AfghanistanU.S. military operations in Afghanistan apears to be following the Russian experience in the country, British efforts in the nineteenth century. The current operations are dealing with...

Afghanistan

U.S. military operations in Afghanistan apears to be following the Russian experience in the country, British efforts in the nineteenth century. The current operations are dealing with the same foe faced by Englishmen and Russians. Afghanistan played a part in the Anglo-Russo "Great Game" policy of England to limit Russian influence in the Indian subcontinent. Both nations battled a Xnephomic population suspicious of all outsiders and most, important in my view loved a good fight. We proclaim that we are fighting Al-Quiada, but the Taliban increasingly dominate news coverage of the fighting. The Taliban are Afghans fighting outisders and other Afghans who don't like Taliban.

There appear to be no solution to the U.S. and NATO disengaging any time soon, despite pronouncement from political and military leadership. We need to remember that Taliban/Afghan government are one and the same, tribal groups and alliances that fight one another to be a have and not a have not

 

Asked on by billoneill

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billoneill | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Brett and access teacher raise a point that the end of the Cold War. What defines a nation? Geographical boundaries were redrawn in the collapse of Eastern Europe. Yugoslavia and Czechoslavkia split into the separate nationalist countries that had been forcibly joined together. Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and other former Soviet republics bolted from the Russian and reestablished what Russia, not Soviet Russia, the Russian Empire seized. Afghanistan was also a target for acquisition, but the British blocked Russian attempts. I think current news out of the country shows that the Afghanis still believe in tribal loyalties. History has shown that Afghans fight among themselves when there is no else to fight. Dost Muhammed was the only effective ruler, and he was finally forced out by jealous brothers. Soviet Russsia invaded Afghanistan to prop up a Communist government; the majority of Afghans rejected the communist spiel and launched a war to overthrow the government. Russian involvement brought a jihad upon them and they, like the US, in Vietnam, never completely convinced the people that life was good as a communist state. The North Vietnamese prevailed in 1975 and the muhjadeen in 1989. The various Afghan liberation groups fought among themselves for control and the Taliban won out. They faced an incipient feud with the Northern Alliance and others, until we arrived to avenge their support of Al-Quaeda. We haven't convinced the Afghanis that Western style democracy is a great thing either.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Exactly.  Too many chiefs and not enough Indians. All the tribes in Afghanistan will want their people to be in immediate control which right away does not serve the greatest interest of all the peoples in the country...or non-country as stated above.  It seems to be an impossible puzzle to solve.  However, the first question is do they Afghan citizens want a strong, central, democratic government?  If the answer is "no," then the question and all the blood, sweat, and tears spilled to get there is wasted.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

One of the biggest issues to establishing a central government in Afghanistan is the fact that there are so many different tribes involved, all with different ideas of how their country should be governed.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

#6 raises an interesting issue when we consider nation states such as Afghanistan - what defines a country? Is a border drawn on a map enough to encompass or box in people from radically different ethnic and tribal backgrounds? Does the term "country" have much meaning to some of the indigenous tribal minority groups that exist within what we have come to know as "Afghanistan"? Big questions that are not going to be solved any time soon.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I don't think we can say that we are following the Russian experience of Afghanistan, even though the results of our occupation may end up being similar as far as Afghanistan's future stability or government is concerned.  The Soviets followed a strategy of depopulation and exile in order to pacify the country. While many Afghans are ambivalent about the US and our presence, and certainly some are opposed, their attitudes towards us do not mirror those they still hold towards Russians given the amount of suffering they endured from 1979 - 1988.

All of that being said, Afghanistan is not really a country.  The tribal culture, culture of corruption and general lack of economic development and literacy severely limit the chances for our long term success.

 

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billoneill | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

While it is impossible to argue that things are going well in Afghanistan, there is quite a difference between the motivation behind the United States and NATO's role in the country versus the invading Soviets, Brits, Mongols, or Greeks. We actually have the Northern Alliance on our side, and they are part of the powerful force who drove out the Soviets. The problem lies in the fact that some from the NA and other tribal groups are becoming more and more hesitant to side with the US when they believe that we are going to pull out and leave them to the whim of the Taliban. We have to prove that we are willing to remain alongside them until no longer needed.

While it is undeniably difficult to establish a democratic government in Afghanistan, it is also undeniably obvious that many Afghans long for freedom. This is evident not only from the participation in past elections but also in socially related examples such as the popularity of TV shows like Afghan Star. Millions of Afghans became obsessed with the American Idol type show because it allowed them to vote and brought back many of the elements that they loved from Afghanistan's Golden Age in the 1970s. I think that NATO and the US are missing opportunities to encourage social activities that made Afghans love and enjoy their country in the 70s.

The Afghan government needs to be cleaned up, but perhaps the US needs to focus on making the country secure for its inhabitants so that more honorable and democratic minded individuals can safely run for office. It is not our job to choose leaders for the Afghan people, but we have now made it our obligation to ensure that we don't leave the country in an even worse condition than it was under Taliban rule.

The Northern Alliance was one of many groups led by warlords, as the Taliban were and are. The Afghans have faced unending conflict since the 1970s and many of its people grew up never knowing true peace.

The corruption in the Afghan government is part of the tradition, of the spoils go to the victor. The millions the U.S. and other industrialized nations are pouring into the nation to improve the common lives of the people is a powerful incentive to steal by men, who, in the realm of things were essentially bandits at heart. The instability of Afghan politics make those in power to reap what benefits they can until another, stronger group, rises up and drive them form power.

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billoneill | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I think that you state part of the problem well, but I think that you are leaving out one major issue.  Specifically, I think that a major part of the problem is that we are trying to coax a country into forming a democratic system when it is in no way ready to be a unified, democratic country.

I think that the real problem in Afghanistan is that we only "win" if the central government becomes powerful enough to control the country and if it does so democratically.  Sadly, this is a country with no democratic tradition and very little sense of unity as one political entity.

You are correct, Afghanistan has never had a democratic government as understood by the West. Only one ruler Dost Muhammad, I believe, made an effort to run the country on a democratic basis, and he was overthrown.  Afghanis hold treachery to be a great character trait and the tradition of rival tribes and clans vying for control of the country has been their major flaw over the centuries.  

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

While it is impossible to argue that things are going well in Afghanistan, there is quite a difference between the motivation behind the United States and NATO's role in the country versus the invading Soviets, Brits, Mongols, or Greeks. We actually have the Northern Alliance on our side, and they are part of the powerful force who drove out the Soviets. The problem lies in the fact that some from the NA and other tribal groups are becoming more and more hesitant to side with the US when they believe that we are going to pull out and leave them to the whim of the Taliban. We have to prove that we are willing to remain alongside them until no longer needed.

While it is undeniably difficult to establish a democratic government in Afghanistan, it is also undeniably obvious that many Afghans long for freedom. This is evident not only from the participation in past elections but also in socially related examples such as the popularity of TV shows like Afghan Star. Millions of Afghans became obsessed with the American Idol type show because it allowed them to vote and brought back many of the elements that they loved from Afghanistan's Golden Age in the 1970s. I think that NATO and the US are missing opportunities to encourage social activities that made Afghans love and enjoy their country in the 70s.

The Afghan government needs to be cleaned up, but perhaps the US needs to focus on making the country secure for its inhabitants so that more honorable and democratic minded individuals can safely run for office. It is not our job to choose leaders for the Afghan people, but we have now made it our obligation to ensure that we don't leave the country in an even worse condition than it was under Taliban rule.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that you state part of the problem well, but I think that you are leaving out one major issue.  Specifically, I think that a major part of the problem is that we are trying to coax a country into forming a democratic system when it is in no way ready to be a unified, democratic country.

I think that the real problem in Afghanistan is that we only "win" if the central government becomes powerful enough to control the country and if it does so democratically.  Sadly, this is a country with no democratic tradition and very little sense of unity as one political entity.

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