Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What's so special about Afghanistan? (audio)

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, CC Liu, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; P. Fitzgerald & E. Gould (; Bradley Campbell (PRI's The World, Dec. 22, 2015); Edward P. Vining
More amazing than the Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan is the massive Mes Aynak complex.
American scholars Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald reveal the invisible history of Western intervention in Afghanistan, from UK invaders to US imperialists (Wisdom Quarterly).
Like ancient Scythia ("Shakya Land"), the beautiful children of Afghanistan (
US War on Afghanistan still on
Bradley Campbell, "The World" (, Dec. 22, 2015) 
ANA soldier, Helmand (Abdul Malik/Reuters)
Afghanistan can't control the [CIA and ISI's] "Taliban" since the Taliban controls the drug trade.

And yesterday there was a tragic reminder of the troops still there when six Americans were killed in a Taliban suicide attack. No, the war is not over. 

it might seem like the U.S. War on Afghanistan is over. Most of our U.S. "troops" are back from Afghanistan. [Plenty more are still there under a different title, say, advisers and monitors, businessmen and spies]. Not all, but most [have finally been renamed to something less ominous than "troop"].

In fact, Buddhism reached Afghanistan within seven years of India (
Afghan forces are now taking the lead in the fight against the Taliban. And that fight is not going well, to be honest. Taliban fighters have been gaining ground lately.

This week, we've seen that in Sangin. It's a district of Helmand province, in southern Afghanistan. The Taliban claim they're in control of Sangin. But the fighting continues. They surrounded government troops and buildings. Like I said before, the war in Afghanistan is not over.

Speaking at the Levantine Cultural Center
"The Taliban have been making progress in Helmand province," says Auliya Atrafi with BBC Pashto.

He says Helmand is a key target for the Taliban, because of the opium that's produced in the area. "The opium markets are booming," he says. "The opium market has even caused traffic jams."
The Dark Defile
The Taliban run the show. They oversea the production, including taxing and transport. "It's providing a good opportunity for the locals," he says. "And that might be one of the reasons why the Taliban get support in the countryside. The Taliban are encouraging the production of opium."
The government in Kabul understands the connection between violence and the opium trade. But the people are losing faith the government will be able to do anything about it.
The Battle for Afghanistan ( interview (May 28, 2013 KPFA)
Atrafi recalls a story that succinctly sums up the problems in Afghanistan. 
"I remember sitting on the banks of the River Helmand and young people would be talking about their future. But now these guys are talking about how to escape. But they reach the conclusion that they can't really leave the city because they are no longer single men. They have families. They have houses, properties, and businesses."
They stay. That means they have to work within a broken system. "Everything here is working through a chain of taking bribes and giving bribes. More
Afghanistan? The truth is stranger than fiction: Afghan Buddhist missionary-monks discovered America with Hwui Shan, reveals American scholar Edward P. Vining in 1885.
Save Mes Aynak (Copper Well mine), Afghanistan campaign (
Saving Buddhist Afghanistan in Mes Aynak
Mes Aynak Buddhist temple complex and Chinese mine Mes Aynak (Pashto: مس عينک , meaning "little source of copper") is a site 40 km (25 miles) southeast of the current capital Kabul, Afghanistan, located in a barren region of Logar... "Saving Mes Aynak" free to watch in Afghanistan

The oldest Buddha statues and first human representations come from Afghanistan, many from its Hellenized period as part of the ancient Greek empire Bactria (formerly Scythia).

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