Friday, 29 January 2010

afghanistan - latest greatest solution

the current state of affairs:
afghanistan is a poor underdeveloped country. It's people have endured centuries of oppression both from within and by foreign powers. Most recently, the country was occupied by the soviet union and then by a home grown extremist muslim/nationalist cult (taliban). The taliban attempted a social control experiment on a grand scale a la kmehr rouge which naturally resulted in calamity. Some in the country, with the help of western powers, overthrew the taliban and again with western help, are maintaining themselves in power.
western governments thought they would defeat the extremists and that afghanistan would miraculously become a stable, self ruling democratic country that would not harbour anti western terrorists in its midst.
shockingly, this fairy tale ending did not come to pass quite as expected. the taliban are enjoying a resurgence, many of the people now see western armies as an occupying force and the country is riddled by corruption. western governments are now desperate to extricate themselves from what looks like a long term commitment to fighting an intractable, unwinable war. the western powers are realising that they understand next to nothing of the country, its people or their culture. the taliban aren't leaving - they are after all, afghan nationalists albeit with a fanatical bent.

a new proposal:
realising that the taliban are actually part of afghan society, some in the west have come up with a cunning plan. pay the low end (soft core) taliban who are not motivated by extreme ideology to defect. give these people money, training, jobs, whatever it takes to "bring them back into the fold".

what will happen:
  • some of the money will dissapear into the pockets of corrupt afghans.
  • some of the money wil be paid to corrupt western corporations to provide overpriced, ill targeted training and other programs.
  • some of the money will actually go to taliban who want a change.
  • some of the money will go to taliban who just want to use it to buy a new kalachnikov or some hand grenades.
  • most of the money will go to temporarily "in between jobs" afghan men who need the cash and who can pretend they are taliban.
  • the west will pay their escape money and leave.
  • the radical taliban will infiltrate every element of afghan life.
  • the lives of women, minorities, intellectuals and others will again become a living hell.
  • afghanistan will remain a fertile recruiting/training ground for anti western terrorists.
an alternative proposal:
use the money to educate and train afghan girls and women. help women into the trades, proffessions and business. appoint women to positions of power and influence.
this might help afghanistan develop without handing all the power to back to the taliban (all taliban are men). it would help address the terrible treatment of women in the country by giving them status. as women have so far shown little propensity to go about shooting their compatriots, it might even encourage peace.
of course this is a very unlikely scenario. it completely ignores the current afghan reality but as a fairy tale it certainly has a happier ending than the current proposal.