Saturday 11 September 2021

Twenty Years After

I wonder if the Taliban are worse than American rule. If I were a Pashtun I doubt I'd think so. They do have martial, masculine, Homeric virtues even though they are Calvinists. 

Calvinism plus polygamy (and nothing to drink).

Despite myself I cannot help being pleased that the American regime has fallen.

The Taliban is not a threat to the West but a million or more Afghan refugees are. There are already, according to UNHCR, 6 million Afghan refugees in the world, 2.2 million of whom are in Iran and Pakistan. Those 2.2 million are no doubt real refugees not economic migrants. 

People coming to the West may be fleeing persecution but they are also attracted to higher living standards. 

If everyone whose government is tyrannical is allowed to settle in Europe Europe will become like the countries they are fleeing.

One can't trust much the newspapers say usually, nor the BBC, Yahoo News, etc, but the leading Conservative paper in England the Telegraph has this interesting story on its front page today. It's a telling story to mark twenty years since September 11.

Surrounded by fields of grapes and pomegranate orchards, the village in Panjwayi district came to international attention on March 11, 2012, when a US soldier crept out of his base, broke into houses and murdered 16 people.
But that atrocity was not the first or the last to strike the area. Scores of civilians have died in and around Zangabad as the village and its surrounding fields found themselves caught between the Taliban on one hand and the Afghan forces and their international backers on the other.
With the Taliban achieving a total victory and the government of Ashraf Ghani swept away in a matter of days, the guns and bombs have fallen silent for now at least, and peace has returned to the village, he said.
“We are so happy that the American forces left. Now we feel safe, we can go everywhere, our children, our family members are safe,” he told the Telegraph.
...Mr Mohammad's own personal tragedy came some six years ago, when children from his family were running around playing outside his compound.
A shell fell among them leaving five dead, aged from six to 12. Soon after he was scooped up in one of the endless counter terrorism night raids which have struck villages like Zangabad and spent six years locked in the Bagram military prison north of Kabul.
He says he was innocent, but it was killings, abuses and miscarriages like this which drove people to the Taliban.
“I was not with the Taliban, my family members were not with the Taliban, we were typical people, just normal families. They were all ordinary people, but since these things happened, most of them joined the Taliban. We didn't have any other option,” he said.
Haji Mohammad Wasiq is still haunted by the night SSG Robert Bales killed 11 members of his family during his night time killing spree. Many of the dead were children, shot in the head or face, before he tried to burn their bodies. Bales pleaded guilty to the 16 murders to avoid the death penalty and was jailed for life without parole.
....“I am very happy and I am very grateful to God for making all this happen. Everyone in Panjwayi feels safe.”

Afghanistan is a tribal, Mahometan society and wants to stay that way, which is admirable. I see no reason why it's England's or any foreign country's business if Afghan girls go to school. Fairly few English children did before 1870, by the way.

Every nation and tribe has her destiny just like every person, because tribes and ethnic groups and nations are families.

It is certainly always a bad idea to invade Afghanistan. I mourn the brutal, cruel Muslim societies in Bokhara, Outer Mongolia and Tibet that were destroyed by the Communists. 

On the other hand, good colonial rule in India benefitted India enormously. 

A prosperous Indian who looked about 30 in a first class train told me that not quite everything but almost everything good in India was the work of the British. 

We abolished suttee but did not try to replace the local way of life with things the natives found deeply offensive, as Afghans must have found a lot of what modern America offered them. 

I know I do. 

But when it comes down to it, people do not or at least should NOT WANT TO BE RULED BY FOREIGNERS, especially foreign infidels. 

Even if they are the infidels, they think very reasonably that we are.

I heard a Congolese historian being interviewed by the BBC World Service to mark the 50th anniversary of independence saying that every good thing in Congo was thanks to the Belgians.

His shocked BBC interlocutor asked him to agree that the Belgians were not activated by altruism. The distinguished guest brushed this point aside, saying he did not care what their motivations were. "Every good thing in Congo was done by the Belgians" .

From this I draw the conclusion that colonialism does not work in Afghanistan and that the Americans are in any case very bad at it.

I abominate the Taliban for destroying those ancient Buddhist statues. We all do. They probably did much else that was wicked. Still, they are patriots who love their Pashtun tribe. Afghanistan is not a real country and does not command love. 

They are true conservatives unlike any American Republicans except for Pat Buchanan.

The traveller and writer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, who loved Arabian tribesmen (perhaps rumour says in more than one sense), was described as the last true conservative by Charles Moore. I was once immensely flattered to be compared to Thesiger by a friend who follows my blog. 

He was a huge admirer of the British empire. I wonder what he would say about the Taliban's famous victory and Joe Biden's humiliation.

Today is 20 years since Arab, mostly Saudi Arabian, terrorists attacked the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon and 338 years since the Battle of Vienna, or rather of the Kahlenberg Mountain near Vienna on 11 September 1683, after a siege of two months. I doubt that this is a coincidence.

The battle was fought by the Holy Roman Empire and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and is the turning point in European history. After the Christian victory "the Ottoman Turks ceased to be a menace to the Christian world".


  1. I remember talking to a Cambridge-educated Catholic Scottish Facebook friend, the late Hugo Lindsay, about a scandal involving white South Africans or something and saying 'This is the seedy side of Calvinism'. Hugo said: 'There is no other side.'

    His dislike of Calvinism also extended to what he called Mahometanism, though I do not know if he saw the parallels between the two. May his soul rest in peace and eternal light surround him.

    1. The only white South Africans that could be considered Calvinist are Afrikaners.

      Did the scandal you mention involve corruption rather than sex?

      In which case, it probably arose not so much because Afrikaners are Calvinist but because members of the White Tribe of Africa are no less (and no more) prone to corruption than other Africans ;).


  2. Mark Gibbins to me: Super content today. I fear that despite our past differences my opinions are contiguous with yours in many areas. Although I still regard Brexit as an abomination and destroyer of many young peoples futures for absolutely zero benefit to anyone else so at least we can still agree to disagree on something!

  3. I am afraid that you are mistaken if you think that all Afghans are Pashtuns.

    Social anthropologist Thomas Barfield provides an easy to listen to explanation of Afghan ethnic groups here:

    Other videos of his talks and lectures about Afghanistan are also well worth listening to.

    1. Here I shall defend myself - of course I know that the Pashtuns are only one of various ethnic groups in Afghanistan and most of the groups, such as the Pashtuns, the Tajiks and the Uzbeks are in other countries as well. But the Taliban were originally and still are mostly Pashtun though they have enlisted people who are not Pashtun.
      I found this.

      “ The Pashtun tribes have not been categorically hostile to state authority as such; after all, Pashtun tribes created the kingdom of Afghanistan in the first place, and most rural Pashtuns accepted Taliban rule in the 1990s willingly enough. Rather, they have been hostile to three kinds of government: those lacking traditional or religious legitimacy; those which force them to pay too many taxes; and those which try rapidly to change their lives, their society and their traditions. In the traditional Pashtun tribal view, the legitimate role of the state, though essential, is also highly limited. Apart from leading the people against invaders, it is to judge tribal disputes, and thereby prevent these disputes from creating a state of permanent warfare. Given the traditional omnipresence of weapons in Pashtun society, and the cultural obsession with honour and prestige, journalist Anand Gopal has observed that ‘the role of dispute resolution in Pashtun society cannot be emphasised enough … In post-2001 Kandahar, the Taliban’s judicial services became one of the key advantages that the movement had over the state.’”