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Ear to the Ground

Getting a Read on Afghanistan

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Posted on Sep 9, 2009
Afghan mountains
Flickr / Army.mil

In case you didn’t know, Afghanistan also features a good deal of mountainous and craggy terrain, making it famously difficult to invade or secure from the outside. Here, U.S. soldiers patrol the rugged Titin Valley in the Nuristan province of Afghanistan in 2007.

Hey, so what exactly are we doing fighting in Afghanistan again? What’s the U.S. role, if any, in sorting out the recent, trouble-plagued Afghan presidential election? It’s not likely that this Los Angeles Times “primer” on Afghanistan is going to get to the more uncomfortable answers to these questions, but here’s what the paper has to say for starters.  —KA

Los Angeles Times:

Why is the United States fighting in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan is a landlocked country between Iran and Pakistan with a history of violence, particularly to invaders such as the British and the Russians. After the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the United States and its allies attacked Al Qaeda bases in the country, then controlled by the Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist group. The West, operating with United Nations authority, overthrew the Taliban. Al Qaeda, with its top officials including Osama bin Laden, fled to the wilds of Pakistan from where they continue to operate.

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By dihey, September 10, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

The Obama administration does not seem to understand at all that the Taliban is a fundamentalist breakaway Islamic movement which, like almost every fundamentalist breakaway Islamic movement before it, is fed by anger about the “godless” lifestyle of the rich and powerful and invokes (jihad) the Quran to punish these “godless” and their followers. The Taliban is not the only such movement in the Near- and Middle East. In Palestine and Lebanon it is Hamas and Hezbollah; in Egypt it is the Muslim Brotherhood; in Iran it was the followers of Khomeini. These movements, even though they are far from identical in sophistication and aims, are feared by the rulers of these countries because of their deep roots in the populace at large. By fighting and trying to eradicate the “Talibans” we are therefore in essence supporting the rulers of these countries against their own people. Even if we should be able to eradicate the current Taliban, which I doubt is possible, new Talibans will spring up because of the nature of Islam.
Equally useless is any attempt to placate the Islamic fundamentalist movements by “nation building” and the introduction of Western-style democracy cum capitalism with its vile separation of very rich and very poor which is exactly what the “Talibans” detest as “godless” and are therefore fighting.
During the many millenniums of Islam, that amazing political religion, has been able to absorb, neutralize, or defeat the more extremist offshoots and there is in my mind absolutely no reason why that should not happen today either, provided we stop meddling politically and militarily in these countries.
The Obama administration has succumbed to the idiotic concept of “good” Islam. In the real world there is no “good” or “bad” Islam. In fact, the more we interfere militarily in Muslim states the “badder” Islam seems to become!

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By Len, September 10, 2009 at 10:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is Bush lite propaganda, or bush league agenda based foreign policy writing, take your pick.  What really struck me was this sentence:
“Afghanistan is a landlocked country between Iran and Pakistan with a history of violence, particularly to invaders such as the British and the Russians.”

He should add The united states to the list.  He should then explain how he can label a country as having a “history of violence”  (those violent, barbaric…OtherPeopleThatWeCanKillBecauseWeDon’tHave aHistoryOfViolence) when in fact the country has a history of being violated by others.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, September 10, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

We are in Afghanistan to bring freedom and enlightenment to backward, fanatical heathens.  This enlightenment is being provided by bombs and bullets, for nothing is freer and more enlightened than a corpse.

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By ardee, September 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

Gee, war for the slow learner I guess. A piece of fluff, in my opinion, that fails miserably to note all the reasons we should not be in that nation nor ever should have been. I especially was caught by this:

For the United States, Afghanistan has always been the key to the war on terrorism. For the Bush administration, Afghanistan was the protector of Al Qaeda and had to toppled, eventually to be replaced by Karzai, who was friendly to U.S. interests. Now Afghanistan is seen as a listening post into the Al Qaeda areas of Pakistan and a country that must be protected from the return of the Taliban.

WTF is a “listening post” anyway? More like a launching pad. One has mentioned, on numerous occasions that the Taliban was prepared to give up Osama bin Laden to any Muslim nation that would guarantee a fair trial and no death penalty. This would have averted war, and maybe even there would have been no need for the invasion of Iraq either.

It may be worth the mention that, under Taliban rule, the production of Opium in that nation was severely curtailed. Now Afghanistan leads the world in its production and is up there int he manufacture of Heroin as well…Good job Georgie and Obama, good job!

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