Photos: Bombs bursting in Baghdad and Kabul (or vice versa). Surge on.
This week, the bombs are exploding in US-liberated Baghdad. Earlier this month, they were exploding in US-liberated Kabul.
What's it all about? A January 19 feature story by a reporter-in-Wonderland from the Guardian (via RealClearWorld) sheds a surprising amount of ligh:
From "Afghanistan's Holy Violence":
Afghanistan is a curious place. Those who kill are called martyrs. Those who they kill are also called martyrs and the violence is apparently done for the sake of God.
"God is everywhere in Kabul," said a friend who recently returned to the city. "It's like a dictatorship. There is no escaping God here." Those who kill do so for the sake of God. Those who die hope that God will punish those who kill."
Trying that all again with the more accurate, specific references to Allah, it would read:
Afghanistan is a curious place. Those who kill are called martyrs. Those who they kill are also called martyrs and the violence is apparently done for the sake of Allah. "Allah is everywhere in Kabul," said a friend who recently returned to the city. "It's like a dictatorship. There is no escaping Allah here." Those who kill do so for the sake of Allah. Those who die hope that Allah will punish those who kill.
Makes more sense, more vividly. But kind of puts a crimp in "nation-building,"
Either way, there's nothing new about the Taliban attacking Kabul. Their predecessors, who ironically also called themselves mujahids, began launching Sakar-20 rockets on Kabul in 1985. ...
Later, in the 1990s, Kabul turned into an open battleground under fire by various mujahideen factions "martyring" each other and the people of the city. But Kabul is not the only city of violent acts creating new martyrs. Afghanistan's soil is full of martyr graves, triggering questions as to how to avoid unintentionally polluting a grave when doing one's business outdoors.
In the villages, parents warn their children to tread carefully and avoid soiling what might be an unmarked grave of one of the country's millions of martyrs.
Now, I've heard of "Don't step on a crack, you'll break your mother's back," but this is ridiculous. Or rather what's ridiculous is that we're trying to nation-build on top of all those millions of unmarked martyr graves.
But if the Taliban are in denial, so are the people of Kabul. ...
Hey, don't forget the bunker-heads in the US and British governments now preparing, along with Japan, to offer Afghanistan $100 million a year "for reintegrating the foot soliders of the Taiiban with jobs, cash, and other inducements."
Afghans are so used to violence and its justification that they rarely realise just how absurd their situation is. Hence when a fellow journalist recently asked the family of a victim of the Taliban's violence, he was given an ambivalent answer: "May God [Allah] punish the enemies of Islam."
Nothing "ambivalent" about it.