Posts Tagged ‘Pastuns’

Peace Movement to Begin? Withdraw U.S. Troops from Afghanistan (Ed. note: and elsewhere)

October 12, 2010

We, at Out of  Central Asia Now, have been bringing you opinions from writers from throughout the world.  All of the stories were used by us to show we Must End These Wars Now.  Today, we bring you from CNN, the following story in full.  It is time for our White Ribbons with black letters to be worn on our clothes to show that we want the war(s) over NOW.  Read on please.

Amitai Etzioni, University Professor and Former Israeli Commando, CNN Photo


Withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan By Amitai Etzioni, Special to CNN October 12, 2010 10:11 a.m. EDT

Editor’s note: Amitai Etzioni is a sociologist and professor of international relations at George Washington University and the author of several books, including “Security First” and “New Common Ground.” He was a senior adviser to the Carter administration and has taught at Columbia and Harvard universities and the University of California, Berkeley.

(CNN) — Before I explain why I believe the time has come to start a stop-the-war movement, I should say that I am not one of those intellectuals who has never worried about the fate of their loved ones or gotten his own boots dirty.

My son completed a five-year stint in the U.S. 1st Armored Division. As an Israeli commando, I saw a lot of fighting during Israel’s war for independence. My unit started fighting with 1,100 members; when the fighting stopped, 700 were dead and buried or wounded. And we killed all too many on the other side.

I abhor war and believe we should fight only when there is a clear and present danger, when all other means for resolving a conflict have been truly exhausted and to protect the innocent. Those are the three criteria of a just war. The war in Afghanistan used to meet these criteria. It no longer does.

We invaded Afghanistan to stop it from serving as a base for terrorists of the kind who attacked us on 9/11. This goal has been accomplished.

Fewer than 100 members of al Qaeda are in Afghanistan. There are many more in Yemen and Somalia, which we are not planning to invade.

Video: Karzai: Relations with Obama good

Video: Karzai: Osama bin Laden not here

Video: Failed rescue attempt probe The Taliban has no designs on us, beyond making us leave. After that, the people of Afghanistan can duke it out over which kind of regime they want. If the majority of the Afghan people don’t want the Taliban to rule, they should fight for their rights, as they have shown they can when they defeated the Taliban in 2002 with limited help from us.

Some claim that we must keep fighting to secure human rights, especially women’s rights, and a democratic regime in Afghanistan. However, nothing indicates that we can accomplish in this godforsaken 12th-century country what we did in Germany and Japan after World War II.

The metrics that the U.S. Army keeps inventing to show progress are pitiful. Having committed 100,000 troops and a similar number of “private” contractors against rag-tag, poorly equipped, illiterate locals, we captured a few scores of square miles, opened a few markets and a local government or two. But large and growing areas of Afghanistan are under Taliban control. We should neither die nor kill for an illusion.

Sometimes, a minor news item highlights a much greater issue.

A recent report from an embedded reporter for GlobalPost shows a 19-year-old American soldier getting shot in the head — his helmet saved him from death — as his unit traveled through Kunar Province in late August. They were surveying polling sites for the upcoming elections. Also, a homemade bomb, called an IED, damaged and set afire the lead vehicle of this small convoy and severely wounded its driver.

It seemed absurd to risk lives of Americans, our allies or Afghans to support faux elections.

In many parts of the country, ballot stations could not be opened. In others, massive fraud took place. Adding insult to injury, we congratulated the Afghan government on holding “successful” elections. That way, we did not have to admit to the world and each other that whatever the Karzai government is — one of the most corrupt governments in the world, a foundation of a new narcostate — democracy it ain’t, by a long shot.

How much our entanglement in Afghanistan is turning into a sad farce became all too clear when President Obama flew to Kabul to tell Karzai that he ought to stop corruption.

When, in response, Karzai started negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban, the White House rolled out the red carpet for Karzai and announced that from now on, the U.S. will focus on low-level corruption. Moreover, it turns out that major sources of corruption are our corporations and the CIA.

It’s time to bring our troops home.

To encourage our president and Congress to withdraw the troops, let’s fasten to our lapels white ribbons (for peace) with black letters (mourning those who died) that read “Bring them home.” The time has come to organize teach-ins and antiwar groups. Instead of another march on Washington, let there be rallies across America. Bring the troops home.

The opinions in this commentary are solely those of Amitai Etzioni.

45+ Afghans die during air raid, NATO, U.S. deny it happened

August 7, 2010

The NATO command and the U.S. Forces are lying to us, the public. They can not be trusted. These wars must end. What is to be gained by continuing? What is Victory? Our friends at Rethink Afghanistan have produced this video of the deaths of 45+ innocent civilians in a small Afghan Village. This has been denied by NATO and the U.S. Forces. What would you do if this were your village? After viewing the video, go to Rethink Afghanistan and send a letter to your Members of Congress.

Political Borders does not a Country Make. The Kurds, the Pashtuns, the Baloch, how to satisfy them?

October 1, 2009

BULLETIN:Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second in command, has sung the praises of former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud on a videotape produced by As Sahab and distributed on jihadi forums. Zawahiri used Baitullah’s death to praise the Taliban’s fight against NATO and the US in Afghanistan. This story outlines what al Qaeda believes about the Pakistan Government and Military, that they work for foreign governments, not for the people.]

Artificial lines separating Tribes are causing the problems that can not be solved with guns/bombs/drones.

Two of the Huge Problems that no one is facing in Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan are due to artificial borders laid out years ago. The Iraq problem is what to do with the Kurds, who lay claim to Kirkuk (after Saddam sent Iraqi’s into Kirkuk and chased out/killed many Kurds so now the population is not a high majority of Kurds like it was before Saddam’s action), the richest underdeveloped oil fields in Iraq. Who gets this oil? Will the Iraqi’s kill all the Kurds? Will the Turks help out as many Kurds are in what is known as Turkey? The Turks battle and kill Kurds when they please. Read our story 40 Million? Leyla Zana speaks for them.

Kurdish Woman's headdress

Kurdish Woman's headdress

The Afghanistan/Pakistan problem is that the majority of both of these countries should be called Pashtunistan, because almost 40 million Pashtuns make up this area, but they have no country, they are either Afghani or Pakistani. So the U.S. brings them Democracy, a Constitution, a Central Government, something that is totally against the culture of both the Kurds and the Pashtuns.
Pashtun Women in headdress

Pashtun Women in headdress

The Pashtuns are run by Pashtunwali, an alternative form of social organization, see our story here. Over the centuries, complex and sophisticated conflict-resolution mechanisms, legal codes, and alternative forms of governance have developed in the region. The rural Pashtuns prefer their own mechanisms to alien, external ones, because, in their perceptions, theirs are clearly superior, said Thomas Johnson/M. Chris Mason in No Sign until the Burst of Fire.

The splitting up of land masses and calling the areas within artifical lines “Countries” has led to much damage in Central Asia and many other places. Let’s look at Pashtunistan, an area of land that is made up primarily of people of Pastun descent. It happens to not be a country at all. It was divided by an artificial line, the Durand Line in 1893. Pashtunistan is now the area that is under the most fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan as Pastunistan covers most of what is now called Afghanistan, and a majority of the lands now called Pakistan, which was known as British India before Pakistan was cut out of India. Here’s Pashtunistan:

The Green Area is Pashtunistan (2007 map)  The Green line is the Durand Line with a small change since 1893

The Green Area is Pashtunistan (2007 map) The Green line is the Durand Line with a small change since 1893

Let’s take a quick look to Kurdistan. The Kurds have a small area of Iraq on the North that they are left to self-govern. This is all of the recognized areas that the Kurds now have, even though there are over 40 Million Kurds in four different countries, all held down by their new Nation. Here’s what Kurdistan should look like:

What should be Kurdistan, home of 40 Million Kurds, across four "Countries"
Another map of Kurdistan, for comparison purposes:

A different map of Kurdistan Area

A different map of Kurdistan Area

And of course, the new highlighted area “Balochistan”, an area of land that is now all within Pakistan, and was cut into Pakistan when India and Pakistan border was laid out. The Baloch’s are a proud and ancient tribe of people, see our story on Balochistan
Balochistan and the other three areas that should be countries

Balochistan and the other three areas that should be countries

Gowar Shakar Bibi, founder of Baloch Women Panel(BWP) at a press conference in January 2005 condemning the Pakistani operation against Baloch people in New Kahan.

Gowar Shakar Bibi, founder of Baloch Women Panel(BWP) at a press conference in January 2005 condemning the Pakistani operation against Baloch people in New Kahan.


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An Assault on North or South Waziristan will have Major Consequences for the Pakistan Government

September 19, 2009

North and South Waziristan (in Red, bottom left), source Election Commission of Pakistan

North and South Waziristan (in Red, bottom left), source Election Commission of Pakistan

North and South Waziristan, inhabit the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) (which IS NOT Federally Administered). These are Pastuns. Pakistan, since it was formed, has left this area alone, not pushing their government on them. They have co-existed, sometimes having battles, but these have been resolved in the past. If the Pakistan Military (and U.S. DRONES) begins to fight here, it will never end, the Pashtuns will seek revenge forever. There’s a tale of a 300 year old feud mentioned in their paper “No Sign until the Burst of Fire, understanding the Pakistan -Afghanistan Frontier”, Thomas Johnson and M. Chris Mason state “According to tradition, members of the Pashtun Hill Tribes who inhabit the FATA are descendents of Karlan, a foundling adopted as the fourth son of Qais Abdur Rashid, a contemporary of the Prophet Mohammed and the Ur-ancestor of the Pashtun ethnic group. The Hill Tribes, or Karlanri, include many of the warlike tribes, such as the afridis, Daurs, Jadrans, Ketrans, Mahuds, Mohmands, and Waziris. Of all the Pashtun tribes, the Qaziris or the greater Waziristan (a region that includes North Waziristan Agency, South Waziristan Agency, and the Bermol District of Afghanistan’s Paktika Province) are reputed to be the most conservative and iracible. The Waziris pride themselves of never having paid taxes to any sovereigh and never having their lands, which they consider veiled, or in purdah, conquered”

[Ed. Note: This is a must-read paper by all who have anything to do with Afghanistan/Pakistan. I hope our State Dept., and Defense Dept., and all of the White House staff are made to read this paper. It spells out in great detail the history of Afghanistan/Pakistan and the Pashtun Area that was absorbed by both countries, one of the major causes of the problem of “the Border”, as it splits the area into two pieces]

The DRONE attacks in North and South Waziristan have killed Pastun Tribal leaders, some are called “Taliban”. The tribes in these areas (over 350 separate tribes, according to Johnson/Mason) have many clans (or Khels), and some are so large there are sub-clans. The Pashtuns have a social code called “Pashtunwali”, which means “the way of the Pashtuns”. This social code has kept the Pashtun Tribes as a unit for over 1,000 years. The Pashtuns follow the code to maintain “Honor”. The Pashtuns settle their differences themselves, by following their codes. They wil accept no law but their own.

These core tenants of the code include self-respect, independence, justice, hospitality, forgiveness, and tolarance. They can not be ruled by a Central Government in Pakistan, that is impossible. Same for the Pastuns on the Afghanistan part of the border. They go by the same code. Here’s a map of the Pashtun lands that were divided by the Durand Line in 1893. It just split up 40 Million Pastuns and “made” them Afghaistani or Pakistani.
Map of "Pashtunistan" 2007

The Pakistan Military’s action in SWAT Valley has proven what a tragic event that has become. Over 2 Million people left their homes. Lived in tents, or with others that took them in, for months, while their homelands were destroyed by cannon fire and bombs dropped from airplanes and helicopters. It is reported that only 1,000,000 have returned to their homelands. The infrastructure is broken, their homes and lands in some cases do not exist anymore. Attacking North and South Waziristan will only repeat this tragedy, this war crime. For What?

UPDATE: US Ambassador Slams ‘Reluctant’ Pakistan for Lack of Support Pakistan, US Have Different Priorities Ambassador Anne Patterson is accusing the Pakistan Government of not taking on the fighters in North and South Waziristan, and the Pakistan Government is afraid that it would be “Unwinnable”.

I leave you with this “Who they Are”and Please read their great analysis on the People of the Area, and history of the area: Thomas H. Johnson is Research Professor in the Dept. of National Security Affairs and Director of the Program for Culture and Conflict Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School. His most recent articles on Afghanistan have appeared in numerous journals, edited volumes, and other texts. M. Chris Mason is Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, He served as a political officer on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and is recently retired fro the U.S. Foreigh Service.
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