“It’s not about 30 thousand Talib that are resisting but they have the support of the entire population and I just came back in June and I talked with people, I had conversations and I see things so forth. Afghan people regardless of ethnicity, region, religion, language etc. in their politics; people are joining Talibans because they are fed up with occupation, they want the Americans and the NATO out, they don’t necessarily like the Taliban but they say “we will settle things among ourselves but you need to leave”.”—Professor Zaher Wahab
At the same time as the Taliban attacks there has been a rise in atrocities. We have recently seen British soldiers convicted for raping children, as well as the stabbing by a squaddie of a 10-year-old Afghan boy. A multinational operation in all respects, the US has done its share; kill teams, SS flag-waving, photographing bodies, urinating on corpses and the Panjwai massacre carried out, according to the witnesses, by 15 to 20 US troops. When young men are shaped for war and sent to fight there are consequences – even in “just” wars. The training involves two-way dehumanisation – both of our soldiers and of the enemy – as Giles Fraser highlighted lately. These acts are coming thick and fast at the end of a long, dehumanising, failed war. Conscientious objection was a hard road for me, but while I was in military prison I received 200 letters a day, which helped. As did the support of my fellow soldiers.
The Taliban clearly has broad support from Afghan people. Conscientious objection is a right and obligation in a failed war.
No insurgency can survive without broad support from the local population. The insurgent relies upon the people for intelligence, support, safety and more. The fact that insurgents now control great swaths of the country virtually unchallenged tells us the people have been lost, partially due to the occupiers’ bumbling efforts. The argument that Afghans are rejecting the Taliban falls flat.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. military disposes of garbage—computers, motorbikes, TVs, shoes, even human feces—in open burn pits. Are toxic clouds from these sites making everyone sick?
Shopkeepers close their doors when U.S. troops patrol Bagram Village just outside the American base of the same name.
Their shelves hold Army pants, boots and knives sold to them, they say, by Afghans working on the base, gifts to them from American soldiers but more likely stolen. Either way, soldiers confiscate these items on sight. The shopkeepers sit in the shade watching traffic inch past, motorcycles weaving between cars. They hear the saws and hammers from nearby construction. They watch steam rise from restaurant kitchens.
Sipping tea, the shopkeepers wait for my questions while keeping a wary eye on the passing soldiers. What is it like living so close to an American base? I want to know. I expect them to grumble about the soldiers searching their shops. Instead, they tell me about a strange odor they say comes from the base. It smells of plastic.
The odor, the Afghans said, comes from a burn pit, a huge open dump site used on U.S. bases to consume mountains of trash, unleashing harmful chemicals. Burning plastic, for instance, releases carcinogenic substances that may increase the risk of heart disease and respiratory ailments, cause rashes and damage the nervous system.
Computers, television sets and mobile phones release cadmium, lead, and mercury, which can also damage the nervous system and the kidneys.
As of last year, the United States Central Command estimates that there were 114 open burn pits in Afghanistan. According to a public information officer at Bagram Airbase who asked not to be identified, there were twenty-two burn pits in Iraq as of 2010. Used since the beginning of both wars, burn pits have consumed metals, Styrofoam, human waste, electronics and even, in some cases, vehicles and body parts. Diesel and jet fuel keep the pits burning, adding their own mix of dangerous elements.
There are more than 100,000 troops currently deployed in Afghanistan—and thousands more private contractors—and the Department of Defense estimates that each soldier and contractor generates about ten pounds of solid waste per day.
Military officials declined to comment on the decision to use open burn pits, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency bans open pit burning of materials that discharge toxic chemicals and whose smoke can contribute to the risk of cancer, asthma and reproductive problems. The EPA also prohibits open pit burning grass and leaves, food and petroleum products such as plastic, rubber and asphalt.
hiyaa, do you consider afghanistan part of the middle east or asia? my sisters and i always debate about where afgh is actually at. loool
Afghanistan is not part of the Middle east. It is rather located in the center of Asia, forming parts of South Asia, Central Asia and Western Asia.
You can check the countries located in Middle east here; There are total of 17 countries in the Middle east. All are Arab countries except for Israel, Iran & Cyprus .
In USA, Afghanistan is internationally recognized in South Asia. Cultural wise, Afghanistan is more close to India/Pakistan, than it is to Arabs.
However, politically, it may belong to the middle east , as many of its issues are similar to the middle east rather than South Asia. The middle East has always been a very vague term, in which countries were added and removed depending on the context. For example Egypt is both in Africa and middle east. Turkey is the same too; Also Afghanistan, When the war on terror and the misery of its people are discussed ( they are middle eastern), but when its culture, beauty or ancient history is discussed it is in South Asia ( as western media presents).
According to Afghanistan expert Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Afghanistan is located at “none of the above mentioned”. As it is one of the obvious geopolitical fault lines in the world, the area known as Afghanistan has historically been in between all these regions.
These are facts which you can verify if you want. You can then draw your own conclusion as to where you think Afghanistan is.
Hi I hope you get the chance to reply back because Im going to visit Afghanistan in August and I wanted to bring things from the US to there to give to the children, poor, etc. What are some valuable items for them that are overlooked here in the first world? I heard books and pencils/pens are needed but I wanted some reassurance from someone who visits there often. And is it safe enough for an 18 year old girl to go there? With family of course. Im Afghan but I've lived in Europe/US all my life
Hello. To answer your question, Afghan children mostly need school supplies as you mentioned because they are very passionate about education yet, unfortunately they have very limited supplies of note books, bags, pencils etc. Aside from that, Afghan children are also in great need of winter supplies, as estimated, about more than 40 children die annually in Afghanistan just for the lack of winter supplies to keep them warm such as coats, jackets, sweaters, shoes, gloves etc. These are the main things children need in Afghanistan. Other things such as Toys are all secondary wants which are not necessary because Afghan children are not at luxury of having their basic needs to survive fulfilled in first place. I strongly urge people who visit Afghanistan and want to buy things for children & want to spend money to think of the Important things first. Things that can save lives, help lives of the children move forward, such as mentioned about from educational supplies to winter supplies.
It is safe for anyone to visit Afghanistan specially if you have a family there you can be with then you don’t have to worry about anything. The only people that can be in danger (or ways that can attract dangers) in Afghanistan whether if they are Foreigners or locals, are these:
1) People who try to spread or teach other religious beliefs to Afghans in general. In any way it might be, such people are in danger because Afghans hate such actions & don’t take it lightly.
2) People who show off to be rich in one way or another (specially if you are going to areas out side the cities). Wearing expensive things or showing off money here and there can make some thieves to arrange abductions asking for money, just knowing the family is wealthy enough to live in western countries can be a cause. (this is only in public outside, where strangers might see/interact with you, not everyone is such but still, for safety). Increasing number of people recently in Afghanistan has started to make a job out of this ransom business.
3) It is advisable for woman not to go alone anywhere. You should always be in company of other females in a group or have a male with you. Also not to go out of home late nights for your safety.
4) It is also for the best to cover ones head/hair while going out ( even the western journalists stick to this when going to Afghanistan). This is to avoid mistreatment of people towards you specially from the males. One should be modest and not reveal ones full arms or legs so on. This is to avoid unwanted attention which can be troublesome at a times. [This is also in public areas outside, i don’t mean in private or with family]
There is nothing to be afraid of in Afghanistan as long as you are being just your normal afghan self. All afghans whether they live in Europe or US, know their traditions or even bits of it. As long as they are followed in Afghanistan nothing is going to be a problem. In kabul especially women have a lot of freedom (compared to before) and once you are there you can see for your self what you can and can’t do & you will see it wont be complicated at all.
Most of the things I mentioned above is mainly if you are going to places outside the main cities such as Kabul, herat etc. to villages and other conservative areas. Also outside in streets to walk from one place to another specially if far or associate with strangers you don’t know [ & I don’t mean children].
1. Support of Dictators 2. Preemptive Wars of Aggression 3. Torture 4. Suppression of Dissent 5. Elimination of Habeas Corpus 6. Assassinating Citizens 7. Unauthorized Drone Wars 8. Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction 9. World’s Largest Drug Dealer 10. World Reserve Currency Prison
“Like it or not, there was better rule of law under the Taliban,”—Dee Brillenburg Wurth, a child-protection expert at the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, who has sought to persuade the government to address the problem of ” bacha Bazi” (dancing boys) . “They [Taliban] saw it as a sin, and they stopped a lot of it.” Dee said. (unlike the recent gov. which ignores the problem)