True scope: East-West Rivalry; Moscow v Washington; Political Absolutism – i.e., the power of the sovereign to destroy property and persons alike with impunity – v Democratic Distribution of Power & Rule of Law. Flies in the ointment: black markets; corruption; guerrilla wars; low intensity conflicts; wars by proxy.
For fair good reason, the nuclear powers seldom directly confront one another. Financial and political arrangements and families have become deeply entangled above the table and below it, and there’s not much we ordinary people can do about it but ride out the storms with awareness that ultimately the modern world, as we would know it, is well at war with feudal-medieval power as well as barbaric and primitive forces in nature expressed through history.
And the Taliban?
The Taliban are already failing Afghanistan, and Afghanistan, by way of our investment and presence across 20 years, has now to choose for itself — out of sight but in the hearts of Afghans and through resistance — what it wishes to be.
One may hope the warlords and others have no wish to become or remain themselves irrecoverably backward.
We shall have to wait and see whether the “New Improved Taliban” step up to the challenge of undertaking an empirical investigation using modern forensic methods amidst popular challenge. What integrity will they put on display; with what broad acceptance and trust may their findings be met? So we shall see.
Here’s another telltale with fear in the wind —
Looking pale and shattered having already suffered a beating at the hands of Taliban thugs, Gulafroz spoke in English, saying: ‘I was one of the very senior policewomen in Afghanistan.
‘I did everything to encourage women into the police, against the wishes of the Taliban. Now my life is in danger. Real danger.
My reading suggests Afghanistan supplies about 84 percent of the world’s opium and heroin supply with now an excursion into amphetamine by way of Ephedra sinica, another native plant; and about 50 percent of America’s supply comes from Mexico. In either source state, the industry appears founded in the kind of economy that finds ready labor for rote work while attracting the bosses and crews that produce and sustain illegal enterprise and all that follows from it. Portmanteau may suffice for what comes of the underworld’s efforts near the source: “narconomy”; “narco-state”; “narcotecture”. Somewhere between the source and the supply chain’s end, the last seller, ne “dealer” (as with any other commodity) has perhaps literally a corner on the market and good living all the way to glamorous.
However, there’s the other ending that one may view here as tragedy attracts its modern video-equipped witnesses who have made the final degradation, desperation, enslavement, humiliation, and isolation unbearably and undeniably apparent.
The “medicine” ain’t about health.
From mountain farm to urban sidewalk, The Money sings all of the parts of the industry — growing, processing, packaging, shipping — to her and well sustained by the necessity of income and the want of personal aggrandizement, better living, defense, and security. It’s only business, of course, but listen to its testimonials, have a good look (above) at Philadelphia’s portion of America’s hooked-and-lost whose relationships have come down to habitual forms of theft or trade with, perhaps, small talk between.
Of course, The Money talks.
The Pharmacy, no less than every one of its customers, ain’t free.
Today’s killing of Ahmed Wali Karzai, reportedly by a close business associate, is a reminder of the complicated web of loyalties, interests, and contradictions that the U.S. has attempted to navigate for nearly a decade. Ahmed Wali Karzai was a politician working within the system and a criminal working against it; he ran militias on behalf of the CIA and funded drug networks that were the stated enemy of the U.S. military; he worked with trucking contractors that sold services to NATO and that funded anti-NATO warlords; he was a close ally of the U.S. and a tremendous drag on its mission to win over the Afghan people.
Afghanistan is the world’s top source of opium, accounting for 83% of global production from 2015 to 2020, according to the United Nations. In 2018, opium poppy occupied three times more land than it did in 2000. Afghanistan also produces cannabis and increasing quantities of methamphetamine, which can be made cheaply from the local ephedra plant and may eventually rival the production of opiates.
Narcotics is Afghanistan’s largest economic sector, with over 500,000 employed in opium in 2018. Banning drugs would therefore be unpopular and might provoke resistance against the fledgling regime.
Wikipedia. “Ahmed Wali Karzai”: — A June 2009 U.S. embassy cable alleged that much of the actual business of running the Afghan city of Kandahar “takes place out of public sight, where Ahmed Wali Karzai operates, parallel to formal government structures, through a network of political clans that use state institutions to protect and enable licit and illicit enterprises.” —
The Taliban’s medieval program — if installed and as previously expressed — will prove against the grain of every civilized and modern society, but we may have to watch it to believe it.
The wish for societies in their main part to be broad, compassionate, inclusive, just, reasoning, and vibrant carries with it revulsion for those who would believe themselves exclusive and whose narcissistic behavior repeatedly proves fanatical, fascist, hypocritical, and intolerant. Today’s Taliban risk proving themselves and their unique program — the idea of God courses and varies through the world’s 4,300 religions and sects, not only Islam, and not only theirs — confining, egotistical, self-serving, sadistic, selfish and nothing more. They are those whose income have previously been derived from “protection” — demanding pay to be left alone — and the wholesale shipping of poppy juice into the world’s transnational crime organizations — cartel and gangs — not pharmaceutical companies and on to hospitals.
How the Taliban now respond to the fears voiced by those representing millions of Afghans and how they meet their modern criticism will tell their true character, and should the past prove prelude, they will founder and drown in their own malign reflections.
From Journeyman Pictures, “Afghani Life Under Taliban Rule (1998)” — and regarding filming (in 1998): “According to Islam and according to our society, we are not allowed . . . under Islamic rule, there is no question of ‘why’. In Islamic society, nothing is allowed such as television, such as type (stet) such as any other recording, uh, recorders to play . . . .” (1:46-2:13).
From U.S. Department of State (November 17, 2001): “Report on the Taliban’s War Against Women”: “The life of Afghan women is so bad. We are locked at home and cannot see the sun” (Nageeba, a 35-year-old widow in Kabul).
The Taliban wants to establish an Islamic government in Afghanistan, ideally as an emirate, which would be led by a religious leader and draw its legitimacy from clerics. Afghanistan is currently an Islamic republic, which is led by a president and draws legitimacy from universal suffrage and accordance with international laws and norms.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Two Afghan officials say President Ashraf Ghani has left the country.
The officials, one from former President Hamid Karzai’s office and another an aide on the Afghan security council, told The Associated Press that Ghani left Sunday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief journalists.
Ghani left along with his National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib and a second close associate. It wasn’t immediately clear where they went.
Meanwhile, the Taliban said it would further enter Kabul on Sunday night after spending hours on the city’s outskirts.
While ordinary Afghani cower within or flee their presence, the Taliban appear to have just won their chance to further fail and horrify Afghanistan.
The Taliban were born when Mullah Omar took revenge on a tank crew and its commander for the rape of two village girls. The crew were killed and the commander as well by hanging him from his own tank barrel. Omar then fled with his band to recruit an army of resistance to the then Soviet invasion.
Most who have followed Afghanistan from the Cold War forward know that story and the subsequent arming of the mujaheddin, the defeat of the Soviet Army, the mirroring CIA retreat from the theater, and the final bankrupting of Soviet Union and the opening of the gangway for the lawless of Russia for 1992. At the time, I believe — unless corrected — the mujaheddin were left with their ideologies and weapons and a broken nation that would then be subdued by arms, but in an interesting turnabout, that loose energy would fall to Russian encouragement. The situation would be analogous to clearing a house of burglars only to leave one’s own gun out on the dining room table.
April 14, 2021 Biden Decides on Complete U.S. Withdrawal by 9/11
President Biden announces that the United States will not meet the deadline set under the U.S.-Taliban agreement to withdraw all troops by May 1 and instead releases a plan for a full withdrawal by September 11, 2021. “It’s time to end America’s longest war,” he says. The remaining 3,500 troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn regardless of whether progress is made in intra-Afghan peace talks or the Taliban reduces its attacks on Afghan security forces and citizens. NATO troops in Afghanistan will also leave. Biden says Washington will continue to assist Afghan security forces and support the peace process. The Taliban says it will not participate in “any conference” on Afghanistan’s future until all foreign troops leave.
What have the Afghani People to look forward to under Taliban rule?
Compelled affirmation of archaic attitudes and beliefs enforced by continuous surveillance, intimidation, and violence — Afghanistan has just been returned to the status of a medieval theocracy;
Feudal-medieval conflict as religious principles fail to resolve personal, tribal, state, and international disputes or temper the criminality and greed that have corrupted not only the politics of the state but have seen the most unsavory of receipts fill the Taliban’s own war chest.
Afghanistan’s women will be diminished as persons, conservative or modern, and again mastered by a patriarchy infamous for its cruelties and most unbalanced and terrifying “guidance” as laid out by Islamic law.
With arms and materiel supplied by Russian smugglers — and now with the same captured from overrun government forces — the Taliban have been picking up all the chips left abandoned by NATO’s general withdrawal. Game over. Fold up the board. Hand it to the world’s foremost advocate for Rule by the Ruthless Rich. Whether in weeks, months, or years, the Taliban too will have cleared themselves from the field — they are destroying themselves by the hour and don’t know it — and there will remain Afghanistan, bereft of order, debased, depopulated, disillusioned, disorganized, traumatized — rather like Syria, also deeply beholden to Moscow and Tehran for all of the miseries dispensed by the Tyrant in Damascus.
There is another side to Taliban mayhem and misrule.
Call it a new plant.
KABUL—The escalating war in Afghanistan is directly linked to the multibillion-dollar global trade in illicit drugs, as the Taliban seek to expand and consolidate control over the production and trafficking of narcotics and to diversify from heroin into methamphetamine, in what an Afghan counternarcotics officer called “a coming catastrophe for the world.”
Afghan and international counternarcotics experts said violence in Afghanistan has spiked in recent years alongside increased cultivation of opium poppies, used for heroin production, and ephedra, a plant that grows wild across the country and is being used to make methamphetamine.
And you thought the Taliban were bringing Islam to Afghanistan.
As listed by Hanif Suvizada in an article in The Conversation (Dec. 8, 2020), here is how the Taliban makes its money — drugs, protection (“mining”), other extortion plus taxation, skimming from “charitable donations” to finance terrorism, export that might be legitimate if it didn’t include poppy and looted minerals.