Afghanistan put on the back burner?

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive

By: Yasmeen Ali  

Has the world forgotten Afghanistan? The developments recently in Libya seem to have diverted world media to America’s new play field. The old one lies, ravaged, raped, destructed and now, ignored like yesterday’s newspaper.

Libya was attacked by America, as in Iraq, and Afghanistan, it was first preceded by an avalanche of propaganda against it’s ruler. Eric Margolis, in an article, stated and I quote,” America’s glaring double standard in the Mideast and Muslim world is a major reason for growing hatred of our nation. America would be hailed as genuine liberator of long-suffering Libyans if it also intervened in Bahrain and Yemen — and perhaps Saudi Arabia — to protect civilians from the ferocity of their despotic governments and promote real democracy. But it’s only oil-rich Libya that is getting the “humanitarian” treatment from the US and oil-hungry western European former colonial powers”.

Coming to Afghanistan, America & her allies, must have by now realized that the physical invasion of a country is a far cry from subjugation of the will of the people of the country and holding that country as captive. Superior technology, well developed war toys, can make invasion the easier part, it is what follows thereafter is the difficult part.

Karzai is not a person the Afghans trust. He is seen as an American front man and someone in a position for the sake of serving American interests. The increasing corruption of his government does not help either.

A report of February 28th, 2011 states that Maj. Gen. John Campbell, commander of NATO coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan, said he has been repositioning some of his troops since last August to make them more effective in the region that borders Pakistan.

The terrain that is the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is the toughest in the world. Also, impossible to man, owing to the area, geography and weather conditions.

The question, Obama must ask of himself , is, what gains have been  attained after invading Afghanistan. Have the terrorist attacks ended? The answer, is a resounding No. Afghanistan, invaded by US and British forces in direct response to the September 11 attacks, saw a rise from very few before 2003 to 802 since then. The “war on terror” seems to have made the world a more insecure, a more dangerous place to live in.

What then, should the USA and her allies do, to bring peace to the region, if, that is the objective?

Killing and attacks is not the answer as the years of their presence in Afghanistan has already proved.

The answer lies in reverting to the Rule of Tribal Balance. There are many tribes in Afghanistan and FATA/NWFP areas. But all, subscribe to the code known as “Pashtunwali”. It may be interpreted as the “way of life of the Pashtuns”. Those who digress, face the repercussion of being denounced by their tribe. One principle of the code, is revenge from the wrong doer, committed in any date, even 1000 years ago. An invasion of their homes, thereby taking away their honor, is  definitely considered as a wrong doing. America’s presence in their homeland will thereby, always be opposed and resisted by this race.

Historically speaking, it is the Pashtunwali that made the system of “jirga” successful with the Pashtuns. . A Loya Jirga(Tribal Jirga),  is a mass meeting to choose a new king or, discuss an emergency of mammoth proportions. It is a forum unique to Pashtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan, bringing the tribal elders together. However, all tribes are given equality within decision making, hence the success of Rule of Tribal Balance. Also, the non-Pashtuns also respect and accept the tribal decisions and are a part of it.

The Barakzai clan, successfully ruled Afghanistan from 1826 to 1929, or 1973 after the end of the rule of Mohammad Zahir Shah.

America has not understood the cultural norms and the local traditions of the country she purports to rule. The traditional western solution of Presidential rule will fail in Afghanistan. History has proved, anything that is forced upon a nation, in contradiction to their code of life, will fail to hold.

Any solution that is based away from the one respected, understood and followed by the Afghans, will and must, fail. What America needs to do, is to feel the pulse of the nation. And not to foist an individual, a system that may have worked in America, but instead, to put a system in place that is acceptable and workable with the local people of Afghanistan.

Yasmeen Ali is a lawyer teaching in a university in Lahore. You may visit her website at: .

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  • S U Turkman  On April 15, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Miss Yasmin thinks all Afghans are PushToons and this is why she is talking about them only, when the fact is PushToons are only about 40% of Afghanistan’s population.
    The fact is, there are more PushToons in Pakistan than in Afghanistan so, actually giving Raj to them would be like accepting rule of Pakistanis.
    Only if Pakistan hands over PakhToon Khwah and Tribal Area near the border back to Afghanistan, PushToons can become a huge majority in Afghanistan. Remember, PushToons have lived in that part of Pakistan for thousands of years and they used to be a part of Afghanistan until they were conquered by Maharajah Ranjeet Sindh in 1830’s.
    River Sindh was the Natural Border between Afghanistan and Punjab, India. PushToons still live on Western side of Sindh River in Pakistan.

  • pakpotpourri2  On April 15, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Dear Mr Turkman
    No where have I stated that ONLY Pashtuns are part of the jirga.
    ALL NonPashtuns TOO accept & are a part of the jirga. But to understand this,you must be acquainted with the history of nations.

    • S U Turkman  On April 15, 2011 at 4:58 am

      But may I know, why Pakistanis are the only ones always suggesting solution of Afghanistan on behalf of Afghans?
      Is Afghanistan a part of Pakistan?
      How many Afghans you have consulted before coming up your solutions Pakistanis if you just want to help them?
      What’s your business in Afghanistan and suggesting solutions almost always favoring your Pakistanis, who you claim that are Afghans, when they are not and Afghans consider them Agents of Pak Army?
      This is the other side of story and what Afghans want to know from their Pakistani self appointed Guardians that never approved of.

  • Rumana  On April 15, 2011 at 2:01 am

    The people of Afghanistan have to make this choice, or rather all The Muslim World has to unite to solve its own problems. It has always been an anomaly to me see the Muslim World suffering, when they are sitting on the oil reserve that the World is dependent on. We all saw the rule of Taliban’s, and the shape that country was in. We are all familiar with Palestinian plight. We see drone attacks on Pakistan, and silence of Pakistani government, who takes billions of US dollars in name of aide that eventually fill their own coffers. The situation in the Middle East has once again proved to the World the Muslims leaders are all dictators and would stay in power at any cost.

  • Iltifat Lone  On April 15, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Dear Mr Turkman,
    Yasmeen has made an effort to point out a major shift of US policies and a possible solution to an end of this ugly war. In fact in all articles your role seems to be such negative and agitating, with no positive, balance solution. Please write something which should be a solution to peace an end to KILLINGS (Killing of all humans of any country).

  • S U Turkman  On April 15, 2011 at 5:03 am

    Terrorist Attacks of Pakistanis called Taliban have not stopped since 2003 because of their backing of Pak Army. Solution is, no interference in Afghanistan by Pakistan and let Afghans have their own independent country, not pushing USA out of Afghanistan so, Pakistanis called Taliban can take over that country.
    Nobody tells me, if Afghans love your Taliban so much and they are Afghans, why have they not won any seats in last two elections. Nobody tells, who are they to decide future of an independent country, when they are not citizens of that country.

  • Zahid Karamat  On April 15, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Castigating the Americans is all very well, but there is every sign they are looking for a way to pull out of Afghanistan with a ‘drawdown’ this year and a pull out by 2014. If and when they leave, there is very little chance they will look to us to safeguard their interests, to go by the US Congress’ recent call to draw closer to India. We’re living a pipe dream imagining they’re with us for the long haul. Still yours is a good article even though I’m not sure who you’re addressing and for what purpose. ZK

  • Bajwa  On April 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Unless both Afghanistan and Pakistan become progressive countries devoted to the development of their lands there is no future in this region except endless and aimless wars like in medieval Europe.

  • Rumana Khan  On April 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Let US withdraw their troops and Pakistan close her borders and deport all Afghans and once act as a sovereign state , it claims to be.
    Let them deal with their own problems and Pakistan should work own its own, stop taking the hand out from US and build a stronger and safer Pakistan, that we all can be proud of.
    US will at no cost leave that region alone,drone attacks will continue as long as terrorist have safe haven in Pakistan.
    I respect Yasmeen’s opinions and hope she can give insight on the stability of Pakistan.I am a Pakistani American and would love to take pride in my heritage, but as long as the country is run by the bunch of corrupt clowns that will never happen.

  • John Bose  On April 16, 2011 at 2:53 am

    USA and the other world have not forgetten the Afghanistan or Iraq is Islamic parties of Pakistan and Radical muslims who do not appearcitate the help of Usa or western countries when ever these countries try to help Afgahnistan and Irq these muslims says some thing against them , further more wht happening in Libya World knows as per Retired general who wrote about USA now USA FRANCE AND ENGLAND Joins to help Libyan people so pls do not Blame the USA or WESTERN countries for all the crab which is mst Islamic MUHHLAHS are responsible. what Happening in Pakistan World knows how Christains been persecuated like Assia BIbi looking fporward to hear from you John

  • Khan Zia  On April 16, 2011 at 3:09 am

    Thanks. Imperial hubris is what we are up against. When a nation acquires excessive military strength, historically, it ends up using it even in situations where it is not demanded and may even prove to be counter-productive.

  • Hughes  On April 16, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Great article! Tribal solution!

  • siddiqui my  On April 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Usa is desperate whereas China is calm and cool………..there is a greek saying to the effect : when gods wish to destroy a person they make him mad…..hope I am quoting almost correctly……?
    USa has certainly imperial hubris and desires to reshape this world especially the muslim lands; they are even planning to bifurcate saudi arabia and create a separate “Mecca-Medina” vatican style !!
    Gaddafi once said ” they can bomb us to stone age; we will go back to our deserts and eat dried bread But if something happens to America where will they survive without butter and bread ? ”

    many have tried before to rule this earth; let Uncle Sam try also ???????????
    Muslims survived Spain; Muslims survived Baghdad; Muslims survived East Europe, Muslims survived central asia and Muslim survived the sub continent…….we have survived more than a 1000 years; so let them test us once more ????????????????

    What say great Turkman?????????


  • S U Turkman  On April 18, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Mr. Siddiqui,
    It only proves Darwin’s Theory of Survival of the fittest was wrong because we the craziest Tribal Brain Savages of 7th Century still exist and its 21st Century.
    China would not be calm if she could do something. China is calm because she can not match USA or Russia. China’s all the advancement and progress has been caused by American Industrialists, who had started building their factories in China in 1980. China is also calm because USA biggest Importer of her products. Pakistan would also be calm if she was earning $ 200 billion plus every year from exports to USA.
    China has to be born again before she can equal USA in Technology and Governmental System.
    Mr. Lone,
    Taliban Problem is causing Drone Attacks and since Taliban are Mercenaries of Pak Army, all you have to do is tell Pak Army to leash their Dogs called Taliban and let Afghanistan be an independent free country. Remember, Afghanistan is not a province of Pakistan …!
    Tell me, why you people want to Baluchistanize, Afghanistan?

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