One Year Later

I typically haven’t posted one blog so quickly after another, but it has been one year…

I have had plenty of thoughts on Afghanistan over the years… and my stance today is no different than it has been since I started about my experiences there.

You can read them in the tab labeled “Afghanistan.”

As it is quite relevant, there is a phenomenal multi-part documentary on the causes, effects, and implications of the conflict in that fascinatingly brutal country – I came across it on Curiosity Stream, but I highly recommend it as it has given me so much food for thought/quotes for later posts.

The raw notes will suffice, for now…

Afghanistan: The Wounded Land – Part 1: Kingdom

Personal Note: There is a momentum of power in movements such as the April Revolution of 1978 and the assassination of Mohamed Daoud and his family. The subsequent elimination of Taraki in 1979 and Amin months later brought to mind the internal purges of Communists who helped in the Russian Revolution of 1919 – power was simply that: power, and an end to whatever treacherous means necessary to achieve that power.

“From the very first day they came to power, they began killing, mass imprisonments of people they considered as a threat […]  all those who disagreed with them were arrested and murdered one by one.”

Gulbuddin Hematyar (@35:03)

Personal Note (@40:08): They eliminated opposition – even on their own side – to establish a dominance of brutality: stay one step ahead of anyone who had the potential to sue the same level of viciousness and brutality as those who rose to power before them. An acceleration of cruelty.

And when “opposition” – those who were targeted for asking questions or saying “enough” – had no other recourse, what options were left other than to become the very insurgents they were repeatedly accused of of being?

“Today, it might be us. But tomorrow, it will be you! You will suffer just as much as we have!”

Unknown Afghani @40:32

Personal Note: Much like December 1979, and the effort of the Soviet Union to “restore order” and contain any ideological chaos on their border, the repercussions of the current conflict in Ukraine will have significant reverberations around the globe decades after 26Feb2022.

“Love [of nation] does not need logic; it needs sacrifice.”

Masood Kahlili @51:26

Afghanistan: The Wounded Land – Part 2: Jihad

“It’s not that a war turns a person bad. It can make a good person better and a bad person worse. Are you able to kill someone? Well, on a Moscow street, probably not.

The difference is, here you don’t perceive him as a human being. He becomes some abstract creature, not equal to you. So you can kill him.”

Mikhail Kozhukov @34:06

“Even I have personally lived through all these things, and sometime, when I think that how much capacity you as a human have, how much resilience you can build, how much capacity you would have to digest all this.”

Sima Samar @38:25

“They [Arabs] trained them to be that extreme. In all the camps, they built madrassas – the religious schools, so-called. The Afghan families give the male children to these madrassas to be educated; to be fated.

Then, they were kept over there to segregate them, to train them, to brainwash them. They were the ones who become Taliban. No education, no formal education.”

Sima Samar @41:29

Afghanistan: The Wounded Land – Part 3: Taliban

“When the Taliban arrived, the civil war ended, and they brought us peace. But they took away our freedom. A country with peace but no freedom is no country at all.”

Nadia Ghulam @35:52

Personal Note: The depravity at the hands of the stupid, but powerful, remains revolting and unnerving; that there are – and have been – people who can so readily conform and distort trust and authority into some sadistic coercion… that will truly remain to be the fodder for nightmares and the justification for never letting things progress to that point. Individual responsibility against tyranny.

“My message to President Bush is the following:

If he [Usama Bin Laden] isn’t interested in peace in Afghanistan, if he doesn’t help the Afghan people, to arrive at their objective of peace, then the Americans and the rest of the world will have to face the problem.”

Masood in Paris 4Apr2001 @47:39

“…Mercy to the wolf is cruelty to the lamb.”

Masood Kahlili @50:51

Afghanistan: The Wounded Land – Part 4: Trap

“We were against the government, and we were against the USA. The more corrupt people they recruited, the better for us. In all the provinces where bad people were appointed, our numbers grew.”

Agha Jan Motasim @32:42

TS1: “We split Russia into 25 pieces, and now, God willing, split America into 54 pieces.”

TS2: “Which is stronger? Russia or America?”

TS1: “Russia was stronger. And they were defeated. The Russians were well prepared and very powerful, but when they took on the Muslims, they were broken to pieces.”

Taliban soldier @37:01


Where do we go from here?

Where does Afghanistan go from here?

I have no illusions that there will suddenly appear an international rainbow which terminates into a herd of blissfully content unicorns skipping through Kabul streets. History has shown otherwise, and human nature – especially when it comes to the contested lands that have slain empires – is predictable in both good and bad…

We shall see…


2 thoughts on “One Year Later

  1. Mike –
    The greatest exhibition of hubris I have seen in modern times was the filming and release of the movie “Charlie WIlson’s War” in 2007 to American audiences, who cheered as Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julia Roberts and a very stunningly beautiful Amy Adams embarked on a crusade to use muslim fighters to kill Russians, apparently missing the fact that the United States was 6 years into a war against the same people they had trained to fight the Russians, and American casualties were stacking up. Does anyone know how many “contractors” were killed or wounded?
    Did anyone ask who was arming the Taliban – and the Iraqi insurgents, as well, knowing the steps that the United States had taken to hide its role in the arming of the Mujihadeen?
    While the United States was tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan, they had no ability to interfere elsewhere with anything but nuclear weapons. While America and NATO went deep into debt in winless wars, Russia and China began building their economies. Anyone could see this would happen, but the propaganda was effective. I still run across Canadians who believe that Canada won the war in Afghanistan. There is even a book, published in 2007: “Contact Charlie: The Canadian Army, the Taliban and the Battle that saved Afghanistan”, by Chris Wattie. Among the reviews on the back of the jacket, is this gem by Lewis Mackenzie, a retired Major General:
    In the summer of 2006 the Taliban were poised to take back their Jerusalem, Kandahar City. They didn’t figure on 1 PPCLI (1st battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry – a formation that dated back to 1914 when a Montreal millionaire named Hamilton Gault raised a battalion of former British soldiers now living in Canada, and the Canadian government sent them to Britain. They were the first Canadian unit in action on the Western front, but by May 1915, most of them were dead or wounded.) Chris Wattie’s outstanding effort lets us eavesdrop on the intense battles that saved the city, the country, and NATO itself, and should make every Canadian proud of our country’s sacrifice in the name of freedom.”
    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
    Take Care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Did anyone ask who was arming the Taliban – and the Iraqi insurgents, as well, knowing the steps that the United States had taken to hide its role in the arming of the Mujihadeen?”
      Some did, but not the ones who could effectively do anything about it.

      I suppose there will be much more… profane… observations later down the line with this blog… but for now, I shall keep trying to find the time and quiet to get those thoughts un-jumbled and presentable….

      Thanks, Jim!


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