Friday, October 10, 2014

closure of local radio in Baghlan

its unfortunate to hear reports of police crack down on local Khoshi radio in Baghlan. the closure of the radio and the arrest of radio staff can not be justified. The ministry of information and interior should investigate the threats made by the local council of Ulema to burn down the station. the Ulema council should be directed to complaint channels and legal redressing should they have concern about radio content, such measure are clearly laid out in Afghan media law. Threat to resort to violence over disagreement is against the law and goes against the spirit of Islamic conduct and decency.
this is also an abuse of power to arrest and cease by the police, its not there to be used at will of the police chief but to enforce the law. 

this is worrying as the international presence comes to a drawdown the future of media freedoms in Afghanistan remain uncertain and there is a chance in reversal of achievement gained in the last ten years with support from international community and journalist support organisations. 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

a letter to Rory Stewart on light touch in Afghanistan

Dear Rory Stewart,

you are one of the luckiest public figures to see in your life time your theory being put through thorough tests by the turn of events to confirm or refute it decisively. its most astonishing for its time frame, a year after your argument against western presence in Afghanistan and how grotesquely Islamist threat has been exaggerated by the west in a TED talk, the Islamic State in Sham (historical Syria and Iraq) is rampaging through cities and towns destabilising the region and causing a human tragedy, its also posing a serious threat to western interests and security and will continue to if left unchecked. 

Rory Stewart here is an exerpt from your speech  “… its extremely unlikely that Alqaida would enhance its ability to harm the United States or harm Europe this isn’t the 1990s anymore, if an Alqaida base was to be established near Ghazni we would hit them hard and it would be difficult for Taliban to protect them… its a great picture of David Beckham on the submachine gun … ”   
first and foremost its not a submachine gun, its a a 50Cal heavy machine gun with Linkless feed system. 

Rory the analysis of Islamism you presented is flawed, it fundamentally misinforms the forces at play, the people, politics, the history, the regional and global interplay and the role of various institutions. this TED talk is a representation of what exactly is wrong with the west. your solution for everything is Air strike, you got a cough!? air strike! this is not how you promote global stability.  in an alternative universe would Britain be stable if the Afghan Air Force conducted a raid on UKIP HQ due to a remark by Nigel Farage or pay and train the French to burn down all the schools in Farage’s constituency? don't bother its rhetorical. 

Its not only the recent evidence but also the shortcomings of the argument, the approach you present is contradictory. while its argued against western support and mentoring of the young Afghan government you have been keen to argue for a Hawkish stand against Russia and establishment of new bases to “confront Russia”. its beweldering to me why you would argue for and against the primacy of military emphasise at the same time.  

The argument is based on wrong lesson from Afghanistan, its not that doing little or nothing is western interest in Afghanistan or across the world but the west needs to fundamentally rethink its relationship with the rest of the world. the most important lesson that needs to be learned from the failed mission in Afghanistan is how difficult it is to stabilise and establish minimal institutions after a period of instability which is caused by factionalism and proxy wars. air strikes is not going to solve security problems or bring prosperity.  The west needs to develop and practice a doctrine of military restraint to stop it from unleashing its might against fragile state and learn to trade and partner with fragile states. I laugh as i say this, its not going to happen because it goes against human nature but its a valid point for debunking your argument. 

I also disagree with scenarios proposed in TED talk. it foresees events in a linear dimension "Taliban are not going to return … Alqaida is not going to return … Islamism is not a threat to the west…  Afghans are like X or Y …. if Taliban return we will do X or Y and that will sort it”. This is not how complex event pans out. complexity is created out of numerous causes and millions of potential causes, the outcome of it can neither be predicted nor managed because there are so many things that can happen. our brain is programmed to identify X and Y as important events and provide a range of reasons. this is intellectual fraud, there are a millions of substitutes for X and Y and all are as valid. when is the next big forest fire going to be? where is it going to be? is the fire in the Southdown National Park going to be a bone fire or a large fire? We have limited ability to predict the course of events or manage them. What is the next big political event going to be? is it going to be Taliban or Insurgency in India? bang no its ISIL. bang! its Ukraine. nobody foresaw this. yet all politician would find reasons to explain it. this is what i call intellectual fraud. how many ISIL or humiliation in Afghanistan or financial crisis need to happen before politician learn this simple premises. It is misleading to create scenarios based on observed facts. Contrary to conventional wisdom, our ability to foresee events does not increase from a series of confirmatory observation or past scenarios. 

I did not like your series about Afghanistan on BBC2, you erroneously bundled all foreign interventions together for condemnation. I also found the documentary condescending and offensive in a typically British way. the program did not attempt to achieve a balanced understanding of Afghan psyche, it was skewed toward interviewing people who would confirm the programme premises. The programme bundled together various points of history without understanding the dynamics of the situations. it ignored the fact that, with the exception of few, Afghans support western presence in Afghanistan. I know personally hundreds of Afghans like myself who would oppose Soviet and British interventions of 20th and 19th centuries but would support current NATO mission in their country. 

It comes as a surprise to me to hear there is a Tory MP in Scotland, you must feel out of place.