The Poems Of The Taliban

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on April 11, 2012

In the aftermath of 911, the United States needed to get revenge. Afghanistan was invaded. There was little discussion, and the decision was a popular one. The heroin dealers, whose supply of product was endangered by the Taliban, were especially enthusiastic.
Ten and a half years later, there is plenty of heroin. Other than that, there is little improvement. Thousands of Americans have been killed and wounded. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent, at a time when the Government is going deeper and deeper into debt. Untold thousands of people have been killed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Dubyatiefstan. The end of the tunnel gets darker, and further away, every day.
There have been a lot of lips moving about this war. On today’s Democracy Now, LTC Daniel L. Davis had a few things to say. The following quotes are from a story published in Armed Forces Journal – A Gannett Company. The story was titled Truth, lies and Afghanistan. (Rolling Stone obtained  the full 82 page report.)

I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners. My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy. Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces. What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground…
I saw the incredible difficulties any military force would have to pacify even a single area of any of those provinces; I heard many stories of how insurgents controlled virtually every piece of land beyond eyeshot of a U.S. or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) base. I saw little to no evidence the local governments were able to provide for the basic needs of the people. Some of the Afghan civilians I talked with said the people didn’t want to be connected to a predatory or incapable local government. From time to time, I observed Afghan Security forces collude with the insurgency…
In January 2011, I made my first trip into the mountains of Kunar province near the Pakistan border to visit the troops of 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry. On a patrol to the northernmost U.S. position in eastern Afghanistan, we arrived at an Afghan National Police (ANP) station that had reported being attacked by the Taliban 2½ hours earlier.
Through the interpreter, I asked the police captain where the attack had originated, and he pointed to the side of a nearby mountain. “What are your normal procedures in situations like these?” I asked. “Do you form up a squad and go after them? Do you periodically send out harassing patrols? What do you do?”
As the interpreter conveyed my questions, the captain’s head wheeled around, looking first at the interpreter and turning to me with an incredulous expression. Then he laughed. “No! We don’t go after them,” he said. “That would be dangerous!” According to the cavalry troopers, the Afghan policemen rarely leave the cover of the checkpoints. In that part of the province, the Taliban literally run free.

The second part of our double feature is based on a story at Informed Comment, Afghanistan’s Taliban – a differing view of drones. It seems like the people in Stan Land are used to having our flying death machines overhead.
“It’s not like the east where you really feel them as a presence, where everyone will have a photo on their cellphone of a drone they took last week. There’s just not the traffic, at least in the city, and I don’t think in the districts as well from what I hear, compared to the east or compared to FATA. It’s not that visceral a thing really, not a big discussion topic. Sometimes you’ll be sitting outside and there’ll be a drone flying over and it’s ‘Oh yes, there’s the drone, fine‘. There is also this big blimp over Kandahar, and when it first went up no-one would let their wives sleep outside, ‘It’s the Americans trying to view our naked wives’.”
There is a book coming out soon, Poetry of the Taliban. In the mad rush to demonize and destroy, it is forgotten that it is human beings we are fighting.
“But this is just really guys who write poetry and are Taliban, and then talk about issues they relate to, in sometimes very artistic fashion, in sometimes very simple language. And on a very wide range of subjects. I think also that the Taliban poetry thing had a very different quality when we moved down from Kabul to Kandahar. Because even though a lot of our friends aren’t pro-Talib at all, they would have these tapes with these songs, and would listen to it all the time and it would be on always.”
“I’ve been through the poems looking for references and it doesn’t really come up. The cultural universes of Taliban poems, the songs of the Pakistan Taliban, they’re far more tightly controlled. Interestingly this is another argument to support their being different groups, because the way they go about the songs is different operationally. In Pakistan it goes through a strict production factory, more or less, to make sure the poems properly represent the line they want to take. It’s much more a propaganda product than the stuff that the Afghans come up with. And in the 260 poems we have in our collection there’s not a single mention of drones, and these are poems taken from the south east as well as the south [of Afghanistan].
In the 260 poems we have in our collection there’s not a single mention of drones.”The only thing which comes up and does so twice is the image of Ababil, the green bird, which is a Koranic metaphor for when Abraham is fighting against Nimrud and God sent the green birds to support him. This, I know from talking to Pakistani journalist friends of mine, comes up quite a lot in the drone literature of the Pakistan side, the green birds. The two are often paired together in curious ways. But it’s not really used that way in Afghanistan… Drones don’t really feature in the cultural or aesthetic. Obviously in the videos which come out, which are coming from the east, you’ll have the drone animations and things like that. But that’s coming from the contact with the Pakistanis.”

It should be noted that the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan was drawn by the British, and is disputed today. Much of the territory in Pakistan was in Afghanistan at one time. This is some of the wildest land on earth. It has seen many would be conquerers over the centuries. It will be there when the Americans take their toys home.

2 Responses

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  1. […] to see how the death of a single soldier in Afghanistan helps insure our freedom. The war is a disaster. We have gotten our revenge for 911. It is time to bring the troops home now. This is the best way […]

  2. The Poems Of The Taliban | Chamblee54 said, on April 11, 2013 at 11:15 am

    This is a repost. […]

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