Fresh Ground

no pretense
MAY 27, 2009 1:28PM

The national flower of Afghanistan

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Najibullah was riding a motorbike on a tree-lined village road just outside the bazaar in Pul-e-Sayad when he saw the suicide attacker in a white Toyota Corolla speeding in the opposite direction.  "He was young, bearded man, wearing a white cap," 22-year-old Najibullah said.  "He slowed down, looked at me, and motioned with his hand and told me to get away fast." 

The bomber did the same to the passengers of a rickshaw riding behind Najibullah.  At that moment Najibullah also heard the roaring engines of military vehicles coming from behind.  And then the explosion happened.  His bike shook violently, but Najibullah did not fall off.  Shocked, he stopped to see what had taken place.  "I turned my head only to see fire and dust," Najibullah said.  As the dust settled, he saw American soldiers running outside.  Some lay on the ground.

PUL-E-SAYAD, Afghanistan – Shortly before he rammed his vehicle into an American military convoy, the young bearded suicide bomber waved at Sayed Najibullah to move away. As Najibullah sped off a huge explosion ripped through a U.S. armored vehicle, killing three American troops and three Afghan civilians.  But Najibullah lived to tell the story.

Tuesday's attack in the northern Kapisa province, which is a stronghold of insurgents loyal to the Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar north of Kabul, follows warnings from American military officials that more suicide attacks and roadside bombings can be expected as thousands of new U.S. troops join the fight this year.  Such attacks were up 25 percent in the first four months of 2009 compared with the same period last year.



Three U.S. troops died in the blast, said Tech. Sgt. Chuck Marsh, a U.S. military spokesman. Another was wounded. The troops served with NATO's International Security Assistance Force.  Three civilians also died and two others were wounded, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.  Such attacks are quite common across Afghanistan. Taliban and other insurgent groups regularly use suicide and roadside bombs in assaults on foreign and Afghan troops. According to military figures, 172 coalition forces were killed in such attacks last year — and far more Afghan civilians died.

As the conflict intensifies elsewhere in the country, U.S. troops called in airstrikes on groups of insurgents in the eastern Logar province Tuesday, killing 13 insurgents, the U.S. military statement said.  Separately, in the eastern Khost province, a convoy of Afghan and American troops killed the driver of a car when the vehicle did not slow down in response to shouts to stop and warning shots, said Chief Petty Officer Brian Naranjo, a U.S. forces spokesman.  "They fired to stop the vehicle and killed the driver," Naranjo said.

In the south, U.S. forces said they killed eight Taliban fighters in a clash in Uruzgan province on Monday. The troops were on patrol when Taliban fighters attacked with small-arms fire and heavy machine guns.  The coalition said two of its troops and three Afghan policemen were wounded, and that they were in stable condition.  Southern Afghanistan is the center of the Taliban-led insurgency, where thousands of new American troops will join the fight this year.   President Barack Obama hopes the new troops can turn the tide of the Taliban successes in the last three years.

By Associated Press Writers AMIR SHAH and FISNIK ABRASHI,

“If the Americans really want to create peace and stability in Afghanistan,” or anywhere else in the world for that matter, “they need only leave our soil and allow the Afghanistan people to tend to our own affairs.”  Najibullah stopped to mop his brow.   The sun was hot, and this would go better, he considered, if they might just walk down the street into a tea shop where they could sit in comfort and discuss this like civilized people.   These Americans are barbarians, he thought; and the news people are the worst.  Always trying to sensationalize everything, and so often just making the news themselves; as long as it sounds good; especially if they can stage a video shoot, as if they are on a movie set.  All these reporters want to be movie stars.  Najibullah had seen a movie once, in a theater in Kabul. 

“If they are tired of suicide bombers killing them,” and us, he thought morbidly, because the religious idiots and zealots are like the grains of sand, and although they manage to kill Americans, the fools end up killing many more of our own people.  He shook his head sadly.  Something the Americans call collateral damage.  Something we call Allah’s will, but no easier to live with when it is your son or daughter’s body torn apart by the blast; or your father or mother, or your friend or his family.  There is no such thing as a bomb without a face, “they should remove themselves from serving in such a hazardous region as Afghanistan.”  This is not a hospitable environment for foreign soldiers who wish to conquer and consume us and put us under their imperial thumb.  Allah be praised.  

“If you don’t want your soldiers in harms’ way, then all you have to do is stop sending them here.”  It’s simple, Najibullah thought.  They think they rule the world and push us around like stones on a chess board.   “Leave our soil and bring your troops home to America, where your soldiers can become good citizens and decent human beings and live safe, productive, peaceful lives in your own country.”   You don’t belong here. 

It’s all about the opium, he thought.  If we didn’t have opium farmers, the CIA wouldn’t be so interested in Afghanistan, and there would be no American troops here to provide peace and order to a country that has none.  Opium is the raw material used to make heroin, and it is important to have heroin in America, so that the American people can be drugged and enslaved.  Billions of dollars are at stake.  Without heroin, what would people in Europe and American do with their free time?  More importantly, how would the CIA finance it’s covert operations?  Najibullah looked at the newsman who was questioning him.  Opium is a very important cash crop for the Western political machine.  If not for opium, Afghanistan would be a country that Americans know nothing about, like most of the other countries in the world. 

Najibullah spoke on condition of anonymity because he had not been given official permission to speak.  He was merely a survivor of the incident, an innocent bystander who might have been blown to bits; but he had been spared.  Glory be to God.  So he spoke in his own name and for no one but himself; but it seemed as though he was not alone in his thinking.  A small but animated crowd gathered during the interview, which took place in an alleged village remarkably like Pul-E-Sayad, which is allegedly in Afghanistan, an alleged country in central Asia, allegedly a continent somewhere East of Europe and West of the Pacific Ocean, which most Westerners are willing to acknowledge as real places on Earth.  If presented with a world map, the average American is likely to be surprised at what they see, and they’re bound to learn something, because most Americans don’t know much of anything about world geography.  They barely learn about the real history of their own nation.  Americans live in a fishbowl, Najibullah thought, and reality comes from the television box.  Asia is in a class by itself, being so exotic and so far away from U.S. network news facilities, where the world is actually created. 

In Najibullah’s village there is one television.  It is owned by the uncle of his friend Hamir, and it is quite a curiosity, because Hamir’s uncle, while a rich man, does not have cable.  He has only rabbit ears, and as such, the reception is very poor.  So his television sits on a table in the family room and every so often they turn it on and crowd around the box and look in wonder at the static.  Najibullah shrugged.  This thing they call technology is very strange indeed.  And to think in America they cannot live without it.  There was a break in the action, and the news reporters were discussing their need for shade, and lunch, and cold beer.  They had walked only a short distance from their vehicle, but the hotel was back in Kabul.  It is as though because we are different from them, they think they are superior.  They think we have no culture and no social order, he thought, and would perish from our own ignorance if they did not come here and enlighten us.

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Interesting viewpoint. We are such an arrogant country, and so many of us never understand other cultures; we see things through Western eyes almost exclusively.
A well written post, one which helps us to see through the eyes of a people we really don't know. Perceptions, wonderful tools.

Right. Oil pipeline. That's what the Russians wanted it for. You know what GOD stands for, right? Gold, Oil, Drugs. Or is it Guns, Oil, Drugs? Hmmm. That's debatable. We've got oil pipelines coming outa our ass, but it's good to have another, especially once Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan join NATO. Important to think about the future, and chess is such a strategic game, yes? Now if only we can find a peaceful way to invade Iran.
After re-watching "No End In Sight" yesterday, I'm not sure any of this shit will ever end. I'm becoming totally disenchanted with our country and the way the machine works.
GREAT story B.
Thank you, Dynomyte. Needs telling.
I have been told by many here on OS that Afghanistan is different than Iraq and since we have screwed it up we need to stay and fix it up. We have to be kidding to think that, right? WE need to clean up our mess? That assumes that we CAN clean up our mess. It also assumes that we won't make an even bigger mess than we already have made. Those are hell of big assumptions.

Get out. Yesterday.

If we want to help then send in some foreign aid. It will make the rich richer and placate them. If they get fat enough off of it maybe they will stop killing each other.

As much as we want to we cannot help the women and the children escape from the heavy hand of their patriarchal society. If we leave in 30 years they will be back to being who they always have been in less than 5 years. Short of bringing as many of the women and their children that want to come here to the US we cannot save them. Are we willing to do that? It would cost a tiny fraction of what the war will cost.

Excellent post. I have never understood how people can be considered "insurgents" when they are citizens of a country that has been invaded by foreign powers. More political doublespeak.
Excellent. You do a great job of bringing us into unknown worlds. (Rated yesterday).
Thank you, each and all, for your comments and observations. Again, the interface between fact and fiction is the line I am treading here. The difference is marginalized by the truth, which serves to haunt us; and as citizens, we should be aware of how much we have to learn not only about other nations and cultures, but about our own.
Graham Greene would have certainly said something similar.

They don't call Afghanistan the Graveyard of Empires for nothing. It's defeated every colonial occupier since Alexander the Great. Why are we so different? Because we believe in so-called Democracy? LOL

What the USA could do is to send cement plants and small concrete block factories, and health clinics, and on the beat cop trainers and projects to build water and sanitation facilities.

But another fruitless enterprise...
Great take on a tough subject, Dyno. I'm not up to speed on the CIA/Opium connection. I'll have to do a little digging. I get the pipeline, though. If you Google Afghan oil pipeline there are about 19 million hits. Go figure.