Afghanistan 2050: Kaleidoscope of History

Chotor asty, in the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. This letter is from Akram Khan, a slave of Allah. Peace be upon him who follows the right path. As we approach the 131st celebration of Afghan Independence Day, in this year 1472 AH, we must pause to celebrate the resilience of the Pashtunwali.

Blessings to Allah for this year’s bountiful poppy harvest – the richest Orūzgān has ever seen, rivaling Helmand’s harvest this year. With Chinese demand for opium ever increasing due to their new-found opulence, we are thankful that Allah has smiled upon our fields and our labors.

While chaos and economic collapse continues to engulf the Indian subcontinent (moreso from the Chinese damming of the headwaters of the Indus, Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers in their insatiable thirst for energy than from any direct external conflict), our lives west of the Hindu Kush remain stoic and tranquil.

It is ironic that the colonial powers of the west thought they could tame Afghanistan. The first memories of my youth were of my brave brothers and uncles taking arms against the Soviet tanks that sought to prop up the urban elites of Babrak Karmal and his fellow kleptocrats. And as a young man, I watched the ignorant Taliban Kandaharis try to impose their misguided interpretation of Shari’a on our peoples – only to be quickly ousted by the Americans and their corrupt puppet Hamid Karzai. And in my middle age I witnessed the ebb and flow of various outsiders – from Europeans to Pakistanis to Chinese – try to impose their centralized governances on us. At least until the development of sub-Saharan Africa gave them all a new sandbox to attempt to shape in their own image, leaving us to our own “archaic” ways….

Where they all were wrong is their failure to grasp the most basic tenets of tribalism. The western politicians universally declare their fealty to “family values”, yet they have no true conception of what that means. Despite the hardships of Afghanistan, we are free from want and have a simple, secure lifestyle. Our open, egalitarian and classless society is inherently cooperative – something we see far too little of in so-called “progressive” societies around the globe that depend upon (and unduly reward) the individual above the collective.

Though fatigued by decades of conflict, we welcome the recent tranquility afforded our peoples by the Great Powers’ distractions in Africa. Our celebration of Afghan independence is a celebration of our own modest freedoms – freedom to till the harsh rocky soil, freedom to support our clan with our own labors, freedom to remain apart from a world gone mad. And we humbly return to what we have always done: pray, eat, sleep and love.

In the name of Allah the most Sincere, may peace be upon you and your family.

[Cross-posted to Wizards of Oz]


3 thoughts on “Afghanistan 2050: Kaleidoscope of History”

  1. IMHO, this is both the most enjoyable and the most realistic entry in the discussion.

    I still believe that the Karzai regime will lumber on and turn into some roughly stable state, but the scenario suggested in this entry is a very plausible alternative.

  2. This is an excellent post. I agree with Toto – but would add that it has a certain degree of timelessness. With little modification, it could apply to the English or Russian experience. With a little more, it could apply to the Mongols or the Macedonians.

  3. Many thanks for the kind words, Toto & Fringe.

    As I pondered what to write, the photo of the old man inspired me to see a rugged determination within the Afghan people. It will never be a cosmopolitan center of fashion, nor a financial capital of the world.

    Yet the elegant simplicity of tribalism stands in stark contrast to the “source code of globalization”, and some may freely opt out of plugging in. And so long as their disconnectedness does not define danger (to twist a Thomas P.M. Barnett quote), they will fall below our threshold of caring.

    A million years of human history can’t be wrong…. :-)

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