think they'll go through with it now that a new option is open spliffy? i would fer safety's sake, but uh, we're not really talking about them are we? we're looking fer our own way now ain't we?
and the pakistanians would love to return Karachi to it's former greatness...whatever the cost or alliances. here's some pre 911 stuff...
If Adolf Hitler came back today, they’d send a limousine, anyway. The Clash.
If news falls into print and no one cares enough to read it, does it make a sound?
Pay attention: Afghanistan is at war with itself. The lower part of the country is occupied by the Taliban, who are the bad guys. The upper part is controlled by the rebel army of Ahmad Shah Massoud, who, for all intents and purposes, are the good guys. The outcome of this small, forgotten civil war could decide the fate of democracy and political stability throughout Central Asia. If the Taliban win, the United States will be partially to blame.
For the past five years, the radical Taliban militia has been trained, funded and openly backed by the government of Pakistan; in particular, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), the equivalent of the CIA. Pakistan’s goals are two-fold: 1) to install a friendly puppet regime in Afghanistan (its neighbor to the north) in order to provide strategic depth in the event of nuclear war with India (its rival to the south), and 2) to complete construction of a gas pipeline running from the oil-rich Caspian Sea through Afghanistan and into the port city of Karachi, a multi-billion dollar venture.
Who knows what has more weight, oil pipelines or democratic values? Ahmad Shah Massoud, 1998.
For the past two decades, Pakistan has received billions of dollars in military hardware and logistics support from the U.S. government. By proxy, a significant portion of the armaments find their way into Taliban hands.
In 1996, as Taliban troops captured the Afghan capital of Kabul, forcing Massoud to retreat north, the American corporation UNOCAL (a partner in the pipeline venture) invited a Taliban delegation to Washington and lobbied the White House to grant them diplomatic recognition. In return, the delegates promised to end the harvesting of opium poppies in southern Afghanistan.
Three years, one billionaire Arab terrorist, dozens of missile strikes, tons of smuggled opium and a choir of women’s rights activists later, President Clinton imposed economic sanctions on the Taliban, barring any American business from conducting commerce with the militia.
Too little, too late.
The Taliban (and their Pakistani backers) are responsible for the massacre of over 5,000 civilians in northern Afghanistan. In their recent offensive north of Kabul, they have pursued a scorched earth policy, burning opposition-governed towns and forcibly relocating residents. (It is therefore ironic that the Taliban’s women’s rights abuses have received more media scrutiny than their other, arguably more serious, crimes.)
Analysts estimate that thousands of Pakistani and Arab fighters are active in Taliban ranks. Over the past several years, Massoud’s forces in the north have captured hundreds of foreign mercenaries in battle, including Arab nationals linked to Osama Bin Laden and intelligence officers in Pakistan’s armed forces. Moreover, the recent series of terrorist bombings in Russia and the armed uprisings in Dagestan and Chechnya have substantiated western fears of a Taliban spillover throughout the region.
After years without a coherent foreign policy toward Afghanistan, the U.S. government is realizing the consequences of its indifference. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s opium harvest is grown under Taliban jurisdiction. Osama Bin Laden, one of the FBI’s Most Wanted men, has been sheltered by the Taliban since 1996.
Recently, the United Nations Security Council officially condemned Pakistan for its support of the Taliban. The State Department has also threatened sanctions against both Pakistan and its longtime ally, China, in response to heightened instability in Central Asia.
Although economic sanctions will do little to stop the current wave of Taliban brutality in northern Afghanistan, they are a step in the right direction toward forcing Pakistan to withdraw its support of the militia. American-backed sanctions, coupled with recent victories by the Afghan opposition and growing popular discontent in the south, could quickly lead to a Taliban disintegration.
The U.S. government claims it is truly interested in bringing Bin Laden to justice, ending opium harvesting (which the Taliban subsidizes to fund its war effort) and restoring human rights and civil liberties in Afghanistan. However, America has done nothing substantial to prove its commitment, such as establishing closer ties to Massoud’s embattled opposition government, which has publicly condemned the Taliban for their draconian policies toward women and sheltering of international terrorists.
This December will mark the twentieth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. For the past two decades, the scheming and manipulation of foreign entities (including the U.S.) has left the country in ruins and the entire region on the brink of political collapse. Mere sanctions against the Taliban’s benefactor (Pakistan) and condemnations from human rights groups will not be able to undo the damage of two decades of war. However, without them, there is little hope that Central Asia will see peace well into the next millennium.
Yama Rahyar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
[ 05-17-2002: Message edited by: little cuss ]</p>