Beware the Vengeance of the Afghans
by Eric Margolis: Donít
Believe All the Baloney About Iranís†Threat
Lord Shiva, protect us from the fang of the cobra, the claw of the
tiger, and the vengeance of the Afghan"
~ old Hindu
fury. Americans are feeling these raw emotions as news keeps coming
in of more attacks by Afghan government soldiers and officials on
US and NATO troops. Six US troops were killed last week as a result
of protests across Afghanistan following the burning of Korans by
incredibly dim-witted American soldiers.
they supposed to be our allies? We are over there to save them!
What outrageous ingratitude," ask angry, confused Americans.
asked the same questions in 1857 when "sepoys," individual
mercenary soldiers of Britainís Imperial Indian Army, then entire
units rebelled and began attacking British military garrisons and
their families. British history calls it the "Indian Mutiny."
Indians call it the "Great Rebellion" marking Indiaís
first striving for freedom from the British Raj and the Indian vassal
princes who so dutifully served it.
outraged by the "perfidy" and "treachery" of
their Indian sepoys who were assumed to be totally loyal because
they were fighting for the kingís shilling. Victorian Britain reeled
from accounts of frightful massacres of Britons at places like Lucknow,
Cawnpore, Delhi, and Calcuttaís infamous "black hole."
As Karl Marx
observed watching the ghastly events in India, western democracies
cease practicing what they preach in their colonies. British forces
in India, backed by loyal native units, mercilessly crushed the
Indian rebels. Rebel ringleaders were tied to the mouths of cannon
and blown to bits, or hanged en masse.
recalls Imperial India. Forces of the US-installed Kabul government,
numbering about 310,000 men, are composed of Tajiks and Uzbeks from
the north, some Shia Hazaras, and a hodgepodge of rogue Pashtun
and mercenary groups. Ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks served the Soviets
when they occupied Afghanistan as well as the puppet Afghan Communist
Party. Today, as then, Tajiks and Uzbeks form the core of government
armed forces and secret police. They are the blood enemies of the
majority Pashtun, who fill the ranks of Taliban and its allies in
Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.
But half the
Afghan armed forces and police serve only to support their families.
The Afghan economy under NATOís rule is now so bad that even in
Kabul, thousands are starving or dying from intense cold. Half of
Afghans are unemployed and must seek work from the US-financed government.
But loyal they
are not. While covering the 1980ís jihad against Soviet occupation,
I saw everywhere that soldiers and officials supposedly loyal to
the Communist Najibullah regime in Kabul kept in constant touch
with the anti-Soviet mujahidin and reported all Soviet and government
troops movements well in advance. The same thing occurs today in
Afghanistan. Taliban knows about most NATO troops operations before
they leave their fortified bases. Among Afghans, the strongest bonds
of loyalty are family, clan and tribal connections. They cut across
all politics and ideology.
a proud, prickly people who, as I often saw, take offense all too
easily. Pashtuns are infamous for never forgetting an offense, real
or imagines, and biding their time to strike back. This is precisely
what has been happening in Afghanistan, where arrogant, culturally
ignorant US and NATO "advisors" Ė who are really modern
versions of the British Rajís "white officers leading native
troops"- offend and outrage the combustible Afghans.
Pashtun Afghans can take just so much from unloved, often detested
foreign "infidels" advisors before exploding and exacting
revenge. This also happened during the Soviet era. But some Soviet
officers at least had more refined cultural sensibilities in dealing
with Afghan. US-Afghan relations are not going to flowers when American
troops call the Afghans "towel heads" and worse. Many
US GIís hail from the deep south. They are inundated by virulently
anti-Muslim fundamentalist Christian propaganda that calls Islam
the "religion of the Devil."
have just had enough of their foreign occupiers. The Americans have
lost their Afghan War. As the Imperial British used to say: you
can only rent Afghans for so long. One day they will turn and cut
him mail] is the author of War
at the Top of the World and the new book, American
Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the
West and the Muslim World. See his
© 2012 Eric Margolis
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