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Perspective fram an Afghani in the U.S.


Henry

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Saw this on another board. Thought you all might find this interesting.

"Written by an Afghani in the U.S.

I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ron Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done." And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.

I speak as one who deeply hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. My hatred comes from first hand experience. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters. But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin

Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden,think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.

Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.

We come now to the question of "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age". Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the

rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide.

Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs would not really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time.

So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing

innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that folks.

Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.

And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the West would win, whatever that would mean, but the

war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Unfortunately, Bin Laden does. Anyone else?

In Peace,

Tamim Ansary"

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It's important to know, first of all, that a people of a nation are ultimately responsible for the leaders of that nation. If the Taliban is evil and bad and repressive, the $20 million Afghan citizens, starving or not, can rise up and remove the 50,000 Taliban fighters. That's all the Taliban has.

When you see reports of 40,000 Taliban fighers massing on the border of Pakistan with Scuds, just start laughing, because that would leave the Northern Alliance unchecked, and they have no Scuds. What is said here is predominately true though. There really isn't an infrastructure in this country to attack.

There's no running water. There are five paved roads. There is no military complex. There's really nothing left in this country to attack. In this country, knowing that, you probably limit what you do attack to that which you know is valuable, what little there is, to the Taliban. And, instead now of targeting Bin Laden, you target those $50,000 Taliban leaders and fighters.

You absolutely can remove that government. Without any issue. Alread the Afghan representive in the world community represents the Northern Alliance. That group has 15,000 fighters and another 15,000 who would fight. Not enough on their own, but plenty when we start shredding the Taliban. And, when they come in, knowing they have spies within the Taliban and they know the country, we'll use them to help us smoke Bin Laden out.

This is not your daddy's war. This is an entirely different effort we're undertaking in this specific country. And knowing there is so little to bomb, we won't be bombing too much. The collateral damage won't really be directly from bombs. In Iraq where we dropped tons of munitions, we only killed 2,300 civilians. It was after the bombing that we killed their civilians, as hundreds of thousands have died from starvation and lack of medicine stemming from the sanctions and the government there not giving the people the food and medicine we allow in.

Here it will be much the same. The Taliban itself will be targeted and the civilians killed will be a fairly low number. They'll just die en masse if we don't remove the Taliban and help the Northern Alliance, or whoever steps forward in a rebellion, rebuild and feed.

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Doom is in the box.

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Art, you wrote: "If the Taliban is evil and bad and repressive, the $20 million Afghan citizens, starving or not, can rise up and remove the 50,000 Taliban fighters. That's all the Taliban has."

C'mon, now this is indicative of a total lack of comprehension on your part. Heavily armed Russians weren't successful in defending the Soviet-backed Kabul regime against the Taliban yet you casually state that starving Afghan citizens should have no trouble in overthrowing the current rulers. Insane! Perhaps you've no idea what it's like to have your sole goal to be that of finding enough food to get you and your family through each day. The Taliban not only are funded in part by Bin Laden, but receive an enormous amount of income from the opium drug trade. Just so I get this straight, you envision that the Afghan citizens, armed with sticks and stones, stand a chance against Taliban soldiers carrying machine guns, bazookas, rocket launchers, and other various forms of artillery?

You're going to have to set me straight here Art. For right now I'm left with the impression that you're trying ease your own conscience by rationalizing that Afghans citizens deserved to be killed by the U.S. if they won't stand up and fight the Taliban themselves.

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"The Kurp"

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All the gentleman says below is true, the Afghans have no functioning economy or infrastructure,

most people do not support the Taliban or Bin Laden.

We do have to measure our response based on future moves on the chessboard in the Middle

East and the US can' t be seen to be killing thousands of Afghans in an indiscriminate manner.

At the same time, from what you read below, it appears the author has no practicable solution

other than to counsel that we continue to suffer terror if and when it occurs as being part of the

costs of doing business globally in the modern world.

That stagnant response is not acceptable either. As with Lebanon in the 1970's and 1980's,

a power vacuum will be filled by some force. The Taliban and Bin Laden have done so as

of this writing. No doubt left to its own devices, Afghanistan will continue to be a problem

spot as those supported by Russia or other countries in the region will challenge the status quo

and look to overthrow the powers at be.

But, the key for the US is to focus on Bin Laden and his empire across perhaps 20 countries

and not get tied down in trying to resolve or become involved in the internal affairs of all

of those states.

As long as we can apply enough pressure to keep him moving and use our intelligence to located and

freeze his assets and the funnels of money he is receiving from wealthy Arabs, Bin Laden and his

group will ultimately be suffocated.

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There are some issues here that don't make sense.

If the Taliban is so universally reviled in Afghanistan, if there is no infrastructure left for the people to fight for, and if the situation is so dire currently, why doesn't the Northern Alliance field more than 15,000? You'd think there would be far more support for their cause.

I thought of lack of money, but supposedly the Russians are aiding them.

Perhaps they are feckless, and the people recognize that. They apparently can't protect their own leaders as witnessed by the assasination this past week.

Or perhaps they are as extreme in their ideology as the Taliban are in theirs.

Or perhaps they are the leftovers of the corrupt warlords that were picking over the bones of Afghanistan following the expulsion of the Soviets.

Maybe a after a dose of the Taliban, they might seem more attractive to the people. But maybe not.

So assuming that the Northen Alliance is little more than an irritant to the Taliban, and that we may not want to prop up too much anyway:

We will need to attack the Taliban on mulitple fronts.

We need diversions to keep the Taliban occupied and their resources spread thin. Stirring up the Iranians along the southern border, aiding the Northern Alliance as best we can without creating a future problem, getting the Pakistanis to at least attempt to seal their border so that the Taliban supply routes are cut off, then getting permission from the Russians to allow us to use Tajikstan as a staging area for any military or covert operations within Afghanistan, seems to be a good start.

There is one other thing we can do that might make this all moot. The Taliban have stated that they could not turn over bin Laden to an infidel state, such as the US. They have said that we must furnish unequivocable proof, but I believe that's just a blind and that we could never provide anything of the srot withour seriously compromising our operations.

So instead, we try to find an Islamic state that will take bin Laden from the Taliban, and would then turn him over to us. It lets the Taliban save face, and it allows us to see which moslem countries are ready to put up or shut up.

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Kurp, I'm only too happy to set you straight.

"Art, you wrote: "If the Taliban is evil and bad and repressive, the $20 million Afghan citizens, starving or not, can rise up and remove the 50,000 Taliban fighters. That's all the Taliban has.""

Yes, this is PRECISELY what I wrote. And this is precisely true. The people of a nation are ultimately responsible for the government in place. In countries like Afghanistan, when people tire of a government, they rebel against it. As nations have done for centuries. As we've done here in this nation.

"C'mon, now this is indicative of a total lack of comprehension on your part. Heavily armed Russians weren't successful in defending the Soviet-backed Kabul regime against the Taliban yet you casually state that starving Afghan citizens should have no trouble in overthrowing the current rulers."

The Soviets marched into Kabul and installed a government of it's own choosing. You may not understand the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and from your own words that's pretty clear, so, read here and you'll better grasp it. The Soviets, after easily installing a government, supported it with tanks and arms.

The Soviets stayed in Afghanistan for 10 years, and only as their country began to crumble did they begin to pull out. If the Soviet Union hadn't crushed itself, as it's people ultimately overthrew the repressive government, it would still be in Afghanistan. But, the Soviets didn't get to occupy the nation freely. It had control of the government and the capital, but it didn't have control of the country as a popular and people led group, the Afghan Jihad, rose up against the Soviets and made their existence in this country difficult. This popular movement did so with arms from us and full logistical support from Pakistan, which was then totally in our pocket.

Again, here's an invading Army from the Soviet Union installing a puppet government and being harassed by a people and a popular movement and a very large nation on the other side of the world. We know for a fact that the people of Afghanistan can, indeed, limit a repressive government. They've shown when they don't want a government in place, they can fight against it. Now you'd have us believe these same people can't fight against the Taliban when they could fight against the Soviets? Oh, this is insane, but, on your end my friend.

You can't have it both ways. The Afghan people have shown they can rise up against an oppressive government and ultimately drive it out. If they don't do this against the Taliban, then perhaps they don't find it repressive. Perhaps they don't have a problem with it.

"Insane! Perhaps you've no idea what it's like to have your sole goal to be that of finding enough food to get you and your family through each day."

The Afghan people knew this for the entire time the Soviets were occupying the country. It was the Soviet army that destroyed this nation's infrastructure and farming capacity. Perhaps you have no idea what a roused nation can do to topple a cruel and evil regime.

"The Taliban not only are funded in part by Bin Laden, but receive an enormous amount of income from the opium drug trade."

You are wrong. In fact, one thing the Taliban has been KNOWN for is the total eradication of ALL drugs in their country, especially a very lucrative heroin trade originating out of the nation prior to the Taliban taking over. The Taliban is strictly against drugs. And the Taliban has gone to great lenghts to totally remove drugs from that country, as well as disarming the society. This is where the problem with rising up comes. They no longer have weapons to rise up with, but they have numbers, and 100 people can take a guy with a rifle.

"Just so I get this straight, you envision that the Afghan citizens, armed with sticks and stones, stand a chance against Taliban soldiers carrying machine guns, bazookas, rocket launchers, and other various forms of artillery?"

Much like the Afghans have shown, armed with very little, they were able to topple a world power and existing government. Armed with stingers and machine guns, they defeated the full wrath of a Soviet occupied nation with the desire to be a people in charge of their own destiny. Now, we're to believe they can't topple 50,000 clerics and other fanatics very lightly armed and with the support of 30,000 armed men in the north of the country ready to step in?

"You're going to have to set me straight here Art. For right now I'm left with the impression that you're trying ease your own conscience by rationalizing that Afghans citizens deserved to be killed by the U.S. if they won't stand up and fight the Taliban themselves. "

The Afghan people will have to die if they don't stand up and help topple the Taliban. This is clear. It's equally as clear that we will not do this in a conventional fashion, but, we do intend to starve out the government by staving the people. You have seen that we have told Pakistan to stop sending anything into Afghanistan. We are presently allowing food to be sent, but, we will stop that should we act against this nation. You starve out the leadership by starving out the population and FORCING them to fight simply to survive, since they won't fight to topple this evil regime we all keep talking about.

No, Kurp, I'm pretty clear on what I've said. We will try to limit civilian casualties, but, in order to drive out this government, we have to close it from all support. People will die from this action, should this be the action we undertake. And, at the end of the day, the people starving can make the situation better by helping end this regime and installing a government of their own people and choosing, since we probably don't intend to occupy this nation.

Kurp, you are going to have to set me straight here, because more and more it sounds like you are trying to blame the U.S. for this attack and attempting to wiggle out of winning a war that isn't a pretty thing to fight. I realize you'd prefer to send in candy and cake and go dancing with the people of Afghanistan to win this, but, that's not what war is.

People will die because of this. People already have. It's a fact of LIFE that when you undertake an operation of this magnitude that people will perish. That's a terrible thing. But, hopefully with the leaflets that we will drop that WILL read, "This paper is replaced with food as soon as the Taliban is overthrown," the people will rise up. And if they don't, they you know the side the people have taken against terrorism.

Our leaflets worked very well agaisnt the Iraqis, as so many thousands of their people and soldiers surrendered without fighting rather than help their government. The people of Iraq helped us limit the devestation. The people in Afghanistan will be granted the same opportunity. Whether they take us up on the offer or not is a guess I'm not able to make.

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Doom is in the box.

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I think that it is naive to think that the Afgan people are capable of overthrowing the Taliban government on their own.

First of all, I don't think that there are just two factions Taliban and some vague group of "others" There are many layers to any society and Afganistan is no exception. I dare say that most of the energy of the Afgan populous is directed to survival. The country has been decimated by war for years and was not a "Garden" to begin with. It is a mountainous, desolate country.

Moreover, the Afgan people did not overthrow the Soviet puppet government or force the Soviets to withdraw on their own. They had lots and lots of help, from us. 20 years ago we were, in fact, allied with members of the Taliban.

This war must be fought with ground troops in a guerrila-like fashion. We cannot set up firebases and hope to win the hearts and minds of the people, been there, done that. We also cannot simply lob shells into this country and hope to hit something. We did that too, in 1998 after the two embassy bombings, and that action has provided Bin Laden with many of his recruits. There were such hard feelings from that attack, that people flocked to his call.

We must be patient, deliberate and careful with our use of force. We must show restraint. We must learn from the mistakes of the Israelis in Palistine and British in Northern Ireland. We must not bomb this country back to the stone age. That would be seriously counterproductive.

We can win this war, but it will not be by macho demonstrations of our power. We must learn the lessons of the Soviets and from our own experiences in Vietnam.

We must be the Ninja, not the Knight on horseback.

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the truth of the matter is the Taliban are against drug production for distribution within Afghanistan, but are responsible for its exportation abroad and the windfall profits that result from that trade.

Indeed the Taliban shut down dealers in the West last year but that was because they were not giving the ruling militia their cut of the profits.

The Taliban has no qualms about shipping drugs to the West or to other countries.

It is estimated that the Taliban get approximately 40% of their money from the sale of drugs. Only Pakistan provides a comparable level of support to the regime.

A week ago I suggested the very same scenario of making a deal to deliver Bin Laden to a third country from which the US could either extradite him or put him in prison.

The problem with that scenario is that Bin Laden may be powerful enough that the Taliban itself is afraid of his organization and what it can do.

There is definitely a disagreement within the intelligence community as to the conditions on the ground vis a vis the Taliban and Bin Laden right now.

There is always the chance that Bin Laden could leave Afghanistan without notice and go to supporting countries such as Bangladesh and some areas of central asia.

In fact it is not inconceivable that his organization may in the short-term be through with directly confronting the US, having made its point, and has now gone underground to protect itself from retribution.

This scenario means the US is going to have to be patient and use third party intelligence services to track down and finger those sympathizers and operatives that are in place around the world.

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I have to disagree with you Art, regarding your statement that the Taliban not only aren't in the opium business, but are virulently oppsed to it.

I've seen link between the Taliban and poppy production mentioned several times over the past week on various TV shows, as well as:

The Guardian in this article states that "For the Taliban, opium production is a big source of income; this year alone [2000] it brought in at least $9m".

The Overseas Development Institute, in this 'War Economies' abstract states that the Taliban actively tax the opium traffic.

And as this report from the Secretary General of the United Nations indicates, the Taliban agreed to accept development funds in return for policing the production of poppies and the manufacture of opium, only to renege on their promises of enforcement. In 5 targetted provinces under Taliban control, opium production dropped in 2, rose in 2, and stayed the same in the 1.

Hardly the principled 'total eradication' you suggest.

[edited.gif by Terry on September 18, 2001.]

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IMO as an average citizen, this "war" cannot be won by our military becuase it is not a war in the traditional sense.

This is a war for the CIA, FBI, INS, Coast Guard and Interpol. OF course, the military can help here and there, but to take out assassins you send in assassins. We need to expand the CIA/FBI budget and sanction wet operations immediately.

Afghanistan and the Taliban are merely the tip of the iceberg. Bin Laden will soon clear out and take up hiding somewhere else. If we get Bin Laden, then some other mastermind will pop up.

His money, and all terrorist money, comes from Arab oil profits. Why no talk from Dubya about how we are we going to destroy Arab oil profits?

It's all about the money. Follow the money.

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Art, it is clear to me that you are far from informed on the facts. It is also clear to me that on the insensitivity scale of 1-to-10, you rate a 50. To add to that, your arguments are twisted with contradictions that surface repeatedly when you want to focus on a narrow point in lieu of the overall picture.

You accuse me of being wrong on the Taliban deriving income from the opium trade. Try reading the following article:

http://www6.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/central/05/26/taleban.drugs/

You speak, out of ignorance obviously, of Afghans uniting in a popular movement against the Soviet jihad. What you've either failed to learn or decided to conveniently omit is that several thousand fundamentalists had arrived from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, and other Middle East countries during the latter years of the Soviet-Afghan war. Osama Bin Laden was one of these Arabi who came from Saudi Arabia bearing abundant funds to buy the support of growing numbers of Afghan guerrilla commanders as well as arming them with elaborate weapons.

I ask you Art, who is there now among the Afghan citizens to overthrow the Taliban? Who is their new 'Bin Laden' to supply them with arms and money to fight the Taliban? Where is their support from other Arab countries in terms of supplying trained soldiers to overthrow the Taliban? You state correctly on one hand that the Afghan rebels received support from allies like Pakistan (AND the U.S.) in their fight against the Soviets yet you offer no such examples of support in your assertion that Afghans could overthrow the Taliban today, if they 'so choose'.

Art, you wrote: "Much like the Afghans have shown, armed with very little, they were able to topple a world power and existing government. Armed with stingers and machine guns, they defeated the full wrath of a Soviet occupied nation with the desire to be a people in charge of their own destiny." Rubbish Art. The Afghans were VERY well armed thanks to the U.S. and the Pakistani goverments. However once the Soviets withdrew, the U.S. and to an extent Pakistan, simply walked away leaving the 'popular' movement with no resources with which to prevent the Taliban from occupying 85% of the country.

And let's say for argument's sake that another Afghan coalition were to overthrow the Taliban. In favor of what? Would another faction be able to better provide food, water, and jobs? What's the incentive to oust the Taliban? To appease the U.S. goverment who's largely responsible for the Taliban's rise to power in the first place? Let's not forget that Bush himself has given the Taliban millions of dollars. Yet now you advocate the killing of Afghans without regard to their politcal and religious affliation unless they sacrifice their lives to drive off the very goverment the U.S. had a hand in giving power to?

Art, you wrote that I "prefer to send in candy and cake and go dancing with the people of Afghanistan to win this, but, that's not what war is." That's a cheap shot Art. I am equally upset by the tragedy that occured last week. For you to trivialize my viewpoint with regards to what our response should be is narrow-minded and uncalled for. No, I do not favor a U.S. response that indiscriminantly kills civilians who have had no hand in terrorists acts. I prefer to view the task at hand from all sides and seek a solution that will deal a death blow to terrorism while minimizing the ending of innocent lives. Haven't enough innocent people died and suffered? Or is your only concern that of U.S. citizens? I happen to believe that people are no less important just because they aren't American.

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"The Kurp"

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Art, just a couple of points where you're mistaken, uninformed, or misinformed.

While the Taliban may abhor drug use on the grounds of Islamic law within Afghanistan, they seem to have no problems exporting opium/herion to other countries, even other Muslim countries. The Iranians in particular have had one h@ll of a time trying to stop the trafficking of the stuff across their borders and hence have had a big problem with addiction recently. So much so that they have augmented their border patrols by the authorities with groups of individual citizens armed with rifles and such. The only problem is that as often seems to be the case, the traffickers are too many and too well armed for the border patrols and the citizen patrols to stop. Many have been killed on both sides and still they come. Afghans are too poor in most cases to pass up the prospect of the $$$$ even if it's at the risk of death. If you don't believe me check this out:

http://www.brugerforeningen.dk/bf.nsf/dansk/in049

There was a better and more detailed article that ran in the Washington "Compost" but I wasn't able to find it. Still, it's clear that the Taliban derives a significant amount of $$$ from the sale of opium/herion and one of my first moves in unseating them from power would be to get as much intelligence on their opium/heroin producing capability as I could and destroy it forthwith. I'm sure the Iranians would be grateful enough for that alone to help in any way they could.

While the Taliban was distracted trying to defend the poppy fields, I'd have everybody and everything I could muster looking for Bin Laden and his terrorist camps.

As for the populace rising up to confront the Taliban, there's two problems with that proposition. Firstly, don't ever underestimate the ability of a government to use starvation or outright killing of enemies and their families as a weapon. How willing would you be to fight anyone not only while starving yourself, but knowing that your family is starving as well...remember the old adage about an army marching on it's stomach ? Secondly, let us not forget the experience of the rebels in Iraq who we encouraged to rise up and overthrow Saddam then left to be massacred by the remnants of Saddams forces. How much would it have cost us in casualties and $$ to have given them some air support and the odd AK-47 and some ammo ? It turns out that not doing so has cost us thousands of innocent American lives as I firmly believe that Iraq had something to do with this attack. In any event, the memory of that failure on our part is still quite fresh in the minds of the Arab/Muslim world.

In addition to all this, and probably most importantly, the northern opposition forces are a ragtag and only marginally unified BOG (bunch of guys...thanks to whomever it was from the board that coined that phrase) that has been unable in the past to effectively fight the Taliban. Given that, I don't think even with military aid, they'd be able to mount any kind of effective opposition due to clan/tribal rivalries, corruption etc. Therefore, they'd probably be best utilized as sources of intelligence on Taliban tactics, movements, and resources.

Just my .02

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Terry and Bulldog, it is a fact that the Taliban government, banned the growing of poppies as a sin against Islam. In 2000, it is also a fact that 75 percent of the world's opium harvest came out of Afghanistan. The edict was issued by Omar, the leader of the country, and in various reports, it is recognized that while not every farmer has adhered to the directive, many have, with some complaining that they do so even though it means children die.

Prior to the directive that the growing of poppies was a sin against Islam, the Taliban government had asked for help from the International community to limit the profit from the sale of the illegal drug that had been part of the countries economy for decades. However, last July, the Taliban government took seriously it's repeated directives that growing poppy was illegal, and began plowing up these fields. The UN council in charge of narcotics estimations have said that the Taliban has limited growth of the plant by 70 percent since last year and into this year. Certainly, the Taliban has profited from the sale of the drug and the cultivation of the plant in terms of taxing it at 10 percent a harvest, prior to last year, and using the crop to produce employment for the people there.

But, just as clearly, it has made a major effort to control this production, especially of late with more than just words of dismissal. One thing the Taliban is, is committed. And when they deem something a sin against the religion they are committed to, they generally do a pretty good job of wiping out the problem. Not fully, mind you, as people there still get "Titanic" haircuts, which is illegal, and still violate various "laws" the Taliban has ruled against, but, for a country with no other resourse than selling drugs, the Taliban has gone a long way to wipe out this crop.

Certainly, it could have done more, but, where there is a demand to an equation, it's harder to wipe out the supply, as we've discovered with our "war" on drugs.

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Doom is in the box.

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Art, in my search for the aforemetioned Washington "Compost" article, I came across a number of articles by various US/foreign govt entities as well as the UN that made comments to the effect that while they have given lip service to the eradication of poppy farming, they nonetheless have not destroyed the opium/heroin already stockpiled which lead them (the writers) to believe that they weren't serious about this but rather were trying to correct a glut of the drug on the world markets to try to prop up prices for it. They have also in recent years (since the edict against poppy farming) built or allowed built labs for conversion of opium to herion which evidently is easier to transport.

They're saying "no" but their actions say otherwise. If they're serious about getting rid of opium production, then they won't have a problem if we "helped" them eliminate it. smile.gif

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I have been in Kazakhstan and Turkey on business and can say that anyone on the ground knows that the traffic in drugs coming out of Afghanistan is only possible through support from the ruling clique.

In fact when the Taliban ostensibly shut down drug producers in the western part of the country (who were not sharing the profits) they allegedly took over the warehoused inventory and sold it directly on the market, keeping the windfall profits to import newly manufactured Chinese-made weapons.

In this area of the world, alliances shift frequently and what is "true" at a point in time is not necessarily true even 6 months later.

Business people in the central asian states are concerned that the instability to the southeast in terms of political and religious factionalism will spread to their own countries.

That is why you don't see these states too eager for direct US military intervention and a sustained ground offensive.

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Artie........face it. You're getting pummeled again. Kurp was right. Your stupidity in focusing on narrow facts and twisted logic lead nowhere. You said the Taliban "eradicated" the drug trade in one post and now you concede they "controlled" it.......complete garbage as usual Artie.

It's kind of fun watching you pummeled for your idiocy by others on this board. Why don't you stick to being a systems weenie.

Oh and, Kurpie........the 50 rating on insecurity is on the low side. Artie makes J Edgar Hoover look like the Pope.

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The Truth shall set you free.

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Kurp, reply within....

"Art, it is clear to me that you are far from informed on the facts."

Kurp, it's likely I'm far more informed on the facts than you are. In fact, that's likely factual, given what I've written, and as the UN has validated.

"It is also clear to me that on the insensitivity scale of 1-to-10, you rate a 50."

You think I care an iota about sensitivity? Sure, I'll happily be a 50 on that scale. How sensitive do you presume the people who hit the WTC were? Were they higher than 50 on the insensitivity scale? If so, I'd like to say things that make me more insensitive. It's clear to me that on the weak, dove, "Can't we all just get along," scale of people who just have NO CLUE what a war is, you rate well above a 50.

"To add to that, your arguments are twisted with contradictions that surface repeatedly when you want to focus on a narrow point in lieu of the overall picture."

My arguments are contradictions, while you are straight and narrow indicating the people of Afghanistan can't possibly overthrow the Taliban, but, knowing and mentioning how they were able to fight off the Soviets. You see how that's a contradiction? If the people can fight off the Soviets, they can certainly fight off the Taliban.

"You accuse me of being wrong on the Taliban deriving income from the opium trade. Try reading the following article: http://www6.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/central/05/26/taleban.drugs/ "

Your report is prior to a report by the U.N. itself on the poppy culture in Afghanistan that I've shown. It's here again for you to read.

http://www.undcp.org/newsletter_2001-06-30_1_page002.html

So, yes, you're wrong. The Taliban has previously derived income from the opium trade, in as much as it taxes the cultivation of the plant. It has taken measures to eradicate the plant, as the U.N. notes in the U.N.'s report.

"You speak, out of ignorance obviously, of Afghans uniting in a popular movement against the Soviet jihad. What you've either failed to learn or decided to conveniently omit is that several thousand fundamentalists had arrived from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, and other Middle East countries during the latter years of the Soviet-Afghan war."

Yes, so? Thousands of middle easterners did show up in Afghanistan to help fight off the Soviets. And, that doesn't change the factual nature that a popular and people led Afghan Jihad movement sprung up to fight off the Soviets too. The fact that during the latter years of the Soviet-Afghan war that mercenaries from other countries showed up to help the Afghans or at least to stop the Soviets doesn't change what happened.

"Osama Bin Laden was one of these Arabi who came from Saudi Arabia bearing abundant funds to buy the support of growing numbers of Afghan guerrilla commanders as well as arming them with elaborate weapons."

Yes he was. And he was a member of a group that the CIA helped fund and funnel arms to the side against the Soviets. And, again, it doesn't change anything. The Soviets installed a government and supported it with weapons. We funded with the help of others, the armed resistence. And the armed resistence was filled with Afghan nationals fighting against the occupation.

"I ask you Art, who is there now among the Afghan citizens to overthrow the Taliban? Who is their new 'Bin Laden' to supply them with arms and money to fight the Taliban?"

Bin Laden wasn't a "leader" in the movement. Perhaps this is where you are limited. Bin Laden was a member, but he wasn't deemed critical to the movement, and in fact, even after the Soviets left, he was kind of seen as a pampered rich boy. This according to articles on Bin Laden's history on MSNBC and CNN. He didn't lead the movement against the Soviets, and the Afghan people don't require a leader to take out the Taliban, if that is their wish.

But, if the need a leader, they could look to the troops in the north fighting actively against the Taliban presently. More likely, they'll scoop up our leaflets that say help us and they'll sort out a leader that way.

"Where is their support from other Arab countries in terms of supplying trained soldiers to overthrow the Taliban? You state correctly on one hand that the Afghan rebels received support from allies like Pakistan (AND the U.S.) in their fight against the Soviets yet you offer no such examples of support in your assertion that Afghans could overthrow the Taliban today, if they 'so choose'."

Well, the simple answer at the moment is that the "rebels" will receive whatever help they want from the U.S., Pakistan and a host of other nations. Prior to this, of course, they did receive assistance from Russia and Iran. So, what's your point?

"Art, you wrote: "Much like the Afghans have shown, armed with very little, they were able to topple a world power and existing government. Armed with stingers and machine guns, they defeated the full wrath of a Soviet occupied nation with the desire to be a people in charge of their own destiny." Rubbish Art. The Afghans were VERY well armed thanks to the U.S. and the Pakistani goverments."

No, they weren't. They had no tanks. They had no mechinized vehicles. They were a foot army armed with deadly missiles to destroy Russian copters and some nice weapons supplied that assisted in killing Russians individually. But, compared to the Soviets, they were armed with sling shots. Now, in reality, they may be armed with sling shots, but the enemy has very, very limited weaponry, and an internal civil war. It's not too far off from what it was.

"However once the Soviets withdrew, the U.S. and to an extent Pakistan, simply walked away leaving the 'popular' movement with no resources with which to prevent the Taliban from occupying 85% of the country."

Once the invading country was expelled, the U.S. did step away, as they rightly should. There is no need to interefere with civil wars in any nation if you ask me. The Taliban came out on top in this war, with the structured promise of something better. After five years, they still rule and are still opposed, yet, nothing has been made better because all of their efforts are focused at fighting the armed opposition. If the people were roused and stood up, the Taliban would be unable to do this and their hold on the country would loosen and crumble.

"And let's say for argument's sake that another Afghan coalition were to overthrow the Taliban. In favor of what? Would another faction be able to better provide food, water, and jobs?"

Food, jobs, water and other infrastructure aren't presently available now because the Taliban is focused on the war they are fighting. If there was no war, the country could go about rebuilding. But, mind you, I don't know that the Northern Alliance is going to be much more helpful. Eventually the people of a nation have to decide for themselves how they wish to be led and how best to make their country better.

"What's the incentive to oust the Taliban?"

A better life. An end of civil war. A government capable of responding to the needs of a people rather than banning everything and restricting the country. If everything's fine with the Taliban, then by all means, they should stand with them. But either their lot in life is because of the Taliban and they should want this awful government ousted, or it's not.

"To appease the U.S. goverment who's largely responsible for the Taliban's rise to power in the first place?"

The U.S. government supported all groups who fought the Soviets. By your OWN words you said the U.S. left and paid no attention to the country after the Soviets were ousted. Now you are saying we assisted the Taliban. Which argument are you going to make? When you pick one, let me know and I'll debate it with you. But I'm not going to let you continue to make dual points, contradicting yourself and have to answer each contradiction as if it were a pertinent point.

"Let's not forget that Bush himself has given the Taliban millions of dollars. Yet now you advocate the killing of Afghans without regard to their politcal and religious affliation unless they sacrifice their lives to drive off the very goverment the U.S. had a hand in giving power to?"

Read the response above. The Taliban came to power in 1995. Bush was the governor of Texas. How again did Bush, either one, give money to the Taliban that helped them rise to power? Right, you have no clue what you are saying. What I am saying is that a people of a nation are ultimately responsible for the government of a nation. When the people tire of a government, there is a rebellion. PERIOD. This is known throughout history as factual. If the people in Afghanistan found the Taliban distasteful, they'd do something about it. Articles I've read indicate the Taliban rule is wearing thin with folks over there. Perhaps they just need the U.S. to drop some paper saying, "Stand up now, and we're here for you."

"Art, you wrote that I "prefer to send in candy and cake and go dancing with the people of Afghanistan to win this, but, that's not what war is." That's a cheap shot Art. I am equally upset by the tragedy that occured last week. For you to trivialize my viewpoint with regards to what our response should be is narrow-minded and uncalled for."

I see. So, it's very open-minded and responsible for you to trivialize my words by saying I simply want to kill everyone, when I've not said that, but, when I trivialize your words it's narrow-minded and uncalled for? Kurp, that you don't seem to have ANY understanding about what happens in a war is a sad commentary to the overuse of the word in our society. We use war too much when it shouldn't be, and it appears to have convinced people like yourself that war is clean and polite and gentlemanly.

I don't enjoy the fact that people must, by the necessity of what war is, die from the fact that we are going to go to war, but, in war, people die. We won't seek to kill innocent people, but, innocent people WILL die. We are already seeking to starve them out and close off the supply to the government, which means the people. Again, you'd prefer 200,000 people die in a decade from starvation, as in Iraq, so you can convince yourself we didn't kill them. I prefer to kill up front and end the killing rather than stave a people for a decade. But, somehow you are more sensitive.

And, despite this belief on my part, I know you can't do this in Afghanistan because there's nothing worth bombing.

"No, I do not favor a U.S. response that indiscriminantly kills civilians who have had no hand in terrorists acts."

Neither do I. But, the death of civilians will happen. I just seem to recognize that in war, there is damage you can't account for. You seem to prefer a manner in which no civilians die directly but over the next decade a million die because of our sanctions. More power to you brother.

"I prefer to view the task at hand from all sides and seek a solution that will deal a death blow to terrorism while minimizing the ending of innocent lives. Haven't enough innocent people died and suffered? Or is your only concern that of U.S. citizens? I happen to believe that people are no less important just because they aren't American."

I happen to believe American's are more important because we are Americans. And perhaps that's the difference between us. While I don't relish the death of people who can't do anything about what's happening, I DO think American's are more important simply because we are Americans. You think differently, and that's fine. You just need to wake up to the reality of the situation. This country won't go out killing individuals willy nilly. But, individuals will die and it will be sad. Hopefully when it's over, we can look back and say, "We did our best, and we won what needed winning."

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Doom is in the box.

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Bucs, don't you have anything better to do? I think under the circumstances even Art's allowed to vent. Perhaps your levity is best saved for another thread.

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"Men, there's nothing to get excited about. The situation is normal; we are surrounded."

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O-Henry.......Artie is making a mockery of this thread, and you'll notice that multiple posters were taking him to task long before I jumped in.........read his posts.......you'll note they get longer and longer when he knows he's in over his head and tries desperately to recover and sound intelligent (laughable in itself for him).

No, Kurp has exposed him for what he is and did a nice job of it.

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The Truth shall set you free.

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Guys, it's really pretty simple. Afghanistan has previously been the world's largest supplier of heroin. This according to the U.N. And, in the most recent U.N. report, "Farmers in Afghanistan, the world's number one producer of opium poppy, did not plant the illegal crop this year. Following a ban on poppy cultivation issued by the head of the Taliban in July 2000, UNDCP was able to verify thousands of hectares of poppy-free land in February 2001."

I don't care if 50 people tell me that Afghanistan is presently producing vast amounts of heroin that fund the Taliban. The facts say otherwise and put the statement in the past tense, not the present, as has been used here.

So, Ru, if your way or proving me wrong is listening to five people with less than current information lecturing me on what actually is happening when current information undeniably states precisely otherwise, then your life has grown very sad indeed.

What is, is, gents. What was, was. One of us is saying what is. The rest of you are telling it like it was. I don't disagree with what you are saying historically. But, at present, you can't possibly disagree with what I'm saying.

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Doom is in the box.

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Ok Art, lesson learned. I guess that's to be expected of a "waterboy". You continue to twist your arguments to serve a narrowly defined point.

Let me refresh. I stated, "The Taliban not only are funded in part by Bin Laden, but receive an enormous amount of income from the opium drug trade." You in return stated, "You are wrong. In fact, one thing the Taliban has been KNOWN for is the total eradication of ALL drugs in their country, especially a very lucrative heroin trade originating out of the nation prior to the Taliban taking over. The Taliban is strictly against drugs. And the Taliban has gone to great lenghts to totally remove drugs from that country,..."

Now Art, it's been awhile since I've sat in a debate class but my skills have not eroded to the point where I fail to recognize my own point, even if you do. The issue here is the income the Taliban derives from the opium drug trade. You chose to assume that meant the Taliban is active in the cultivation of opium. You then continue your misdirection by referencing an article that coincides with your misdirected point. I, along with a number of other posters, pointed out that the Taliban is *dealing* drugs and using the proceeds to buy arms. The last time I checked, *growing* and *dealing* MAY be mutually exclusive. Yet you continue to insist that you are right and everyone else is wrong. However you fail to grasp that your accusations of incorrectness are on an entirely different point.

To continue my refreshing your memory, I stated (and I will repeat the entire paragraph lest I be accused of paraphrasing), "And let's say for argument's sake that another Afghan coalition were to overthrow the Taliban. In favor of what? Would another faction be able to better provide food, water, and jobs? What's the incentive to oust the Taliban? To appease the U.S. goverment who's largely responsible for the Taliban's rise to power in the first place? Let's not forget that Bush himself has given the Taliban millions of dollars. Yet now you advocate the killing of Afghans without regard to their politcal and religious affliation unless they sacrifice their lives to drive off the very goverment the U.S. had a hand in giving power to?" Your response Art was, "The Taliban came to power in 1995. Bush was the governor of Texas. How again did Bush, either one, give money to the Taliban that helped them rise to power? Right, you have no clue what you are saying."

Now Art, I'm starting to realize that sometimes you're not even clever in using misdirection to make a skewed point. However if you're so inclined, how about humoring me anyway?

How in the hell do you pin a date of 1995 on my statement? The fact is Art, the Bush (current George W.) administration has given $43 million dollars to the Afghanistans this year. Of that, $10 million was directly earmarked for the Taliban to fight opium production. Although I hesitate to divulge that bit of information since you'll once again pull your misdirection pistol from its holster and say, "See, I told you the Taliban was against drugs!"

Again, I've learned a lesson that every "waterboy" after me will no doubt learn in time as they participate in this board. A debate with Art is like stabbing mercury with a fork. Every time you try to make a point he scatters his argument in every direction except in direct response.

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"The Kurp"

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