Afghan Election: Abdullah and Ahmadzai Go to the Second Round

So today the results of Afghan election are officially announced. The election will not be concluded in the first round, and a month from now there will be another round.


Via Telegraph:

After almost six weeks of counts, recounts and fraud investigations,Afghans now know who will proceed to a second round in the country’s long-winded process to replace President Hamid Karzai.

Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister, who claimed 45 per cent of first-round votes will face Ashraf Ghani [Ahmadzai], a former finance minister, whose energetic campaign and social media nous propelled him to 31.6 per cent, on June 14.

Both have promised to sign a much-delayed deal to allow American troops to stay in the country beyond the end of the year and stood on similar, ideology-free platforms.

So far the election has been a victory for the supporters of democracy around the globe. These are the reasons:

  • People of Afghanistan showed a proverbial middle finger to the Taliban and other Islamist groups trying to stop these elections from happening, turn out was high, and among women too.
  • This is the first time in recent history that the president in power is leaving power and handing it to a new person with no violence and in a democratic fashion.
  • The security forces and the NATO managed to keep violence at a minimum.
  • There were few complaints, both candidates ultimately accepted the results, so not perfect, but progress.
  • The candidate of the current administration didn’t even go to the second round, both remaining candidates were among the opposition, so no Putin/Medvedev shenanigans, a good news.
  • And best of all: the Islamist candidates placed at 4th and 6th, garnering only 9% of the votes put together. Suck on that, political Islam.

A very good day for Afghanistan, and I wish the best for Afghan people.

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About Kaveh Mousavi

Kaveh Mousavi is the pseudonym of an atheist ex-Muslim living in Iran, subject to one of the world’s remaining theocracies. He is a student of English Literature, an aspiring novelist, and part-time English teacher. He is passionate about politics, video games, heavy metal music, and cinema. He was born at the tenth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He has ditched the Islamic part, but has kept some of the revolutionary spirit.

  • exi5tentialist

    A marvellous propaganda victory for American invasions of muslim countries. Suck on that, political islam.

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      It has nothing to do with the American invasion. It’s a nation walking towards democracy ON ITS OWN. Americans installed Karzai who didn’t do much for democracy. It’s normal people walking towards democracy with a lot of struggle. Hopefully one day you will recognize that the fate of countries is our region is not about you, your nation, or whatever.

      Your views are repugnant.

      • exi5tentialist

        Lest there be any misunderstanding, I opposed the US invasion from the start and my comment was meant to be a satire on your brash “suck on that, political islam” jibe. I not very fond of terms like “political islam” especially in such contexts. There is nothing wrong with muslims being political as muslims, same as the rest of us. Political islam is different in different parts of the world. It is not one single thing.

        If parties who would hurt people have been defeated, great.

        I sincerely hope this election portends a period of construction and development, and I would not want that to be taken by the US as evidence of the “success” of its foreign policy back in 2001. I do not know how the history of Afghanistan would have gone if the US had kept their noses out of Afghanistan then, I do know that after 13 years of US occupation Afghanistan has suffered more than any country should ever suffer, and the invasion was wrong.

        • Kaveh Mousavi

          That’s another discussion. What was very objectionable was your belittlement of Afghan people’s victory.

          And it doesn’t matter what terms you like or don’t like. Political Islam is a reality and the worst danger our region faces. These were men who wanted to start a theocracy and to make all the advances of Afghan women obsolete.

          • exi5tentialist

            It’s not really another discussion. The history of Afghanistan is the history of Afghanistan; events are related to each other. To separate them out as if they are in sealed units is to deny their intimate and inseparable relationship. Afghanistan is part of the world; the world has intervened too much there. It needs to be said. I haven’t belittled anyone’s victory, but I’m not swallowing your analysis at face value.

            Would the Afghan people have rushed to these polls if it weren’t the only way on offer of protecting themselves from another round of war? In the west we know very little of their motivations. Your anti-Taliban/Islamism analysis fits the US government’s propaganda perfectly, but that always has been simplistic.

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            Maybe Afghans rushing into these polls wasn’t ABOUT the America at all. Maybe it was about Afghanistan. Maybe it was about taking their future into their own hand, and yes, away from the foreign invader hands. What you don’t get is that like those American government propagandists you are turning Afghan people into pawns in your own internal political game, and that you are as bad as the colonialist because of that.

            Plus, the fact that Islamists are rejected is a FACT.And that is a GOOD thing. If you disagree with this or think this is too simplistic, then you’re like Chomsky when he supports Pol Pot.

          • Pierce R. Butler

            Oh for crysake.

            Noam Chomsky did not support Pol Pot.

            Whoever told you that probably lied about other things as well.

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            Maybe he didn’t. I admit I might be wrong. But that doesn’t disprove a single thing I have argued here.

          • atheist

            @exi5tentialist – May 15, 2014 at 11:07 pm (UTC 0)

            Your anti-Taliban/Islamism analysis fits the US government’s propaganda perfectly, but that always has been simplistic.

            What if he’s anti-Taliban for reasons that don’t have any relation to US propaganda, but instead are due to the carnage that the Taliban cause within their territory? And why do you assume that Kaveh’s speaking out of a western point of view? Isn’t it just as likely that he’s concerned about events happening close to him?

          • exi5tentialist

            @atheist Yeah will as you will see I said “anti-Taliban/Islamism” though I see you’ve conveniently dropped the whole point I was making about the blanket worldwide use of the term “islamism” to present me as being somehow not anti-Taliban. It’s getting a bit annoying the way people repeatedly present me as saying things which I explicitly have not said. I can forgive a misunderstanding or two, or even three, but this gets tedious.

            My point was about the erroneous linkage of islam with politics to create a narrative called islamism which in rightwing reasoning means Taliban or something similar everywhere in the world. My point wasn’t criticising people who are anti-Taliban. I’m anti-Taliban. I’m also anti-occupation. And I’m against applying simplistic labels worldwide.

        • Amber

          Wow, exi5tentialist, could you be any more condescending to an ex-Muslim MENA person? If you’re Muslim, ex-Muslim, or of MENA descent, then that’s one thing, but your replies suggest that you aren’t. In addition to your replies about imperialism on Kaveh’s original post (which I highly doubt an actual Iranian person needs to have Westplained to him), it’s not really appropriate to talk over MENA people writing about their own cultures and their perceptions thereof, particularly when all you’re doing is obsessing over the perception of white Westerners.

          For the record, the burden is on white Westerners not to be racist, imperialist assholes. The burden is NOT on people of ex-faiths to try to delicately frame their language because white folks might be racists (if you’ve been HARMED in conjunction with a faith, you are kind of allowed to dislike that faith — sorry but the permission of non-ex-Muslim Westerners is not required here); if racist assholes use that to attack MENA people, then the problem is with the racist assholes. Period, end stop. Middle Eastern people and ex-Muslims do NOT have a burden to talk about their experiences, opinions, and perceptions in a way most palatable to Westerners. Especially when Kaveh did NOT endorse the war and I feel safely certain he’s anti-imperialism and does not require being lectured on its evils.

          There COULD indeed be a legitimate issue of Afghan people deciding they don’t like the OP’s analysis. But that is for them to say. It surely is not for Westerners to butt into.

          • exi5tentialist

            So what you’re saying, Amber, is that only people of Middle Eastern and North African origin have any moral right to comment on the implications of the Afghan election result and participate in a debate about the subject.

            To be honest, I don’t think that message has reached the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Washington Post, the New York Times, as well as the French, British, Canadian, Australian and American governments today, nor the many people in these comments who are continuing to promote generalisations about islamism. And yet in this dynamic I am the one who is supposed to submit to being quiet?

            This isn’t about whether someone is from the Middle East, North Africa or Afghanistan is it? It’s about the acceptability of a political opinion being expressed. It’s about the slant of FTB as an American-based website, and what views are considered acceptable on it. That’s a whole can of worms I’m getting a glimpse into, it’s interesting.

          • Amber

            As goes a certain scriptural saying I do actually like: there’s a time and a place for everything under the sun. I am not saying I believe Westerners are never allowed to talk about Middle Eastern affairs. I personally WISH more Westerners took an interest in goings-on in the world beyond the United States, and one of my foremost criticisms of even a lot of progressive social justice movements is how US-centric they are.

            But I think when people from actual cultures affected by Western imperialism (and thus subject to having their voices talked over/written over by said imperialism) are sharing their perspectives, it is wrong to try to push them into a clean, ideologically convenient box [in the name of preventing racism and Islamophobia against them, no less!] when real human beings lead messy, complicated lives not easily slotted into dichotomies and talking points. It is wrong to essentially try to shove everything non-Western POC write into the Platonic Liberal Narrative, no matter how abstractedly good and intellectual and leftist said narrative is when placed out in ideological abstractland. I am not saying said narrative doesn’t have its place Somewhere — I didn’t exactly see any disagreement about imperialism — but context?

            HAD Kaveh somehow been endorsing Western imperialism, it WOULD be an ethical obligation of Western people to reject the notion (that would be the basic definition of not being a terrible human being, not a laudable act particularly) — but that wasn’t in any way what this post was.

            NOW, as to the last rhetorical question –if someone wants to try to go all more-postcolonial-than-thou on me, I’ve done PLENTY of work in postcolonial studies and theory. I continue to read the critiques of imperialism by Muslim authors whose perspectives are nothing like Kaveh’s. Saadia Toor, anyone? My head doesn’t explode with contradictions from this, because I recognize both the evils of imperialism (and thus the focus there, should non-Western people choose to levy that focus) and the fundamental right of people from cultures victimized by imperialism to write about (and even critique!) those cultures and have conversations and debates and discussions *with one another*. And I’ve come down on white Westerners on “both sides” of this issue. I’ve had my share of white dudes accuse me of placing Islam on a pedestal because of my stance that white folks should butt out, so I guess on the flip side I may as well be called an Islamophobe for it, too. As a matter of fact, I AM ideologically consistent about whose voices I think should be at the forefront of ME affairs, but sure, go on believing it’s just about shilling for one particular view.

            In sum:

            – Yes, the author is Iranian. Yes, MENA cultures and practices of Islam are not a monolith. But who the fuck has treated the ME as a homogenized unit and conflated shiite and sunni Islam to fuck up Afghanistan AND Iraq AND promote the whole Axissss of Evil shtick on Iran? Because I am pretty sure that’s all coming from the same source and penalizing MENA people for reacting to one another’s cultures when the West has done its best TO homogenize them is, well, pretty fucked up.

            – Middle Eastern and North African bodies are “Islamized” in perception. On one of Kaveh’s posts about Islam, you write that this should be addressed delicately Because Western Islamophobia. Do you honestly believe Middle Eastern children getting called “Osama” in US or European playgrounds can just opt out of this if they aren’t Muslims? I am pretty darn sure it doesn’t work that way, and ex-Muslim diasporic MENA people assuredly don’t just get a get-out-of-discrimination-free card from being ex-Muslims.

            – Okay, OP is not diasporic, but give me a break. “AXIS OF EVIL”? Again, MENA bodies are “Islamized” by Western perception. So lecturing MENA people about Islamophobic discrimination makes exactly zero sense.

            Finally, and I can’t even believe this needs to be said, while OP is not himself Afghan and would, I’m pretty sure, be amenable to discussing different perspectives from Afghan people, I am hard-pressed to see how the fuck an Iranian atheist living in Iran and writing using a pseudonym [because oh hey turns out atheists are marginalized in Iran and Muslims are actually the majority and Kaveh would have about as much luck persecuting them, if he wanted to, as I would have persecuting Christians, if I wanted to, lolz] can somehow oppress and disenfranchise Afghan people through sharing his opinion that state-sponsored Islam isn’t so good. Because it turns out Iranians are not really benefiting from that whole imperialism thing, whereas Westerners — even really really anti-war Westerners who have lots of good ideals — kind of are, and so yes, they need to be doing a whole lot more shutting the hell up than any Iranian or MENA person ever basically since Imperialism 101 is that ONE SIDE holds most of the power to Fucking Oppress. And the whole reason we as liberals generally try to discourage and silence certain opinions is because we dislike that whole oppression thing. When Iranian atheists go invade Afghanistan and force a secular government, MAYBE some kind of point will have been made here. But till then? Nah.

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            I completely agree. I want to add two things regarding imperialism. Firstly, Russian imperialists invaded Afghanistan and the western imperialists armed the Taliban and provided them money and help, so the fact that Afghanistan struggles with political Islam is something that imperialism has played a major role in it and I can’t ignore this recent history. Likewise, the CIA overthrow of Mossadegh who was a liberal and a secular and democratically elected played a major role in Iranians turning to theocrats, So my strong opposition to political Islam also includes opposition to imperialism because not long ago imperialism and political Islam were bed fellows.

            Second, opposition to imperialism is meaningful if you are opposed to the idea and practice of imperialism and not merely western imperialism. Islam is a very imperialistic religion itself. Countries like Iran, Syria, and Egypt would not be Muslim majority countries without this imperialistic aspect because they were conquered and colonized by the Islamic Empire. So it is contradictory to oppose imperialism and not political Islam.

          • tigzy

            Amber said: ‘And the whole reason we as liberals generally try to discourage and silence certain opinions is because we dislike that whole oppression thing.’

            Well that makes sense.

  • exi5tentialist

    Oh right. Afghanistan still has 50,000 foreign troops occupying it and a massive American airbase, and because I do not swallow your simplified analysis that the outcome of the Afghan election is a compulsorily good thing, and because I’ve said that the term “political islam” is over-used and what it means in one part of the world is misplaced in its use in another part of the world, suddenly I am just like the US invaders I oppose, and I probably support Pol Pot.

    Give me a break.

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      The only reason you opposed the claim that election results are good was because your political opponents might be able to spin it in a way that it will help their arguments.

      Which is completely a moral failure on your part. The Taliban asked Afghan people not to go out to vote. They threatened them with violence. These are people who don’t want have girls educated and they had the most radical version of theocracy. The ones who outspokenly supported theocracy are defeated. For the first time in their history the power transition has been bloodless. For the first time in their history their president is handing the power to his opponent in a peaceful manner.

      If you are not happy by these things, just because the American government might use that in a propaganda, your moral reasoning is flawed and broken.

      What would have made you happy? If the Taliban had disrupted the process and had taken Kabul and reinstated one of the world’s most viscous theocracies? Then you’d be happy, because you would be able to blame America’s war machine?

      • exi5tentialist

        I’ve not opposed the idea that the election results are good, I’ve said explicitly that we don’t have much information about what people’s motivations were in voting. I have questioned your simplistic analysis of the results that it’s all about “islamism” and then your obvious wish to sweep the American occupation under the carpet. Because I won’t let you shove your analysis down my throat you tell me I’m just like the American oppressors and I’m an apologist for Noam Chomsky’s support of Pol Pot. I think you’re going overboard a bit.

        I’ll take some time to get some wider analysis of the election and its results from a variety of sources, I don’t trust your slant on things much.

        • Kaveh Mousavi

          Now you lie. In your first comment you said “A marvellous propaganda victory for American invasions of muslim countries. Suck on that, political islam”. Which means that you consider the election results bad. Why you consider them bad? Is it because it negatively affects people of Afghanistan? No, it’s bad because it supports American propaganda.

          I never made any claims about motivations. I don’t know. The consequence is that Taliban and Islamists suffer. Which I think is good, even if it helps the American propaganda.

          My obvious wish is to stop western people from making everything and every narrative about themselves and their governments. This election is not about you.

          You are welcome to not read my “slant”.

          • exi5tentialist

            You accuse me of lying because I questioned your compulsory good news story?

            There remain 50,000 occupying troops in Afghanistan. You can pretend that the occupiers aren’t still involved in Afghanistan, you can tell me to shut up about it, but that doesn’t alter the fact that masses of foreign troops are still there. I know that this election is not “about” the west. But are you really telling me that I don’t have the right to comment on an invasion and occupation that I oppose, just because the occupied country has had an election?

            You are twisting this big time now. If you are saying that westerners should butt out, what gives you the right, as a non-afghan, to impose YOUR political agenda that the big message of this election has been the defeat of the worldwide phenomenon of islamism? The best you’ve come up with so far is that you are in the same “region”. Isn’t that a bit territorial?

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            See, I mean like this one. You can argue your points, don’t talk to me in that tone.

            I accused you of lying because you misrepresented your previous argument. You said “I didn’t say the results are bad”, while you strongly implied that they were.

            I didn’t tell you that you should shut up about the troops. I said “You oppose the presence, so you think an election is a bad thing because it reinforces these troops, while it makes people’s lives better, so your argument morally stinks.” I can easily prove that the weakening of Islamism is good for Afghan people.

            I didn’t say westerners should opt out. If you can show how the election is bad for Afghan people, go ahead. I said you use them for your own narrative and goals.

          • exi5tentialist

            Kaveh – I’m all for elections. I’ve just voted in one. It would be viciously hypocritical of me not to support the Afghan people’s right to have them.

            I think you did tell me I should shut up about the occupation, your words were “that’s another discussion”, then you told me my views about your characterisation of “islamism” don’t matter. We should both try not to be condescending but the responsibility for that is shared. My alleged vicarious alliance with Pol Pot through Chomsky doesn’t sit well in the condescension league.

            We disagree with each other. I think that a source of the problem is that you’ve wanted me to be quiet about anything that doesn’t involve supporting your message that the Afghan election is good news because it tells islamists they can “suck on that”. I think that’s too narrow a message, there are other dimensions to it. Let’s widen it out, let’s stop narrowing it all down to saying you shouldn’t say this and I shouldn’t say that.

  • Jonathan MS Pearce

    Irrespective of the past, taming into account what is going on NOW, this is good news and should be roundly welcomed.

    • exi5tentialist

      And when do we remember the past? When does the US become accountable for what it did? Is this election to be co-opted as a worldwide effort to “draw a line” under the past, to banish it from conversation, because the only thing that “matters” now is this good-news present?

      • Kaveh Mousavi

        You cannot appropriate the Afghan people victory for your own political agenda.

        • exi5tentialist

          Who are you to silence people? Tens of thousands of Afghans have suffered violent deaths in the last 13 years as a result of the US invasion, and you want to sweep that under the carpet, all in celebration of your Taliban-busting anti-islamist political joy fest. You are not the sole analyst of this election, if elections are about anything they are about pluralism which is something you don’t seem to be particularly fond of at the moment.

          I’ve appropriated nothing. I’ve commented on an election result, which includes commenting on its context. This is democracy in action. Get used to it.

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            In what way I have silenced you? You come on my blog, and when I confront you with arguments you have the audacity of accusing me of silencing you? You are aware that by this point I’m merely tolerating you (tolerate as in really tolerate, the way someone tolerates something really unpleasant), while it is very much in power to ban you? You know that this is my space, no?

            I have tolerated your bizarre arguments in the name of tolerance and entertainment, I have ignored your personal attacks like the time that you implied I support genocide, and I have tolerated your self-righteous, insulting, and condescending tone.

            So don’t talk to me about pluralism.

            EDIT: Originally this comment was much angrier, I toned it down.

          • Allan Frost


            Your sneering, patronizing tone is so fucking tiresome. Where do you get the nerve to lecture someone who is actually risking their life by blogging about these things? I’d ask what exotic, dangerous location your ass is parked that gives you such hands-on insights into the minds of oppressed people everywhere, but this isn’t about you. You should just fuck off and reassess your condescending worldview. It really is repugnant.

          • Allan Frost

            And I know this link has been pointed out to you in the past because I’ve seen you pulling this same type of shit on Avicenna’s blog. You should really read it. It’s about you, asshole.

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            I know saying this might sound hypocritical after I lost my temper myself, but please don’t call him an asshole :) Le

          • exi5tentialist

            First, you issue a command that I “cannot” say something you disagree with then you come back and tell me that you are not in the process of trying to silence me? In the very same post you threaten to ban me. Now you have the cheek to ask “in what way have I silenced you?” Your threatening language is an attempt to silence. A ban would confirm the sentiment.

            A free election is one of the most prized possessions of a democracy. In, during, before and after elections, everybody is allowed to express their opinion – positive, negative, cynical, supportive, unsupportive, insiders, outsiders, qualified, unqualified. If comment is not free, then elections are not free. I celebrate free elections. That’s democracy.

            Elections should be buzzing with comment. Your threat to ban me has no effect on what I say. You want to waste the time of pro-democracy commenters by inviting them to comment on an election, then you ban them? Yeah, you go ahead and issue that ban. You go ahead and crush democratic comment – says it all about what you’re really blogging for.

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            Cannot in the sense that it is not right, not that it is not permitted.

            And u threaten you with a ban not because of what you say but because your tone is condescending and insulting.

          • exi5tentialist

            @Allan Frost thanks for the link but I have already read and answered that post on Avicenna’s blog comments. My answer was along the lines that just posting the article doesn’t directly address my specific comments, its comments are rather vague and generalised. If your point is that anybody who disagrees with Avicenna and Kaveh should shut up because they are both from a different part of the world and any comment by any westerner is somehow imperialist, then I think that’s anti-democratic and it’s a position I will resist.

            @Kaveh thanks for attempting to moderate the language of comments by persuasion.

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            It is not about your origin. There are people from our region who say the same thing and it is equitably objectionable. Of course I believe the majority of Afghans are very angry and justifiably so with the American actions wich have caused innocent lives and I don’t think anyone with Humanist values doesn’t object to many actions by occupying forces. Point is that whether you are western or Afghan or Iranian, you can’t (not in the legal sense) use this election to drive that point in, no matter how justified it is for reasons I have enumerated above.

          • Allan Frost

            Yep, this is your blog. I apologize.

          • exi5tentialist

            @Kaveh thanks. But if the point about appropriating the Afghan election applies to me and my views, then it applies to you and your views equally well. The reason I responded to your article with my first comment was that you were using the Afghan election to drive home what I think of as a right-wing view, which tends to find favour in FTB, namely “suck on that, political islam.” I satirized that phrase which I found particularly troublesome. The are undercurrents of forcing someone’s face onto something in that phrase, I think it’s reasonable to point that out in what is after all meant to be a peaceful, non-violent election.

            By saying “suck on that, political islam”, you yourself are appropriating the Afghan election to drive home and reinforce a number of views around the issue of islamism:-

            1) That islamism exists and that it means “political islam”. Therefore we must all bow to the vocabulary of the main worldwide media and right-wing politicians, and submit to that analysis, not question their right to portray a simplistic and reductionist view of politics affecting people in muslim countries, and just get on with it leaving the terms of debate untouched by dissent, because anyone who disagrees with that doctrine is an apologist for islamism and probably islam as well.

            2) That political islam is a malign monolithic entity in every part of the world, that therefore the islamism of the Egyptian brotherhood which was overthrown by a military coup after being democratically elected is exactly the same malign monolithic entity as the Taliban; that any dissent from this monolithic view is regressive troublemaking

            3) That any muslim trying to build a political ideology around their own religion is being “politically muslim”, therefore islamist, therefore malign and therefore worthy of being told to “suck on” the politics of rejection

            4) That any non-muslim of western origin expressing any dissent to this ideology around the explanations for muslim politics is despicable because they are commenting on an area of oppression of which they have no direct experience when muslims and ex-muslims have direct experience of that oppression and therefore have a right not to have their views challenged or opposed.

            All of that neatly encapsulated in the simple phrase “suck on that, political islam”. So yes, I think you have appropriated the Afghan election to your politics. If you think I’ve misconstrued the matter, then I would invite you to explain how as I am open to discussion.

            Interestingly, according to the comments here, when I express my view and my dissent, it is my “pet issue”. When you do it, you are “right”. I say Right. I understand and recognise your origins. I also know that FTB is an American website, whose politics and infrastructure predominantly revolve around an American audience with some people from other english-speaking countries in tow. It is also a centre of opinion which is hierarchical in structure. I think those facts cause a bias.

            You have frequently expressed views about the national politics of Iran. I have not contributed any comments to those mainly because I would have been way out of my depth in responding to what you have specifically said there, so I am content to read and to try to understand. I do not raise objections to things just for the sake of it, I do so when there is something important at stake and when I think my view is as good as the other person’s. If I’m wrong then I appreciate people pointing out why, I just have not seen any comments that I find compelling about my views in this discussion.

            There seems to be a view among commenters, which I’m glad you don’t share, that westerners aren’t entitled to comment on politics within muslim countries when somebody from one of those countries has expressed a view that the westerner would like to oppose. For some reason this principle only seems to apply to westerners with left of centre views who oppose right-wing generalising about muslim politics.

            I completely reject that approach. I agree that westerners imposing themselves in conversations with people from the middle east and surrounds about detailed matters about which the westerner has little knowledge just makes them look ridiculous and it is right to remind them of that. I do not include your article about the Afghanistan election in that. You have made a political point about the outcome of the Afghan election, I opposed that point. We are discussing politics. A political discussion is legimate after any election anywhere in the world.

            On the subject of the candidates who have been rejected in the ballot, I acknowledge that I know little about them, so I am not in a position to either criticise or defend them. You may know more and I will bow to your knowledge. That doesn’t mean that I’ll accept your application of the word “islamist” to them, because I know that that application means lifting the word islamist out of that specific Afghan situation and then generalising it to cover a range of political positions all over the world in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey – everywhere as if it means the exact same thing as it does in Afghanistan. I oppose.doing that. That’s why I oppose generalising phrases like “suck on that, political islam.”

            I do thank you for asking contributors not to use abusive language. I do not use it. I acknowledge that my views may be difficult to deal with given predominant views about islam at FTB, but that doesn’t mean I deserve to be verbally abused. Nor banned, I would add. Political opinions are ok, personal abuse isn’t.

            Can I also just respond to your suggestion that I have “implied” you support genocide. Let me clarify, I do not think you support genocide. Of course you don’t. And because you don’t support it, I was probably cautioning against using language that could be easily misconstrued by people we would both oppose.

            I do not recall the exact discussion but as you have mentioned it I think it would be a good idea to provide a link to it. When those sorts of discussion start happening it is usually because somebody has said something provocative like they want to “destroy religion” which I find objectionable because I think religions consist of people. I don’t know if that’s what you said, but as you have raised it I think it is important to provide some context.

            I do not think that anything I have said goes beyond the boundaries of normal political discussion that you would hear in political meetings and parliamentary discussion. Sometimes on the internet there is a tendency to build the dissenter up as a nasty, unacceptable, despicable hate-figure and to react disproportionately to what are pretty average opinions. It is important to allow public opinion to develop in open discussion. I am not of the view that public opinion drives western governments to invade muslim countries, but I do think it can be an obstacle to them, therefore it needs to be allowed to develop wherever it has an opportunity and discussion plays a part in that.

            I am certainly not criticising anyone for seeing good in the Afghan election. I like you am concerned at what it is being appropriated for. If it is being appropriated to silence ongoing criticism of the US, because “that’s another discussion” (which then never happens) then I’ll continue to express my disagreement.

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            I accept that I was condescending as well and it was wrong.

            I understand your position better now. I think it is better if you could explain your points like this and do not rely on snarky comments because it might create confusion. Good luck.

      • atheist

        Of course we should remember the past. Of course we can criticize the US/NATO war. But not everything is about your pet issue.

  • abear

    You need to listen to exi5tentialist Kaveh, he is an expert on the middle east having passed through both Ohio and Indiana,

    At least he hasn’t called you a Islamophobe yet! :)

    Remember your blog rules… you can’t call him stupid.

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      Thanks for saying this

      exi5tentialist sorry for the usage of the word.

      • exi5tentialist

        @abear I have never been to Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Ohio or Indiana. I reserve the democratic right to comment on all of them.

        @Kaveh I’m not sure what you’re apologising for, no offence taken and thanks anyway

  • Kilian Hekhuis

    @exi5tentialist “Tens of thousands of Afghans have suffered violent deaths in the last 13 years as a result of the US invasion”

    “As a result of” does not mean “Directly caused by”. It also says nothing about what would’ve otherwise happened. In contradiction with the rather pointless invasion of Iraq, the invasion of Afghanistan at least stopped the most violent theocracy in the world. From what I hear, life for the Afghans hasn’t improved that much, but at least they are at the bottom of the stairs, instead of behind a locked door.

    By your reasoning, America’s “invasion” in Europe in the 2nd WW was also bad, causing millions of deaths. Still, as a European, I’m pretty happy they did.

    “I reserve the democratic right to comment on all of them” – That’s a bit of a silly remark. You can’t reserve your own rights, freedom of speech is not a “democratic” right, and nor is freedom of speech the freedom to say whatever you fucking feel like *on someone else’s blog*!

    • exi5tentialist

      @Kilian, yes I know that “As a result of” does not mean “directly caused by”. That’s why I said “as a result of” and not “directly caused by”. I do tend to choose my words reasonably carefully. In both cases however the US ruling class is culpable, though maybe not for the same reasons.

      Your analogy with America’s invasion of Europe in 1943 is not my “reasoning”. A discussion about the fight against fascism in a world war cannot be brought to bear on the situation in Afghanistan in just two lines of text. I’d suggest you leave it out.

      Please note, I am not saying “whatever I fucking feel like on someone else’s blog”. I’ll thank you to keep your abusive language to yourself. I don’t use it, and I don’t consent to being a recepticle for every sexual expletive going. In answer to your point, what I’m saying is actually not on Kaveh’s blog, it’s on the comments section after Kaveh’s blog which Kaveh has invited you and me to participate in. If Kaveh only wants supportive views to be expressed in the comments after the blog, then it’s in Kaveh’s power to massage commenter privileges and to delete comments. I just think Kaveh is aware that could well have a detrimental effect on the volume of comments on the blog and also on the readership, and that would be a shame because Kaveh writes a lot of interesting stuff.

      Still, other bloggers at FTB have been free with the ban and delete button regarding my views; as far as I’m concerned it’s their loss. If people can’t tolerate political discussion on their website, they can’t complain when their traffic diminishes to the backwater league. The exclusion of one dissenting view is often symbolic of the exclusion of a whole collection of opinion; it’s a risky strategy to play for any blogger but ultimately it’s Kaveh’s call.

  • colnago80

    Speaking of Afghanistan, more evidence of Iranian perfidy in Syria.

  • exi5tentialist

    The immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all the western military is a demand I have joined with since September 2001. Every day since then, the continued presence of western forces in general and the US in particular is a destabilising affront to the integrity and the Afghan people. I echo Stop the War, their words from this time last year are more relevant now than ever: 13 years of war has failed in its aim of bringing peace, stability, democracy or human rights to the ordinary people there. Women suffer under some of the most archaic laws, and the country remains one of the poorest in the world, one of the most corrupt and one of the most dangerous for women in the world.

    Obama himself has appropriated the elections as a vindication of 13 years of warmongering by the superpower that controls his presidency. “Today, we also pay tribute to the many Americans –- military and civilian –- who have sacrificed so much to support the Afghan people as they take responsibility for their own future.” (Huffpo) It’s obvious what his positive spin around the elections is: it’s a chance to enable the US to be vindicated; it’s a way of silencing criticism of the continued US occupation by spinning a good news message to which all dissent is characterised as being regressive; and it’s a symbolic moment of consolidation of the political justification for the continued occupation.

    Journalists still don’t move freely in Afghanistan. The message we receive is still vulnerable to the US-Afghan Government’s spin. RT report that Gaetan Drossart, Chief of Mission for Medecins sans Frontieres in Kabul, speaking about the supposed success of the partial US/NATO withdrawal, says the reality of the situation couldn’t be more different.

    “The truth is there is no such success story at all,” he told RT. “The international forces are leaving the country so they need a reason and they need also a rationale to explain to their population why now they can leave.” He said the war will continue for the Afghan population for years to come.

    I say the US/UK/NATO has no business and no right to be there and never did have. There is no place for the proposed permanent US bases or any US presence. Any US presence is destructive and destablising and always has been. The RT article speaks of the 100,000 Afghan citizens forced from their homes by the ongoing violence that still grips the country. Life continues to deteriorate for many thousands of people.

    The Taliban were always a brutal and repressive government. The US intervention succeeded only in making a bad situation worse, and they continue to do so. Now they and Afghanistan are stuck in a double bind: if they withdraw in full, the underlying threatens to erupt. If they stay they must continue the war and perpetuate the destabilisation they started, further nurturing a dysfunctional resistance to their occupation that will threaten to erupt the moment they actually withdraw.

    The US and therefore NATO must leave Afghanistan today. It’s to avoid that message that the whole propaganda machine is so keen to ring-fence the elections in an occupation-free bubble of apparent good news.

  • exi5tentialist

    I see, Kaveh, you’ve gone for the silencing option: “Your comment is now awaiting moderation”. That’s a shame, we could have had a discussion, but you’ve closed off that possibility. Thanks for your time. Good bye.

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      If you put more than one link in a comment it will go for moderation.

      I don’t support the withdrawal of all troops. I support the security agreement. Complete withdrawal might be disastrous and lead to the Taliban taking power again. The people of Afghanistan probably agree since both candidates who went to second round have the same opinion.

      • exi5tentialist

        Afghanistan is has already suffered a disaster; I don’t see how it’s supposed to get better while the American occupiers are still there. At best they can create a hermetically sealed ‘mini-Afghanistan’ around their bases where they can embed journalists to spin the good news messages. Withdrawing from Afghanistan will be a disaster for those inauthentic messages as the reality emerges, I agree.

        Interestingly, Labour, the Lib Dems, the Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans all favoured the bombing and the occupation right from the start. So the majority of the UK/US population supported the war too – obviously?

        We know there is no room for the Left in western government, when the right attacked democracy they crushed the unions and now they’ve manufactured the democratic process so now they’re blackmailing the people of Afghanistan with the same double-bind that the American occupation has imposed on itself. Looks like they might have succeeded so far. But have you got any evidence that the electorate voted in Afghanistan along lines of opinion? The early reports I’m seeing are saying they voted along ethnic lines. If I am wrong, somebody will no doubt put me right.

        It’s pretty depressing that after all the talk of how I’m not supposed to argue against you because of something about your background, it turns out the underlying dynamic in the conversation is really between the pro- and anti-occupation factions in a straightforward right-left political debate.

        [Thanks for the info about moderation. Can you point me to where these rules are? Your personal rules have been talked about but I don't know where to find them, I wouldn't want to break them.]

        • Kaveh Mousavi

          Oh, it’s true: people have voted along the ethnic lines. But at the same time people of Afghanistan care much more about that issue than people of UK or US. Afghans know that one of the most important things involved is the security agreement. It was debated a million times during the elections and before them. The Luyi Jorgah which is comprised of all tribal and religious leaders asked Karzai to sign the agreement. So it’s safe to say all the ethnic leaders are behind it.

          The ‘mini-Afghanistan’ you mention is already the case in some aspects – that’s the problem.

          But it’s not about supporting occupation. Afghanistan is still very unstable, and it doesn’t have an adequate army yet. NATO troops can remain in a capacity to support and train, and gradually hand everything to Afghan forces and pull out completely.

          Everything is a cost-benefit analysis. Afghanistan is a state which might fail at any moment, one of the most unstable countries in the world, it’s the most corrupt one, and it doesn’t even have a budget. Even if foreign troops cannot remain in it, it still can only survive with foreign aid. India has promised to chime in.

          If Afghanistan collapses back into the hand of Taliban the whole region is made even more unstable.

          Of course, in general, I’m not a pacifist. I supported military invasion in Afghanistan although only with Iranian and Middle Eastern interest in mind – I wouldn’t have supported it if I were an American because I knew it’d prove a swamp for any occupying country, but Taliban right next to us is pretty scary and they were our number 1 enemy and thank you very much. I also supported military invasion in Syria because I knew if you took long the whole country would collapse and the opposition would be hijacked by extremist Islamists and both of my predictions came true, by the way.

          [This is not a rule per se, it's an automatic function of Akismet which filters spam, it automatically filters any comment with more than one link because it might be spam].

          • exi5tentialist

            So your position on continued occupation – let’s be honest, occupation is what it is – exactly coincides with that of every western government.

            I’m not entirely clear what you mean by saying you supported the attack on Afghanistan but only with Iranian and Middle East “interest” in mind. So does that mean you were ok with America attacking Afghanistan, or that you’d only have been ok with it if the Middle Eastern powers led the operation? That may not be what you meant I don’t see either way what “sending the troops” in was ever meant to achieve other than crushing an entire country and forcing it to submit to a bigger power’s bullying.

            Saying “If Afghanistan collapses back into the hand of Taliban the whole region is made even more unstable” is to admit compliance with the exact same double-bind that the US created in the first place through the invasion. It’s like saying yes, we admit we’ve crushed a country and done untold damage but we can’t possibly leave now because of the damage it would cause. No. The US is the cause of the damage. The US is not the cure.

            I agree about aid. If the UK undertook to spend as much of my tax money in aid on Afghanistan and Iraq as it has done on crushing them both, I’d be extremely happy. But no military, not any more. The Taliban thrive on fear, nationalism, authoritarianism and poverty – those are what the US has nurtured in Afghanistan over the last 13 years.

            I care about this. When the US was preparing for war in September 2001 I marched alongside Afghans with the message “Don’t Attack Afghanistan!” and I still would do exactly the same. Are you saying if you’d been in London you wouldn’t have marched with me then? What about the others – atheist, Amber, JMS Pearce, A Frost, abear, Kilian? Was the invasion right or wrong?

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            Would you agree if troops remain but not in a combat capacity? Because that’s what the security deal entails.

            Your arguments are false about Afghanistan because the country has improved significantly under occupation. All of the things you mentioned existed before the attack and worse. Now it is very very bad too, but better. Of course the occupying forces have committed many crimes, including murder of innocents and children. I don’t support that. But the cost of complete withdrawal is worse.

            No, I wouldn’t have marched. I think Taliban and Al-Qaeda are a great threat and need to be destroyed.

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            And I don’t think that is paradoxical to my stance that I disagree with imperialism and occupation as a whole. Afghanistan is a very special case. I think your devotion to this correct idea is too extreme and blind.

          • exi5tentialist

            You mean if they stay providing training, logistics and hardware? No. Those are combat activities anyway.

            I don’t buy that Afghanistan has improved. Most of the people who might want to testify to such an proposition are dead, and not of old age.

            Afghanistan has been murdered by foreign occupations since at least 1979. The way to let Afghanistan live to is get every single foreign soldier out for good. The Taliban you fear now is a product of those interventions. So resistance movements become authoritarian, nationalistic and, yes, fervently religious after 35 years. Is it surprising? Remove the aggressor, the US. Remove that cause. Afghanistan will have a better chance than they have had of becoming a free nation in a good deal less than the 13 years it has taken to drive it to being the collapsed, dependent state it is now.

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            But with what the central (and now democratically elected) government will defend itself when those authoritarian, nationalistic, and fervently religious resistant movement kick the door in to overthrow it, and reinstate the world’s most horrible theocracy?

            I don’t think your analysis of the role of foreign forces in the inception of those forces is wrong. Yes, if they had left Afghanistan alone in 1979 and if the west had not supported them the Taliban would never be such a force. But now they are there. What do you want to do NOW? If you pull out suddenly, will those Taliban members suddenly become democratic seculars who are OK with a parliament with 25% women MPs?

            The withdrawal will happen, but it will be gradual until Afghans can defend themselves.

          • exi5tentialist

            What do you want to do NOW?

            I would withdraw all military forces NOW.

            And that’s been my answer to the same question when it was asked of me in 2002, 2003, 2004… every single year people have said, “Yes it was wrong, but we’re stuck with it, because without it things will get even worse.” And every year I’ve said, do you really think that this is the first time anybody has asked the question “What would you do NOW?”? People really do believe it is a brand new question. And it’s a question that demands that all our history and all our living experience must be forgotten and declared irrelevant to the decision-making process, because the immediate situation demands that we forget all context and respond with urgency to the immediate question which means a ringing endorsement of the status quo. And this happens year after year and conflict after conflict.

            When a superpower invades, a resistance will always rise up to match the awesome power that the superpower has brought to the battle. The Taliban as it existed before 2001 was vicious, but it was not the product of 13 years of superpower occupation as it is now. The Taliban now is such a product. The way to undermine the Taliban is to undermine its perverse sponsor, the US. The best way to do that is to take the US out of the situation.

            And I will not fall into the trap of predicting what I think “would” happen. I have never believed a fortune teller. I don’t accept the fortune-telling of that says “The withdrawal will happen, but it will be gradual until Afghans can defend themselves.” I have no way of knowing, and nor do you. And no I do not know whether America pulling out suddenly will mean those Taliban members suddenly become democratic seculars who are OK with a parliament with 25% women MPs. I don’t even know if England will achieve that status in the next 10 years, let alone the Taliban. I do know that here now today, the US is fuelling the resistance against it by its very presence, and that’s why I say that the US must leave – today.

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            Have you watched that episode of South Park with underpants gnomes? Your reasoning is like their economic model. You don’t have any plan on what people should do when the US is gone. The Taliban magically stops to be a problem, poof they’re gone and not a threat. Do you even care if the Taliban take power again? Certainly not as much as you want America out. Again for you this is a matter of ideology, not a humanitarian concern for people of Afghanistan. And you also ignore the fact that time and time again Afghans have asked for this.

            Thankfully the president of Afghanistan will sign this agreement no matter which one of them wins.

          • exi5tentialist

            No I haven’t watched that South Park episode, you’ll need to explain it to me or give me a link, I’m not searching for an insult.

            Your view is predicated on the assumption that the US army solves problems. It doesn’t. It creates them. If anyone can honestly consider what has happened in Afghanistan over 13 years and not agree that the US army has created the problem, I think they’re denying the reality. You can see it in the way people say, “oh it hasn’t been without problems… the US has made some mistakes” but that’s the language of minimisation and denial of the sheer scale of the disaster.

            You think it’s “magic” that the Taliban in 2014 are a product of US occupation? I don’t believe in magic. Do I even care if the Taliban take power again? Yes. Just as I care that the theocracy is in power in Iran, Assad is in power in Syria, Putin is in power in Russia, or the army has power in Burma. Do I think the west has the right to go into all those countries to impose its will? No. Because just like in Afghanistan, the west can only make a bad situation worse as the dead and the refugees of Afghanistan would testify if they had a voice. But their voice is swept under the carpet. It’s the good news voice of American spin that takes precedence.

            Why? What’s so special about Afghanistan that it’s excluded from the principle that within its own borders a country has the right to develop unhindered by external powers? It’s because it’s a small country which couldn’t defend itself against a superpower. It’s the history of the big bully squashing the small guy just so he can look tough.

            And you assume that the Taliban after US withdrawal will be the same Taliban as now? That removing the impetus for resistance will leave the resistance unchanged? That some “magic” force will retain the dynamics of antagonism when the most powerful antagonist is removed?

            I’m for peace, and there isn’t peace in Afghanistan. America needs to leave to give it a chance there. I agree that this election provides a new bit of propaganda to bash anti-war advocates with. The politics of violence persists, just as it has done in the last 13 years.

          • Kaveh Mousavi

            Their businesses model is this: 1) collect underpants 2) ????? 3) profit

            Like them, your plan is missing the most vital step, you refuse to answer (because you have none) of HOW to defeat the Taliban without foreign military aid. You just think that the Taliban will stop trying to take power, as in your simplistic reading the only thing motivating them is US presence while they have their own ideology and want to implement it through force no matter who is in charge in Afghanistan.

            And the claim that the bad situation in Afghanistan is now worse is counter factual. The situation is better.

            The democratically elected government will sign the agreement so the issue of National sovereigntywill not be a concern.

            And here we reach the main root of our dispute: you oppose the results of a Democratic election because it undermines type talking points. You don’t care for Afghans, you care for your ideology.

          • exi5tentialist

            Sorry for the delay Kaveh, been away.

            Their businesses model is this: 1) collect underpants 2) ????? 3) profit

            Funny but reductive of my position.

            Like them, your plan is missing the most vital step, you refuse to answer (because you have none) of HOW to defeat the Taliban without foreign military aid.

            I think my approach has many more steps in it than the reductive media and most politicians can cope with. Firstly, you’re right. I do not have a “plan” for the Afghan people. I cannot think of anything more imperialist and patronising to go to a nation of which I am not a part and hand down to them a “plan” that I’ve cooked up for them, any more than I have ever had a “plan” for bringing democracy to native americans or to the population of south asia. Having a “plan” for other nations seems to me to be a root cause and mechanism of imperialism, when you look at the history of empire. I reject the need for any “plan”.

            You just think that the Taliban will stop trying to take power, as in your simplistic reading the only thing motivating them is US presence

            No it’s not the only thing motivating them. I’d ask you to stop reducing my arguments which are a bit more nuanced than that. I certainly think that the Taliban have become a de facto resistance movement against a foreign occupation, and that much of their power and ideology is now determined by their status as a resistance movement – that status puts them in the position of being brutal, unjust, vicious fighters.

            Removing the source of that problem, the US will certainly remove a massive motivating factor in that status. But in the same way that I think it is patronising and imperialistic to declare that I have a “plan” for the Afghan people, I also refuse to predict what “will” happen when the Americans do the sensible thing and just leave for good.

            Predicting that a nation “will” follow a path determined by my “plan” would be just more imperialistc, patronising and unacceptable condescension.

            while they have their own ideology and want to implement it through force no matter who is in charge in Afghanistan.

            Yes but what they want isn’t necessarily what they’re going to get, is it? Change the dynamics and a large part of their raison d’etre disappears.

            And the claim that the bad situation in Afghanistan is now worse is counter factual. The situation is better.

            Well, were there 100,000 refugees in Afghanistan in 2001 before the invasion or not? Sorry, that was RT’s figure so we can just ignore it allegedly. Anyway, the UNHCR in 2014 puts the number of refugees at 2,500,000 or more. That doesn’t look a lot better to me, but maybe I’m mistaking what you mean by “counter factual”.

            The democratically elected government will sign the agreement so the issue of National sovereigntywill not be a concern.

            And here we reach the main root of our dispute: you oppose the results of a Democratic election because it undermines type talking points.

            Well if we’re really calling this election democratic, then too right I oppose the results. I have a long history of opposing the results of democratic elections. I opposed the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979. I opposed the election of Blair in 2005 after Labour attacked Iraq. I opposed the election of Reagan, Bush and Bush. Yeah, you’ve got me. I often oppose the results of democratic elections – and that’s okay because I’m exercising my democratic rights in doing so.

            And just one other thing. You can say that the election result bind Afghanistan’s politicians, but in no way does it bind the American people or the British electorate. I’ll continue to oppose the presence of their forces in Afghanistan.

            You don’t care for Afghans, you care for your ideology.

            I think we both care about Afghans, but we have very different approaches to how to make that care real.

        • abear

          When the Americans entered Afghanistan the vast majority of the people supported them and with almost zero ground support the Afghans routed the Taliban and chased them into hiding. They didn’t like the Taliban then and the elections demonstrate they don’t like them now either. As much as the average Afghan resents having foreign soldiers and have learned to not like the behavior of western soldiers, the majority of the people and their tribal and clan leaders want them to stay because they hate the Taliban more.

          The fact that you are quoting RT, one of Putin’s favorite propaganda explains where you get your odd opinions. The modern version of the KGB spins a yarn and you are naive enough to swallow it. You think it’s dangerous being a journalist in Afghanistan, try being a journalist in Russia that criticizes Putin or his crew of thugs. You would be lucky to get beaten and thrown in jail, most of them just get rubbed out.

          Don’t get me wrong, the US government behave like obnoxious bullies too often and also make plenty of mistakes.

          However; there is no need to parrot falsehoods to find sufficient material to criticize them for.

          • exi5tentialist

            Ah right, so you would have shunned my 2001 march against the invasion of Afghanistan too, you being a supporter of the occupation? That’s an insight into your stance, thanks.

            I suppose being pro-American occupation (but not their ‘behaviour’, obviously) might have something to do with your disparaging remarks about Russia Today’s journalism. So are you saying that the Chief of Mission for Medecins sans Frontieres in Kabul didn’t say those things? Are you saying there aren’t 100,000 Afghans aren’t refugees as a result of the ongoing violence? Where are your sources? And what’s your agenda?

  • abear

    I supported the intervention on Afghanistan and would support it again. The Taliban supported their friends and allies Al Qaeda that clearly attacked America.

    Don’t you? Do you think the US should have done nothing? Or are you a truther? Osama was innocent?

    A clear majority of Afghans supported the Americans too, and still do, although begrudgingly. Are you telling they are mistaken and should buy the RT salespitch?

    You want to check the accounts of Soviet behavior while they were guests in Afghanistan too and see if it checks out with your comrade’s account of it at RT.

    Did America and NATO make mistakes of course. Still Afghanistan is better off now than it was in Dec. 2011 and for the two decades before that.

    • exi5tentialist

      A clear majority of Afghans supported the Americans? I must have missed the 2001 Afghan referendum asking the people of Afghanistan if they wanted to be invaded and by the way, would they like American to drop lots of 15,000 pound Daisy Cutter bombs on their country?

      Here’s some background public information provided by the invasion referendum. A watery mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminium power. When this is released, this mixes with the air to form a fine mist. When ignited the huge explosion incinerates everything up to 600m away. The shock wave can be felt for many kilometers. The delivery trolley keeps the bomb secure in the hold of the cargo plan. It acts as a sledge when the rear doors are opened and the bomb slides out of the plane pulled by a parachute. It detaches from the bomb on the way down. 5m long and 1.5m in diameter, the bombs cost $27,000 each. They are dropped from a C-130 cargo plane flying at least 6,000 ft above the ground, to avoid the shock wave. America, you see, is so much better than the Taliban. Vote to be bombed today.

      So in your “clear majority” are you including the Afghans who were slaughtered, or do they not count any more in the good news mist this election has created?

      On RT, you didn’t answer my question. Are you saying that the Chief of Mission for Medecins sans Frontieres in Kabul didn’t say those things? And are you saying there aren’t 100,000 Afghans aren’t refugees as a result of the ongoing violence? Or do the letters “RT” negate all truth?

      • abear

        About Russia Today: I wouldn’t trust anything they say without checking other sources.

        There are a number of outlets that have been shown to be propaganda outlets that frequently broadcast biased and blatantly false items. Fox News in the US is one, the Daily Mail in the UK is another. I don’t take any news source at face value, it is good practice to crosscheck sources at any time.Russia Today is far worse than both of those put together.

        Over a period of a few years, Putin and his thugs shut down a number of news outlets and took over the rest of them. Several high profile journalists that were critical of Putin were “mysteriously” murdered and the cases were never resolved. At the same time other Russian journalists were jailed or fled the country. All news outlets in Russia are state controlled now, RT is not an exception.

        From Wikipedia:

        Rossiya Segodnya (official name: Federal State Unitary Enterprise International Information Agency Rossiya Segodnya; from Russian: Россия Сегодня, Russia Today) is the official Russian government owned international news agency founded by presidential decree on 9 December 2013. Rossiya Segodnya incorporates the former RIA Novosti news service and the Voice of Russia international radio service (formerly Radio Moscow). It will be headed by Dmitry Kiselyov,[1] a news presenter on the domestic Rossiya 1 television channel, who had courted controversy with his commentaries alleging foreign conspiracies against Russia and attacking homosexuals.[2] According to the presidential decree, the mandate of the new agency is to “to provide information on Russian state policy and Russian life and society for audiences abroad.”[3]

        exi5tentialist: Do you get your facts about WWII from Nazi propaganda too?

      • abear

        exi5tentialist wrote:

        A clear majority of Afghans supported the Americans? I must have missed the 2001 Afghan referendum asking the people of Afghanistan if they wanted to be invaded and by the way, would they like American to drop lots of 15,000 pound Daisy Cutter bombs on their country?

        What planet were you on in 2001, early 2002? Here on earth, relatively poorly armed Afghans chased the Taliban into the hills even before the NATO forces arrived. Obviously there was no referendum involved, the ruling Taliban usually conducted head counts after chopping them off. Check out the facts about the widespread massacres and killings they committed, they were hated by the majority and they ruled by fear, not by popular acceptance.

        As for Daisy Cutters, they dropped them on the uninhabited Tora Bora mountains where approximately 200 al Qaeda fighters were holed up in caves. Big deal.

        The Americans should have been more careful to limit civilian casualities, I will concede that. As well as the suffering of the victims and their families, they lost a lot of popular support by that and their ill-advised poppy eradication program.

        Regardless, that hardly makes the Taliban into the good guys. According to UN studies, 75-80% of civilian casualities were inflicted by the Taliban.

        Presumably, you hate the Americans so much you would rather see the Taliban in power. In spite of what your friends at the RT propaganda mill say, the Afghan people disagree.

        • exi5tentialist

          “your friends at the RT propaganda mill” – LOL

          Anyway can’t stop, I’m off to drop Daisy Cutters in the Chilterns… it’s rural up there, so big deal, right?

        • Nick Gotts

          Almost certainly, the majority of Afghans, and the great majority outside Pashtun areas, were glad to see the back of the Taliban. However…

          Here on earth, relatively poorly armed Afghans chased the Taliban into the hills even before the NATO forces arrived.

          Bullshit. The Taliban’s Afghan enemies had spent years unsuccessfully trying to remove them before American bombing and special forces disrupted Taliban forces and made their overthrow possible.

          As for Daisy Cutters, they dropped them on the uninhabited Tora Bora mountains where approximately 200 al Qaeda fighters were holed up in caves. Big deal.

          More bullshit. From the previously linked article (emphasis added):

          Training camps and Taliban air defenses were bombarded by U.S. aircraft, including Apache helicopter gunships from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade. U.S. Navy cruisers and destroyers launched several Tomahawk Cruise Missiles.

          The strikes initially focused on Kabul, Jalalabad and Kandahar. Within a few days, most Taliban training sites were severely damaged and air defenses were destroyed. The campaign focused on command, control, and communications targets. The front facing the Northern Alliance held, and no battlefield successes were achieved there. Two weeks into the campaign, the Northern Alliance demanded the air campaign focus more on the front lines.

          Examples of the U.S. propaganda pamphlets dropped over Afghanistan.

          The next stage began with carrier based F/A-18 Hornet fighter-bombers hitting Taliban vehicles in pinpoint strikes, while other U.S. planes began cluster bombing Taliban defenses. At the beginning of November, allied forces attacked front lines with daisy cutter bombs and AC-130 gunships.

  • abear

    I meant Dec. 2001.

  • Kilian Hekhuis

    @exi5tentialist: It’s fine to desire the revoking of foreign troops in Afghanistan. But it’s *not* fine to claim this would help the Afghan people (other than the Taliban). With foreign troops withdrawn, the Taliban would seize power in no-time, and the Afghan people would be where they were before the intervention.

    • Nick Gotts

      If that’s so (I don’t believe it is, although the Taliban do retain the capacity to continue the war indefinitely), then 13 years of war have been a complete failure, rather than just an enormously expensive (primarily in Afghan lives) cock-up.

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