Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Afghanistan and globalization: an author's perspective from 'Winter in Kabul"

These are notes on globalization and how it relates to Afghanistan based on the information provided in "Winter in Kabul." It should be noted that I don't agree with what the author presents, but rather I am presenting it to help others who might need the information.


I. Basics
a. 34 Provinces
b. GDP $2.3 billion/per capital $800
c. Pashtuns 42%
d. Tajiks 27%
e. Hazara, Uzbek etc – 3%
f. Sunni 80%
g. Bonn Conference 2001:
i. The transitional government is named:
a. Warlords were the ones who were able to take power- they are the mujahidin
b. Constitution in 2004
c. First presidential elections at end of 2004 – Karzai wins – kind of re-elected in October
i. Worked for Unical during the transitional government
ii. When members of the Taliban come to th State Dept in 1997, he plays a role in those negotiations
ii. Flaws: Women’s rights are pushed way down and not given, women’s rights are trampled on
h. International Security Assistance Force (2003)
i. It gets turned over to NATO
ii. Also the American Forces separate from NATO
1. Mission: Build stability and nation-building
II. In the Streets
a. Causes of conflict
i. Between families
ii. Between tribes
iii. Between ethnicities
iv. We armed them
v. Domestic:
1. Want to control the poppy trade, water, trade routes
vi. Regional forces:
1. Ideological forces (communism)
a. The conflict isn’t over whether Islam should be the religion – but whether the fundamentalist Islam should rule or not.
2. Kashmir conflict has resulted in multiple states/multiple nations in close geographical proximity – creates conflicts (India/Pakistan)
3. Control over trade routes
4. Tribalism
vii. International factors
1. Ideological: Permanently undermine communism
2. Natural resources: build a pipeline (economic interest)
3. Geopolitical: Deal with terrorist networks; Prevent Iran to become a regional hegemon in the region.
4. Military reasons: Stability; preventing the Taliban from coming back into power because the US has made an enemy out of them and they will attack the US
b. Critique of American Foreign Policy
i. Carter (1973-19): Soviet Invasion; US response: Arm and train the mujahidin against the Soviets (tens of millions); US getting information from ISI (Pakistani Intelligence) and recommend an extreme violent fundamentalist for the leader
ii. Reagan: Continuation of the same policy
iii. Soviet withdraw 1989
iv. 1989-196: Civil war; the different factions are fighting for power
v. 1992 – Transitional government; which then breaks down into civil war
vi. 1996 – Taliban comes into power
vii. Problems with this: We armed and supported a non-democratic/extremist position in the country because we relied on non-reliable sources and were too eager to prevent Iran from having power (suggesting the moderate who should be in power). The US’s distain for communism is so strong that it turns its aggression against a moderate in support of the extremists/fundamentalists
viii. Problems: The US has no ability to know the region and so cannot interpret any intel they are getting, and they are getting bad intel – the US thinks that what is good for America is good for everyone.
III. Prisons
a. Constitution
i. Sources of law: Custom, Sharia, Penal/Civil code
ii. Sources of misogyny – all the laws
iii. What hope of change? Not a lot, but they have the theoretical right to vote; so maybe other things might change
IV. Schools/Reconstruction
a. Promises and pitfalls of reconstruction
b. What is going wrong with the reconstruction of the schools in Afghanistan?
i. The people that would teach can make more money doing other jobs – so there are not enough teachers – especially at the primary level.
ii. The NGOs don’t stay long enough – the emphasis is on producing the numbers for the reports and not the goal of education- this is the commercialization of education and commercialization of nation-building
c. Anything positive?
i. Something is better than nothing
ii. Some groups are able to empower certain individuals or regions
1. Help improve language skills to become employed
2. Bring some clothes to some people
3. Help some widows who couldn’t go out to get food find food
V. Policy Recommendations
a. Troop Increase
b. Reconstruction
i. In the 1960s the women had the rights to go to school, to university, to wear what they want…..why did this happen? Because the political elite was interacting with the rest of the world…..the rest of the world influenced the political elite.
1. Can the US use its foreign aid to establish influence?
2. Yes – exchange programs to expose people to different norms
3. Make the elite attracted to trends of other countries so those trends appear in the government (like women’s rights)
ii. In order for the repressive culture to end means to find a way to cut down on fundamentalism
iii. Afghanistan will also have to develop its economy and infrastructure – get rid of the poppy trade – in order to develop their economy and gain traction away from fundamentalism
iv. Must be continuity in foreign aid so that there can be long-term support for new values and cultures in the families/culture that would support the new values.

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