the attitude there was, "Thank you very much, now we'll take it from here."
Anyway, it's hard to blame us for not getting involved sooner, but we've learned hard lessons from this. We seem to remember our hard lessons - at least for a while.
May-28th-2002, 03:31 PM
I don't know if I agree with you redman. For years after WWII we maintained a healthy presence in Japan and Western Europe. Now our once biggest foes are staunch allies.
Where we drop the ball, so to speak, is in smaller, third world countries. I think after Vietnam, supporting a corrupt regime for years with no payoff, we decided that it wasn't worth the trouble to help those who didn't want to help themselves. Obviously THAT policy has its faults as well ...
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