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Lost in the Afghan Labyrinth

11:38 am in Uncategorized by Derrick Crowe

Note: Derrick Crowe is the Afghanistan blog fellow for Brave New FoundationThe Seminal. Learn how the war in Afghanistan undermines U.S. security: watch Rethink Afghanistan (Part Six), & visit

My previous post intentionally left out mentions of Senator John Kerry’s defense of Ahmed Wali Karzai–the drug-dealing, election stealing, possibly Taliban-connected brother of the Afghan president–in an attempt to keep the piece to a manageable length. Boy, am I sorry I did that…today’s New York Times contains an article by Dexter Filkins, Mark Mazzetti, James Risen and Helene Cooper that shows AWK is a CIA asset.

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Bring Back the Bad Ol’ Days

8:25 am in Uncategorized by Derrick Crowe

"People loved [the Taliban]–a lot of people did, anyway, at least at first. you’d ask someone about the Talibs and the first thing they’d say is they tamed the warlords. You couldn’t drive across town, they’d say. The warlords would be fighting it out in the middle of the city, slugging it out for turf, like gangsters do, for the right to tax and steal."

"Talking to Wali that day, and Mohammedi and other Talibs, it seemed obvious enough that what lay at the foundation of the Taliban’s rule was fear, but not fear of the Taliban themselves, at least not in the beginning. No: it was fear of the past. Fear that the past would return, that it would come back in all its disaggregated fury. That the past would become the future. The beards, the burqas, the whips, the stones; anything, anything you want. Anything but the past."

–Dexter Filkins, The Forever War, p. 27, 33-34.

U.S. policy in Afghanistan seems hell-bent on recreating the conditions that led to the rise of the Taliban. Not only are we backing a government comprised of the same warlords and drug kingpins responsible for some of the worst depredations in the post-Soviet era, but we’ve taken to hiring and arming war criminals and their militias as security teams. (By the way: Can someone explain to me why we’re hiring guards for soldiers? Why are the soldiers not guarding the soldiers?)

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