Afghanistan: The Mirage of Peace by Chris Johnson

By Chris Johnson

With the re-building of the failed Afghan kingdom now on the heart of the recent foreign intervention, this booklet explores how the perceptions of outsiders were at odds with Afghans' personal understandings in their nation. It indicates how the inability of figuring out that characterised earlier guidelines continues to be hugely tricky. via carrying on with to take pleasure in a superficial, selective portrayal of the rustic, the foreign group dangers production a kingdom that doesn't exist, and guidelines that won't paintings.

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Despite the image given by both Taliban rule and today’s conservatives, tolerance underlies the practice of Islam in Afghanistan. Devoutly religious Afghans may be, but in general they see religion as a private affair, ideally conducted within a community of fellow-believers but not something dictated by the state. You worship as you feel right and you make your own peace with God. While there is undoubtedly peer pressure from within the community to be a good Muslim, the notion that the state might lay down rules about how you pray, or what constitutes proper Islamic dress, is alien and has little resonance with popular notions of piety.

Given the lack of a peace agreement between the factions, disarmament was always going to be difficult; it was impossible as long as armed groups continued to be paid and supplied by those pursuing the ‘war on terror’: ‘These soldiers are standing up to terrorism like the coalition forces. I asked Karzai to take my soldiers and pay them and make them part of the Afghan National Army. ’7 Marshal Fahim’s words above illustrate all too well how the very commanders who proved useful to the immediate military goals of the US-led coalition now stand in the way of effective disarmament and demobilization.

But the shrine collapsed, and then, in a dream, the minister was told not to construct it of expensive stone but of local materials, and thus it was done. The local people have looked after it ever since. Have you heard? A squash vine grew beneath a towering tree. In only twenty days it grew and spread and put forth fruit. Of the tree it asked: ‘How old are you? ’ The tree responded: ‘O little squash, today is not the day of reckoning between the two of us. ’ (Nasir Khusraw, Divan, 20) In the wonderful old city of Herat is the Masjid i Jami, the main mosque, one of the few of Afghanistan’s architectural treasures to have survived the war intact.

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