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As America’s longest war drags on in Afghanistan, we would do well to take a look at that nation’s history and our involvement. None of this occurred in a vacuum. But before the War for Fun & Profit crowd got deep into their parasitic personal quest for total wealth looting the resources of other peoples, the world used to be a lot more open and friendly place…

HippieTrail-001The first time I traveled to Istanbul, I discovered the great Beatnik-Hippie Trail. As a working journalist from 1969-thru-’73, I ran into literally thousands of youth traveling on the cheap everywhere I went.
Cultural icons of the day inspired a generation to hit the road on a journey of self-discovery. Jack Kerouac published “On the Road” in ’57; beat poet Allen Ginsberg moved to Varanasi, India, in ’62; the Beatles went to India w/the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; and Cat Stevens — who would become Yusuf Islam — went to Kathmandu.

Unlike the usual American middle-class tourists and embassy, business and military personnel, these young people went everywhere and had far greater interaction with the locals. They were free-spirited and many smoked reefer and hashish. All along the Trail, inexpensive hostels and cafés catered to their free spirit and pocketbooks.
They backpacked, hitchhiked, took bikes, VWs and Datsuns…often hand-crafted into personal traveling homes. Special cheap transport, buses, trains and airways also catered to this trade. Icelandic Air was a usual source of affordable travel from the US to Europe. At one time, a train ticket from London to Delhi could be as inexpensive as $45.

Coca Museo, La Paz, Bolivia

Coca Museo, La Paz, Bolivia

Everywhere I traveled throughout my political and combat reportage in Europe; Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan in the Middle East; and Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa, these spirits were there. (Included were travels throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America.)

Stopping at any of their campsites for the night (light and clear roads not usually being parts of the infrastructure) was always an instant festival of sorts w/music, dancing and info-sharing around communal campfires w/hippies from America, Ireland, Britain, Germany, Japan—you name it. Most important was the info-sharing…areas to visit or problematic ones to avoid.
You want to know where a safe and welcome nude beach was? Welcoming natives? Best hash deals? What to avoid? Great markets? Places to stay? Not-to-miss events and sites? Stop at these nightly encampments all along the Hippie Trail

I recall later listening to how the CIA* complained after 9/11 that they did not have info/agents in radical orgs throughout these regions. Small wonder: They were forbidden to dress the fashions or act the culture… They never trusted anyone but themselves. Agents in the FBI, CIA, etc., could literally be fired–or shipped out to the boonies–for violations of the dress code or “proper” haircuts. At best, they were a joke, at worst, pure evil…

(*Joe Weisberg, former CIA op, and author of the current faux-Fox TV show, “The Americans” states: “It was all kind of BS. The intelligence they were providing wasn’t worth anything to the U.S. government. But what one did to collect that intelligence was ask people to really risk their lives — for a lot of nothing.”)

Going native...

Going native…

In fact, that’s what contributed to 9/11… When they came to power in January 2001, Bush & Cheney didn’t want to hear about “Clinton’s” network of Al Qaeda terrorists, etc., it wasn’t on their “political agenda.” (Besides, Bush Sr’s CIA recruited bin Laden in Saudi Arabia for their anti-Soviet Afghan war and the Saudi Binladen Group [SBG] are co-contractors with both the Bush’s oil interests and Cheney’s Halliburton.)
All of the intel from the field regarding pending terrorist ops (and there was plenty it turned out) remained ignored to the upper echelons as career-breaking to report. Small wonder that torture later became so popular among these types; it gave themselves the illusion of actually doing something; a career-comforting “we’re in it together” conspiratorial scenario.

Afghanistan is a land the size of Texas and sits on the crossroads between the former Soviet Union, Pakistan and Iran. It has a population of 31 million. The major ethnic group is Pashtun.
Habitation in the land goes back some 50,000-yrs. DNA and other methods trace the population as being mainly derived from the Caucasus in the north. Many early Aryans that didn’t migrate west into Europe, traveled south into the land of Ariana (the oldest civilization on Earth), which has since become Afghanistan, Iran (Persia), Pakistan and India.

Urban populations evolved around 3,000 BCE. Afghans became the victims of successive waves of invasions from Genghis Khan, Darius I, Alexander the Great and others. The process continued thru the Common Era with the Persians, Islamic empires and the Sikhs.

Afghan southern border (the Durand Line) thru the ctr of Pashtun territory...

Afghan southern border (the Durand Line) thru the ctr of Pashtun territory…

The first Anglo-Afghan War (Auckland’s Folly) was a British invasion in an effort to expand their colonial empire in 1839. It led to the massacre of 4,500 British and Indian soldiers, plus 12,000 of their camp followers by Afghan tribal fighters.

(The Khyber Pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan achieved further fame during this period. It was also known as an integral part of the Silk Road and from the late 1950s into the ‘70s as part of the Hippie Trail.)

The Brits returned in the 1870s and installed a satrap giving them significant power and influence. In 1893, per common colonial strategy, they imposed the Durand Line on the territory, thus creating a national division (the entire southern border) dividing the main Pashtun tribal territory in half between Afghanistan and India (later Pakistan). The population of Afghanistan is 42% Pashtun; in Pakistan, it’s 15%.

The northern border of Afghanistan was the Soviet Union. Socialist forces evolved in Afghanistan and the People’s Democratic Party won control in 1978. They instituted major reforms, including outlawing usury (excessive interest on loans) and gave women equal social and political freedom.
The ultra-religious Mujaheddin fought these “infidel” reforms. The gov’t sought and got aid from the Soviet Union (weapons and advisers), while the mujaheddin were supplied w/cash, weapons and cross-border support by Pakistan and the Saudis. The conflict soon became a proxy-war between the Soviet Union and the US.

(While the USSR followed much the same logistical path as had the US in Vietnam, one central difference is that the Soviet Union bordered Afghanistan. The US is 8,500 miles from Vietnam and over 7,400 miles from Afghanistan.)

As the West escalated its influence, the Soviet Union began to provide regular forces to the Afghan gov’t in 1979 at their request. The US increased its own participation by channeling $billions to the Mujaheddin thru Pakistan and the Saudis, as well as considerable modern weapons, including 2,000 FIM-92 Stinger missiles with a flight/altitude capacity of 14,000 feet.
The Soviet Union withdrew in 1989, and the Afghan gov’t was defeated in 1992. By 1996, a series of internal wars left the Taliban in complete control and they created the Islamic State of Afghanistan.

Enjoying a beer near the snowline on Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania...

Enjoying a beer near the snowline on Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania…

The Taliban were primarily emergent due to the fact that they were by far the largest Mujaheddin force (being the ultra-religious military org of the Pashtun tribe). They were supported by more than 28,000 Pakistani military, received the vast majority of cash and weapons thru the Saudis, and the CIA had specifically recruited, trained and armed thousands of bin Laden Saudis as an auxiliary military force (calling themselves Al Qaeda, “The Base”).

When the Taliban assumed power, they set about a brutal campaign to destroy their enemies and to re-enslave the women (the entire population of women were ordered under home arrest upon penalty of death). Mass public executions were held in stadiums for all sorts of reasons. The Taliban massacred an estimated 400,000 Afghans and displaced millions more by destroying “heretical” homes and villages.

After 9/11 and bin Laden’s Al Qaeda forces were blamed, the US invaded Afghanistan in October of 2001 when the Taliban gov’t continued to give sanctuary to Al Qaeda. It’s no irony that bin Laden was found 10-yrs later living in Pakistan. Both Pakistan and the Saudis have been supporters and allies of Salafist Islam from the beginning.

Meanwhile, the war we created rolls on…and so do we…  For all the rest, just turn on the news…

Dr. Publico (Nick Medvecky, PsyD), January 2015…

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