Where it may have begun —
How it may have been sustained —
Where it may have ended this day —
Related on BackChannels
Where it may have begun —
How it may have been sustained —
Where it may have ended this day —
Toward the end, a hideous accident:
At least 40 civilians attending a wedding party were killed in a raid conducted by Afghan government forces and supported by US airstrikes on a Taliban hideout in southern Helmand province, Afghan officials said Monday.
Abdul Majed Akhund, deputy provincial councilman, said that the majority of the dead were women and children. Twelve civilians were also injured.DW. “Dozens killed as US-backed strike hits Afghan wedding.” September 25, 2019.
The Modern West has had little issue investigating and owning up to its own woeful atrocities, including the accidents it may sanitize with the term “collateral damage”.
In fact, it or the liberal democratic populations represented by EU/NATO and assorted coalitions of the willing, may be too good at wearing the mea culpa shawl of self-shaming, but that’s another matter.
For Afghanistan, and for the most part, the damage done has been much less accomplished by the “collateral damage” of the west than by the deliberate design, decision, and application of violence by the Taliban and similar actors bent on the absolute and comprehensive political and social control of targeted states and their resources.
Using Russian-supplied arms and material, Afghanistan’s Taliban have continued a program of bombings and related attacks designed to destroy Afghani civilians without discrimination, forestall peace, discourage and impede elections, and bring general ruin to local economies and lives while proving themselves handsome, protective, strong, and wise.
. . . .
True: a malign narcissism has a great deal to do with the absolute political and social control sought by the Taliban and so many others who at times conflate themselves with God and the work of God’s will on earth.
As has taken place as part of doctrine in Syria — impossible to deny — not even hospitals are sacred as sanctuaries of the ill and injured.
The Taliban’s demonstrated and backfiring track record in lunacy — and that of other extremist organizations operating in Afghanistan — may finally be reaching them through the mirroring World Wide Web where high-integrity reportage faithfully conveys the character of consistently cruel, crude, and very nearly mindless violence that will in the end have changed nothing but perhaps themselves.
Most who have followed the Afghanistan story in its greater context will recall the story in which Mullah Omar took revenge on a Russian tank crew and its commander — hung from his own tank barrel — for the rape of local village girls. Omar would flee that heroic ending to raise an army to battle back the Soviet invasion of the state — and America’s CIA would step in with the delivery of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles to the Mujaheddin for the comparatively cheap killing of the Soviet’s brutal and expensive helicopter gunships.
The Red Army — as has the Russian Army elsewhere and more recently — brutalized Afghanistan.
In cinema (and released before the Soviet was finished) —
As Soviet Russia’s army retreated from Afghanistan, America’s intervention may have been drawn back as well. Afghanistan had been returned to native power.
Ah, but there was that other theme: Islam.
Arab culture, fortune, and power — and two Sunni extremists.
Ayman al-Zawahiri may be read about here:
Osama bin Laden — here:
One may tire — and perhaps should — of the medieval contests between too many “kingdoms of heaven” and the repeated conflations — Christian, Jewish, or Muslim — of men with God (although Judaism has been always adamant about the separation of the Divine from the mortal).
In any case, among my acquaintance, one stands out as expert on “civilizational narcissism” — his term — and the Taliban. Here is his book from 2010 —
It may be said that all were warned but with one element missing: Soviet / post-Soviet Moscow / Moscow-Tehran.
The Soviet / post-Soviet Arc of Tears (Crimea, Syria, Yemen, for a start) hews to and encourages the despotism (“political absolutism”) so far expressed by the Taliban in Afghanistan but also well on display elsewhere in the world where the deepest and most criminal representatives of civilizational and political narcissism have either set themselves or prevailed.
BackChannels suggests the Taliban may have been taken in — duped — by Russia via al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden in the shadow of the Cold War and reshaped for revenge on the west with the intent of sustaining a blind and madding authoritarianism in the world, all the better to plunder it.
President Donald Trump says the U.S.-Taliban talks on ending the fighting in Afghanistan are “dead,” deeply unfortunate wording for the Afghan civilians who have been killed by the tens of thousands over almost 18 years. Many fear his cancellation of negotiations will bring more carnage as the U.S. and Taliban, as well as Afghan forces, step up their offensives and everyday people die in the crossfire.
“We just want to go back to our homes. We don’t ask for much, but this war has made our lives impossible and has torn apart our community.” he says. “We cant go home due to the risk of drones, but after so many years of war, our community is now at war with itself – there doesn’t seem to be any end to bloodshed.”
One could argue that the Taliban is increasingly in a position to outlast the United States and claim a decisive military victory. If today’s Taliban were as cohesive as the Taliban that managed to control Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, that might well be true. But it’s not.
Today’s Taliban includes a variety of factions, such as the prominent Quetta Shura and Pakistani-supported Haqqani network. Beyond these internal divisions lie further divisions among the broader Afghan insurgency, which includes the emerging Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K). Our research in the Journal of Global Security Studies argues that powerful insurgent factions may seek peace to forestall their own decline when rival insurgent factions are increasing in power.
This weekend, Afghanistan will hold its fourth presidential election since the Taliban government’s fall in 2001. Since the U.S. and Taliban’s recent breakdown in negotiations, the Taliban have killed more Afghan civilians than at almost any other point since the beginning of 2018, as you can see in the figure below. The Taliban has killed at least 58 civilians in the last eight days alone.
And that may be about to get worse. In earlier presidential elections, the Taliban has tried not to kill civilians when they go to vote. That may change this weekend.
The U.S. envoy’s team would not elaborate Friday on the nature of the resumed discussions in Doha, but they come after a series of deadly Taliban attacks across Afghanistan. As CBS News correspondent Charlie D’Agata reports, while the Taliban may be talking peace with the U.S., they’re still waging a brutal war on Afghan soil.
A security camera captured dramatic video of a car bomb attack in Kabul on Thursday. The blast near the U.S. Embassy killed one American service member and another NATO soldier, as well as at least 10 civilians.
KABUL — Iran and Russia have stepped up challenges to U.S. power in Afghanistan, American and Afghan officials say, seizing on the uncertainty of future U.S. policy to expand ties with the Taliban and weaken the country’s Western-backed government.
The moves come as tensions have flared between the United States, Iran and Russia over the conflict in Syria, and officials worry that the fallout could hurt Afghanistan’s chances for peace. For years, Iran and Russia have pushed for a U.S. withdrawal.
I am tired of the people, the area, the district and the province. When I go to Wardak, I feel so tired. But what to do? I have to go there and visit their graves. It is not only one person — it is 12 family members. My four daughters, three sons, my wife, and four cousins. I lost all in one day when my house was bombed by the Americans.
I can never forgive the Taliban, but if the peace deal can stop the bloodshed, I can accept them to the country. I don’t want other families to go through what I have.
“Yes, we have reached an agreement in principle,” Khalilzad said, according to TOLOnews. “Of course, it is not final until the US president (Donald Trump) agrees on it. So, at the moment, we are at that stage.”
News of the agreement comes as violence has spiked in Afghanistan, with the latest attack occurring just hours after Khalilzad’s interview. A car bomb targeted an Afghan police station in the capital Kabul on Monday, in an area close to the heavily fortified compound where many foreign embassies and international organizations are based,
“He became known for his ability to weave through warring tribal factions and his ability to quickly get senior Afghan officials on the phone or to summon them to his office, including President Hamid Karzai,” The New York Times reported during Khalilzad’s stint as ambassador to Afghanistan — the country of his birth — from 2003 to 2005.
Robin Raphel, a former assistant secretary of state for South Asia, says Khalilzad’s appointment is a sign that the Trump administration is getting serious about a political solution to America’s longest war.
The U.S. soldier who died Thursday in Afghanistan from wounds in a bomb blast was a compassionate leader whose troops say he always encouraged people who are struggling to ask for help.
Now those soldiers are grappling with the loss of Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, 34, from Morovis, Puerto Rico, who left behind a wife, two sons and a daughter.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghan reconciliation, is on the verge of an agreement with the Taliban that would pave the way for the withdrawal of some 14,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan in exchange for guarantees that the war-wracked nation would not be used as a haven for international terrorism, according to diplomatic sources.
KABUL, Afghanistan — At first, the man was just walking across the street. Then he was running for his life. He managed four steps before the blast from the car bomb caught him.
Since then, the last few seconds of Akbar Fazelyar’s life, captured on video during a Taliban attack on Sept. 5, have become one of the most scrutinized moments in Afghanistan, slowed down and watched frame by frame on countless mobile phones and computer screens.
The vote, the fourth since the Taliban’s removal from power by a United States-led coalition in 2001, comes as heavy fighting between the armed group and government forces has led to a spike in the number of civilians killed.
The Taliban has already threatened to target election rallies and polling stations, while in recent weeks the US-backed Afghan forces have stepped up air and ground attacks, raising fears of further casualties.
Last week alone, more than 150 people were killed, according to Al Jazeera tally, in Taliban attacks, US drone strikes and raids by Afghan government forces.
The air strike was aimed at destroying a hideout used by Islamic State militants, but it accidentally targeted farmers near a field, Afghan officials were quoted as saying.
“On yet another deadly day in Afghanistan, once again it is civilians who bear the brunt of the violence involving armed groups, the Afghan government, and their backers in the U.S. military,” Amnesty International said in statement.
Our principal failure, in my view, was our refusal to deal with Pakistan’s double game. Even the accelerated drone attacks in western Pakistan under the Obama administration, which were somewhat effective in the fight against al Qaeda, failed to a large extent to target the Taliban, the Haqqani Group, or Hezbe Islami.
The United States also signaled a lack of military resolve. The Pentagon made incautious public statements about the reduction of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan. At one point, the combat power of the United States dropped to a single brigade, even as the insurgent threat was rising. The evident lack of U.S. commitment gave Pakistan a green light to step up the Taliban and insurgent offensive in late 2005 and early 2006.
Stecklow, Steve, Babak Dehghampisheh, and Yeganeh Torbati. “Assets of the Ayatollah: The economic empire behind Iran’s supreme leaders (“Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures”). Reuters Investigates, November 11, 2013.
The militants had taken hospital patients as hostages, officials said, while electricity and most telephone services were cut and residents were sheltering in their houses.
The “large scale” attack was “progressing smoothly,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed in a series of posts on Twitter.
On 17 September 2019, two suicide bombings killed over 48 people in Charikar and Kabul, Afghanistan. The first attack occurred at a rally for presidentAshraf Ghani which killed over 26 and wounded over 42. Ghani was unharmed in the incident. The second bombing occurred in Kabul near the US embassy. In this incident 22 were killed and another 38 were injured in the explosion. Children and women are among the dead and wounded in both attacks, also multiple soldiers were killed. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks, and said they will commit more attacks to discourage people from voting in the upcoming presidential elections.
Wikipedia. “Zalmay Khalilzad” (U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation).
The 2005–06 documents reveal that Iran offered bounties for the murder of NATO soldiers and members of the elected Afghan government. Later reports indicated that this policy continued into 2009, when Iran was working in tandem with al-Qaeda to spread the Taliban’s reach in southern Afghanistan. This should hardly come as a surprise: The 9/11 Commission reported that Iran began training al-Qaeda jihadists through Hezbollah in 1992 and collaborated with al-Qaeda on the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996. To this day Iran maintains an al-Qaeda network on its territory, which supplies weapons, money, and fighters to Jabhat an-Nusra in Syria.
# # #
Fly any banner, service to others forms the bedrock of civil societies, and journalists, perhaps war journalists especially, serve others every hour afield. Across the jagged puzzle pieces of the Islamic Small Wars, journalists have been doing more than “taking it on the chin” — they have been taking bullets and leaving behind children and spouses, colleagues and readers.
The end of last week saw the brutally cold blooded, cold hearted, and senseless murder of AP photojournalist Anja Neidringhaus and the attempted murder of AP veteran Kathy Gannon by a so-called “defender” of civil order, of the innocent, and of Islam, Afghan police platoon commander Naqibullah, a man one report cites as enraged by NATO air strikes on his village elsewhere in the country.
If that’s the way he felt, what was he doing heading up a state police unit in the first place?
Two women sitting in a car and along comes this nut with an AK-47 . . . .
Life’s not much better across the border in Pakistan — see, for example, the Committee to Protect Journalist’s recent article, “What should happen following the Raza Rumi attack”.
While reading over the latest from the attack on Kathy Gannon and Anja Neidringhaus, I found news of still recent other murders of journalists in Afghanistan: Nils Horner, a Swedish broadcast journalist assassinated on the street; Sardar Ahmad, whose entire family was gunned down by teenage numbnuts shooting up the dinner hour at Kabul’s Serena Hotel restaurant — call the method “gangdum style”: after three hours of fighting, security managed to kill the baby killers (“Three Afghan children between 2 and 5 years old were shot point-blank in the head, the Reuters news agency reported”) after three hours of fighting, but not before nine people had died.
In the BackChannels way (until I get out of this place, if ever), excerpts follow.
She covered every major conflict, every massive world-changing event of the past 25 years. She was unflinchingly brave. Not in a cavalier way, but more like “This is very dangerous. But it’s important. It has to be done. It has to be covered. Who else is going to do it? I’m going.”
* * *
Two unidentified men approached Nils Horner, 51, in Kabul’s diplomatic district this morning, according to a New York Times report citing Col. Najibullah Samsour, a senior police official. One of the assailants shot Horner in the head at close range, and then both men fled the scene, the report said.
* * *
A gregarious 40-year-old star of Afghanistan’s booming media scene, Ahmad had an eye for both a story and a joke that helped him juggle two jobs as senior correspondent for Agence France-Press and head of media firm Pressistan, which he founded to support visiting foreign correspondents.
Graham-Harrison, Emma. “Sardar Ahmad: a courageous journalist who delivered exceptional coverage: Colleagues pay tribute to a dedicated Afghan journalist killed along with his wife and two daughters by Taliban gunmen in Kabul.” The Guardian, March 21, 2014.
An enraged Afghan police commander on a “secure base”; Taliban assassins; four teenagers with guns — and gone: a courageous and talented AP photographer; an award-winning Swedish radio reporter; a brave Afghan journalists, husband, and father.
Whatever the motives of the killers, however they felt, whatever they were paid, they have been offing the best of the best, the most just, most merciful, and most free among mankind.
# # #
What to say to Pandora: “Don’t open the box! Don’t look!”
The “fast scan” takes about an hour at human speed, ignores specific situations, and gets an “ah hah!” moment when one realizes that for causes that are often neither meaningful nor justifiable by those blowing themselves up, pulling triggers, and waving knives (is that still done?), conflict would seem just another natural cause of death.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, people just plain don’t like other people.
Dress up the hate with poetry or scripture, crude talk, politico talk, lies, or a whole lot of truth, somebody’s got it in for somebody else by clan, class, ethnicity, nationality, race, or religion — no need to get personal: just box it, label it, and tear it apart!
Afghan forces have proved surprisingly effective – 2/15/2014.
The truth is, as Phuketwan first revealed on October 21, that Thai authorities pretend to deport the Rohingya, taking their names and fingerprints for the record, then actually deliver them into the arms of people traffickers.
Sordid Deception Fails to Hide Truth – Phuket Wan – 2/14/2014.
I don’t know what the sordid truth is out of Burma, but I know it’s bad and should be — now has — a place on the open source conflict overview circuit.
* * *
“If you want to disarm the anti-balaka, it is better to first disarm the Seleka,” said resident Ngaro Nadine. “It is the Seleka who have been massacring and killing. Now it is the anti-balaka who are strong.”
Brig. Gen. Alaa Mahmoud said 33 tourists from South Korea were on the bus and had visited the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine’s, in the Sinai Peninsula. The bus was headed to Israel and was waiting in line near a border crossing, he said.
Related: Egypt bomb attack kills four on tourist bus – 1/17/2014.
Militancy and politics in the shadow of a ceasefire – Daily Times – 2/17/2014.
* * *
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A faction of the Pakistani Taliban said Sunday that it executed 23 paramilitary soldiers who have been held captive since 2010, even as other elements of the militant group continue preliminary peace talks with the country’s government.
“They can’t have it both ways,” the senior official said of the Russians. “They can’t say they’re in favor of negotiations in Geneva and a transitional governing body with full executive authority and humanitarian access and have a happy Olympics, and then be part and parcel of supporting this regime as it kills people in the most brutal way.”
The ministry said a National Guard patrol was sent to investigate reports that a civilian and a prison warden had been shot dead at a roadblock set up by armed men in Jendouba.
“Upon their arrival, terrorist elements opened fire,” killing two policemen and wounding another two, it said.
Turkey has spent at least $2.5 billion on serving these guests since the war began and hosts around 600,000 Syrian refugees – around a quarter of all Syrian refugees. While many reside in the camps, a little over half have opted to settle in urban settlers and make their own living.
Earlier this month, the Turkish army opened fire on a convoy of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) – a jihadist group active in Iraq and Syria. This was in retaliation for a series of cross-border strikes that hit Turkish soil. Turkey has also warned of possible terrorist attacks in Istanbul after receiving intelligence that al-Qaeda-linked jihadists were planning to disrupt the Syrian peace talks.
Ukraine protesters end two-month occupation – 2/17/2014.
* * *
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but Yemen is grappling with a growing threat from one of al Qaeda’s most active wings, which has killed hundreds of people in assaults on state and military facilities in the past two years.
# # #
Afghanistan, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram, death toll, global Jihad, grim numbers, Iraq, Islam, Islamic Small Wars, Islamist violence, ISW, Kenya, overview, Pakistan, Philippines, political, political Islam, politics, Syria, Yemen
From the following compilation alone, I tallied reports to 246 dead (rebels included) by way of Islamist violence in recent days. I’m sure if I have miscounted, the figure is on the low side.
Let’s round up: should “250 dead” in recent days prove high, somehow, we may wait half a day or a day, seldom more than two, and reality will catch up with it and overtake it.
From a report on the heavily armed assault on the very dangerous civilians shopping (like the one in the above video) at Westgate Mall, Nairobi, Kenya:
Gunmen stormed the mall about noon local time armed with grenades and assault rifles. They asked cornered victims if they were Muslim or non-Muslim, witnesses told the Associated Press. Non-Muslims were held, while Muslims were allowed to go free.
The al-Shabab group said the attacks were in response to a Kenyan military push into Somalia in 2011.
Earlier reports —
Nairobi, Kenya (CNN) — Fifty-nine dead. At least 175 injured. About 30 hostages still inside, as well as perhaps a dozen gunmen.
Those are the grim numbers, a day after attackers stormed an upscale Nairobi mall, spraying bullets and holding shoppers captive.
Related: Al-Shabaab Attack Fulfills Threat in Kenyan Support for Somalia – Bloomberg 9/22/2013
KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan wearing a security forces uniform turned his weapon against foreign troops Saturday, killing three in eastern Afghanistan, NATO and Afghan officials said, in another apparent attack by a member of the Afghan forces against their international allies.
A TWIN suicide bombing has killed more than 70 people at a church service in northwest Pakistan, the attack believed to be the deadliest on Christians in the country.
The bombers struck at the end of a service at All Saints Church in Peshawar, the main town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which has borne the brunt of a bloody Islamist insurgency in recent years.
The death toll figure has risen to 78 in many reports:
(Reuters) – A pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a 130-year-old church in Pakistan after Sunday Mass, killing at least 78 people in the deadliest attack on Christians in the predominantly Muslim South Asian country.
Five rebels and a 71-year-old woman were killed Saturday as fighting dragged on in a southern Philippine city between government troops and Muslim insurgents holding out with about 20 civilian hostages, officials said.
Related: Philippine leaders says Muslim armed challenge over soon | GlobalPost 9/22/2013
Hundreds of fighters under the command of the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) have reportedly switched allegiance to al-Qaeda-aligned groups, in a move described as a huge blow to moderate rebel forces.
Activists and military sources have told Al Jazeera that the 11th Division – one of the biggest FSA brigades – has switched allegiance to the al-Nusra Front in Raqqah province, a border province with Turkey.
Two suicide bombers, one in an explosives-laden car and the other on foot, struck a cluster of funeral tents packed with mourning families in a Shia neighbourhood in Baghdad, the deadliest in a string of attacks around Iraq that killed at least 96 people on Saturday.
Iraqi officials say two separate bombings, including a suicide car bomb attack, have killed two security force members and wounded 37 people in the country’s north.
(CNN) — Militants killed 18 soldiers and eight police officers in south Yemen Friday morning, security officials said.
The attacks targeted installations in Shabwa province on Friday morning, the officials said. They said the attackers used car bombs and heavy artillery.
The shoot out took place near the main residential compound for lawmakers in Abuja on Friday and was the first clash involving Islamist militants in the capital this year.
Related: BBC News – Nigeria’s ‘Boko Haram’: Abuja sees security forces targeted 9/20/2013
BBC News – General killed as Egyptian forces raid pro-Morsi town September 19, 2013.
Kurds push jihadists from Syria village: NGO – Region – World – Ahram Online September 18, 2013
Has Syria Got a Prayer? Attacks on Christian Churches Near Damascus | National Review Online Interview with Raymond Ibrahim, September 7, 2013.
Syrian troops storm central village, killing 15 | Boston Herald September 22, 2013.
Syrian Christians may get pulled into war September 21, 2013.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group opposed to the Syrian regime, says Mohammad Qataa was shot in the mouth and neck a day after being seized.
“Where are his rights? He was a child! How could they kill him?
“They killed him right in front of my eyes … May God take revenge on them … I saw his blood streaming down,” she wailed.
Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — Taliban militants beheaded two children in southern Afghanistan, a provincial governor’s office said.
The Taliban have denied involvement in the beheading cited in the above report, but there seems no question that the crime took place. False flag or true deed, one would be hard pressed to find a more deliberately monstrous crime.
Contempt for an enemy’s life should have limits.
Muhammad Hassan Sultan, a slender brown-haired 12-year-old, became a postwar casualty when the shrapnel from a cluster bomb cut into his head and neck.
Children not only play or roam around abandoned battle space, they have a knack for getting in the way — or being placed in it.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism features a column on its drone strike page titled “Casualty Estimates” associated with drone and covert activities, and their numbers involving children are, of course, not pretty.
The United Nations tracks the fate of children in armed conflict through the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. Here’s a paragraph of report from Central Africa:
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 58 children (23 girls and 35 boys between 2 and 17 years of age) were abducted by LRA in 2012. In contrast to previous years, they were used mainly as porters to carry looted goods, rather than to participate in attacks. Children continued to be victims of LRA attacks, however. In two separate LRA attacks, a girl and a boy were killed and a girl and three boys injured in Haut Uélé prefecture between January and May 2012. A case in which a girl was raped by LRA was documented in May 2012, while two other girls who escaped from the group in 2012 reported having been raped while in captivity. In total, 41 children (19 girls and 22 boys) escaped or were released from LRA during the reporting period. Between January and October 2012, LRA also attacked two health centres and three schools.
This was posted by Today’s Zaman in November 2012:
Meanwhile, New York-based Human Rights Watch said that evidence has emerged that an airstrike using cluster bombs on the village of Deir al-Asafir near Damascus killed at least 11 children and wounded others on Sunday. Cluster bombs have been banned by most nations.
Yesterday’s news or today’s, the picture is more than grim, for the image of war in this dimension reflects most directly on the adults whose decisions failed to protect innocents, whether their own or others.
For reasons as uncertain as they may be unknown, my old blog, Oppenheim Arts & Letters, has been freezing my copy of Google Chrome (but no one else’s, so support tells me). Rich in content, if then a bit younger also, I sometimes like to reference old pieces and can’t do from the front end. Perhaps, as here by copying and pasting the base HTML file, I will rescue some of them.
* * *
CNN ran the above this past Monday morning , and it’s worth a look for the treasuring of the prayer books alone, one among them that may date back 400 years.
Not to conflate this piece with the story of the expulstion of 800,000 Jews from Arab lands in the wake of Israel’s creation, this story runs opposite expulsion: implied by Wikipedia , the majority of the 5,000 Jews present in Afghanistan at the creation of modern Israel in 1948 migrated to both Israel and the United States in 1951, leaving a community of about 300 souls behind them.
The web site Afghanistan Old Photos notes this of the old community:
The Jews of Afghanistan have a history of 2,500 years in this country. They arrived in this area after the Babylonian Exile and the Persian conquest. The first traces concerning the Jewish population of Afghanistan are dated from the seventh century. They concern the Jews living the town of Ghor. The discovery of a Jewish cemetery in this city in 1946 testifies to the existence of a large and flourishing Jewish community. The earliest tombstones date from 752-753 and the latest date from 1012-1249. The inscriptions on the tombstones are in Hebrew, Aramaic and Judeo-Persian, a language with elements of medieval Persian and containing Hebrew-Aramaic components, written in Hebrew script, and spoken by the members of the local Jewish community. 
The scourge reducing Afghanistan’s Jewish centers: Genghis Khan, 1222 CE.
Resupply: courtesy of Russian persecution, Czarist and Communist. Early 20th Century population estimate for the Jews of Afghanistan: 40,000. Mysteriously, however, that figure seems to have fallen to 5,000 by 1948.
To the left, a Wikimedia Commons photograph of the Jewish Cemetary of Herat, Afghanistan.
Photographs of a delapidated “Yu Aw Synagogue”, Herat, live on the web at this address: http://www.isjm.org/country/afgpg/30.html.
While working for an NGO on the tail of the Soviet Invasion, Anette Ittig, contributing to the International Survey of Jewish Monuments, notes, “During the course of surveying the city’s Islamic buildings, I came upon two artifacts with Hebrew inscriptions in the storage room of a tile manufactory, and this discovery was the catalyst for the following preliminary survey of Herat’s Jewish monuments.” 
Without the contemporary arsenal of oral histories, photographs, and videos, and this unless one chooses to hunt and solicit such from the present generation, we cannot see those who left in their wake the four synagogues and the Jewish bath of Herat, but they are there in the near record of artifacts, an archeology, an ethnographic forensics, close in time.
Ittig goes on to comment:
“The adaptive use of these buildings mirrors the cultural transition which the former mahalla-yi musahiya has undergone over the past twenty years. The Hamman-e Yahudiha now serves the Muslim males of the quarter. The Mulla Samuel synagogue is currently used as a maktab, or primary school, for boys. The building formerly known as the Gul synagogue has been converted to the Belal Mosque. The once magnificent Mulla Ashur/Mulla Garji building which, when intact, featured elaborate painted stucco decoration, lies in ruins, the result of disuse and neglect.”
What country does not have ruins?
That some may be Jewish ruins, the discarded habitations and artifacts of once suitable lives–suitable enough for constructing synagogues and baths–we must accept. At the same time, we may wish to keep in mind those whose actions among generations near and far proved the cause of so much death, displacement, and sorrow. For the Jews of Afghanistan, even if less than one remains, certainly the collective and universal memory will remain forever of the ravages of Genghis Khan, the venality of Czarist Russia and its pogroms, the Soviet system and its capricious and spiritually sterile autocracy, each a power whose day has passed and whose own generations have been far transformed.
In the sidebar to the left, I’ve quoted Simon Wiesenthal and repeat the anecdote here: for his 90th birthday, Wiesenthal chose to celebrate the ocassion in Adolph Hitler’s own favored Imperial Hotel, Vienna, and he said, and this recorded on black and white film and replicated and transmitted in this day on DVD, “The Nazis are no more, but we are still here, singing and dancing.”
Wherever we are on this earth, wherever we have been, we are still together too, every one of us.
1. Hancocks, Paula. “Afghanistan’s last Jew vows to stay put.” CNN, May 10, 2010: http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/05/09/afghanistan.last.jew/
2. Wikimedia Commons. “Herat Jews Cemetery.” فارسی: قبرستان موسایی ها در هرات. مقبره ای که در پس زمینه دیده میشود مقبره سلطان آقا یکی از اولیاء الله هرات است.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Herat_Jews_Cemetery.jpg
3. Afghanistan Old Photos. “Jews of Afghanistan Pictures”: http://www.afghanistan-photos.com/crbst_30.html
4. Ittig, Annette. “Documentation of Afghanistan Synagogues.” International Survey of Jewish Monuments: http://www.isjm.org/country/herat.htm
Oppenheim, James S. “About Compassion – Out of Iraq.” Oppenheim Arts & Letters, September 24, 2009: http://commart.typepad.com/oppenheim_arts_letters/2009/09/24-1907.html
Oppenheim, James S. “About Libya’s Expulsion of the Jews.” Oppenheim Arts & Letters, October 7, 2009: http://commart.typepad.com/oppenheim_arts_letters/2009/10/07-2210.html
Wikipedia. “History of the Jews in Afghanistan”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Afghanistan
# # #