Another in the continuing Taliban series

Right then, ya’ll grab a seat and listen up. Tranq’s going off on the Taliban again.


OK, look, you feckless parochial idiots, you’ve got so little going for you, and have managed to piss-off so many groups, that no one’s willing to intervene anymore, except those who do it from a sense religeous and/or humanitarian obligation. I understand that you’d like to keep your local beliefs pure(?!) but dammit, your people are starving so fast that if you don’t start cutting some slack, your only power base is going to be undertakers and grave diggers.

They are trying to help your people stay alive, damn you to whatever version of hell you believe in! Do you think, that perhaps, if you sent some of your paraniod “Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” stormtroopers down to the office, and had them camp out for a while, that maybe they’d only distribute aid, and you’d have the best (??!) of both worlds? You’d get aid and keep your highly eccentic, radical version of Islam “pure”, all at the same time. But, nooo, you’ve gotta throw the baby out with the bathwater. Again.

Ignorant douchebags.

Dammit, what happened to my thread title? It should read “Another in the continuing Taliban series”.

Would a kindly Mod help me out here, or do I have to live with “as-is”?

quotation marks in titles go bye bye if you preview. Alternatives include using double ’ s for example, or, in this case, e-mailing a mod with a box of chocolates, an inflatable date (depending on the mod) and a ‘pretty please’. It’ll happen quicker if you email vs. just post, and being nice about it helps.


[Moderator Hat: ON]
Fixed the thread title at the request of Tranquilis. No inflatable thanks necessary.
[Moderator Hat: OFF]

I cannot even fathom the brutalities the people in that nation must face now. I wish the world would do something on behalf of the people there, rather than giving money to their government for decrying drugs. Sheesh!

Assassinate the Taliban. Do it now.

Indeed. Because murder solves all problems. I had no idea it was so simple.

The developments described in the news link are indeed disturbing. It is a shame that folks who are trying to lend a helping hand have to deal with a hostile and non-receptive government.

Having said that, a couple of thoughts come to mind:

  1. Back when I was young and naive/stupid, I worked with outreach programs. The programs I worked with were non-religious (NO “church” funding). Our role was to offer canned goods to the hungry and perform as a referral point for social service/assistance agencies. In most instances, we were told “Thanks, but no thanks. You don’t know our community, and we really don’t need any help from outsiders”. I then arrived at my current philosophy:“Chump don’t want the help, Chump don’t get the help”. I say, let the Afghans figure out their own problems.

  2. I also thought about how I would feel if a bunch of strangers came to my community and started telling me how to run things, especially if they didn’t follow my community’s rules and customs. I have no doubt in my mind that at least some of the relief workers broke out bible verses and spoke of Jesus and Eternal Salvation.

  3. And, finally, revolutions are the result of bad governent; but, only those who are subjegated(sp) can decide when they’ve had enough. At that point, the next course of action is up to them.

We can view the Taliban as sick bastards, and they may well be. Like many things, it depends on your point of view. I know we’re in the BBQ Pit, but I respectfully ask the OP what, if anything, can be done about the situation? Would you sacrifice your life, or the lives of your children, to Bring Democracy to Afghanistan? They have no practical chance of spreading their philosophy beyond the borders of Afghanistan, and if they try, I will be the first to go over ther and jerk a knot in their ass.

Until that day, I wholeheartedly agree that they are morally wrong in this example. I am just trying to look at the other side of the coin.

Decent and civlized nations don’t execute or arrest people just because they preach bizarre and outlandish religious doctrines. We put up with the Hare Krishnas, don’t we?

We’ve kicked around the problem of the Taliban several times now in various forums, and each time the consensus was that, practically speaking, there ain’t jack we can do about it.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to understand things and trying to look at the other fellow’s point of view. But I have no problem with saying that the Taliban are evil.

Just to be clear, the Taliban is only recognized as the legitimate government of Afghanistan by three other countries. They have little popular support, and lots of guns. They do not allow women to recieve medical treatment, or even to be in public without a good reason, and then only covered head to toe. They execute homosexuals by pushing walls over on them. They have destroyed centuries-old statues of Buddha. They have imprisoned barbers for giving customers the Leonardo DiCaprio haircut. They harbor terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden.

Simply put, they are evil. They encourage rote memorization of the Koran in Arabic, which few in Afghanistan speak, thus keeping their supporters from being able to know that it doesn’t actually condone or encourage such actions.

As far as I can see, our best bet would be to heavily arm their opposition, and assist them in any way possible. And that is simply not likely to work well, especially as the country has been ravaged by war fairly continuously since the Soviets invaded in 1980.

However, the western world seems more concerned with the fact that Afghanistan is the biggest source of opium in the world than with fact that the country is run by a regime of hatred and intolerance. The power to eliminate opium production is the one bargaining chip the Taliban has in its quest for international acceptance. I fear that the people of Afghanistan may become more casualties of the stupid War on Drugs.

Ah, back on the Taliban again, are we? Not that I’m complaining, mind you. They’re certainly worth multiple rants.


Lots of guns, yes. Little popular support? Wellllll…I think it depends how you look at it. They’re certainly not loved by many. But they have a semi-firm backing from the #1 traditional powerbase in Afghanistan, the conservative, rather fundamentalist, Paktuhn tribesman of the Hindu Kush ( particularly the large numbers of radicalized Paktuhns from the refugee camps inside Pakistan- birthplace of the Taliban ). In fact it is the reactionary traditions of those people that form the backbone of most of the Taliban’s policies, rather than Islam per se, despite the Taliban’s claims to the contrary. As long as the Taliban continues to enjoy that support they are unlikely to be displaced internally, at least not completely.

Most of their current armed and vocal opposition comes from Afghanistan’s traditional minorities - Uzbek Turks from the north, Tajiks from the northeast, Shi’ite Hazaras towards the northwest. And although the primary opposition figures, like Ahmed Shah Massoud, were former mujahadeen, it was from this group that the old pro-Soviet factions ( i.e. the former Afghan army ) was largely drawn. There has been, since the 19th century, a tradition of competeing powerbases, with the central government drawing on the minority groups to form a standing profesional army to offset the more numerous armed Paktuhn tribesmen that had a strong tradition of resisting ( or frankly ignoring ) the central government. Generally speaking the tribes, although extremely fractious, were conceeded to have the upper hand. Quite frankly, in terms of mobilizable men, the Taliban has numbers and firepower on their side.

And as I’ve mentioned before, most Afghans are exhausted by over twenty years of continuous warfare. Their capacity to get outraged at these matters may at this point be pretty limited. After all, if nothing else the Taliban has brought peace to much of the countryside. A harsh, restrictive, extrardinarily regressive peace. But peace nonetheless.

Pretty much all Muslims do :slight_smile: . It’s sort of comparable to Catholic Mass being recited only in Latin just a few decades ago. A good Muslim is supposed to learn the Koran in Arabic, no matter what their mother-tongue. It’s one of the reasons Arabic spread so successfully.

Although I’m not entirely opposed to this line of thinking, I think it is worth mentioning that it is kind of ironic that this is exactly what led to the rise of the Taliban in the first place. One always runs the risk of financing a group that turns out in retrospect to be just as bad, if not worse, than the one you are trying to displace. And it’s not just the Taliban that is an example of this. Just as a for instance, I give you the U.S. State Department’s former misguided support for the utterly loathsome FRELIMO in Mozambique.

Personally I think the Taliban will implode reasonably soon ( in the scheme of things - I don’t think they’ll last anywhere as long as the USSR, for example ). But sadly, I’m not willing to lay bets as to when.

  • Tamerlane

When you get a moment to climb down from your holy tower of righteousness, take a moment to consider the possibility that Opal was simply expressing an emotional outburst and not a plan of action.

Well, now.

Damn little from where I sit. Tamerlane has, as usual, done a fine job filling in the details, but let me expand on that just a bit. Some of the problems in engaging ingnorant douchebags like the Taliban are:

  • Lack of leverage. We have very little, except perhaps food, that they want.
  • Lack of an over-riding national interest. The Taliban threatens none of our friends, nor our economy, and in fact caters to our cultural (governmental?) hatred of drugs.
  • Lack of effective local allies. The influence of the US in the area is close to nil. England has the strongest western ties to the area, and most of those are imperialistic legacies. Not the sort of base from which to assail an isolated foe.

So, why get all bent out of shape? Well, simply put, evil needs to be clearly named, lest we accept it’s presence with a wink and a nod. The Taliban is the most clearly evil regime of which I am aware. Their leadership is a coterie of ignorant, grasping, corrupt little toads, and at the very least they need to be named and shamed.

What would I be willing to do about it? Well, if it would do any good, I’d be on the next plane with a uniform and a rifle. I’m not even interested in “democracy” in Afganistan: Any government of Just Law would do for me. It won’t do any good, so I’ll refrain. I do, however, support organizations that try and do some good. Look-up RAWA. It’s not much, but it’s more than nothing, and its the most effective I can be right now.

Taliban==Corruption of everything the Prophet stood for.

I was wondering when we’d get to this. The reason why there are so many guns in Afghanistan is because the US government gave them to the Taliban and other anti-Soviet freedom fighters. True, it was to help fight a Soviet invasion. But the West is partly to blame for this (although, admittedly, I can’t think of a better alternative to what else they could have done to expel the Soviets).

Having supplied the Taliban with weapons, what is the West doing about it? Sanctions hurt common people - we see that in Iraq. Afghanistan has no oil, so there will be no Desert Storm. Guess we’re doing nothing constructive, then.

Thank you. Yes, indeed, I was saying that along the same lines that people refer to shoving people’s heads up their asses, tearing their annoying neighbor limb from limb, etc. I certainly wouldn’t support an actual assassination attempt.

Actually, aside from effective shoulder-launched SAMs, the US was a minority provider for weapons in Afganistan. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, captured weapons, and local black markets were more effective in providing small arms to the Mujahideen. Oddly enough, it seems that the USSR’s policy of “buying” diplomatic influence via arms transfers turned 'round and bit them in the ass, as many of the arms used against Soviet forces in Afganistan had originaly been distributed to client states by the USSR.

Interesting links:

Also, weren’t the people we supplied weapons to overthrown by the Taliban?


Also, weren’t the people we supplied weapons to overthrown by the Taliban?**

Kinda, sorta :wink: . In terms of the leadership, mostly yes.

Actually the Taliban did receive some funding through the foreign aid program. They were mostly Pakistan’s baby ( although their religious model was Saudi, i.e. the Wahabi branch of Sunni Islam )and the CIA was winding down their operations by the time they began their rise. But they did at one early point operate as a subset of other groups that did receive CIA dollars, so it’s likely at least a small amount of American largesse made it into their coffers.

But more significantly, in terms of the rank and file mujahadeen, the Taliban largely succeeded by absorbing other groups. Defections was one of their most important recruitment sources ( the other being the “schools” in Pakistan’s refugee camps ). The Taliban won victories and with that came credibility.

Meanwhile the old-school mujahadeen were so consumed with infighting, their response with ineffectual. Plus their short-lived “coalition government” was nothing if not chaotic and riven with dissension. They had demonstrated that they were clearly incapable of ruling by committee. By the time the government broke down and the infighting had become “hot”, the Taliban were on the move. Dissatisfaction with the “government” factions, the attraction of the Taliban’s “pure” religious ideology to the fundamentalist miltia members ( who made up the single largest chunk of the Mujahadeen ), and the Taliban’s dedication to achieving stability, won large numbers of converts.

Many of the old militia organizations in large part melted away ( sometimes after a defeat or two ), with many joining the Taliban, bringing with them all their fancy foreign arms and combat experience. The ones that didn’t were those ideologically frightened by the Taliban or led by unusually charismatic leaders. Most of those were minority based. It wasn’t an instantaneous process, but it was pretty quick once a certain critical mass had been reached.

  • Tamerlane

Reading this, I’m reminded of the time I asked one of my most esteemed professors (international relations)what should be done about the Balkans. This man had been born in Prussia while it was still Prussia, served in the British military intelligence service in WWII and the US Marines in Korea, for some reason.
His answer? “Build a wall around it, stick your head over and count the dead once a month.”
Sad as it may seem, I don’t think there’s anything that can be “done” about the Taliban. They’ll either burns themselves out and rationality will return, or the citizens will revolt en masse (those that aren’t dead, that is).

Now a GOOD idea would be to send Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, Jack Chick and all the rabid hypocritical fundies over there to try and convert them. Taliban gets annoyed, we get rid of them, it’s a win-win.