Lang verhaal kort?
Afghanistan is een absolute teringbende.
Opium, Taliban, Special Operators, Warlords, de US, de Russen, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, suicide bombers, terror, ISIS, bergen slachtoffers, drones en gillende, schuimbekkende, middeleeuwse Islamitische gekte.
De kosten zijn krankzinnig.
Ik kwam enige tijd geleden – opnieuw in the New York Times – nog een geweldig artikel over Afghanistan tegen.
Dit gaat over de stad Herat, in het Oosten van Afghanistan nabij de grens met Iran.
Ik maak er geen uitgebreide closeread van.
Ik haal er mijn favoriete passages uit.
There is no doubt that as the United States winds down the Afghan war — the longest in American history, and one that has cost half a trillion dollars and more than 150,000 lives on all sides — regional adversaries are muscling in. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan remain the dominant players. But Iran is also making a bold gambit to shape Afghanistan in its favor. Over the past decade and a half, the United States has taken out Iran’s chief enemies on two of its borders, the Taliban government in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Iran has used that to its advantage, working quietly and relentlessly to spread its influence.
In Iraq, it has exploited a chaotic civil war and the American withdrawal to create a virtual satellite state. In Afghanistan, Iran aims to make sure that foreign forces leave eventually, and that any government that prevails will at least not threaten its interests, and at best be friendly or aligned with them. One way to do that, Afghans said, is for Iran to aid its onetime enemies, the Taliban, to ensure a loyal proxy and also to keep the country destabilized, without tipping it over. That is especially true along their shared border of more than 500 miles.
Iran has conducted an intensifying covert intervention, much of which is only now coming to light. It is providing local Taliban insurgents with weapons, money and training. It has offered Taliban commanders sanctuary and fuel for their trucks. It has padded Taliban ranks by recruiting among Afghan Sunni refugees in Iran, according to Afghan and Western officials.
Ik heb dit al eens eerder gezegd. “De Taliban” bestaan niet. Er zijn allerlei gewapende, rovende en plunderende groepen die zichzelf “Taliban” noemen, maar het zijn veelal criminele gangs die zich bezighouden met smokkel, opium en wapenhandel. Pakistan en de Saudi’s financieren en steunen diverse van die groepen. En nu heeft Iran dan ook nieuwe vriendjes gevonden.
En er is nog meer goed nieuws.
The depth of Iran’s ties to the Taliban burst unexpectedly into view last year. An American drone struck a taxi on a desert road in southwestern Pakistan, killing the driver and his single customer. The passenger was none other than the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour. A wanted terrorist with an American bounty on his head who had been on the United Nations sanctions list since before 2001, Mullah Mansour was traveling without guards or weapons, confident and quite at home in Pakistan. The strike exposed for the second time since the discovery of Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani hill town of Abbottabad the level of Pakistan’s complicity with wanted terrorists. It was the first time the United States had conducted a drone attack in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province, a longtime sanctuary for the Taliban but until then off limits for American drones because of Pakistani protests Yet even more momentous was that Mullah Mansour was returning from a trip to Iran, where he had been meeting Iranian security officials and, through Iran, with Russian officials. Afghan officials, Western diplomats and security analysts, and a former Taliban commander familiar with Mullah Mansour’s inner circle confirmed details of the meetings.
Al die honderden miljarden uitgegeven, al onze vrijheden ingeperkt, honderden duizenden doden en gewonden, miljoenen Afghaanse vluchtelingen in Iran en Pakistan.
Wat is hier bereikt?
Afghanistan boft maar!
Dat Iran is een reuze divers en tolerant land.