AFGHANISTAN

The Panjshir Valley and its glorious defender

On this very day 20 years ago, Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated!

He was very lucky to reach the ripe old age of 48.

This is the story of the man and his valley.

The Panjshir valley is a very special place, a mere 150 clicks North of Kabul, it is an almost impenetrable valley, peopled by people called Tajiks – originally from Tajikistan, to the North, at least 100 thousand of them, and counting.

These brave souls have defended their land against all comers since time immemorial, and there have been many comers. Far too many!

The peoples of the valley were led by and defended by one Ahmad Shah Massoud, a Tajik Sunni Muslim. Ahmad has been described as one of the greatest guerrilla leaders of the 20th century. He has been compared to Ho Chi Minh, Che Gevarra and… Gogh Whitlam?

The valley was the site of the Panjshir Offensives, fought by the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and the Soviets against the mujahedeen during the Soviet–Afghan War from 1980 to 1985, when local commander Masoud, successfully defended the valley from being taken by the Mujahedeen, a motley crew of misfits, nut jobs and religious fanatics, not unlike the U.S.A. today.

Masoud was what we would call a progressive. He set up democratic institutions and signed the Women’s Rights Declaration. He was one of the good guys.

Massoud is adamant that in Afghanistan women have suffered oppression for generations. He says that “the cultural environment of the country suffocates women. But the Taliban exacerbate this with oppression.” His most ambitious project is to shatter this cultural prejudice and so give more space, freedom and equality to women—they would have the same rights as men.

— Pepe Escobar, in ‘Massoud: From Warrior to Statesman’

“It is our conviction we believe that both men and women are created by the Almighty. Both have equal rights. Women can pursue an education, women can pursue a career, and women can play a role in society — just like men”

“There should be an Afghanistan where every Afghan finds himself or herself happy. I think that can only be assured by democracy based on consensus”.

(Sounds like Thomas Jefferson without the slaves.)

The valley again witnessed renewed fighting during the 1996–2001 civil war between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, under the command of Massoud,

where he again defended the valley from being over-run by the ‘the bad guys’.

In early 2001 Massoud addressed the European Parliament in Brussels .

On this visit to Europe he also warned that his intelligence had gathered information about a large-scale attack on U.S. soil being imminent.

(I guess no one from the US was listening)

On 9/9/2001, just two days before the 9/11 attack, Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated!

 This was not the first attempt on his life, but it was the last.

Just about every shady group in the country had a crack at it one time or another.

Thjey were queing up;

Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the Pakistani ISI, and before them the Soviet KGB, the Afghan Communist KHAD, the war lord Hekmatyar and anyone else who had a grudge had tried to exterminate the guy, repeatedly. There were 25 assassination attempts all in all, over as many years. It was his arch Nemesis – the Taliban who got him in the end.

In the subsequent press release their spokesman said, with a smug look on his face: “We always get our man”.

John P. O’Neill was a counter-terrorism expert and the Assistant Director of the FBI until late 2001. He retired from the FBI and was offered the position of director of security at the World Trade Center – WTC.(a poisoned challis, as it transpired)

He took the job at the WTC two weeks before the 9/11 attack.

On 10 September 2001, O’Neill allegedly told two of his friends, “We’re due. And we’re due for something big…. Some things have happened in Afghanistan. [referring to the assassination of Massoud] I don’t like the way things are lining up in Afghanistan…I sense a shift, and I think things are going to happen…soon.”

O’Neill died on 11 September 2001, when the South Tower collapsed. (went down with the ship)

Later that same year Massoud’s United Front troops, without their glorious leader, but with American air support, ousted the Taliban from power in Kabul.

A loya jirga (grand assembly) was convened in June 2002 by former King Zahir Shah, who returned from exile after 29 years

(what is it with this Yanki infatuation with kings, aren’t the they a democracy?)

The Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan (TISA) was cobbled together….

 in a hurry. The very next day fighting resumed in ernest.

One has to admire some things about the Taliban;

They are tenacious. They are resilient. They are tireless, to the point of being beyond human! You can cut off their heads but it won’t even slow them down. They are like like Monty Python’s Black Night.

If you are Taliban you just keep fighting and hoping you will not die before your son is old enough to take up the warm gun from your lifeless hand.

How can you stop these people. You can’t. They are invincible. What is their secret? Well it is no secret. It is God Almighty!

Only God can convince a father to strap a suicide belt around his only son and send him off to die.

Over the last 20 grueling years the U.N. and the U.S. have provided around 30 billion dollars for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, most of it from the United States, God bless them. Sounds like a shit load of money doesn’t it?

At the same time the U.S. Military Industrial Complex was provided with  2 trillion dollars for the ‘deconstruction’ of Afghanistan. These two projects were taking place almost simultaneously.

(Obviously the deconstruction had to take place before the reconstruction.)

A short history of Afghanistan – a tale of woe.

Back in the dark ages, before the hippy movement swept the globe, the country was a monarchy. Everyone was a lot happier than they are today, but that wouldn’t be hard would it? The U.S.A. saw themselves as king-makers. They looked upon kings very fondly, as they didn’t have any of their own. In the 1960’s the hippies arrived and started preaching free love and fornicating in the streets and smoking pot and telling folks about these things called elections. This was quite a novelty to the the locals, as you can well imagine. The peoples started getting restless and fidgety, so the king gave them an election as a sop.

(well that was a damn fool idea. I can’t imagine the C.I.A. recommending that one)

Afghanistan was not a wealthy country by any yardstick, but it was doing OK.

‘Fractured by internal conflict and foreign intervention for centuries, Afghanistan made several tentative steps toward modernization in the mid-20th century. In the 1950s and 1960s, some of the biggest strides were made toward a more liberal and westernized lifestyle, while trying to maintain a respect for more conservative factions. Though officially a neutral nation, Afghanistan was courted and influenced by the U.S. and Soviet Union during the Cold War, accepting Soviet machinery and weapons, and U.S. financial aid. This time was a brief, relatively peaceful era, when modern buildings were constructed in Kabul alongside older traditional mud structures, when burkas became optional for a time, and the country appeared to be on a path toward a more open, prosperous society. Progress was halted in the 1970s, as a series of bloody coups, invasions, and civil wars began, continuing to this day, reversing almost all of the steps toward modernization taken in the 50s and 60s.’ – The Atlantic

“progress was halted-” What an understatement. Progress was obliterated!

The country was bombed back into the stone age.

Life in Kabul in the 1970’s (hard to believe, isn’t it?)

Background – Afghanistan is not over endowed with riches, but it is in the middle of two continents. Naturally, all its neighbors want to add it to their list of conquests;

Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan.(Keep an eye on Pakistan, they are a key player in all the mayhem to follows. In it up to their necks) oh…and l almost forgot America, who can’t help sticking their grubby little noses in everybody else’s business……… ..because they can!

1973 – All hell breaks loose. The disintegration of a beautiful nation begins in earnest. The king’s own cousin usurps the King. ( they play polo with his head, or is that just in the movies?) Said cousin declares a republic. Whacko! – with support from the Communist Party of Afghanistan. The naive new president thinks the commies are just a wee bit too supportive. He boldly sacks the communists from the government, then arrests them for good measure. Not a good move.

With Big Brother watching over the place like a helicopter parent on meth, best

to try the softly, softly approach, me thinks. But this is Afghanistan.

The bloodletting begins.

The Communists waist no time in arranging a coupe-de-tat. They kill President Daoud, his entire family and his body guards – just for good measure.

Well what did Daoud expect, a Gold watch?

Little did they realize how just a dash of trigger happy fun could lead to the total destruction of a vibrant and prosperous nation.

1978 – The Sour sorry, Saur Revolution.

A pro-Soviet state is set up, hastily. President Taraki takes the reigns.

The Communists are generally not well liked, actually they weren’t liked at all, by anybody, oh… except for the Soviet Union, of course.

The bully-boy of the regime, a Mr. Amin (now why does that name send a shiver down my spine) a nasty piece of work if ever there was one, soon gets sick of the softly softly approach, so he wrestles power from Amin and executes him.

Just for good measure.

A ruthless and bloodthirsty regime ensues. Something has to be done.

The Soviets invade. Members of the GRU (The Russian equivalent of our S.A.S or U.S. Green Berets – a more blood bloodthirsty  bunch of psychopaths than you were ever likely to come across, except for the Green Berets and our very own S.A.S. of course) assassinate Amin AND his 200 guards. Just for good measure.

 (One starts to see how these things develop into a time-honored tradition)

Russia’s Vietnam ensues. The Mujahedeen was ostensibly running the resistance to the colonizers/infidels, with a little help from just about everybody else not in the soviet sphere -of-influence. Primarily the United States of course, followed closely behind by Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China. the United Kingdom … and don’t forget Osama Bin-Liner, tagging along for the ride -of-a-(short)lifetime.

The war was seen as a Cold War poxy  sorry Proxy War.

A lot of that sort of thing going down back in those days, but hey, let’s look on the good side; That war ruined the once invincible Soviet Union, our nemesis – sent them broke. That was the plan all along, it seems.

(basic business 101. Send your competition broke. Voila! No more competition)

The cold war is over – thank God for that! 3

In total 14,453 Soviet soldiers died during the Afghan war.

The deaths of up to 2 million Afghans in the war has been described as “genocide” by a number of sources. … and we thought the Yanks were bad!

Five to ten million Afghans fled to Pakistan and Iran, amounting to 1/3 of the pre-war population of the country, and another 2 million were internally displaced.

Why can’t we learn from others blunders? Especially American blunders, they are spectacular, regular and hard to miss.

Why must we repeat them ourselves before we get the message into our thick skulls? 2

The lesson; Men with guns guns are dangerous and highly volatile. Add Russians and Americans and the cold war and tribal war-lords and Iran and Pakistan and the Mujahedeen and Islam and it looks like ‘stacks-on-the-mill, more-on-still’.

The war finally ended in 1992. The Russians (no more soviet Union) withdrew in 1988, leaving the Government loyalists to fend for themselves. (sound familiar. )

That government lasted quite a lot longer than the one the US left for dead the other day. 4

Enter our saviour – Ahmad Shah Massoud, one of The Good Guys.

Ahmad hails from the renowned Panjshir Valley. He creates the fearsome Northern Alliance and joins the fearsome Mujahedeen. They defeat the abandoned regime before breakfast.

That’s when the real bun fight begins.

Enter one Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. – Bad Guy  (a real cunt, if you don’t mind me saying so)

The Islamic state of Afghanistan is established. Every faction is included except Hekmatyar. Oh boy is old Gulbuddin pissed off – like really pissed off. He becomes morose and taciturn and bombs the living day-lights out of Kabul – for TEN fucking years. That once majestic city is reduced to rubble. As it remains to this day.

Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan back different factions and encourage them to fight each other. The new state has no chance to establish stability.

Enter Abdul Rashid Dostum. Good guy/bad guy? Very hard to tell what side he is on, on any given day. As slippery as an eel in a muddy dam. 5

1994 – Hekmatyar & Dostrum join forces with support from Pakistan.

Enter the Taliban – Bad guys.

Just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse.

In 1994 the Taliban (a movement originating from religious schools for Afghan refugees in Pakistan) take over the South and the centre of the country.

They reign in lawless Pashtun leaders committing atrocities. Good, thenset about commiting even worse atrocities. Bad.

In Kabul, the state, under Massoud – now General Massoud if you don’t mind, defeats Hekmatyar et al. The bombardment of Kabul ceases. Thank God for that. “We Kabulians/ Kabulants? can all get a good nights sleep for a change.”

– Anonimous

Everyone stops fighting except for one faction – you guessed it – The Taliban. Massoud meets their leader but they refuse to ioin the peace. (the word is not in their lexicon) The other Taliban commanders are bitterly disapointed that their glorious leader didn’t take the opportunity to stick-the-knife into Masoud’s belly while he had the chance, so they duly string him up, l kid you not. You wouldn’t read about it. These guys make  Vladamir Putin look like Mother Teresa. (although apparently she was no saint)

The shelling of Kabul resumes, this time by the Taliban.

Anonymouse has trouble sleeping.

1996 -General Masoud withdraws from Kabul to avoid a bloodbath.

The Taliban march in unopposed. (sound familiar)

They establish the  Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, proclaim Sharia Law (and we thought the Bible was bad. At least it isn’t law any more) The Mullas set about proving they are the most ruthless bunch of psychopaths to run a country since… well since Rwanda in 1994.

It has been said that no other regime in the world has methodically and violently forced half of its population into virtual house arrest, prohibiting them on pain of death from going for a jog.

Women were forced to wear the burka, they were banned from public life and denied access to health care and education, windows needed to be covered so that women could not be seen from the outside, and they were not allowed to laugh in a manner that could be heard by others.

Women were banned from radio because the sound of their voices seen as a corupting infuence?

A rain of terror ensues, the likes of which even Afghanistan has never seen before.

The Taliban kill Iranian diplomats, almost starting a war with Iran.

So we can safely assume they are not getting any support from that quarter.

Their main backers are the usual suspects:-

No.1 Pakistan, sending over 100 thousand troops.

2. Saudi Arabia – The cashed up Taliban, send shit-loads of cash. (The Saudi princes find all that fighting quite unappealing. Feeding people into meat grinders is one thing, but eye ball-to-eye ball conflict? Yuck.! No thank you.)

Ever other nut-job on the planet is given a warm welcome, including the  Grand Poohbah himself – Osama Bin-Liner, no less!

Then Masoud the Tajik, joins Dostrum the Uzbek, to form the Northern Alliance. Backed by the perennially victimized Hazaras and pretty much every other decent person in the country – The Good Guys.

The Good Guys control roughly 30% of the country until ‘the cavalry’ arrive in 2001

In that year alone alone, according to several international sources, around 30,000 Pakistani nationals, 15,000 Afghan Taliban and 3,000 Al Qaeda militants were fighting against anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan as a roughly 45,000-strong military force.

So, at first blush, it looks like the U.S., despite whatever shady motives they harboured, were actually doing no bad thing to eradicate the Taliban. Thanks very much fellas. But let’s face it, after 20 years of relentless bombing, something the locals were heartily sick of way before the Yanks even arrived on the scene, the crusading saviors had well and truly worn out their welcome. Somewhere along the way it came to be seen on the ground that it was looking very much like an Afghanistan V America war. And we all know by now that anyone who tries to colonize that feisty country will get their arse kicked.

(The same can be said of Vietnam. Those Yankis should choose easier targets, me thinks. They did exceptionally well in 1984 against Granada, a tiny dot in the Caribbean – population 100 thousand souls. 3 days – total surrender. Now that was a good war!)

Update: Last week sadly, tragically The Pajshir valley finally fell to the infamous Taliban and their backers; Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

 But do not pretend for a moment that this story is anything like over. The son of Ahmad Shah Massoud has taken up the cause of his dead father, in Afghan tradition, and is fighting on, undaunted!

 It would be a misconception to say the Afghan people like fighting, but when they get really riled up, they don’t give up. Unlike some others who have publically disgraced themselves; America, Russia, Australia et al, gutless wonders one and all!

AFGHANISTAN

The Panjshir Valley and its glorious defender

On this very day 20 years ago, Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated!

He was very lucky to reach the ripe old age of 48.

This is the story of the man and his valley.

The Panjshir valley is a very special place, a mere 150 clicks North of Kabul, it is an almost impenetrable valley, peopled by people called Tajiks – originally from Tajikistan, to the North, at least 100 thousand of them, and counting.

Description: MacOS:Users:user:Desktop:1 STUFF:Afghanistan:Story:Panjshir Valley .png

These brave souls have defended their land against all comers since time immemorial, and there have been many comers. Far too many!

The peoples of the valley were led by and defended by one Ahmad Shah Massoud, a Tajik Sunni Muslim. Ahmad has been described as one of the greatest guerrilla leaders of the 20th century. He has been compared to Ho Chi Minh, Che Gevarra and… Gogh Whitlam?

The valley was the site of the Panjshir Offensives, fought by the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and the Soviets against the mujahedeen during the Soviet–Afghan War from 1980 to 1985, when local commander Masoud, successfully defended the valley from being taken by the Mujahedeen, a motley crew of misfits, nut jobs and religious fanatics, not unlike the U.S.A. today.

Masoud was what we would call a progressive. He set up democratic institutions and signed the Women’s Rights Declaration. He was one of the good guys.

Massoud is adamant that in Afghanistan women have suffered oppression for generations. He says that “the cultural environment of the country suffocates women. But the Taliban exacerbate this with oppression.” His most ambitious project is to shatter this cultural prejudice and so give more space, freedom and equality to women—they would have the same rights as men.

— Pepe Escobar, in ‘Massoud: From Warrior to Statesman’

“It is our conviction we believe that both men and women are created by the Almighty. Both have equal rights. Women can pursue an education, women can pursue a career, and women can play a role in society — just like men”

“There should be an Afghanistan where every Afghan finds himself or herself happy. I think that can only be assured by democracy based on consensus”.

(Sounds like Thomas Jefferson without the slaves.)

The valley again witnessed renewed fighting during the 1996–2001 civil war between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, under the command of Massoud,

where he again defended the valley from being over-run by the ‘the bad guys’.

In early 2001 Massoud addressed the European Parliament in Brussels .

On this visit to Europe he also warned that his intelligence had gathered information about a large-scale attack on U.S. soil being imminent.

(I guess no one from the US was listening)

On 9/9/2001, just two days before the 9/11 attack, Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated!

 This was not the first attempt on his life, but it was the last.

Just about every shady group in the country had a crack at it one time or another.

Thjey were queing up;

Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the Pakistani ISI, and before them the Soviet KGB, the Afghan Communist KHAD, the war lord Hekmatyar and anyone else who had a grudge had tried to exterminate the guy, repeatedly. There were 25 assassination attempts all in all, over as many years. It was his arch Nemesis – the Taliban who got him in the end.

In the subsequent press release their spokesman said, with a smug look on his face: “We always get our man”.

John P. O’Neill was a counter-terrorism expert and the Assistant Director of the FBI until late 2001. He retired from the FBI and was offered the position of director of security at the World Trade Center – WTC.(a poisoned challis, as it transpired)

He took the job at the WTC two weeks before the 9/11 attack.

On 10 September 2001, O’Neill allegedly told two of his friends, “We’re due. And we’re due for something big…. Some things have happened in Afghanistan. [referring to the assassination of Massoud] I don’t like the way things are lining up in Afghanistan…I sense a shift, and I think things are going to happen…soon.”

O’Neill died on 11 September 2001, when the South Tower collapsed. (went down with the ship)

Later that same year Massoud’s United Front troops, without their glorious leader, but with American air support, ousted the Taliban from power in Kabul.

A loya jirga (grand assembly) was convened in June 2002 by former King Zahir Shah, who returned from exile after 29 years

(what is it with this Yanki infatuation with kings, aren’t the they a democracy?)

The Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan (TISA) was cobbled together….

 in a hurry. The very next day fighting resumed in ernest.

One has to admire some things about the Taliban;

They are tenacious. They are resilient. They are tireless, to the point of being beyond human! You can cut off their heads but it won’t even slow them down. They are like like Monty Python’s Black Night.

If you are Taliban you just keep fighting and hoping you will not die before your son is old enough to take up the warm gun from your lifeless hand.

How can you stop these people. You can’t. They are invincible. What is their secret? Well it is no secret. It is God Almighty!

Only God can convince a father to strap a suicide belt around his only son and send him off to die.

Over the last 20 grueling years the U.N. and the U.S. have provided around 30 billion dollars for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, most of it from the United States, God bless them. Sounds like a shit load of money doesn’t it?

At the same time the U.S. Military Industrial Complex was provided with  2 trillion dollars for the ‘deconstruction’ of Afghanistan. These two projects were taking place almost simultaneously.

(Obviously the deconstruction had to take place before the reconstruction.)

A short history of Afghanistan – a tale of woe.

Back in the dark ages, before the hippy movement swept the globe, the country was a monarchy. Everyone was a lot happier than they are today, but that wouldn’t be hard would it? The U.S.A. saw themselves as king-makers. They looked upon kings very fondly, as they didn’t have any of their own. In the 1960’s the hippies arrived and started preaching free love and fornicating in the streets and smoking pot and telling folks about these things called elections. This was quite a novelty to the the locals, as you can well imagine. The peoples started getting restless and fidgety, so the king gave them an election as a sop.

(well that was a damn fool idea. I can’t imagine the C.I.A. recommending that one)

Afghanistan was not a wealthy country by any yardstick, but it was doing OK.

‘Fractured by internal conflict and foreign intervention for centuries, Afghanistan made several tentative steps toward modernization in the mid-20th century. In the 1950s and 1960s, some of the biggest strides were made toward a more liberal and westernized lifestyle, while trying to maintain a respect for more conservative factions. Though officially a neutral nation, Afghanistan was courted and influenced by the U.S. and Soviet Union during the Cold War, accepting Soviet machinery and weapons, and U.S. financial aid. This time was a brief, relatively peaceful era, when modern buildings were constructed in Kabul alongside older traditional mud structures, when burkas became optional for a time, and the country appeared to be on a path toward a more open, prosperous society. Progress was halted in the 1970s, as a series of bloody coups, invasions, and civil wars began, continuing to this day, reversing almost all of the steps toward modernization taken in the 50s and 60s.’ – The Atlantic

“progress was halted-” What an understatement. Progress was obliterated!

The country was bombed back into the stone age.

Description: MacOS:Users:user:Desktop:Afghani women 1970.png

Life in Kabul in the 1970’s (hard to believe, isn’t it?)

Background – Afghanistan is not over endowed with riches, but it is in the middle of two continents. Naturally, all its neighbors want to add it to their list of conquests;

Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan.(Keep an eye on Pakistan, they are a key player in all the mayhem to follows. In it up to their necks) oh…and l almost forgot America, who can’t help sticking their grubby little noses in everybody else’s business……… ..because they can!

1973 – All hell breaks loose. The disintegration of a beautiful nation begins in earnest. The king’s own cousin usurps the King. ( they play polo with his head, or is that just in the movies?) Said cousin declares a republic. Whacko! – with support from the Communist Party of Afghanistan. The naive new president thinks the commies are just a wee bit too supportive. He boldly sacks the communists from the government, then arrests them for good measure. Not a good move.

With Big Brother watching over the place like a helicopter parent on meth, best

to try the softly, softly approach, me thinks. But this is Afghanistan.

The bloodletting begins.

The Communists waist no time in arranging a coupe-de-tat. They kill President Daoud, his entire family and his body guards – just for good measure.

Well what did Daoud expect, a Gold watch?

Little did they realize how just a dash of trigger happy fun could lead to the total destruction of a vibrant and prosperous nation.

1978 – The Sour sorry, Saur Revolution.

A pro-Soviet state is set up, hastily. President Taraki takes the reigns.

The Communists are generally not well liked, actually they weren’t liked at all, by anybody, oh… except for the Soviet Union, of course.

The bully-boy of the regime, a Mr. Amin (now why does that name send a shiver down my spine) a nasty piece of work if ever there was one, soon gets sick of the softly softly approach, so he wrestles power from Amin and executes him.

Just for good measure.

A ruthless and bloodthirsty regime ensues. Something has to be done.

The Soviets invade. Members of the GRU (The Russian equivalent of our S.A.S or U.S. Green Berets – a more blood bloodthirsty  bunch of psychopaths than you were ever likely to come across, except for the Green Berets and our very own S.A.S. of course) assassinate Amin AND his 200 guards. Just for good measure.

 (One starts to see how these things develop into a time-honored tradition)

Russia’s Vietnam ensues. The Mujahedeen was ostensibly running the resistance to the colonizers/infidels, with a little help from just about everybody else not in the soviet sphere -of-influence. Primarily the United States of course, followed closely behind by Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China. the United Kingdom … and don’t forget Osama Bin-Liner, tagging along for the ride -of-a-(short)lifetime.

The war was seen as a Cold War poxy  sorry Proxy War.

A lot of that sort of thing going down back in those days, but hey, let’s look on the good side; That war ruined the once invincible Soviet Union, our nemesis – sent them broke. That was the plan all along, it seems.

(basic business 101. Send your competition broke. Voila! No more competition)

The cold war is over – thank God for that! 3

In total 14,453 Soviet soldiers died during the Afghan war.

The deaths of up to 2 million Afghans in the war has been described as “genocide” by a number of sources. … and we thought the Yanks were bad!

Five to ten million Afghans fled to Pakistan and Iran, amounting to 1/3 of the pre-war population of the country, and another 2 million were internally displaced.

Why can’t we learn from others blunders? Especially American blunders, they are spectacular, regular and hard to miss.

Why must we repeat them ourselves before we get the message into our thick skulls? 2

The lesson; Men with guns guns are dangerous and highly volatile. Add Russians and Americans and the cold war and tribal war-lords and Iran and Pakistan and the Mujahedeen and Islam and it looks like ‘stacks-on-the-mill, more-on-still’.

The war finally ended in 1992. The Russians (no more soviet Union) withdrew in 1988, leaving the Government loyalists to fend for themselves. (sound familiar. )

That government lasted quite a lot longer than the one the US left for dead the other day. 4

Enter our saviour – Ahmad Shah Massoud, one of The Good Guys.

Ahmad hails from the renowned Panjshir Valley. He creates the fearsome Northern Alliance and joins the fearsome Mujahedeen. They defeat the abandoned regime before breakfast.

That’s when the real bun fight begins.

Enter one Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. – Bad Guy  (a real cunt, if you don’t mind me saying so)

The Islamic state of Afghanistan is established. Every faction is included except Hekmatyar. Oh boy is old Gulbuddin pissed off – like really pissed off. He becomes morose and taciturn and bombs the living day-lights out of Kabul – for TEN fucking years. That once majestic city is reduced to rubble. As it remains to this day.

Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan back different factions and encourage them to fight each other. The new state has no chance to establish stability.

Enter Abdul Rashid Dostum. Good guy/bad guy? Very hard to tell what side he is on, on any given day. As slippery as an eel in a muddy dam. 5

1994 – Hekmatyar & Dostrum join forces with support from Pakistan.

Enter the Taliban – Bad guys.

Just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse.

In 1994 the Taliban (a movement originating from religious schools for Afghan refugees in Pakistan) take over the South and the centre of the country.

They reign in lawless Pashtun leaders committing atrocities. Good, thenset about commiting even worse atrocities. Bad.

In Kabul, the state, under Massoud – now General Massoud if you don’t mind, defeats Hekmatyar et al. The bombardment of Kabul ceases. Thank God for that. “We Kabulians/ Kabulants? can all get a good nights sleep for a change.”

– Anonimous

Everyone stops fighting except for one faction – you guessed it – The Taliban. Massoud meets their leader but they refuse to ioin the peace. (the word is not in their lexicon) The other Taliban commanders are bitterly disapointed that their glorious leader didn’t take the opportunity to stick-the-knife into Masoud’s belly while he had the chance, so they duly string him up, l kid you not. You wouldn’t read about it. These guys make  Vladamir Putin look like Mother Teresa. (although apparently she was no saint)

The shelling of Kabul resumes, this time by the Taliban.

Anonymouse has trouble sleeping.

1996 -General Masoud withdraws from Kabul to avoid a bloodbath.

The Taliban march in unopposed. (sound familiar)

They establish the  Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, proclaim Sharia Law (and we thought the Bible was bad. At least it isn’t law any more) The Mullas set about proving they are the most ruthless bunch of psychopaths to run a country since… well since Rwanda in 1994.

It has been said that no other regime in the world has methodically and violently forced half of its population into virtual house arrest, prohibiting them on pain of death from going for a jog.

Women were forced to wear the burka, they were banned from public life and denied access to health care and education, windows needed to be covered so that women could not be seen from the outside, and they were not allowed to laugh in a manner that could be heard by others.

Women were banned from radio because the sound of their voices seen as a corupting infuence?

A rain of terror ensues, the likes of which even Afghanistan has never seen before.

The Taliban kill Iranian diplomats, almost starting a war with Iran.

So we can safely assume they are not getting any support from that quarter.

Their main backers are the usual suspects:-

No.1 Pakistan, sending over 100 thousand troops.

2. Saudi Arabia – The cashed up Taliban, send shit-loads of cash. (The Saudi princes find all that fighting quite unappealing. Feeding people into meat grinders is one thing, but eye ball-to-eye ball conflict? Yuck.! No thank you.)

Ever other nut-job on the planet is given a warm welcome, including the  Grand Poohbah himself – Osama Bin-Liner, no less!

Then Masoud the Tajik, joins Dostrum the Uzbek, to form the Northern Alliance. Backed by the perennially victimized Hazaras and pretty much every other decent person in the country – The Good Guys.

The Good Guys control roughly 30% of the country until ‘the cavalry’ arrive in 2001

In that year alone alone, according to several international sources, around 30,000 Pakistani nationals, 15,000 Afghan Taliban and 3,000 Al Qaeda militants were fighting against anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan as a roughly 45,000-strong military force.

So, at first blush, it looks like the U.S., despite whatever shady motives they harboured, were actually doing no bad thing to eradicate the Taliban. Thanks very much fellas. But let’s face it, after 20 years of relentless bombing, something the locals were heartily sick of way before the Yanks even arrived on the scene, the crusading saviors had well and truly worn out their welcome. Somewhere along the way it came to be seen on the ground that it was looking very much like an Afghanistan V America war. And we all know by now that anyone who tries to colonize that feisty country will get their arse kicked.

(The same can be said of Vietnam. Those Yankis should choose easier targets, me thinks. They did exceptionally well in 1984 against Granada, a tiny dot in the Caribbean – population 100 thousand souls. 3 days – total surrender. Now that was a good war!)

Update: Last week sadly, tragically The Pajshir valley finally fell to the infamous Taliban and their backers; Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

 But do not pretend for a moment that this story is anything like over. The son of Ahmad Shah Massoud has taken up the cause of his dead father, in Afghan tradition, and is fighting on, undaunted!

 It would be a misconception to say the Afghan people like fighting, but when they get really riled up, they don’t give up. Unlike some others who have publically disgraced themselves; America, Russia, Australia et al, gutless wonders one and all!

Ben Boyang    9/9/2011

I am a fearless reporter who has recently been sacked from News of the World due to wishy washy. namby pamby, bleeding heart, bed weting liberals banging on about Ethics, whatever they are. I try to offend as many people as possible but in the words of some great orator, "you can offend some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but youcant offend all of the people all of the time".

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