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Afghanistan - a state of contradiction?

  1. Jan 23, 2008 #1

    Gokul43201

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    It's happening again...will it end the same way this time too?

    Nearly 2 years ago, Abdul Rahman was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity. While there was intense international pressure on President Karzai to overturn the verdict, he was in no legal position to do so (and the arm-twisters were fully aware of this). Moreover, the people of Afghanistan and powerful clerics from all parts of the country were overwhelmingly in favor of a death penalty. Eventually - surprise, surprise - the verdict was overturned on a technicality of mental incompetence and Rahman was released and granted asylum in Italy. Ironically, it was Rahman's refusal to repent that lead to questioning his mental fitness!

    The Afghanistan Constitution requires adherence to Islamic law and simultaneously respects international human rights requirements as spelled out by the UN. And as far as the Afghan judicial system is concerned, it appears that in a conflict between the two requirements, the former wins out. This upsets the international community and puts the powerful but vastly outnumbered moderates in a very tough spot.

    Round two involves a different twist - freedom of press!

    In the context of this severely imbalanced dichotomy, do you see the role of Karzai as a positive influence, a negative influence or mostly as ineffectual in bringing about socio-political reform in Afghanistan?
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 23, 2008 #2
    How about you just take this and add it to my (now locked) thread. It would fit in perfectly. This is a sad state of affairs. Its a tough question, do you just let these people die and kill eachother becaue its not worth our time, or do you try to fix the problem and get killed yourself in the process. These people have not learned one damn thing since the Taliban invation of their country.


    Fundamentally, I dont think that is possible. They have to have secular laws, but considering how tribal Afghanistan is, I think there is no hope for that country.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2008
  4. Jan 23, 2008 #3

    mheslep

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    For a guy who used to be a Maitre d' in a Baltimore restaurant Karzai is doing quite well.
     
  5. Jan 23, 2008 #4

    Art

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    Karzai is clearly impotent outside of Kabul. Unless the West is prepared to undertake a massive military operation in the country (and possibly Pakistan too) with perhaps 20* as many troops on the ground to take serious control of the country then Afghanistan and the West in many ways might be better with the Taliban in official control. Under them heroin production was a fraction of what it is now and there was at least a semblance of law and order in the country.

    Another advantage would be if the Taliban leaders were in command and in Kabul they could be controlled and influenced a lot easier than when they are hiding in the hills not least with the knowledge their comfortable surroundings depend on a certain amount of compromise on their part with the promise of military strikes and a return to hiding in the mountains if they don't play ball.

    As it is the current stalemate looks like it could continue indefinitely or until the UK and US decide they have had enough of the constant attrition. None of the other NATO countries are prepared to supply front line fighting troops and with the US and UK commitments elsewhere it's hard to see where they can get the fighting forces from to tip the war decisively in their favour.
     
  6. Jan 23, 2008 #5

    Astronuc

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    The Taliban were Afghanis, many of whom trained in madrassas in Pakistan. They were initially welcomed because they stabilized the country following the civil war in the mid-90's, which was basically rival mujahedin and warlords going at each other.

    Under the Taliban, opium poppy production apparently dropped abou 95% with only the areas controlled by the Northern Alliance (supported by US) continuing to produce the poppies. With the ouster of the Taliban and the rise of the warlords, most of the opium production has resumed. :rolleyes:

    And as Art mentioned, the Afghan government is largely impotent outside of Kabul.
     
  7. Jan 23, 2008 #6

    mgb_phys

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    When I was in high school we had fund raising sports events to raise money to send athletes to the olympics in Moscow - because they were being boycotted no official travel money was available.
    This was because the nasty Russian backed puppet goverment who didn't allow religous freedom were fighting the Afghan Jihadist freedom fighers
    - now we have a nasty US/UK backed puppet goverment who don't allow religous freedom fighting the Afghan Jihadist terrorists.

    I'm confused - am I still an unwitting tool of international communism?
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2008
  8. Jan 24, 2008 #7

    BobG

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    The Taliban regaining control wouldn't be horrible, but I have my doubts that they would be any more effective in controlling the country.

    The Taliban certainly did realize the key to keeping the various Afghani factions down was to deny funding to them, plus heroin was contrary to their beliefs. I don't think they would have been particularly effective at controlling heroin production or the country if they weren't receiving backing from al-Qaeda and Pakistan. I don't think the Taliban would have been able to maintain control over the long term even with al-Qaeda and Pakistan backing, either. The longer the Taliban stayed in control, the stronger the unity between rival factions.

    Regardless of 9/11, sooner or later, some other country would have seen some benefit in aiding the other Afghani factions. India, perhaps, since an ousting of the Taliban could turn into a war on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and might ease pressure on the Pakistan-India border. (True, the problems along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border are currently resulting in just the opposite, but that's only happening because Pakistan has an ally in Afghanistan that won't cross the border.)

    On the other hand, having the Taliban regain control isn't any worse than having one of the other Afghan groups control the country. Our main strategic beef with the Taliban was their position between us and al-Qaeda groups in their country. If the world established beyond a doubt that harboring terrorist groups would result in foreign forces coming in and eliminating a threat to the world, then the sort of problem we had with the Taliban would become extremely rare.

    More importantly, I really don't think the Western world should care all that much about who controls Afghanistan. Even if a repeat invasion has to be made sometime in the future to root out terrorist groups, it's more cost effective than the way we're currently proceeding.

    The Taliban didn't invade Afghanistan. They're just one of the many tribes that have lived there all along.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2008
  9. Jan 24, 2008 #8

    Art

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    That's how I see it. The belief that countries, which had what the West sees as middle-age style draconian ruling structures, would welcome and embrace Western democracy was an appealing idea but unfortunately has proven to be completely wrong and so we are better off just letting them get on with it themselves.

    Western attempts to force the pace of change in these tribal cultures has probably resulted in the opposite effect whilst also alienating whole countries comprising millions of people, all of which are now potential enemies.

    I'd like to see the Western powers disengage whilst promising short, sharp and painful responses to any aggression directed at the West.
     
  10. Jan 24, 2008 #9
    Being from Holland and having my countrymen defending the southern (most violent) part of Afghanistan, I was really appalled by the story of the journalist. I personally believe that either you go in by full force or not go at all because the current status quo is definitely not working. and I am sick and tired to have body bags come home for these people. If there is no grass roots movement for change in a country it is impossible to create that change from the outside.
     
  11. Jan 25, 2008 #10

    Gokul43201

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    The current MO is failing because it is based on a flawed premise: that any society freed of an oppressive regime will instantly embrace principles cherished by western society.

    At whatever cost it's taking, the only thing that can be said is that so far, things are definitely better in some parts of Afghanistan than they used to be under the Taliban.
     
  12. Jan 25, 2008 #11
    IMHO the flawed premise is that a strictly patriarchal society is compatible with democracy.
     
  13. Jan 30, 2008 #12

    siddharth

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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7216976.stm

    Not really unexpected.
     
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