Time to talk about Afghanistan?

Good morning, I hope you’re all well. I’m at TVC but I’m sure there’ll be a cheery air in the WHYS office today as Mark will have enjoyed this last night. But we’re about today and what you’re talking about.

How about Afghanistan? Three reports have painted a grim picture of the situation in the country, warning of a humanitarian catastrophe and collapsing state institutions. An independent study in the United States warns that Afghanistan could revert to a “failed state”.

And Steve has written asking us to discuss the Afghanistan Blashpemy death sentence.

“I mean, it’s the 21st century, and someone is going to be put to death for ‘blasphemy’. When you have blaspemy laws, it kind of explains why your country is third world, doesn’t do anything productive, while my country sent a man to the moon almost 40 years ago.”

We’ve talked about Kenya, and it is expected to be the focus of an African summit in Ethiopia that President Kibaki will attend. On Tuesday’s programme we heard from Abda, a Kenyan in Cleveland, Ohio, who complained that Kenya’s religious leaders have not done enough to help stop the violence in the country. That was echoed by Richard Dowden, director of the Royal African Society, and Mohammed in Germany. Do you want to find out why they’ve been so silent?

UPDATE: There are reports that another opposition MP has been shot dead, this time in Eldoret in western Kenya.

And something that our editorial meetings have touched upon (to a degree thanks to the US presidential elections) is nepotism – and it’s come up again in Britain thanks to the case of Conservative MP Derek Conway who paid his son thousands of pounds for research while he was a full-time student in Newcastle. Is nepotism inherently bad? Where do you draw the line if you want to stop it?

Another topic that crops up from time to time, and follows on a bit from yesterday’s discussion of multi-national companies making money from Africa’s natural resources, is the money that oil companies make. Royal Dutch Shell has reported record annual profits for a UK-listed company, making £13.9bn. Can a company make too much money?

11 Responses to “Time to talk about Afghanistan?”

  1. 1 Uzondu Esionye
    January 31, 2008 at 10:37

    That Afganistan death sentence is a sad story. I heard that some MPs were against the idea of foriegn pressure, to stop that cruel act.what is wrong with some one standing for what he believes in?How can foriegn countries stop the outside pressure, while lots of foriegn money is been wasted in that country, and we still hear of grim and gloomy reports coming out of the country? I see no kind of appreciation coming from the country leaders, for all that the international community is doing to help restore sanity to that Nation.it is Time to talk Afganistan.

    As for AU and Kenya’s President(so-called), There is absolutely nothing that they will do about that situation.Who does not know how presidents on this continent come to power and clinge onto it forever?The common African knows very well that the AU is another one doomed to fail the people of Africa.Look at what presidents from around Africa are going to talk about for Three days, Indusrialization! what a shame. How can African leaders pretend to be following in China’s foot step? Tax payer out there worried about us here, should start to re-think how their money is been spent here in Africa.

  2. 2 Xie_Ming
    January 31, 2008 at 11:50

    Afghanistan is a very good topic, but much background work is required by good journalists.

    A retailiatory attack to quiet the “bandits” was/would be justified.

    Occupation and the installation of a puppet government is/will be a failure. There is a long history of the failure of foreign intervention in that tribal land.

    Who wants to be the new “raj” there?

    Is isolation of it feasible?

  3. 3 Brett
    January 31, 2008 at 12:27

    Afghanistan would be great to discuss.

    “Pentagon should send additional troops as soon as they are freed from duty in Iraq.”

    This quote worried me. Yes, that is exactly what our men and women in the armed forces need, longer tours of duty right after they finish with Iraq. The government and military have already done a poor job of extending tours of duty of our troops, resulting in fatigue, stress both in their families and personal lives and their work, and a lowering in morale and trust in their leaders.

    And that doesnt even take into account the fact that maybe the solution is not to send more troops into extremist countries which will undoubtedly have a high civilian toll (see: Iraq) to increase hatred against the US.

    The death sentance for the journalist?
    Another case of religion being the direct cause and excuse of taking a life.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  4. 4 John D. Anthony
    January 31, 2008 at 13:47

    Am I missing something? Hasn’t military occupation always been a pretty solid indicator of a “failed state”?

    The blasphemy story is kind of moot. It has to be endorsed by Karzai to be carried out and there’s no chance of that.

    Nepotism ~ the topic that never dies…

  5. 5 George USA
    January 31, 2008 at 15:22

    1. Afghanistan-

    We were welcomed (US)- we missed opportunities with focus on Iraq- now our role is not what it was.

    Resources and troops are needed.

    2. Blasphemy sentence-

    What is the “moral indignation” of the west? Weird. It is their culture. Move to quietly get the reporter out, forget media focus. Leave it alone.

    3. Kenya- Sharp face to face moral condemnation of the Kenyan dictator is good.

    Boo the man out of the conference.


    4. Nepotism- In an elite controlled world it is to be aimed at and sought out, which is also called “favor”.


    5. Royal Dutch Shell-

    “Shell is swell”-

    The statement made by Texas Shell Refinery workers to pretty much anything that came up about the year long strike back in the early 1960’s.

  6. January 31, 2008 at 17:16

    Hi WHYS!

    I hope you all are fine.

    It is true that Afghanistan is a failed state. But, who is responsible for it? I think then super powers are responsible for it. US defeated Russia and Afghanistan paid the price. Again US vs China is the actual reason of attack on Afghanistan. US where it attacked created a “safe heaven” for Al-qaida. Then how do you expect that a country attacked by US would not be a failed state afterwards?

    With Regards,

    Muhammad Asim Munir
    Gujranwala, Pakistan

  7. 7 VictorK
    January 31, 2008 at 17:52

    Afghanistan: immediate withdrawal of all Western troops. Leave the Afghans to sort out their own affairs if they can. If they can’t, that’s their business and nobody else’s. The excuse about poppy production is lame beyond words. Afghans aren’t responsible for drug addiction in the West. or anywhere else. They should be able to grow and sell whatever products there is a market for.

    The truth that nobody wants to admit is that some cultures and religions contribute to socio-economic and political success, while some cultures and religions naturally lead to political failure, economic ruin and social backwardness. The solution is to reform or repudiate your religion and/or radically adapt your culture; but if you leave either intact then no amount of intervention by NATO and no amount of foreign aid will save you from yourself.

  8. 8 Brett, Steve, Mark & Patch
    January 31, 2008 at 18:49

    Afghan Toddlers Become Bread Winners

    TEHRAN – The Afghan border is some 180 kilometers from Mashad in Khorasan Province, Iran. Iranian state run TV on Wednesday showed Afghan children between the ages of 8 – 12 in Kabul. They worked at menial tasks and jobs to earn a frugal and meager wage in order to feed their families. Some had no parents; others were forced to work because their parents were sick. One toddler was serving his apprenticeship in a mechanics shop and wasn’t being paid at all. Admittedly, slave labour in carpet weaving
    Sweat shops, relief organizations and so called Martyrs’ Foundation is not uncommon in Iran.
    Afghanistan features prominently in Iranian life since Afghans are good and conscientious workers. Whenever I have work, I hire Afghans and provide them with lunch. They speak Farsi and work efficiently, without supervision. We talk of their family back home over tea break, and their impressions of life in Iran.
    Afghans are grateful for the opportunity to work here. They huddle together on main street junctions early in the morning, looking for work. They can be found on most labour sites. Tehran is indebted to these lads for the building boom of the 1990s to the present day in. The Aliens Bureau in Tehran, at one time, collected one dollar per day from UNHCR for every Afghan refugee. Tehran City Council is indebted to these lads for keeping the city clean. I was, however, shattered to see them working at the tanneries in Varamin, south of Tehran, one day. Barefooted, no gloves, wearing goggles, they handled some of the acid components involved in the industry. They also work on brick kilns and in the agricultural sector. Some so called government agencies and prelates use them as clandestine couriers, etc…
    The international debate on Afghanistan bares little relation to the existing problems of these people. The ultimate solution for Iran, may be to integrate them gradually into society, but in a decent way, civilized manner. There is no official Iranian policy on Afghanistan, although we are deeply involved in developments over there.
    The London Conference in January 2006 spelt out:
    1. Security;
    2. Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights; and
    3. Economic and Social Development.

  9. 9 Brett
    February 1, 2008 at 12:49

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7221775.stm – This further supports my point on re-thinking military action in Afghanistan, a point stated earlier about the high levels of stress and fatigue on the men and women in our armed forces.

    Furthermore, as noted in this discussion, the US has already been blamed for the state of Afghanistan, why should we intervene again? Only to be blamed at a later time for any and all socio/political/economic problems that may arise?

    NATO or the UN needs to step up to solve problems such as these, if they are not willing, the US needs to step back and stop its ‘mediating’ (small scale wars) tactics.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  10. 10 George USA
    February 1, 2008 at 20:01

    Multiman (B.S.M.& P.)

    You nailed it-

    The international debate on Afghanistan bares little relation to the existing problems of these people.


    Take a tribal, warlord, drug producing, decades of war country shake well.

    Boost expectations.

    Promise to “lasso the moon” economically rebuilding. (It’s a Wonderful Life)

    Pump cabbage ($) to the warlords and slather with new titles, but the same old corruption.

    Let it sit on a window ledge for a few years.

    Then heat it briskly with Taliban for a couple of fighting seasons.

    And Pardner you have a big heaping pot of starving people.


    War has always been the CCC “New Deal” of Afghanistan survival,

    They are good workers too.

  11. 11 Andy Sweeal
    June 17, 2008 at 17:50

    Everyday we here the stories of how the BBC reporters and serving British soldiers are being killed and I find myself asking myself “should we feel sorry for these people”…

    Afterall these people choose to go into a country they were not invited into and really have no right to be in, if they had never gone to this country then they would be alive today, thats the truth of the matter.

    So I guess I feel nothing for these people who choose to meddle in affairs that do not concern them, lets just get a handle on this, imagine its Britain and another country just decided, like Britain has with this country, to invade and to kill inhabitants of that country and to enforce its will upon the people of that land, if that was Britain would you not take pride in killing the ememy within your land, thats exactly what we have here, the people of this country are fighting to get the foriegn invaders out.

    It does not matter how you dress this up Britain has invaded Iraq and Afghanistan with no right to do so what so ever, so if troops are killed and reporters killed what did you expect, if they invaded our country would we not do the same as them to rid our land of people who have no rights to be there. If you go to Afghanistan and get killed its your own fault, never were any of you invited and you are certainly not welcome.

    Britain and America are not the World Police they like to think they are, they are infact evil terrorists who are trying to force smaller defenceless countries into bending to their will and to facilitate the theft of their oil.

    Britain should be ashamed of this part of its history and every serving soldier in Afghanistan should be prosecuted for trespass and if they have killed anyone they should be charged with the murder of the people they have killed.

    Please stop trying to paint it that they are heroes as they clearly are not, they are invaders,murderers and theives, thats the truth. We are not stupid and most of us see whats really happening, the time for this to stop is now…

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