Afghanistan

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sheldrake
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Re: Afghanistan

Post by sheldrake » Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:11 pm

I certainly wouldn't say 'nirvana', but I just don't think it's a huge stretch to see a culture which kills people for straying off a narrow path sexually, or being caught with some homebrewed date wine will also be willing to force farmers to stick to crops that aren't lucrative enough to pay for a satellite dish and a new toyota van.

Communists don't care about this stuff as much, they're usually just delighted to have overthrown some hereditary monarch or colonial regime.

plodder
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Re: Afghanistan

Post by plodder » Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:37 pm

I agree, it’ll certainly be on their to do list. But throwing gay people from roofs doesn’t affect your bottom line in the same way as switching from being the world’s #1 supplier of heroin, and they need that money to keep the warlords onside - forget about growing the economy- this is simply to retain power. Otherwise things like driving your pickup truck through the Khyber pass become tricky.

So I expect to see a lot of noise but very little action.

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jdc
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Re: Afghanistan

Post by jdc » Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:49 pm

sheldrake wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:11 pm
I certainly wouldn't say 'nirvana', but I just don't think it's a huge stretch to see a culture which kills people for straying off a narrow path sexually, or being caught with some homebrewed date wine will also be willing to force farmers to stick to crops that aren't lucrative enough to pay for a satellite dish and a new toyota van.

Communists don't care about this stuff as much, they're usually just delighted to have overthrown some hereditary monarch or colonial regime.
If the Taliban cared so much about opium production the why did they allow production to increase during their rule, why did they fund their activities with opium taxes before and after the ban, and why did they wait until 2000 to ban it?

They banned women from working in 1996, they banned music in 1996, but the poppies were OK until a policy change in 2000. Maybe the poppy ban wasn't ideological but pragmatic and they were after legitimacy, diplomatic relations... truckloads of cash in international aid?

They might not have been particularly keen on Afghans getting high but they don't seem to have had any scruples about the production and export of heroin or funding their group from the proceeds of that industry.

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Re: Afghanistan

Post by sheldrake » Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:53 pm

jdc wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:49 pm

If the Taliban cared so much about opium production the why did they allow production to increase during their rule, why did they fund their activities with opium taxes before and after the ban, and why did they wait until 2000 to ban it?

They banned women from working in 1996, they banned music in 1996, but the poppies were OK until a policy change in 2000. Maybe the poppy ban wasn't ideological but pragmatic and they were after legitimacy, diplomatic relations... truckloads of cash in international aid?

They might not have been particularly keen on Afghans getting high but they don't seem to have had any scruples about the production and export of heroin or funding their group from the proceeds of that industry.
Could be, but it could also be that they knew it would be hard on the farmers and they were consolidating control or coming up with alternative agricultural policies, or a mix. It takes western governments years to get around to stuff sometimes, and the Taliban are running *Afghanistan*

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Re: Afghanistan

Post by plodder » Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:59 pm

banning music and women from working is also “hard on the farmers”. Afghanistan is only run on the sufferance of the warlords.

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Re: Afghanistan

Post by sheldrake » Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:29 pm

plodder wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:59 pm
banning music and women from working is also “hard on the farmers”. Afghanistan is only run on the sufferance of the warlords.
Music and women's liberation don't have the same impact on agricultural revenue as big bags full of raw drugs, so I can see why it could take longer to get around to that last one.

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Re: Afghanistan

Post by plodder » Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:51 pm

sheldrake wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:29 pm
plodder wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:59 pm
banning music and women from working is also “hard on the farmers”. Afghanistan is only run on the sufferance of the warlords.
Music and women's liberation don't have the same impact on agricultural revenue as big bags full of raw drugs, so I can see why it could take longer to get around to that last one.
did you come to that conclusion by yourself?

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jdc
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Re: Afghanistan

Post by jdc » Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:57 pm

sheldrake wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:53 pm
jdc wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:49 pm

If the Taliban cared so much about opium production the why did they allow production to increase during their rule, why did they fund their activities with opium taxes before and after the ban, and why did they wait until 2000 to ban it?

They banned women from working in 1996, they banned music in 1996, but the poppies were OK until a policy change in 2000. Maybe the poppy ban wasn't ideological but pragmatic and they were after legitimacy, diplomatic relations... truckloads of cash in international aid?

They might not have been particularly keen on Afghans getting high but they don't seem to have had any scruples about the production and export of heroin or funding their group from the proceeds of that industry.
Could be, but it could also be that they knew it would be hard on the farmers and they were consolidating control or coming up with alternative agricultural policies, or a mix. It takes western governments years to get around to stuff sometimes, and the Taliban are running *Afghanistan*
Re "consolidating control or coming up with alternative agricultural policies", it definitely wasn't the latter. The ban screwed the farmers over:
Absence of viable alternative means of subsistence and income drove the majority of landowners and sharecroppers heavily into debt, with many sharecroppers ending up essentially in bonded labor. Unable to repay their debts, others were driven to borrow even further or abscond into Pakistan.
https://www.brookings.edu/articles/pipe ... ew-regime/

Traffickers and Taliban perhaps didn't suffer as much as the farmers due to their large stockpiles and the increase in heroin price that followed the ban. The Taliban also had their non-narcotic smuggling income and donations from well-wishers. Also note that "While banning opium cultivation in 2000, the Taliban did not ban or otherwise interfere with the sale and trafficking of opium and poppy during that period." Which seems odd if the cultivation ban was based on ideological objection to heroin production.

I doubt the ban in 2000 was ideological and I doubt it would have been sustainable.

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Re: Afghanistan

Post by sheldrake » Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:27 pm

plodder wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:51 pm
sheldrake wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:29 pm
plodder wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:59 pm
banning music and women from working is also “hard on the farmers”. Afghanistan is only run on the sufferance of the warlords.
Music and women's liberation don't have the same impact on agricultural revenue as big bags full of raw drugs, so I can see why it could take longer to get around to that last one.
did you come to that conclusion by yourself?
Yes, and before you did, by the look of it.

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Re: Afghanistan

Post by sheldrake » Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:32 pm

jdc wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:57 pm
Traffickers and Taliban perhaps didn't suffer as much as the farmers due to their large stockpiles and the increase in heroin price that followed the ban.
Where can I find data on these stockpiles?
The Taliban also had their non-narcotic smuggling income and donations from well-wishers. Also note that "While banning opium cultivation in 2000, the Taliban did not ban or otherwise interfere with the sale and trafficking of opium and poppy during that period." Which seems odd if the cultivation ban was based on ideological objection to heroin production.

I doubt the ban in 2000 was ideological and I doubt it would have been sustainable.
Why do you think the Taliban banned poppy production when they did?

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Re: Afghanistan

Post by sheldrake » Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:46 pm

Image

"I'm telling you, Omar, you've got to be prepared to play the long game in international relations. It's about mindshare with opinion-formers and being flexible on the less critical things. We need a seat at the big table first, then once we've shown them they can trust us we can start surfacing our own needs."

"I don't know Hussein, can't we just cut the f.cking throats of anybody who looks like they might be a kaffir and then all fire our guns in the air? I love it when we do that. Really love it"

"You've got a point, Omar"

I am skeptical that the plan involving threatening to kill anybody who grew drugs was particularly machiavellian in nature.

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jdc
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Re: Afghanistan

Post by jdc » Tue Sep 21, 2021 9:03 pm

sheldrake wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:32 pm
jdc wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:57 pm
Traffickers and Taliban perhaps didn't suffer as much as the farmers due to their large stockpiles and the increase in heroin price that followed the ban.
Where can I find data on these stockpiles?
I have no data, but the article I linked to cites https://www.newsweek.com/new-silk-road-death-152383
Massive overproduction in the '90s drove down heroin prices in the West and created huge unsold inventories in Afghanistan. International law enforcers estimate that the big traders are now holding as much as 3,000 tons of raw opium or its equivalent in processed heroin.
sheldrake wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:32 pm
The Taliban also had their non-narcotic smuggling income and donations from well-wishers. Also note that "While banning opium cultivation in 2000, the Taliban did not ban or otherwise interfere with the sale and trafficking of opium and poppy during that period." Which seems odd if the cultivation ban was based on ideological objection to heroin production.

I doubt the ban in 2000 was ideological and I doubt it would have been sustainable.
Why do you think the Taliban banned poppy production when they did?
Good question. Ideology doesn't fit though, given that they didn't ban trade in opium or heroin, didn't institute a ban on poppy cultivation when they took power but waited several years, and rescinded the ban after about a year.

I said earlier that maybe they were after legitimacy, diplomatic relations and truckloads of cash in international aid. You seem to think this is comical and that the Taliban are one-dimensional zealots with guns, but: https://www.usip.org/sites/default/file ... nition.pdf
When the Taliban first emerged as a distinct group, in 1994, they did not articulate any positions on
international issues and were not thinking about international recognition. One of their officials told
U.S. officials in Peshawar early on that the Taliban were “totally empty-minded politically speaking
with no links to the whole world and no links to the Islamic world even, and especially no links with
the western world.”4 In early 1998, after receiving international demands for a few years, the Taliban
responded by listing priorities in an English-language document intended for their international
interlocutors.5 It clearly echoed what they had learned their international interlocutors wanted:
• Sincere negotiation, support for peace efforts by the U.N. and the Organisation of Islamic
Cooperation (OIC) and mutual respect and friendly relations with all countries
• Respect for U.N. and NGOs’ rules and principles; support for human rights; women’s
education, safety, dignity and freedom
• Combatting production and consumption of illicit drugs
• Opposing all forms of terrorism
• Reconstruction of Afghanistan

The 1998 bombings led to the first imposition of sanctions against the Taliban. The United States
imposed sanctions by executive order in July 1999, and the Security Council followed in October
1999. These resolutions cited the Taliban’s harboring of bin Laden and support for terrorism; a little
over a year later, in December 2000, a resolution added the drug trade to the rationales.
Attempts to have sanctions removed became an integral part of the Taliban’s international
diplomacy. The Taliban negotiated with the United States over both bin Laden and the drug trade

The Taliban actually succeeded in suppressing poppy cultivation in 2000 and 2001, which was more
than any other government had managed to do. Like other drug control efforts in Afghanistan, this
one was not sustainable as it led to price increases that incentivized evasion. The U.S. response, an
offer of $100 million in humanitarian assistance to be delivered through U.N. agencies, fell far short
of what Mullah Omar expected.

sheldrake
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Re: Afghanistan

Post by sheldrake » Tue Sep 21, 2021 9:28 pm

jdc wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 9:03 pm

Good question. Ideology doesn't fit though, given that they didn't ban trade in opium or heroin, didn't institute a ban on poppy cultivation when they took power but waited several years, and rescinded the ban after about a year.
As noted, there could be several reasons why they didn't ban opium farming until years later. The 'rescinding' of the ban happened just as the country was being invaded by the west, and I can't find any other mention of this 'rescinding' by the Taliban except from the Brookings source.
I said earlier that maybe they were after legitimacy, diplomatic relations and truckloads of cash in international aid. You seem to think this is comical and that the Taliban are one-dimensional zealots with guns, but: https://www.usip.org/sites/default/file ... nition.pdf
If those were Taliban motives, wouldn't you expect them to soften their treatment of women and religious minorities too ?

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Re: Afghanistan

Post by plodder » Tue Sep 21, 2021 10:57 pm

why else would they publish it?

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Re: Afghanistan

Post by plodder » Tue Sep 21, 2021 11:00 pm

sheldrake wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:27 pm
plodder wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:51 pm

did you come to that conclusion by yourself?
Yes, and before you did, by the look of it.
You need to go to your GP, show them this thread, explain which posts are yours, and refuse to leave until you’ve been referred for a diagnosis.

sheldrake
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Re: Afghanistan

Post by sheldrake » Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:43 am

plodder wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 11:00 pm
sheldrake wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:27 pm
plodder wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:51 pm

did you come to that conclusion by yourself?
Yes, and before you did, by the look of it.
You need to go to your GP, show them this thread, explain which posts are yours, and refuse to leave until you’ve been referred for a diagnosis.
Pfft. Like I trust doctors.

sheldrake
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Re: Afghanistan

Post by sheldrake » Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:43 am

plodder wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 10:57 pm
why else would they publish it?
I'm missing context here, why else would who publish what ?

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Re: Afghanistan

Post by plodder » Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:16 am

sheldrake wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:43 am
plodder wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 10:57 pm
why else would they publish it?
I'm missing context here, why else would who publish what ?
Because you struggle to bother to read what others are saying because the concept of a conversation isn't one you understand, I'm not sure there's value in posting this, but
In early 1998, after receiving international demands for a few years, the Taliban responded by listing priorities in an English-language document intended for their international interlocutors

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: Afghanistan

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:19 am

Maybe the UK should get on the blower and sign one of their whizzy post-Brexit trade deals. I'm sure there's no hard feelings.

The new era of peace and prosperity in Afghanistan will surely grow a huge market for innovative jams and financial services, and the way things are going in the UK I'm sure a lot of people would welcome a good price for some lovely, lovely smack.
You can shove your climate crisis up your arse!

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door.

plodder
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Re: Afghanistan

Post by plodder » Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:22 am

We could probably sell them arms and plutonium. And pick-up trucks.

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: Afghanistan

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:26 am

Might get some push-back on that one.

Although it's not like the pushers want to play with us anyway, so f.ck em.
You can shove your climate crisis up your arse!

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door.

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Re: Afghanistan

Post by plodder » Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:07 am

Yeah, it's a *nightmare* getting hold of proper organic Hindu Kush smack right now.

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Re: Afghanistan

Post by sheldrake » Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:47 am

plodder wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:16 am
sheldrake wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:43 am
plodder wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 10:57 pm
why else would they publish it?
I'm missing context here, why else would who publish what ?
Because you struggle to bother to read what others are saying because the concept of a conversation isn't one you understand, I'm not sure there's value in posting this, but
In early 1998, after receiving international demands for a few years, the Taliban responded by listing priorities in an English-language document intended for their international interlocutors
There's no need to be grumpy, there are several published things under discussion in this thread.
That document you refer to was a document where they apparently agreed to oppose all forms of international terrorism. I do not think that was a sincere priority for them. I do not think it follows that bringing opium harvesting to a halt was a geopolitical ruse, either.

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Re: Afghanistan

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:57 am

sheldrake wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:47 am
plodder wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:16 am
sheldrake wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:43 am


I'm missing context here, why else would who publish what ?
Because you struggle to bother to read what others are saying because the concept of a conversation isn't one you understand, I'm not sure there's value in posting this, but
In early 1998, after receiving international demands for a few years, the Taliban responded by listing priorities in an English-language document intended for their international interlocutors
There's no need to be grumpy, there are several published things under discussion in this thread.
That document you refer to was a document where they apparently agreed to oppose all forms of international terrorism. I do not think that was a sincere priority for them. I do not think it follows that bringing opium harvesting to a halt was a geopolitical ruse, either.
What international terrorism did the Taliban do?
You can shove your climate crisis up your arse!

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door.

plodder
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Re: Afghanistan

Post by plodder » Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:58 am

There is every need to be grumpy, buddy. You're a nightmare.

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