Afghanistan: Surviving the Past

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August 29, 2023: The IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) government is still not recognized by any other nations. That’s fine with the IEA, which continues to tolerate the presence of al Qaeda personnel as well as TTP (the Pakistani Taliban). TTP support was expected and IEA tolerates the presence of any Islamic terror groups that do not attack IEA rule in Afghanistan.

The previous Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (IRA) government still has many supporters inside and outside Afghanistan, still operates forty diplomatic missions worldwide and has the support of millions of expatriate Afghans.

UN officials supervising aid deliveries noticed al Qaeda training camps in several as well as Islamic terrorists moving about openly in many parts of the country. Suicide bombers are being trained and indoctrinated for use outside Afghanistan. Some are being sent to Western countries where they can hide among the many Afghan refugees fleeing IEA rule. The IEA continues to impose more and more lifestyle restrictions similar to those they enforced in the 1990s. This includes a ban on listening to live or recorded music. The IEA also censored what could be shown by Afghan TV stations. This meant no shows that had women with uncovered faces as well as no music. The IEA wants women appearing in public to wear the burqa (covers everything except the hands and eyes.) Many rural Afghans support some of these urban ideas, especially education for girls and more education in general. Beyond that these rural Afghans tend to be more conservative than those living in urban areas. The IEA is having a hard time coping with the current Afghanistan, which is quite different from the one they ruled before September 11, 2001.

August 28, 2023: India is a major participant in United Nations World Food Program efforts to distribute food aid in Afghanistan. India recently contributed 37,500 tons of wheat and 200 tons of medical aid to Afghanistan via the UN. The Indian aid is delivered via the port of Chabahar port near the Pakistan border and a road that goes from the port to the Afghan border in the north.

August 27, 2023: The IEA continues to impose more and more lifestyle restrictions similar to those they enforced in the 1990s and, in some cases, more severe than in the past. The most recent restriction was to ban women from visiting national parks because too many of the women reveal their faces. This is something the lifestyle regulators do not approve of. This attitude toward women is similar to what the religious dictatorship in Iran seeks to impose on women. The big issue in Iran is women refusing to cover their hair with a hijab (scarf). The governments in both Iran and Afghanistan are losing support among women, which is not a good thing if you want to run a country without creating more problems.

August 25, 2023: In the east (Nangarhar Province) WHO (World Health Organization) polio monitoring teams have detected five more cases of polio. That makes 32 so far this year. All but two turned up in Nangarhar Province. There were also at least two cases in Pakistan. These are the only cases detected worldwide. Pakistan expects to have no cases in 2024, unless the number of refugees from Afghanistan increases substantially. Despite years of strenuous efforts, Afghanistan has been unable to eliminate polio via vaccinations. For a long time, the main opposition were Islamic conservative clerics who called the vaccinations an attempt by Western nations to poison Moslem children. While few of those clerics remain, there are now more Afghans agreeing with Western anti-vaccination groups and insisting there are harmful side effects. Numerous controlled studies have not demonstrated any evidence of this but it has become popular. In 2016 there were 20 cases of polio in Pakistan, 13 in Afghanistan and four in Nigeria, a country declared free of polio in 2020. In Pakistan and Afghanistan there are still religious problems with vaccination. The Afghan Taliban have openly supported the vaccination program but there are still some rural areas where local Moslem clerics or teachers still denounce the vaccinations. There is a similar situation in Pakistan, where some fringe Islamic groups will still try and kill members of the vaccination teams. Since 2008 over a hundred vaccinators and police escorts have been killed.

August 24, 2023: Afghanistan is rebuilding its healthcare system after it collapsed when the IEA took control of the country in late 2021 and expelled most foreign aid workers. The medical personnel were most missed, especially since many Afghan medical specialists also fled the country.

August 23, 2023: A hundred Afghan women were prevented from boarding an airline flight from Kabul to the UAE (United Arab Emirates) where they were to attend the University of Dubai. The women had scholarships provided by Dubai businessman and philanthropist Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor. Three of the Afghan scholarship students made it to Dubai anyway and others may follow. The IEA believes that women should not receive more than six years of education and should not work outside the home or travel long distances without a male family member as an escort. The Dubai scholarships violate most of these rules. Dubai is a center for commerce throughout the region and the pre-IEA Taliban had often visited Dubai to conduct business, diplomacy or less savory activities.

August 22, 2023: UN aid personnel in Afghanistan report that the IEA continues to violate the amnesty they declared for all members of the IRA military and police. Few formally accepted that amnesty offer and most just walked away and went back to civilian life. Over a hundred of these former troops and police were killed by vengeful Taliban gunmen and it took the IEA months to bring that under control. Apparently IEA never really stopped its vengeance operations. The IRA continues to hunt for those who worked for the IRA government. Those captured are often tortured and almost always killed. The UN aid personnel believe over 200 former IRA employees have been killed so far.

August 21, 2023: The IEA continues to shut down poppy production. Poppies are used to produce opium which, in turn, can be converted to heroin. Over 90 percent of Afghan poppies are produced in one Afghan province; Helmand. Then as now, neighboring Pakistan cooperates to make this work because essential chemicals must be imported to refine the opium into heroin. Pakistan is also the most effective route to worldwide drug markets via Pakistani airports and its seaport in Karachi. Afghanistan’s other neighbors (Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan) are very hostile to the drug smugglers. Afghanistan’s northern neighbors, all former Soviet “republics”, have long received armed assistance from Russia to combat the drug smugglers. The IEA has closed its border to any Pakistanis seeking to support or benefit from Afghan drug production.

The IEA also told Pakistan that the TTP is a Pakistani problem and there is nothing the IEA can do about it.

August 18, 2023: Iran reports that at least 10,000 Afghan refugees are arriving in Iran each day. There are nearly ten million Afghan refugees in Iran and about 18 percent have some military or combat experience. The Afghan refugees take care of each other and new arrivals, providing assistance to find work and advising them what not to do in order to avoid problems with their Iranian hosts. The refugees fled Afghanistan to get away from the violence, lack of jobs and IEA persecution. Many move on from Iran to other nations in the region while those who can afford it head for Europe or North America.

August 17, 2023: Foreign aid organizations estimate that nearly six percent of the Afghan population are in danger of starvation because of a lack of foreign food getting in to Afghanistan, a collapse of the economy and three years of drought in many parts of the country. The IEA takes care of its supporters, who are a small minority of the population and do little for the majority of Afghans. The IEA appears unwilling to do anything to revive the economy. There is no more foreign economic aid since the IEA took over two years ago and the IEA does not consider reviving the economy a high priority goal. Afghanistan has become a dangerous place for foreign aid workers, with about 30 of them killed since the IEA took over. The IEA is living in the past and that means most Afghans are worse off and a growing number are dying from lack of food or medical care. Neighboring nations see no benefit in trying to overthrow and replace the IEA and are willing to just let the IEA self-destruct. Too many of the religious radicals running the IEA are content to believe whatever is happening is God's Will and therefore acceptable.

August 16, 2023: IEA has banned political parties in Afghanistan, declaring them un-Islamic and responsible for many of the economic, social and political problems in Afghanistan.

August 14, 2023: In the east (Khost province) there was an explosion in a hotel near the Pakistan border. Three people were killed and seven wounded.

August 1, 2023: The 2022 invasion of Ukraine has been a disaster for Russia, because Russian troops ran into unexpected and very effective Ukrainian resistance. Russia lost more troops in less than a year of fighting in Ukraine than they did during eight years of fighting in Afghanistan during the 1980s.

 

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