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Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Living with the Taliban – the Afghanistan conflict

A Western journalist lives with a Taliban fighting group, documenting and filming their daily lives, risking his own freedom and his life in the process. A remarkable film, by any standards.

I would guess that those watching this clip will polarise at two ends of the spectrum

those who think it portrays the Taliban as brave, humble and deeply religious people fighting against a foreign invader for their country, their faith and their families


those who think it is an outrageous piece of propaganda by misguided and unpatriotic Western liberals to portray the Taliban in a sympathetic light, when in fact they are brutal religious zealots who persecute women and harbour Al Qaeda cells  plotting terrorist attacks against civilians in the West.

There will also be many who find this a thought-provoking piece of courageous journalism, and who try to make up their own minds.

Wherever you are on this spectrum, I ask you to reflect on the following facts and ask yourself the following questions -


The United Kingdom has been involved in this military action and occupation for nine years.

There is no end in sight.

Combatants on both sides are dying daily.

Innocent civilians – men, women and children are dying almost daily.

Both sides are totally convinced that God is on their side.

Opinions on the conflict are deeply divided in the UK, with probably a majority of the electorate being against the war being continued and in favour of withdrawal.

The Karsai Government is deeply corrupt.

Opinion in Pakistan is deeply divided over the conflict.

The coalition forces are not winning this conflict.

The original objectives of the invasion of Afghanistan have been repeatedly redefined and have become blurred and confused.

The occupation of Afghanistan has created what is rapidly becoming an unbridgeable rift between the West and Islamic nations and cultures. It has also created serious tensions within the UK itself.

The invasion of Afghanistan was launched by the now wholly discredited Bush/Cheney neocom regime in America.

The coalition forces and the Karsai government will almost certainly do a deal with the Taliban to secure a diplomatic end to the conflict.


Whose country is being occupied by a foreign invader?

Has any invader ever won a war in Afghanistan in the last few centuries?

Is the persecution, torture and oppression of women by the Taliban unique in the Indian sub-continent?

Is the denial of the rights of women to play an equal part in religious hierarchies unique to the Taliban or does it exist among the nations of the coalition?

Are fundamentalist beliefs in war as an instrument of religion unique to the Taliban or do they exist among the nations of the coalition?

Does Afghanistan provide the only place in the world where Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups can train, organise and plan terrorist attacks?

Have the nations of the Western coalition considered invading any other country to protect the rights of women?

Have the nations of the Western coalition considered invading any other country to root out and destroy terrorist bases?

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