a Someone should care, maybe not you....: Afghanistan again .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

06 January 2007

Afghanistan again

As anyone who has even remotely been following what is going on in
Afghanistan knows President Hamid Karzai is very unhappy with Pakistan. He, and everyone else in Afghanistan, knows that the Taliban, the Hizb I Islami Gulbadin, and pretty much anyone else opposed to the current system in the country is hiding out there and crossing the border to attack and work other mischief. Karzai wants Pakistan to do something about this. Pakistan on the other hand has a pretty good record of hunting down al Queda cells in their country but the Taliban pretty much gets a free pass. The Pakistanis feel that they are doing all they can and it is the job of the Afghans to protect their country. There is no love lost here. The US has been pressuring Pakistan to do more and recently Pakistan announced that it would build fences and put minefields along the border to stop illegal infiltrations. Now, it would seem on the surface that this is a step towards what Karzai wants. But the Afghan Government lead by Karzai has condemned this action and demands that it not take place.

What the heck is going on here?

Well, to know that you have to look back in history a bit. When Great Brittan ruled the Indian Subcontinent they expanded to the northwest into what is now Afghanistan. They fought a few very bloody wars that they didn’t win and sort of declared a border deciding that here is our territory and over there is this place called Afghanistan. As is typical with colonial borders this paid no attention to who actually lived in the areas in question. This was very obvious again later when the British decided they had had enough of the colony stuff and were going home, and made India and Pakistan. They declared the Durrand Line as the border between the new country of Pakistan and the Nation of Afghanistan. They did not of course ask the Afghans about this. The Durrand Line runs right through the middle of was known as Pashtunistan. The Afghan government has NEVER recognized the Durrand line as the legitimate border between the two countries. When Pakistan was new there were very real fears that Afghanistan, which then was militarily much stronger and better organized than Pakistan, would invaded and take the disputed territories. For a lot of what then seemed like very good reasons the US backed Pakistan driving the Afghans towards the Soviet Union which in the long run turned out to be a pretty bad thing for them. When the current Afghan government was created under great pressure from the US they sort of accepted the Durrand line as the boundary with Pakistan. But there is a huge difference between saying, yeah okay that is the boundary, and actually allowing fences and minefields to define it. The dream f greater Pashtunistan still burns pretty strong in a lot of those tribes hearts and denying that dream would not be a good move for Karzai. This, not coincidently, goes a long way towards explaining why Pakistan stayed so heavily involved in the situation in Afghanistan over the years. The Pakistanis were always very much against the return of the Afghan king because the Kings father had been a strong proponent of Pashtunistan and a lot of Pashtuns in Pakistan would have felt more loyalty and to him than they do to Pakistan. Many in Afghanistan feel tha Pakistan is very deliberately keeping the Taliban going to keep Afghanistan from becoming unified, stable, and strong again. And from some things I have read, they may not be all that far off. One telling indicator of the feelings between the two nations could be found in the interrogations I conducted while I was in Afghanistan. One of the questions I used to ask almost every detainee was “Who is the enemy of Afghanistan?” And every person I asked that question responded “Pakistan”.


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