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21 September 2005


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Do we even know how to think about a place like Afghanistan, sitting here in our deluxe walmarted double-wides, with the jacuzzis, the central heating/AC, and the ATVs parked outside in the paved carport?

27 million people with 6 million in cities??

How does the price of fuel affect the average Afghan (or tribes person).

Pat Lang


Depends on who you mean by "we." If you mean Americans in general, we can't even understand that there are different cultures within this country. How could we be expected to understand Afghanistan or the "culture continent" within which it is embedded.

Personally, I wish I wasn't too old to play Buz Kashi. pl


Is Buz Kashi polo with a sheep, loser dies (in the olden days) contest?



i suggest that if you ever see a buz kashi horse headed towards you, get out of its way. and if you ever want to play the sport, make sure you wear heavy leather garments to avoid being cut up by your opponents whips. but fear not, there is no shooting or stabbing allowed. other than that, have a blast and enjoy.


When we went into Afghanistan, I was sure we could remove the Talaban government. We're really good at breaking things. But, I wondered, then what? The 19th Century British had experrience with eliminating what we call Third World governments these days and installing their own, and they were abject failures in Afghanistan. And Iraq, for that matter. We, on the other hand, are lousy at the game. How many times have we taken over in Haiti? And how many times have we been successful at establishing a democracy in a tiny island nation just off our own coast? Zero. And we pretend we can be successful at it in Afghanistan and Iraq? A question we might want to ask ouselves--if we were ever in the mood to ask ourselves questions--is who will be the 21st Century Dr. Brydon?



To play with Afghans I would need more than heavy-duty outerwear, I would need a whole new set of genes and a different upbringing.

Some of these Central Asians appear to be one with the horse.

This is probably stereotyping.

Pat Lang


Nah! It's like with Rugby. You need "leather balls" to play with the Afghans. pl


That's a realistic view of Karsai's dilemma. Assertive central government has always meant war in Afghanistan.

Seeing Afghanistan as a constructed imperial buffer zone is very perceptive. The other thing the British did was slice the Pushtun ethnic groups territory in two. The half that was in the Raj is now Pakistan's ungovernable northern province the rest in the Afghan South. This is one of many factors that makes Pakistan inherently unstable and also explains much of their meddling in the affairs of Afghans.

To the South lies the multi-ethnic miracle of democratic India which is to some extent a product Iranian and British domination. Nation building can work but allow a few centuries.

W. Patrick Lang

CKz--- So, you trust these genruls to do the right thing... Well, bless you. Hope is not a planning system. Pl

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