US Promotion of Afghan Pashtun Ethnonationalism
A new and deadlier phase of American forever wars intensifies in Afghanistan and the Central Asian Region
Multiple independent sources of information strongly indicate the US is pushing Afghanistan into a heightened civil war by promoting a Pashtun ethnonationalist union of government and Taliban, supported by India, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The end result will be even more terrorist attacks on ethnic minorities in Afghanistan and the spread of terrorism throughout the Central Asian region. Multiple motivations are identified in this review article including American pillaging of Afghanistan’s abundant national resources, and disrupting the Chinese led Belt and Road Initiative.
May 20, 2021 There is not a good thing in the world that cannot be twisted and perverted into something horrible. There is no medicine that cannot also be used as a poison.
Divide et impera – Divide and Conquer
In India the profound ancient philosophical/religious traditions of Hinduism have been usurped by the ethnonationalist fascism of Hindutva. In Israel, Judaism has been usurped by the ethnonationalist fascism of radical Zionism. In Myanmar Buddhism has been usurped by the fascist ethnonationalism that caused the Rohingya genocide. In the US Christianity has been usurped by fascist ethnonationalists determined to imperiously rule the entire world forever. In Saudi Arabia ethnonationalists have turned Islam on its head by promoting fascist extremist Wahhabism/Salafist ideologies and exporting terrorism all over the world; neo-Nazism is stronger now in Germany than at any time since National Socialism, and on and on around the world.
All of the above has been to the advantage of the wealthiest Euro-American capitalists, who profit from selling weapons to almost everyone and stealing natural resources. They also promote what they call “neoliberal” economic principles that starve the poor and only enrich the already super-rich Euro-Americans and their corrupt crony dictators’ pals.
And now, the “brilliant” military strategists and social engineers of the US have figured out a way to even further divide and exploit Afghanistan, smear the otherwise honorable Pashtun culture, and smash and destroy as much of the Silk Roads as possible.
Pashtunwali – The ancient honor code of the Pashtun tribe of Afghanistan and Pakistan
Pashtunwali is an ancient, highly evolved and honorable moral system.
“Pashtuns, even wealthy ones, who moved to large cities were even farther removed from the values of the Pashtunwali because there they were enmeshed in state systems of government that restricted autonomy and cash economies that valued money more than honor.” https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/file/barfield2.pdf
The last bulleted item above describes part of “the problem.” There is also this:
The Durand Line - A historic, disputed border separates Afghanistan and Pakistan. By Mary Schons, January 21, 2011
“The Durand Line is the 2,640-kilometer (1,640-mile) border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s the result of an agreement between Sir Mortimer Durand, a secretary of the British Indian government, and Abdur Rahman Khan, the emir, or ruler, of Afghanistan. The agreement was signed on November 12, 1893, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
“There are two major ethnic groups near the Durand Line. Those two groups are the Punjabis and the Pashtuns. Most Punjabis and Pashtuns are Sunni Muslim. Punjabis are the largest ethnic group in Pakistan. Pashtuns are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan.
“Throughout history, colonial forces like the British have set boundaries that cause great tension for people who lived in the colony. Because the officials who drew the Durand Line didn’t consider the ethnic groups that lived in the region, today there are many battles along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. On one side is the Pakistani army, made up mostly of Punjabis, and on the other is the Taliban, made up mostly of Pashtuns.”
And there is this:
No reliable current data on ethnicity in Afghanistan exists, though surveys have pointed to some rough estimates of the population. However, previous estimates have put the population at Pashtun 42 per cent, Tajik 27 per cent, Hazara 9 per cent, Uzbek 9 per cent, Turkmen 3 per cent, Baluchi 2 per cent and other groups making up the remaining 8 per cent.
What makes things infinitely more complicated is US motivation to get everyone in Afghanistan and the entire region hating each other, at war, buying American weapons, and causing total chaos throughout the entire Central Asian region so-as to make it easier to steal natural resources, keep the cheap opium pipelines to the US open, and blow gigantic holes in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Killing, maiming, and displacing uncounted millions of Muslims is an added bonus for neo-conservative leaders on both sides of the political aisle in the US who have replaced liberal democracy with government/corporate driven news censorship, endless propagandizing and a crusader/inquisitorial mindset.
All that aside, more than anything in the world right now, US foreign policy makers hate, truly hate China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Whereas since WWII the US has been busy starting wars, overthrowing governments, assassinating leaders, and so on, during the past 20 years or so China has been building infrastructure in developing countries and supply chains all through Central and South Asia, including (to a limited extent) Afghanistan, all the way to Europe. The US, India, and Pakistan have the power in Afghanistan, shared to some limited extent with the Afghan political elite, Taliban and other wealthy Afghans.
Afghanistan is the Heart of the Silk Roads
Why did the USA choose Afghanistan of all places in Central Asia to encourage forever war and infinite endless poverty and the corruption it entails? There are two main reasons. 1) Afghanistan is located in the heart, the center of the land Silk Roads, and 2) Afghanistan is arguably the resource richest country in Central Asia at least in regards to Rare Earth Elements, has plenty of gold, some oil, lots of natural gas, gemstones a-plenty and vast quantities of lithium, the essential component of batteries.
Contrary to popular opinion dating at least to the 14th Century, Afghanistan has not always been an exceptionally violent place having experienced more than one “Golden Age” and several sustained periods of relative peace.
Mitigating against a peaceful happy homeland is that Afghanistan has been for 2,000+ years and remains the central hub of the land Silk Road nations and trade routes leading from Japan and China in the East to Greece, Rome and beyond in the west; Russia in the north and India and Sri Lanka in the South, because most travelers preferred to travel south of the Black and Caspian Seas when traversing the vast Asian continent.
For more than 2,000 years Afghanistan held a proud role as the central crossroads between civilizations and hub of international trade.
Despite mainstream western media endlessly pounding the myth of “Islamic extremism” as being the central cause of the war in Afghanistan, an entirely different set of motivating factors led to and maintains that series of wars. Given that Turkmenistan is a rather “closed nation” the simplest Silk Road though the heart of Central Asia is through Afghanistan. Naturally the USA has to close that!
Tragically since WWII the US has not just wanted the biggest piece of the (global economic) pie, but instead has focused on getting the whole pie. All international trade must be done in dollars! All must bow before the supremacy of the USA or be damned!
Defaming and blaming the victims has always been a tried-and-true strategy of the perpetrators of major crimes, especially those involved in highly evolved organized crimes, like wars and plundering natural resources.
Simultaneously the Silk Road nations have been for the past 2,000 + years and in many ways still are, the heart of world trade and source of most natural resources outside Africa.
Being in the center of the world for so long, Afghanistan has, through no fault of its own, always had a reputation for being a land of violent people, due primarily to the fact that they’ve again and again and again been attacked by foreign conquerors and had no choice but to evolve a dauntless and fierce martial legacy.
American motivated shift towards ethnonationalism in Afghanistan
A recent analysis of events in Afghanistan suggests there is an increasingly unified US, Afghan government, Pakistani and Taliban plan for establishing an ethnonationalist Pashtun plutocracy to rule Afghanistan. This is premised on ever increasing marginalization, murder and eviction of ethnic minorities from the country. This is a formula for an accelerated civil war in Afghanistan as ethnic minorities collectively represent 57% of the population.
The Taliban and top government officials in Kabul are primarily from the Pashtun tribe. The recent terrorist attack on a predominantly Hazara minority school May 8th in Kabul that killed eighty and injured over 150 mostly schoolgirls is just one of a long slew of attacks targeting primarily ethnic minorities in Afghanistan lending credence to theories regarding Pashtun ethnonationalist intent – a plan almost certainly Made in the USA.
The pattern of terrorist attacks focusing on specifically ethnic minorities is undeniable
A look at a list of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan in 2021 shows the vast majority were directed against ethnic minority (Hazara, Uzbek, Tajik, Persian speaking) civilian targets with only a few targeting security forces.
January 1 - Ghor Province - Hazarajat region
January 7 - Kunduz Province - next to Tajikistan
January 8 - Ghurian District, Herat Province - The population is multi-ethnic but largely Persian-speaking; borders Iran
January 18-19 Kunduz province [borders Tajikistan], Baghlan province [Tajiks are the majority ethnic group and represent over 50% of the population] and Nimruz Province [It is the only province of Afghanistan where the Baloch ethnic group forms a majority]
January 20 Herat ethnic composition of Herat City is 85% Tajik
February 15 - The major ethnic groups living in Balkh province are Tajiks and Uzbeks followed by Hazaras, Pashtuns, Turkmens, Arabs and Baluchs. Farsi, as a lingua franca, is spoken by the vast majority of the people.
February 17 - Herat 85% Tajik
March 2-3 - Jalalabad Province (Kyrgyz 72%, Uzbeks 25%, ),
March 2-3 - Nangarhar Province, Pashtuns, Pashai, Arabs and Tajiks - IS took responsibility for this attack
March 4-5 Jalalabad Seven workers at a Hazara plaster factory are shot dead in Surkh-Rōd District
March 13 - Herat Province 85% Tajik
March 27 Kandahar - A car bombing targeting security officers in Kandahar province killed three people, four others were wounded
March 28 Faryab Province - The main ethnic groups living in the province are Uzbek, followed by Tajik, Pashtun, Hazara and others. There have been occasional ethnic clashes reported between Uzbeks and Pashtuns. Dari, Uzbek and Pashto are the main languages spoken in and around the province.
March 28 - Laghman Province - A roadside bomb explodes targeting a police vehicle in Laghman Province, three officers die
March 30 - Jalalabad Kyrgyz 72%, Uzbeks 25%
April 1 - Jalalabad Kyrgyz 72%, Uzbeks 25%
April 4 - Near Kabul - A car bombing near Kabul killed three security personnel and wounded twelve others
May 8 - A bomb blast near a school in western Kabul. The blast left 55 people dead and another 150 were injured. Victims almost exclusively Hazara schoolgirls
May 10 - Zabul Province - bus bombing 11 killed and 29 wounded - The province has mainly Pashtun and Baluch residents though no press is reporting the ethnicity of the victims or if anyone admitted to being behind the bombing
May 10 - Logar Province - What looks like a bank robbery attempt and two civilians were killed and six more were wounded after two mortar shells hit their house on Sunday evening - Tajiks and Pashtuns make up the majority population of Logar province, while Hazaras form a minority.
May 11 Herat Province - Ullah Mannan Niazi, the deputy leader of a splinter group of Taliban led by Mullah Rasul, was wounded after attackers targeted the area where he lived. Niazi is in a coma and three of his men were killed and four others were wounded in the clash. [May be revenge killing]
May 15 Kabul Majid bombing - The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province claimed responsibility for the attack.
May 19 Helmand Province - A bomb struck a car carrying a family of 12 in southern Helmand province late on Wednesday in area controlled by Taliban. Several of the nine family members who died were children. Pashtun majority, Baluch minority in the south - the ethnic identity of the victims is not reported
May 19 Ghor Province - A roadside bombing, in central Ghor province [58% Tajik, 39% Hazara, 3% Pashtun, <1% Uzbek], destroyed a motorcycle carrying a family of four, all of whom were killed.
May 19 Western Afghanistan - Militants stopped a bus in western Afghanistan, ordered three men to get out and shot and killed them. The three men on the bus were ethnic Hazaras. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
American promotion of right-wing ethnonationalist governments
Promotion of right-wing ethnonational groups around the world by the US has accelerated in recent decades reaching a peak during the rabidly ethnocentric Trump era and soaring to new heights even today. Examples include the UK’s Brexit, the rise of ethnonationalist parties in India, Turkey, Ukraine,Hungary, Poland, Brazil and Ethiopia, and the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar. Direct or indirect American support for those fascist movements can be found in every case.
Even prior to WWII it was widely believed fascists fight Communists best and Adolf Hitler was the darling of many of America’s top industrialists.
Simultaneously the American regime continues to promote “regime change” in multiple East European, Central Asian, and South American nations in addition to Russia and China (via Xinjiang and Hong Kong), all in the name of American “liberal democracy,” which is really a fake democracy after all given corporate control of American mainstream news that totally determines who the American people can vote for and ultimately elect.
So-called regime change is not the primarily intent of American foreign policy in regards to China. The US wants to isolate and shatter China leading to balkanization simply because the US believes it cannot fairly compete with China’s larger, better organized economy. Cutting the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is considered a vital part of attaining that goal, and spreading terrorism out along the Silk Roads is just one of their ways to facilitate that process. Cynically using Afghanistan to export terrorism along the Silk Roads is one of a new wave of American efforts to maintain its global economic supremacy. To attain that goal US policy makers have ramped up their near total control of the “news.”
American use of censorship and propaganda is vastly better developed that most people realize. They claim to fight propaganda – but propaganda here means anyone else’s views besides those of corporate shareholders and the political-military-industrial-media complex they so totally own. Below are just some of the more high-profile American organs of censorship and propaganda dissemination.
Almost all mainstream media (almost all the time with a few notable exceptions.)
The Nazis used identical methods.
Simultaneously, fascism and ethnonationalism have traveled down the darkest hallways of history together.
Renewed investments in a plan to promote ethnonationalism in Afghanistan almost certainly will result in an intensified civil war in Afghanistan. Likewise, the Central Asian region can expect increased terrorist attacks as the Taliban settles into playing a major role in the future “unified” Pashtun dominated Afghan government.
Current President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai (1949), first elected in 2014 and re-elected in the 2019 presidential election, is from the Ahmadzai Pashtun tribe.
Despite the Taliban’s indiscriminate attacks on Pashtun areas, including the last year’s suicide bombing in a market in Paktika province that killed 89 people, some leading Pashtun thinkers support the Taliban as a nationalist movement that could restore Pashtun dominance in Afghanistan, which they believe declined following the fall of the Afghan monarchy in 1973 and the following decades of the Soviet invasion and civil wars. For instance, in his article, the decline of Pashtuns in Afghanistan, Anwar Ul-Haq Ahady, a former finance and commerce minister under Karzai and an influential Pashtun thinker, believes that the decline of Pashtuns in Afghanistan after the fall of Najibullah in 1992, was “more significant than the fall of communism. The rise of the Taliban generated optimism among the Pashtuns about the reversal of their decline.”
The view that the Taliban could serve as a powerful Pashtun nationalist movement with the ability to reverse the post-Taliban inter-ethnic relations and political landscape of Afghanistan remained largely invisible during the administration of President Hamid Karzai. Karzai was frequently criticized by the opposition for his lenience towards the Taliban, yet he continued to compromise and push for negotiation. For its part, the Taliban categorically rejected talks, humiliating Karzai as a “puppet and unauthorized” to negotiate. At the grassroots level, particularly in non-Pashtun circles, there has been a difficult debate over whether Karzai would have been as willing to compromise if the Taliban had been a non-Pashtun movement.
Former president Hamid Karzai is from Kandahar, the center of the Pashtun lands and homeland of the Taliban even though the government retains control of the central parts of it.
Afghanistan’s now former First Vice-President Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek was smeared by the US State Department and for whatever reason retired from that position in 2020 reinforcing a renewed Pashtun-centric orientation in the Afghan government.
The western media has divided opinions as to what will happen upon the departure of the American military from Afghanistan.
US fostering eternal Afghan dependence on - the US
The US withdrawal from Afghanistan presages the total collapse of the Afghan Army, by Scott Ritter, May 20, 2021
As the US pulls out of Afghanistan, the question arises as to how well the Afghan military will respond when the burden of confronting the Taliban falls on their shoulders alone. The short answer is–not well at all...
In January of this year, the Afghan air force had just under half of its required number of aircraft maintenance personnel. Even with US contractor support, only 136 of 167 aircraft were usable. This number is expected to drop precipitously once the US withdraws Department of Defense contractor support.
The US is looking at ways to overcome this issue. “We’re examining alternatives to assist the Afghans and their maintenance effort from a distance," General Frank McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, responsible for all US forces in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, recently told reporters. “I don't want to minimize that problem or,” he noted, “make it appear easier than it’s going to be.”
One issue centered around maintaining the Afghan air force. “Aircraft maintenance is typically done at a centralized location. We might be able to work some remote, televised way to do that.” This will not be easy, McKenzie observed, adding that “it’s going to be a lot harder to do once you’re out of the country.”
The biggest problem facing McKenzie, however, is that even if he were able to set up some sort of “over the horizon” remote televised maintenance program, the Afghans simply are not up to the task. The US military has, for the past two decades, been focused on “short-term mission objectives,” John Sopko told Congress, rather than developing an Afghan capability to sustain their own equipment. Sopko noted, “US military advisors would provide routine maintenance and repairs to Afghan equipment so the [Afghan military] could conduct additional missions.” As a result, the Afghans lack a viable logistics infrastructure, and there is no time left to build one. According to Sopko, the Department of Defense “has acknowledged that building an organic Afghan aircraft maintenance capability is a years-long process. Training a fully qualified routine-level maintainer can take up to 18 months, and an advanced-level maintainer up to 7.5 years.”
In other words, the US military, by failing to teach the Afghan military critically important routine maintenance skills and supply chain logistics, forces endless reliance on foreign – read American – assistance (soon to be only contractors) and such assistance is never without strings attached.
Privatizing the Afghan War
The US Is Waging Neoliberal Forever Wars, An interview with Anand Gopal, 04.08.2021
As the US military increasingly outsources the most important parts of war, American imperialism has evolved into something that can’t be measured merely by counting the number of boots on the ground. But it’s still highly profitable for corporate elites and spreads death and misery around the globe — and it still must be dismantled.
For most of the history of the Afghan war, the United States has had a few thousand troops, except for a couple years around the Obama surge. Those years saw as many as 130,000 troops. But for much of the last twenty years, there have been under 10,000 American troops on the ground.
Traditionally, the US military has relied on overwhelming force, on the ground and in the air...
Background on how the US created this humanitarian disaster they are now intensifying
Foreign interventions in Afghanistan over the past 42 years have had catastrophic results.
1. Washington lured the Soviets into invasion in 1979. (Also see “The Brzezinski Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur,” below.) That 10-year war killed about two million Afghan civilians, in addition to 15,000 Soviet soldiers.
2. To evict the Soviets the US armed and financed the Mujahideen which were highly romanticized in American media.
3. Once the Soviets were gone (1989) a complex multi-party proxy civil war broke out during which time even more Afghan refugees fled to Pakistan and other nearby countries.
4. Starting in 1993 the US used the Saudis to set up madrassa (religious schools) in Pakistan to program the mostly Pashtun war refugees into becoming the infamous and feared Taliban with the stated purpose of ending the civil war and unifying Afghanistan, which they did.
5. In 2001 the US declared war on their former Taliban allies and invaded.
6. After 19 years of war the Taliban still have firm control of about 20% of the country, some degree of control of about half, and can strike anywhere at any time.
7. As of 2021 there is growing evidence an American, Afghan government, Taliban, Pakistan alliance has coalesced around a strengthening Pashtun ethnonationalist agenda increasingly devoted to driving off and/or just killing ethnic minorities.
Why Are the Taliban Attacking Hazaras In Afghanistan? by Asmatullah Sarwan and Abubakar Siddique
...In 2015, Taliban militants killed dissident Taliban commander Mansoor Dadullah. He was sheltering Uzbek militants loyal to the Islamic State (IS). A Taliban report at the time said the IS militants were killed because they were attempting to foment an ethnic war by targeting Hazaras...
The writer of that article made the point those Uzbek militants were from Uzbekistan, not Afghan-Uzbeks.
The above article continues:
…In the capital, Kabul, Hazaras have suffered repeated violence. Hundreds have died in the attacks, which have targeted Hazara protests, Shi’ite mosques, and shrines. IS has invariably claimed such attacks in an apparent retaliation for the participation of thousands of Hazaras in Iran-backed militias in Syria.
That kind of report makes it appear attacks on the Hazara minorities may be launched by external 3rd party actors. However, one must never jump to conclusions regarding events in Afghanistan.
A very detailed 2019 UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report titled: Over a Century of Persecution: Massive Human Rights Violation Against Hazaras in Afghanistan – Concentrated on Attacks Occurred During the National Unity Government, makes it clear Taliban and IS both have and are engaged in intense persecution and murder of Hazara minorities.
According to recent reports by the UNAMA, the total of civilian casualties’ record between January of 2009 until September of 2018 are 70,3981. The recent Taliban attacks on Jaghori, Malistan and Urozgan Khas left several hundred casualties, and approximately 10,000 displaced families. The Taliban and Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-KP) have orchestrated at least 30 attacks against Hazaras in public places such as mosques, schools, educational centers, demonstration rallies, almost in all big cities of the country. The majority of incidents are enumerated and cited in details in next sections. Historically and politically deprived, systematically discriminated and culturally distinct, Hazaras are still the victims of target killing, kidnapping, taking hostage and road blockage by the Taliban and other Islamic radical extremist networks. By threatening and intimidating, the Taliban and IS-KP discourage female education, dissemination of human rights and other global values among Hazaras plus compelling to provide financial support (through Islamic tithe)…
In other words, there may be 3rd party attacks on the Hazaras, but the Pashtun dominated Taliban are behind many or most of those attacks.
The apparent goal of this most recent stage in the Afghan war appears to be a redefinition of the war, from the USA and the Afghan government it supports vs. the Taliban, to a united US/Afghan/Pakistan/Taliban government vs. Afghan ethnic minorities. This is the ethnonationalist approach the US prefers as it will ensure the continuation of the forever war in Afghanistan which resides in the heart of the land Silk Roads. All good(!) from an American foreign policy point of view.
If this is indeed the case, and mounting evidence suggests it is, this is rather like the US throwing the mother of all fragmentation grenades into the center of the land Silk Roads.
One must be aware if the Pashtun dominated Afghan government and Taliban really unite, not only will minorities in Afghanistan feel and probably be persecuted, but one can also expect terrorism to spread around the region as the Taliban are not likely to change their core beliefs or strategies whether they are part of the government or not.
Motivation for American war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan
1) Afghanistan has vast natural resources in a region starved of such resources. 2) Afghanistan is and always was the central hub of the land Silk Roads, 3) the US is terrified of – after the long-anticipated American departure from Afghanistan - China gaining influence there, getting access to its vast natural resources and building a totally integrated supply chain across all of Asia via the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), 4) supplying weapons to a theoretical Pashtun-Pakistani alliance is and will continue to be profitable, and 5) anything that involves killing Muslims is a most satisfying endeavor for American neoconservative policy makers.
The Graveyard of Empires
Afghanistan has been called the “Graveyard of Empires” for a lot of good reasons.
Invaders have come, one after another, but never stick around too long.
The Achaemenid (Persian) Empire, lasted from approximately 559 B.C.E. to 331 B.C.E. At its height, it encompassed the areas of modern-day Iran, Egypt, Turkey, and parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The conquest of Balkh in 708–9 marked the beginning of the (Arab) Umayyad caliphate’s control over the lands that are today Afghanistan.
Mongol Rule 1219-1332 - In 1220 all of Central Asia fell to the Mongol forces of Genghis Khan. Afghanistan remained fragmented until the 1380s, when Timur consolidated and expanded the existing Mongol Empire. Timur’s descendants ruled Afghanistan until the early sixteenth century.
From 1383 to 1385, the Afghanistan area was conquered from the north by Timur who was driven out in 1758 by a force of Sikhs, Mughals, and Marathas.
In the 14th Century the famed explorer Ibn Battuta wrote:
“I then went on to Kabul, which was once a large city; but is now for the most part, in ruins. It is inhabited by a people from Persia whom they call the Afghans. Their mountains are difficult of access having narrow passes. These are a powerful and violent people…”
The Travels of Ibn Battuta in the Near East, Asia and Africa 1325-1354, P. 98-99 Rev. Samuel Lee Translation, unabridged, Dover Publications, Inc. Mineola, New York, paperback 2004
Afghanistan experienced a kind of “Golden Age” with the ascension of King Ahmad Shah Durrani (1747-1772).
Also known with the last name Abdali, he was the first King of Afghanistan. In 1747, he was chosen as the supreme Chief of the Durrani tribe in a Loya Jirga, a traditional, consensus-building mechanism of influential leaders, and assumed the title Dur-re Durran (Pearl of Pearls). Being a charismatic leader, he consolidated the warring tribes within Afghanistan and formed one of the largest Muslim Empires in the second half of the 18th century. The Durrani Empire at its peak stretched from Delhi to Western Iran, and from Amu Darya (Oxus River) to the shores of the Arabian Sea. He was also a distinguished warrior-poet. He died 23 October 1772 and was buried in a tomb in Qandahar. http://www.afghanembassyjp.com/en/life/?pn=24
First Anglo-Afghan war (1838-42) - known by the British as the "Disaster in Afghanistan," fought between a British Indian army in alliance with the still-independent Sikhs under Ranjit Singh, and the Bārakzay rulers of Kabul and Qandahār.
Second Anglo-Afghan war (1878-80) - The British objective was to impose advice and a military presence on Afghanistan in order to keep the Russians far from India.
Third Anglo-Afghan war (1919) - This was an undeclared war that lasted from 4 May to 3 June and resulted in Afghanistan’s winning complete independence.
“Most Pashtuns, who comprise over forty percent of the population of Afghanistan, believe that they are the rightful rulers of the country based on the history of the past three hundred years when Pashtun dynasties ruled Afghanistan most of the time. While the Persian-speaking Tajiks, who form around a quarter of the population, are more urban and educated than the Pashtun tribes and staffed a substantial portion of the Afghan bureaucracy, the ruling dynasties were invariably Pashtun. What many Pashtuns considered to be the “natural” political order in Afghanistan was radically altered, first by the Soviet invasion of 1979 and then by American assault in 2001 that was aided by the largely Tajik Northern Alliance that became the de facto ruler of the country in the initial period after the invasion. These events rankled the Pashtun tribes and the elites representing them and were in part responsible for the emergence of the Pashtun Taliban in 1994. The immediate causes for the advent of the Taliban were a reaction to the fear of Tajik domination and the mayhem and anarchy produced by the “mujahedin” factions fighting each other for control of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal. The Taliban imposed a degree of order and ruled approximately three-quarters of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Despite their distorted interpretation of Islam and violent behavior, they succeeded in providing a degree of dignity to the Pashtuns who appeared in control of the country’s destiny once again.”
Pashtuns live in the South and East of Afghanistan, where they occupy the Afghan part of the ‘Pashtun belt’, where the two most important Pashtun cities, Kandahar and Jalalabad, are located. The Persian-speaking ethnic groups, as well as the Turkic minorities, live in the central and northern parts of the country. Though Kabul is traditionally a Persian-speaking city, it is now populated by members of all ethnic groups. https://books.openedition.org/iheid/546#ftn1
Though the Pashtun regions are in the south centered in Kandahar, for most of history they dominated the political sphere in Kabul – in spite of being a minority there. Taliban taking Kabul back (September 27, 1996) was like coming home.
Afghan emirs (referred to as ‘kings’ or ‘shahs’ since 1926) have all been members of the (Pashtun) Durrani ‘tribe’, whose geographical heartland surrounds the city of Kandahar.
1979 US lured the Soviets into Afghan invasion
The most recent long series of wars in Afghanistan appears to have started with a devious scheme to lure the Soviets into a “Vietnam-like” quagmire designed to weaken the Soviet Union at the expense of millions of Afghani lives. A key piece of evidence supporting that belief can be found in the following interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981.
The Brzezinski Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur (1998)
Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs that the American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahiddin in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet intervention. Is this period, you were the national securty advisor to President Carter. You therefore played a key role in this affair. Is this correct?
Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahiddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention [emphasis added throughout].
Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into the war and looked for a way to provoke it?
B: It wasn’t quite like that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.
Q : When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against secret US involvement in Afghanistan , nobody believed them . However, there was an element of truth in this. You don’t regret any of this today?
B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war." Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime , a conflict that bought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
Q: And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?
B : What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
Q : “Some agitated Moslems”? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today...
B: Nonsense! It is said that the West has a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid: There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner, without demagoguery or emotionalism. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among fundamentalist Saudi Arabia , moderate Morocco, militarist Pakistan, pro-Western Egypt, or secularist Central Asia? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries... (Translated from French by William Blum.)
Because the ICC never goes after the key players in the superpowers who actually instigate wars there are around 80 million displaced people in the world as of 2021, and active wars in dozens of nations, though most fall beneath the highly selective radar of mainstream corporate owned western news media.
1982 Increased US Support for Mujahideen
Despite signs of corruption in both the military and humanitarian aid programs as early as 1982, Congress ultimately provided nearly $3 billion in covert aid for the mujahidin, more than all other CIA covert operations in the 1980s combined. By 1987, the United States was providing the rebels with nearly $700 million in military assistance a year, more than what Pakistan itself was receiving from Washington. In 1984, [Congressman Charles Wilson (D-Texas)] Wilson used his powerful position on the House Intelligence Committee to tack on an additional $50 million for Afghan covert aid and convinced the CIA to purchase high-quality, Swiss-designed Oerlikon anti-aircraft missiles, which could pierce the heavy armor of the USSR’s most formidable counterinsurgency machine, the Hind Mi-24 helicopter. The CIA went even further in 1985, purchasing the sophisticated British-made Blowpipe anti-aircraft missiles. And in 1986, due to pressure from several congressmen and a number of bureaucrats at the State and Defense departments, the CIA provided the mujahidin with U.S.-made Stinger missiles, the most effective shoulder-held anti-aircraft weapon in the world.
1989 - Following the departure of the Soviets chaos and civil war raged.
Officials and sympathizers of the Najibullah regime have fled to India, Europe, and former Soviet republics, mainly Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. A far larger number of people have been displaced by new rounds of fighting among former mujahedin (Islamic resistance) groups and portions of the old regime's army, mainly in Kabul. By January 1995, about 500,000 people had fled Kabul to the Jalalabad area. Although some managed to cross into Pakistan, which closed its main border crossings on 12 January 1994, most remained internally displaced. An estimated 115,000 people returned to Kabul from Jalalabad and another 60,000 from Pakistan when security improved after March 1995. They may flee once again, as fighting continues for control of the capital…
A poor and weakly governed country, it could hardly withstand the flood of modern weaponry indiscriminately lavished on virtually all social groups and aspiring leaders by the superpowers during the Cold War and by regional competitors thereafter. The country is divided into a patchwork of regions under the more or less unstable or despotic control of various ruling factions, several of which are at war over control of the capital and other strategic key points. The rule of law has broken down completely, as has any institutional basis of governance. There is little respect for human rights or humanitarian law, and more importantly, there are no institutions functioning to protect such rights anywhere in the country. There is no constitution, no legal system, no courts, no police, and no army. While in various regions different agencies purportedly carry out such functions, none follows international standards or even traditional Afghan standards. Insecurity is general.
1993 US Support for Taliban
In response to the civil war that raged in the vacuum created by the departure of the Soviets, the US used Saudi money and Pakistani resources, to train one of the world’s most deadly fighting forces, the Taliban, consisting mainly of ethnic Pashtun.
In spite of heavy doses of Saudi extremist Salafist programing, Pashtun nationalism was and remains the key element of the Taliban movement (Sinno, 2008). A virtually unlimited amount of American money and weaponry helped a great deal too.
According to an ABC News report the Defense Department's latest 2020 report said war-fighting costs totaled $815.7 billion over the years.
2001 US Invasion of Afghanistan
By 2000 it appeared the Taliban had outlived their usefulness and in 2001 the United States invaded Afghanistan under the pretext of driving the Taliban from power and denying Al-Qaeda a safe base of operations, in spite of the fact the Taliban hated Al-Qaeda too. Revenge for 9/11 was also used as an excuse.
Recall the American assault in 2001 was aided by the largely Tajik Northern Alliance that became the de facto ruler of the country in the initial period after the invasion. Since then, Pashtuns have regained the dominant political positions of power.
Though the primarily Pashtun Taliban never were really a unified force, declaring war on them only helped to solidify that nationalist bond.
Despite their past political dominance, Pashtuns have never formed a homogeneous group, and many have fallen victim to oppression at the hands of the elites from their own community. The power and leadership of individuals are perhaps what divides Pashtuns, not only into different tribes but also into numerous sub-tribes, each isolated within their own borders. Interference in each other’s affairs has caused conflict among sub-tribes throughout their history. Yet despite their infighting, they have generally rallied to form a unified front when challenged by external threats or interference by a central non-Pushtu government.
2021 Replacing US military with PMCs
After 19 years of war the Taliban still vaguely control about half the country. That is remarkable considering the trillions of dollars the US has sunk into supposedly defeating the Taliban. How is it possible?
The answer? The goal was never to “win” the war in the first place. The goals were to promote endless war, sell weapons, steal Afghanistan’s natural resources and put a huge block in the middle of the land Silk Roads. In a “perfect” American world, the US would like Afghanistan to play a role in the Central Asian region rather like Israel does in the Middle East. An American dominated government in Afghanistan could make that dream come true. From the long-term perspective, Pakistan may have played the wrong cards in this game. This is especially tragic given that it has a rather hostile Hindutva controlled India on one side, and seems to have helped give Afghanistan to the Americans on the other side.
Human costs of Afghan War
Afghanistan: 47,600 civilians killed in 20 years of deadly war
Data suggests around 47,600 Afghan civilians lost their lives in two decades with steady pattern of spike in killings spree, by Shadi Khan Saif, 24.04.2021
Previously, the country had lost at least 1.5 million people as a direct result of a conflict, with a further 2 million permanently disabled after the Soviet invasion (1979 and 1989).
Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission spokesman Zabihullah Farhang told Anadolu Agency that the body documented at least 39 civilian deaths in the first week after President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
UNAMA however reports:
Number of civilian casualties since 2010 - 100,000
In addition to continuing record-high levels of harm to civilians, civilian casualty figures for 2019 surpassed a grim milestone. After more than a decade of systematically documenting the impact of the war on civilians, the UN found that in 2019 the number of civilian casualties had surpassed 100,000.
The group has withstood counterinsurgency operations from the world’s most powerful security alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and three U.S. administrations in a war that has killed more than 6,000 U.S. troops and contractors [PDF] and over 1,100 NATO troops. Some 46,000 civilians have died, and an estimated 73,000 Afghan troops and police officers have been killed since 2007. https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/taliban-afghanistan
In regards to Afghan civilian casualties those are ridiculously low numbers and impossible to believe. Criminals, like US foreign policy makers, always hide as much evidence of their crimes as possible, and prosecute anyone who might expose those crimes.
Estimating Taliban deaths
“If we add the 2001 number to the number of dead “Taliban,” the sum of the estimates results in a figure of around 50,000 by the end of 2012; this leads to an annual average of 4,545 for 11 years. The Sanctions Committee of the United Nations has reported the number of “Taliban” losses in 2013. According to that report, between 10,000 and 12,000 “Taliban” were killed, wounded or captured in the first ten and a half months of 2013. The source indicated are government and internal Taliban statistics. This order of magnitude is roughly in accordance to the estimates for 2012. If we add an estimated 4,545 “Taliban” killed for 2014, we arrive a t a figure of roughly 55,000 “Taliban” killed by the end of 2013.”
Nobody has any idea of Taliban losses given there has been no records kept, and in many or most cases there are no remains. Many are “buried” without ceremony in the mountain caves where they lived. There is no doubt entire families and tribes have simply disappeared. Aggressors of colonial wars ALWAYS work hard to erase evidence of their crimes. The creation the Taliban in the first place was a crime due to the enforced two-dimensional education they were only allowed to receive. Murdering them off as compared to communicating with and educating them was a crime. My guess is at least 2 – 3 million Taliban and their family members were slaughtered during the 19-year American War. The number 55,000 is a preposterous figure in this writer’s opinion.
US view on Afghanistan: “A weak and easy target”
According to respected scholar Rasul Bakhsh Rais, the US views Afghanistan as a weak and easy target:
“The use and adaptation of the concept of ‘frontier’ state, a concept that has been used by US historians for the westward march in the shaping of the USA, in the context of Afghanistan, emerges useful as Rais identifies it with ‘remoteness, existing on the margins of regional and global systems, weak authority structure, internal fragmentation and conflict among competing groups, transnational ethnicities, legitimacy of internal conquest, and pre-emptive and reactive intervention by neighbors’.
Book Review: Recovering the Frontier State: War, Ethnicity, and State in Afghanistan July 2012 India Quarterly A Journal of International Affairs 68(2):198-201 / DOI: 10.1177/0974928412449254 by Ajay MehraAjay Mehra
Pashtun relentless domination of Afghanistan
Once the Communist regime was toppled, the various political factions could no longer justify mobilization on the basis of jihad and thus looked for alternative recruiting tools. The largely Uzbek-based Junbeshi-milli (political party), although initially conceived as a group encompassing all of northern Afghanistan, became more and more Uzbek while alienating and losing its Pashtun and Tajik commanders. Jamiat-i-Islami, in turn, was becoming increasingly the Tajik in composition. Hizb-e-Wahdat defined itself as the official representative of ethnic Hazaras, with little controversy or opposition. Political leaders often used group identity in their pursuit of power and resources by reinterpreting history around symbols of ethnic or religious differences, especially during civil wars. The homogeneity of the Taliban and Ahmad Shah Massoud’s forces, as well the historically rooted anti-Pashtun sentiments among Hazaras, Uzbeks, and Tajiks, were all useful to various political factions during times of civil war. Likewise, Pashtun aversion to acceptance of a Tajik dominated central government proved convenient to the Taliban’s quest for power. A couple of historical events can be quoted when a non-Pashtun assumed power but was challenged by the Pashtun leadership and ousted eventually. Habibullah (‘Bachai-Saqao’ Tajik), who overthrew Amir Amanullah Khan in (1929) and ruled for nine months, was overthrown by the combined might of the Pashtuns and thus Pashtun rule was restored. Burhanuddin Rabbani, a Tajik, according to the provisions of the Peshawar Accord (1990) assumed leadership of the central government in 1992, igniting the bloody civil war in which Pashtuns under the leadership of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar fought pitched battles against a non-Pashtun president and his military commander, Ahmed Shah Masoud. The Taliban regime further strengthened the ethnic divide through its policy of excluding from power political forces other than Pashtuns and, in some cases, followed a policy of elimination of minorities. There was a fear that the Taliban might convert Afghanistan into an ethnic state at the cost of diverse ethnic minorities in the country.
The Journal of Central Asian Studies, Vol. XXII, 2015/12/9 http://ccas.uok.edu.in/Files/93269b6c-7f53-4439-ae9a-3bdf55a4c649/Journal/6d91f4d8-e81b-40c4-9746-d6d2f1431b4d.pdf
 Rasul Bakhsh Rais, 2008, Recovering The Frontier State: War, Ethnicity and State in Afghanistan, Karachi: Oxford University Press, p.4
Pakistani interference in Afghanistan
The disengagement of both the Soviet Union and the United States from Afghanistan allowed Pakistan to almost totally replace interference from the North with interference from the South in the 1990s. (Iran and Uzbekistan also interfered in Afghanistan, though their meddling paled in comparison to that of Pakistan.) It is important to emphasize that Pakistani meddling in Afghanistan dated from before the 1979 Soviet invasion. Migration of the Afghan Islamists as a result of President Mohammad Daoud’s persecution in the mid-1970s provided the Pakistani government with an opportunity to use them to hit back at the rival Afghan government. Among those Islamists, who later became leaders and prominent members of the anti-Soviet resistance movement, were two young men who chose opposite directions. While Ahmad Shah Massoud distrusted the Pakistanis and kept his distance once he realized their designs, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar became a trusted friend and ally. Massoud returned to Afghanistan in early 1979 and did not visit Pakistan again for more than a decade. Hekmatyar visited Afghanistan from time to time but stayed mostly in Pakistan. He received the lion’s share from the international assistance distributed by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and called for an Afghanistan-Pakistan confederation when Soviet withdrawal became imminent. The ISI’s relationship with Masoud and Hekmatyar was at the heart of the post-Soviet Pakistani interference in Afghanistan and a major cause of the imposed civil war. Pakistan was hoping Hekmatyar, with all the financial and military assistance he had received, would be able to replace the Communist regime in Kabul. Massoud outmaneuvered Hekmatyar and the ISI both politically and militarily. Through skillful negotiations, he forced the Kabul regime to announce its readiness to surrender unconditionally. Instead of going it alone, however, he asked the resistance leadership in Peshawar to form a government and take power in Kabul. Hekmatyar and the ISI, who were planning a solo takeover to be followed by an offering of minor shares to others, were put in a dilemma. They could not openly oppose the formula agreed upon by the resistance leaders despite being unhappy that Hekmatyar was not offered the leadership role. Thus, Hekmatyar’s representative signed the Peshawar Agreement while he himself was hatching another plan in the vicinity of Kabul...
During the Soviet intervention, Pakistan provided sanctuaries and arms to Sunni Mujahedeen groups to launch attacks in Afghanistan. With the withdrawal of the Soviet Union, Pakistan facilitated several failed political settlements among the warring groups, including the Rawalpindi, Islamabad, and Peshawar accords, eventually ending up politically and militarily siding with the Taliban until 2001. Pakistan has taken credit for aiding the 2019 U.S.-Taliban deal and has positioned itself as central to the Afghan peace process, given its leverage over the Taliban.
The ultimate and endless betrayals
Quitting the Afghan war is not by itself the ultimate betrayal. They shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
From the first efforts to lure the Soviets into Afghanistan, to the ill-conceived, amoral training of the Taliban, the failure to train the Afghan military in equipment and aircraft maintenance and supply chain integrity, and now the privatization of the war and promotion of Pashtun ethnonationalism at the expense of all other ethnic groups adds up to a long series of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The US intentionally forces dependency by foreign nations to get the natural resources and geostrategic locations it covets, and Afghanistan is one of the resource richest countries in the world in one of the world’s most important strategic locations.
Like the snake that must keep changing directions to maintain forward movement it appears the US is changing its strategy in Afghanistan. The Pashtun dominated government is sick of slaughtering their own kin in the Taliban, and seeks unification. The US however demands endless war and ethnic minorities are the obvious next primary targets – in full accordance with all ethnonationalist movements.
Plundering the natural resource wealth of Afghanistan
Afghanistan has vast iron, copper, gold, cobalt, rare earth metals, and lithium. Criminal networks appear to control most of that wealth shielded by government insiders, and media reports state current President Ashraf Ghani is doing substantially less than President Hamid Karzai to harness that wealth for the nation.
1.6 billion barrels of crude oil, 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 0.50 billion of natural gas liquids, . In addition, most of the undiscovered crude oil and gas is located respectively in the Afghan-Tajik and Amu Darya Basin, that the both basins have covered an area of almost 515,000 square kilometers
A good quality of precious gems including emeralds , ruby and sapphires as shown in figure 5-aand 5-b are mined in Afghanistan as well as semi-precious gems like Lapis Lazuli, tourmaline, kunzite, topaz, garnets and quartz - Almost 95 percent of gemstones mined in Afghanistan are extracting illegally, and illicit to Pakistan for cutting and selling, the Afghanistan’s gemstones are sorted and export by Pakistan around the world, the illegally extracting of game stone caused Afghanistan to gain a little income from the minerals and also makes difficult to estimate the annual production of gemstones.
Gold extraction has been started in Afghanistan for centuries in south-west of the country including Ghazni, Zabul, Kandahar and Takhar Province at north of Afghanistan. Their reserves are currently unexplored.
An official survey in the year 1960 estimated Hajigak mine has a potential of 1.8 billion tons of iron ore with a concentration of approximately 62 % Fe that ranks the Hajigak deposit as world class’s iron mine.
Rare earth elements
The resources Afghanistan’s land holds: copper, cobalt, iron, barite, sulfur, lead, silver, zinc, niobium, and 1.4 million metric tons of rare-earth elements (REEs) may be a silver lining. U.S. agencies estimate Afghanistan’s mineral deposits to be worth upwards of $1 trillion. In fact, a classified Pentagon memo called Afghanistan the Saudi Arabia of lithium. (Although lithium is technically not a rare earth element, it serves some of the same purposes.)
The ultimate and hopefully final betrayal of America’s Afghan “friends” is promoting ethnocentric nationalism designed to further divide the already too divided nation. Looping Pakistan, and possibly Uzbekistan into this heinous act of further dividing Afghanistan, is further proof - if any is needed - of the American intent in Afghanistan from the very beginning. The final goal however is to export terrorism to neighboring nations including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China.
Promoting ethnonationalism in Afghanistan at this time is like leaving the mother of all fragmentation bombs in the heart of the Muslim Silk Roads. - G. Brundage
There is always hope. The first thing that needs to be done is for American citizens to vote out most of the members of the House of Representatives and vote in people with a moral conscience and basic common sense. That can be followed by a thorough debriefing of all current and past members of the American “Intelligence Community” followed by re-tasking them to undo the incalculable damage they have done and continue to do around the world. Political campaign finance reform is also essential to cleaning up the cesspool of corruption in Washington DC. Likewise, all media monopolies must be broken up and shareholders in media should not be allowed to also own stock in weapons corporations. No elected official should have a history of working in any capacity with any defense department related corporation, think tank, council, or other entity supported by or representing the weapons industry.
A very high-level Loya Jirga needs to be assembled with the representatives of all Afghan’s foreign neighbors and strict adherence to non-interference laws be reinforced. The extent to which there is cross-border interference is unknown, however that as a possible instigating source of terrorism must be removed from the equation.
Afghans then only have to start to let go of the past, as no amount of revenge will ever correct all the wrongs of the past. The chain of violence must be broken and that is a very, very difficult job indeed.
Afghanistan: 'We have won the war, America has lost', say Taliban, by Secunder Kermani and Mahfouz Zubaide
In fact, the Taliban have won many battles, but those were and are pyrrhic victories. It is no victory to kill one’s own brothers and sisters. The only way to win this war is to stop fighting, tell all American government related people and entities they are not welcome unless they are very well-funded and invested in rebuilding and health and nothing else, and then Afghans can harness the vast wealth of Afghanistan for all of the Afghan people.
As for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it’s a great idea. The world cannot rely only on American supply chains. It was European domination of maritime trade in the 1500s that led to the decay of the land Silk Roads, and only China’s BRI that started reviving them. Attacking that plan is nothing less than crazy and evil, another symptom of American foreign policy maker’s sick murderous fantasy of getting the whole pie.
India incidentally is engaged in COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy in Afghanistan donating an unspecified number of AstraZeneca vaccines to be administered to Afghan security forces, health workers and journalists. This comes as a follow-up to the Chinese government's announcement to support Afghanistan with 250,0000 doses of its own COVID-19 vaccines. On the part of India this is a little surprising considering India has the world’s second highest number of COVID-19 cases itself at the time of this writing (May, 25, 2021 - 26,752,447) and the world’s third highest number of deaths (303,720) after the US and Brazil. Simultaneously India is being forced to announce a new variant epidemic in an increasing number of provinces, most recently in Jammu & Kashmir. Thus far Afghanistan has seen the loss of 2,802 lives due to COVID-19. China reported its first active domestic cases in three weeks May 14, with 12 new COVID-19 cases.
These numbers mean something. The reader is invited to figure it out. A hint? Why did the Eastern Roman Empire survive 900 years longer than the Western Roman Empire? (Ans: 1. Better organization and 2: Not as expansion oriented.)
About this story
In the early 1980s I regularly trained in competition fighting at my university gym’s large “combative room.” During that time, I met an Afghan student named “Muhammed.” We sparred on a regular basis and became friends. All through the years he managed to stay healthy and hopeful. About a week ago however I got a call and for the first time he sounded afraid. He also told me this incredible story about the US linking the Afghan government with the Taliban, and Pakis, bonded with Saudi money in a horrifying plan to terrorize ethnic minorities and ultimately spread terror and destruction throughout the region.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t believe him – at first. It sounded impossible, paranoid and ridiculous. To be perfectly honest I suspected he might have been manipulated in some way to make this story up. But I’ve known him such a long time I couldn’t believe that either.
As I researched the possibility of his story being true, it became more and more clear to me that it was and is entirely possible. When I studied the targets of each of the terrorist attacks this year, remembered US support of multiple ethnonationalist movements around the world, researched the natural resources of Afghanistan, calculated the potential of such an unholy union to spread terrorism to neighboring countries, thought of so many other US attempts to sabotage the Belt and Road programs, I realized there is solid credible evidence to support his allegations and he has every right be afraid for his family, all ethnic minorities in Afghanistan and the peace and security of the Central Asian region.
Appendix 1 – Islamic Curriculum promoting: Education, Tolerance, Diplomacy, Forgiveness, and Leaving judgement to Allah
This writer accompanied by Pakistani military officers visited an Afghan refugee camp/Taliban training madrassa near Islamabad in November 1993. It was explained that the “American government” in conjunction with Saudi finance were supporting these madrassas in an effort to train these groups of refugees such that they could return to Afghanistan, end the Civil War that broke out in the wake of the Soviet departure in 1989 and unify the nation. At that time, I noticed there were no math, history or English language books, only rather small, possibly incomplete Quran. When I asked about this, I was informed this was upon the direction of the Saudis paying for the Madrassas. This “oversight” caused me some concern; however, I was a journalist and guest and not in a position to raise too many objections.
In implications of the possibility of the Talib having incomplete Qurans didn’t occur to me at the time. But it seems overwhelmingly obvious now. And thus, the following is presented.
What follows are a few of the simplest and most clear examples of Quranic verses and Hadith promoting: Education, Tolerance, Diplomacy, Forgiveness, and Leaving (most important) judgements to Allah.
"Recite: In the name of thy Lord who created man from a clot. Recite: And thy Lord is the Most Generous Who taught by the pen, taught man that which he knew not." Quran, 96:1-5
"So high [above all] is Allah, the Sovereign, the Truth. And, [O Muhammad], do not hasten with [recitation of] the Qur'an before its revelation is completed to you, and say, 'My Lord, increase me in knowledge'." - Quran, 20:114
"Knowledge from which no benefit is like a treasure out of which nothing is spent in the cause of God." - Al-Tirmidhi, 108
"One who treads a path in search of knowledge has his path to Paradise made easy by God." - Riyadh us-Saleheen
"The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim." - Al-Tirmidhi, 74
"Inquire knowledge and impart it to the people." - Al-Tirmidhi, 107
"God, His angels, and all those in heavens and on Earth, even ants on their hills and fish in their water, call down blessings upon those who instruct others in beneficial knowledge." -Al-Tirmidhi, 74
“There is no compulsion in religion…” (Quran 2:256)
“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” (Quran 2:256)
“Verily, they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on us in hope and in fear” (Quran, 21: 90).
“O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.”[Qur'an 49:11].
“To every People have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow, let them not then dispute with you on the matter, but do invite (them) to your Lord: for you are assuredly on the Right Way. If they do wrangle with you, say, ‘God knows best what it is you are doing. “God will judge between you on the Day of Judgment concerning the matters in which you differ.'” (Quran, Al-Hajj: 76-69).
Once when the Prophet (SAW) was asked, “What is Eemaan (belief/faith)?” He (SAW) replied: “Eemaan (faith) is patience and tolerance.”
“Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah … but if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.” (Al-Baqarah: 193).
“And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah. …” (Al-Anfal: 61)
In time, Allah may bring about goodwill between you and those of them you ˹now˺ hold as enemies. For Allah is Most Capable. And Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Quran 60:7)
“Except for those who take refuge with a people between yourselves and whom is a treaty or those who come to you, their hearts strained at [the prospect of] fighting you or fighting their own people. And if Allah had willed, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. So if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not made for you a cause [for fighting] against them.” (An-Nisa 90)
“O mankind, indeed We have … made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous …”Surah Al-Hujurat 13
Take what is given freely, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant. 7-Surah Al-A’raf (The Heights ) 199
And We have not created the heavens and earth and that between them except in truth. And indeed, the Hour is coming; so, forgive with gracious forgiveness. 15-Surah Al-Hijr ( The Rocky Tract ) 85
And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah. Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers. 42-Surah Ash-Shura (Consultation ) 40
And whoever is patient and forgives – indeed, that is of the matters [requiring] determination. 42-Surah Ash-Shura (Consultation ) 43
So turn aside from them and say, ‘ Peace.’ But they are going to know. 43-Surah Az-Zukhruf ( The Gold Adornment ) 89
Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good; (3-Surah Al-Imran, The Family of Imran, 134)
So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]. 3-Surah Al-Imran ( The Family of Imran ) 159
If [instead] you show [some] good or conceal it or pardon an offense – indeed, Allah is ever Pardoning and Competent. (4-Surah An-Nisa, The Women, 149)
So for their breaking of the covenant We cursed them and made their hearts hard. They distort words from their [proper] usages and have forgotten a portion of that of which they were reminded. And you will still observe deceit among them, except a few of them. But pardon them and overlook [their misdeeds]. Indeed, Allah loves the doers of good. (5-Surah Al-Maidah, The Table spread with Food , 13)
If you should raise your hand against me to kill me – I shall not raise my hand against you to kill you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the worlds. (5-Surah Al-Maidah The Table spread with Food, 28)
Leave (the most important) judgements to Allah
“Is not Allah the most just of judges?” [95:8]
Say: O Allah! Originator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the unseen and the seen! Thou (only) judges between Thy servants as to that wherein they differ". [Quran 39:46]
"But Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that over which they used to differ". [Quran 2:113]
"And if there is a party of you who believe in that with which am sent, and another party who do not believe, then wait patiently until Allah judges between us; and He is the best of the Judges". [Quran 7:87]
"And Allah decides; there is no adjuster of His decision. And He is swift in account". [Quran 13:41]
"That is Allah's judgment; He judges between you, and Allah Knows, Wise". [Quran 60:10]
"And that you should judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires" [Quran 5:49]
"The judgment is only Allah's; He relates the truth and He is the best of deciders". [Quran 6:57]
"Surely your Lord will judge between them by his judgment, and He is the Mighty, the knowing". [Quran 27:78]
اشتوکه = Peace
About the author
Started working for the minority press in 1988 in the US. Moved to South Asia ‘92. South Korea 2001, Beijing 2009. During the past six years traveled 16 land and maritime Silk Road countries. Then, no new contract at my former school and COVID-19 burst upon the scene. Tsk. Tsk. Semi-retired now & still in Beijing. I do have hook-ups all around the region and East Africa too. I always live with locals.
Contributions are appreciated and can help in many places and ways. My road is rough. So many friends much rougher. Be well and share if you can.