The Afghan Merry Go Round


KABUL: The Pashtun warlord’s son arranged our audience in the plush living room of a villa
thronged by petitioners and guarded by men dressed in army uniforms, armed with machineguns
and RPGs. “I’m not standing for money or personal benefit but because I believe that all Afghans should serve the poor and the needy,” Gol Rahman Hamdard said in excellent English, explaining that he had given up a well-paying job working at a construction company in order to stand for parliament.
“I’m an anti-corruption candidate.”
Later, I found out that Hamdard’s father, a controversial governor who had been run out of several provinces on maladministration charges, owned a construction company and was active in funnelling pro-Taliban Pashtuns into demographically sensitive areas critical for his son’s election. It all gave new significance to the only charge that Gol Rahman had made during our interview: accusing the governor of Balkh Province—a rival of his father’s—of arming militias.
“As a Westerner, you shouldn’t try to understand the politics and motivations,” a university professor later advised me.
“This is Afghanistan.” Yet, I had just spent an hour nodding enthusiastically at Gol Rahman’s “anti-corruption” rhetoric, so I felt a little foolish at my gullibility. Arguably, my reaction is not that different from how the international community feels after nearly a decade’s involvement in Afghanistan.

I have met several old Africa hands who always shrugged and said 'This is Africa' to explain everything that was corrupt and cocked up there. Does 'TIA' now also stand for 'This is Afghanistan'?
Withdraw, if they get snotty in the future a la Osama, we can always bomb them back to the stone age they want to inhabit. Advancement is not something they want, why force it on them?
I thought the acronym was BAWA: Bloody Africa Wins Again.


Africa is about as corrupt as it gets, South Africa is the pinnacle, but as useless as the rest. On personal experience, a complete lost cause, it's all about back handers, paying a premium is how they operate, they look at you in astonishment when you say no to a bribe. Until they change that they will not advance. Like Afghanistan.

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