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Topic 54 of 96: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan

Sun, Sep 23, 2001 (20:14) | Paul Terry Walhus (terry)
I'm a journalist and author, former war correspondent (until, genius that
I am, I finally figured out I should find something safer to do) and
sometime business strategy consultant. I used to be a HotWired columnist
and Upside columnist till they gave me the boot for ideological impurity.
But I'm still a commentator on NPR's "Marketplace" business program and
I'm still writing books. So I guess I'm not a complete screw-up.

My first book was published by Dutton in 1995 -- "Road Warriors: Dreams
and Nightmares Along the Information Highway." My latest will be published
by Harvard Business School Press in the Fall of 1999 -- "Rembrandts in the
Closet: Wielding Intellectual Property for Competitive Advantage."


David Kline
38 responses total.

 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 1 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Mon, Sep 24, 2001 (11:28) * 24 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Mon Sep 24 '01 (09:26) 23 lines

Best news I've seen since Sept. 11 is today's front page New York Times
headline: "U.S. Seeks Afghan Coalition Against Taliban."

It appears that Washington does indeed recognize that the only way to get
Bin Laden is through the anti-Taliban resistance on the ground.

As for closing the borders, forget it. It won't happen because it *can't*
happen -- there are ten thousand crossing points and only 100 are manned
by Pakistani border police. Starving frightened people will flee. And the
Paks (and, I guess, us) will simply have to deal with it.

As for Rabanni, he's the favorite of at least one Afghan -- a former
member of the fundamentalist Hezbi Islami group -- who began emailing me
yesterday. I didn't know he was still alive (we had travelled into the war
zone together in 83-84), but even though from the more religious side of
the anti-Soviet resistance, he says Afghans would welcome US help to
overthrow the Taliban so long as we respect Afghan sovereignty and work
*with* the Northern Alliance and other anti-Taliban forces.

He also says an immediate dispatch of even 5,000 metric tons of wheat to
the Afghans would earn us "much love," as he puts it, from the people.
.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 2 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Thu, Sep 27, 2001 (20:17) * 33 lines 
 
David Kline:


makes a good point about what we'd do if the Pak nuclear capability
fell into fundamentalist hands. Except who's to say that it's not already
in fundamentalist hands (albeit fundamentalist military men, who at least
have some discipline in them)? I'm not sure what the dividing line is
between semi-security vs. great risk where Pak nukes are concerned.

As for anti-US sentiments among Afghans, everything I have ever known or
experienced or heard about that country (whether 20 years ago or last
night) suggests that so long as we don't bomb indiscriminately or invade
with ground troops, they will welcome our support and assistance. No
matter what people may have thought in 1996, it seems clear from all
reports that Afghans despise their current Taliban rulers.

So they'd like our help so long as we respect their sovereignty and right
to decide their own future. Especially they'd like our help in rebuilding.
You cannot imagine what it is like to be in a country where there is zero
medical care, zero education, and if things get even worse, zero food.

They just want peace. A chance to go back to their farms and villages.
They don't want to live in the 7th century -- it's taken too long (1400
years) to get away from the Dark Ages. Who wants to go back?

No video? No media? No phones? Impossible -- the Afghans (especially
Pathans) are among the chattiest storytelling people I've ever met.

Contradictions? Sure. Afghans I speak with today LOVE America and love
Americans and even love our gregarious bravado. But they hate the CIA,
hate what we did re: the Shah of Iran, hate our oft-imperial arrogance.

Gee, they sound just like me!


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 3 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Mon, Oct  1, 2001 (09:30) * 97 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Fri Sep 28 '01 (08:23) 90 lines

People have been saying here that the Taliban brought peace out of
chaos in Afghanistan and how do we know that the Northern Alliance or
anyone else would be better?

Let's look at what actually happened pre-Taliban, because I think it
provides a clue as to the governing capabilities of the Northern Alliance
and other non-Taliban forces.

First of all, what is now called the Northern Alliance was actually a
coalition government that had been formed and was operating rather
remarkably well for a time. Think of it, more than a half-dozen rebel
groups had somehow put aside their differences and come together --
Massoud's group, Saiyaf's group, Rabbani's group, the legendary Abdul
Haq's forces, even little Gailani's group -- and they were more or less
managing things in Kabul, even rotating leaders (I know, that's a sign of
weakness, but it's better than fighting) just to keep things together.

Then what happens? That fucker Hekmatyar, Pakistan's little puppet, the
schmuck who received 75% of the arms and aid (thanks to the Pak SIS) but
did only 2% of the fighting against the Russians, starts shelling Kabul.
Backs out of & suddenly refuses to support the coalition government once
his turn in power ends. And since he's Pakistan's dog and always has been
(many who've met him, including me, believe he is actually clinically
insane), he immediately gets Pakistan's support and steps up the shelling
of Kabul and begins to throw everything into chaos.

That's how the chaos began, at Pakistan's urging & initiative through
their decades-long puppet Gulbudin Hekmatyar. Of course, when the even
more fanatical and malleable (Hekmatyar is insane, after all) assholes of
the Taliban raise their ugly heads, Pakistan switches support to them.
Pakistan's own military and intelligence services are run by Taliban
funamentalist-style sympathizers, so it's an easy decision for them.

And when I say Pakistan "supported" them (or Hekmatyar before them), you
have to realize what that means in a country with almost zero
infrastructure, more than a million dead, starving widows filling the
streets, and hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees pouring back into
the country from camps in Pakistan eager to go back to their farms.

"Support" means heavy artillery, air support, air *transport* (which is
maybe even more important), food, medical supplies, diplomatic cover and
support, legal entry for aid workers, and oh yes -- did I mention actual
Pakistani military regiments actually engaged in fighting the forces of
Massoud and the other coalition members? Yep, Pak troops on the ground
turning a shaky but working & operating Afghan order into total chaos.

So gee, I guess those forever-quarreling Afghans couldn't keep their shit
together, could they? Tsk, tsk, what's wrong with those people?

So anyway, the legitimate government's authority broke down, and what few
services remained ceased. And when the Pakistani army and its Taliban
front men stepped up to the plate and said, "How'd y'all like some food
and electricity again?" the bludgeoned population didn't say no.

Fuck, why the hell not? Anything ... just stop shelling us!

So the Taliban take over, and of course the people never got their
electricity because it might be used to watch TV or something.

So to recap, the so-called Northern Alliance was a coalition that I
wasn't
sure could ever possibly be formed. But it was formed, and it worked
against unbelievable odds and incredible amounts of Pakistani sabotage
for
quite a while, until finally overwhelmed and overthrown by the Paks and
their Taliban puppets.

It was and still is recognized as the legitimate government of
Afghanistan
by 46 nations and has Afghanistan's UN seat, whereas the Taliban are
recognized now by only 1 nation (guess which one) and has no UN seat.

So in my view, not only would ousting the Taliban and restoring the
legitimate recognized government of the Islamic State of Afghanistan
under
Rabbani would be far preferable to what exists now, it also happens to be
the LEGALLY-CORRECT thing to do under international law.

And frankly, given what they faced, I thought they did a pretty good job
of holding things together for 4 years or so until the Pak's finally
overwhelmed them. I wouldn't be worried to see them back in power,
especially because the population is now even more tired and beaten and
willing to put minor squabbles aside just to FUCKING BREATHE again!

So next time someone says "The Taliban brought peace where there was
chaos," think about what actually happened.

Think about Hitler bringing "peace" to France in 1940, America restoring
"peace" to Saigon in 1963, blah blah blah.

The Afghans will do just fine, I believe, once the Taliban are gone.

But only if we and other countries help them rebuild, and only if we
respect their sovereignty and let them govern themselves.



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 4 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Mon, Oct  1, 2001 (09:32) * 22 lines 
 
Kline (dkline) Fri Sep 28 '01 (11:58) 20 lines

It's also not true that the Northern Alliance (aka Islamic State of
Afghanistan) has no Pathans (or Pushtuns). When they were a coalition
gov't still in power, they certainly did. Rabbani may be Pathan and Saiyaf
as well plus Abdul Haq, too. I don't recall for sure.

When the press refers to the NA as non-Pathan, what they mean is that it
is composed *primarily* of or *led by* Hazarras, Uzbecks, Tajiks and other
non-Pathan minorities. But they do have quite a few Pathan rank and file.

Still, the point is well taken about needing to ally with groups that many
Pathans feel more identified with tribally. Zahir Shah, if he plays a role
in uniting with the NA and other anti-Taliban forces, is a Durrani Pathan.

By the way, even the Pathans are divided between the Durrani and other
tribal lines. You could split hairs and get Afghans feuding very easily --
and indeed, that's what the Paks and Taliban counted on.

The task, as always for the Afghans, is to unite despite their tribal
differences and fight the greater enemy -- whether the Brits & Russians
before, or the Paks and Taliban today.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 5 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Mon, Oct  1, 2001 (09:33) * 27 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Sun Sep 30 '01 (09:19) 25 lines

That's for sure. But seriously, just in case someone does know the
difference between Jamiat Islami and Jamiat-i-Ulam and which one dominates
the Pak military and supports the Taliban most strongly, I'd love to hear.

I could, of course, simply research it myself. But I'm too tired, and
frankly I'm really sick of those people. So if someone knows, then great.

Some journalist I am, eh?

Anyway, I heard a nurse from Medicins sans Frontiers on NPR yesterday and
she reminded me of things I'd forgotten about the Afghans:

How they love to sing, how they're always and I mean always listening to
music (I never once saw a mujahadeen jeep, bus, truck or even captured
Soviet tank that hadn't been outfitted with tape player and speakers), how
they're always playing games (chess, dominoes, cards, etc.), and how they
absolutely positively adore dancing at weddings!

All banned now under the Taliban.

Maybe it's because life is so austere there, but when the chance comes to
have fun, the Afghans *really* have fun. Or at least they used to.

And some wonder, gee don't most Afghans really support the Taliban?



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 6 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Mon, Oct  1, 2001 (09:35) * 1 lines 
 



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 7 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Mon, Oct  1, 2001 (10:58) * 17 lines 
 
Back in the modern world, today's papers say Washington will support the
anti-Taliban rebels, who met in Rome yesterday with the former King to
work out some sort of United Front. Included as aid recipients are Abdul
Haq and unspecified other forces as well as the Northern Alliance.

They will also provide humanitarian aid quickly.

So I've got to rewrite my op-ed now, because it looks like Washington did
rebuff Pakistan protests against the US taking any such action.

Three weeks ago I would never have imagined that the Bush administration
could resist striking out blindly and instead make such a complex move.

What's happening here. Are we getting a government with a brain?

Next thing you know, Powell will be apologizing for the Shah of Iran and
pledging to make our foreign policy more Islamic-friendly.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 8 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Tue, Oct  2, 2001 (15:51) * 11 lines 
 
I asked David Kline about a snippet I heard on AM radio this morning about some great Afghan leader making a comeback and here is what he said:

David Kline (dkline) Tue Oct 2 '01 (11:12) 7 lines

Abdul Haq, maybe. A very great commander who left the country in disgust
after the post-Soviet factional fighting and rise of the Taliban. If it's
the same guy, he lost half-a-foot during the war, and earned enormous
respect as a leader. But truthfully, I don't know his tribal affiliation
(he may be Pathan) or who much influence he might now wield.

But it's good that he's coming back & joining forces with others.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 9 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Wed, Oct  3, 2001 (19:30) * 35 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Wed Oct 3 '01 (17:23) 34 lines

God, I have no idea anymore. Other than that Afghans have always been very
media conscious -- they listen to radio, watch TV, read papers.

Those that can read, I mean.

As for Taliban anti-aircraft capabilities, I think we'll soon find that
their capabilities around the flanks and forward margins of their control
are very thin, indeed. Some artillery to shell Bagram for effect, some
anti-aircraft capability here and there, but most of their real strength
will be concentrated around Kandahar and to a lesser extent Kabul.

That's where they'll put up serious resistance. And if reports today
of significant military gains by the Northern Alliance are true, then
we'll see a rapid withering of their abilities beyond those 2 cities.

They may not even fight that hard for Kabul, in fact. With Pakistani
military support now unavialable, these people truly are ignorant village
idiots who mainly just want to protect their mullah boss Omar.

They don't care about big cities, they don't care about "strategic"
positions. All they want is for their allmighty mullah to be safe.

So, Question for the day: Which comes first -- the capture & execution of
Bin Laden, or the overthrow of the Taliban?

Until now, I'd always expected a US-Afghan alliance to grab Bin Laden
first, then go for state power (maybe with UN assistance).

But hell, if the Taliban start crumbling and the Paks stay out of the
way, it could go the other way, couldn't it?

Seize state power -- then really seal the borders and close the pincer
around Bin Laden and his boys. My, that would be a lovely affair!


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 10 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Oct  5, 2001 (13:06) * 32 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Fri Oct 5 '01 (09:00) 30 lines

That's a very good question . I don't really know. Maybe
has some ideas.

I do agree, of course, that Pakistan's trouble with its own fundamentalist
forces does NOT fit the classic dictatorship vs. people model. For one
thing, while the fundamentalists have always had the capacity to pull
crowds into the streets in protest, they've done surprisingly poor during
any elections that have been held in the past (or so I've read). I mean,
they don't even register as a blip at the ballot box.

On the other hand, there's strong fundi influence in Pakistan's military
and intelligence services (okay, I'll use the proper acronym "ISI"). That
says nothing about "popular will," of course, but it does suggest that
the fundies may have a capability to destabilize or even to seize power
that we might not be fully aware of. If the fundies took power, of
course, then you'd really have a dictatorship because they represent only
a tiny minority of popular sentiment in the country.

Anyway, if I were Musharraf, I'd be thinking very very hard about securing
my base in the top officer ranks (a few well-chosen transfers and
"promotions" of fundi officers might help), and making sure that the most
immediately deployable military assets are in non-fundi hands.

And then I'd put my best people (and a huge chunk of US aid) to the task
of 1) providing immediate economic relief for the masses -- even creating
a short-term welfare system where none now exists; and 2) creating an
immediate alternative to the fundi madrassas schools that feed, clothe and
"educate" so many poor children today.

The let the fundis have their rallies. They'll have already lost the war.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 11 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Oct  5, 2001 (13:10) * 35 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Fri Oct 5 '01 (09:25) 36 lines

Yeah, that clip was almost unbearable to watch. And as many of you know,
I've seen a lot of horrible things in Afghanistan. But there was a very
special and un-Afghan ferocity to this beating that was awful to watch.

I've been harping for weeks now about how the Taliban are completely alien
to traditional Afghan character, custom and practice. I believe that
within just a few weeks, the once-formidable Taliban regime will collapse.
And then we will learn the full extent of Taliban cruelty.

I mean, it's not just a crime against women that they are not allowed to
work. Since as we all know so many many men are dead from 20 years of
warfare, that edict has resulted in the mass starvation of widows and
orphans. It's a crime against humanity.

Afghans can't live without music. But millions have been forced to. They
can't live without dancing, card playing, kite flying, laughter, jokes,
sexual puns and innuendos, spoken poetry (such as the rhyming couplets
called landays that men playfully chant to women & vice versa), and radio
broadcast news. I mean, these people are real News Hounds -- just wait
till they get the Net! Yet they've been forced to live without it.

Really, a rather fun-loving (albeit quarrelsome) people have been forced
to live without almost everything that matters to them. What an explosion
of joy there will be when the Taliban are smashed!

An I truly believe that despite the Afghan predisposition to
factionalizing and plotting, once liberated they will find some way to
hold a stable government together and start rebuilding. I know them --
they are NOT stupid. They know that it was precisely their factionalizing
that laid the groundwork for the last decade of misery.

An they will not make the same mistake again. Other mistakes, sure. But
they won't let it get out of hand again, I'm convinced.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 12 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Oct 12, 2001 (19:56) * 31 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Thu Oct 11 '01 (17:57)

I am watching Pres. Bush's news conference.

He just said two things that blew me away:

Asked how Americans can be more alert, he said "Don't start picking on
people who look different" or whose faith is different.

Then he announced a national children's crusade for every American child
to earn or send in $1 to help the children of Afghanistan, one out of 3 of
whom are now orphans.

You know, I'm sorry...maybe it's just because nobody gave a shit for 20
years about the Afghans, who I think are a wonderful gregarious joyful
fun-loving and incredibly romantic people. But I have got to say I was
incredibly moved by our President's words.

"Our President." Never in my life did I think I would use those words.

And you tell me, in how many other countries of the world would you EVER
hear the national leader say either of the above statements?

Two, maybe? Britain and Canada? Maybe?

This is incredible to me. I have spent my 51 years of life (40 of them
relatively conscious) as a staunch critic of American foreign policy.

And now I am amazed. And deeply deeply proud and moved.

I believe this is ultimately all going to be very very good for him.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 13 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Oct 12, 2001 (20:16) * 27 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Thu Oct 11 '01 (17:07) 24 lines

Ironically, it was Pyr Sayed Ahmed Gailani's son Ishaq Gailani who
escorted me into the fighting areas on my first trip behind the lines in
Afghanistan in September 1979. Their organization is the National Islamic
Front of Afghanistan, I think it's still called. Generally moderate,
pro-Western and often educated folks in this group. But don't get the idea
that just because the family owned a car dealership that they were wimps
or anything. They actually did a fair amount of fighting early on -- took
me to one helluva battle to seize a fort in Paktia province that left me
vomiting with fear (I did that alot) by the side of a mountain trail.

I have a great picture of Ishaq Gailani and his men -- then still armed
for the most part with 1903 British Enfields that their great grandfathers
took off dead British soldiers -- lined up behind a row of 250 kilo
Russian bombs dropped by Mig-21s that somehow never exploded.

Figures. 70 years of socialism and they still couldn't make a decent
refrigerator, so why shouldn't half their bombs be duds, too.

Anyway, his is not one of the major groups, but Gailani will still have to
be included in any united front.

The biggest wildcard will be Abdul Haq, profiled in the same article with
Gailani. What he and Ismail Khan (now marching on Herat) do will go a long
way toward determining the legitimacy of any post-Taliban regime.



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 14 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Oct 12, 2001 (20:21) * 27 lines 
 
Strategy:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/12/international/12MILI.html

The Times of London with additional details:

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,2001350006-2001354120,00.html

David Kline (dkline) Fri Oct 12 '01 (08:42) 17 lines

Read both articles, which naturally are in contradiction to each
other. . . . it does not look to me like the Home Team as
yet has a military strategy for seizing Kabul from superior numbers of
entrenched and fiercely-resistant Arab, Pakistani and Taliban fighters.

I had thought two weeks ago that Kabul would have been weakly defended.
But the Times reports Taliban reinforcements in strength around and in the
capital. This is not the best news, but it doesn't change the end game.

Galani, Abdul Haq, Ismail Khan and other former *leaders* (as opposed to
mere warlords) are rallying forces, I believe. As soon as the Northern
Alliance forms a coalition with all these forces and others -- and somehow
they have to do it within like 1 week or so -- then a serious military
strategy for the conquest of Kabul can be contemplated.

But we've only got about 6 weeks or so. Then it gets really hard. And if
we take a breather for the winter, the Taliban will claim victory.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 15 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Oct 12, 2001 (20:24) * 19 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Fri Oct 12 '01 (08:47) 16 lines

Sorry. The article that contradicts the London Times report that the
battle of Kabul is only days away is another one from the Times, which
reports that the US has deliberately avoided pounding Taliban positions
around Kabul because we have a deal with Pakistan NOT to allow the
Northern Alliance to seize the capital until a coalition government
acceptable to Pakistan is worked out.

Of course, if Pakistan balks at what the Afghans come up with, then we'll
have to decide what to do: take out the Taliban, or keep Pakistan as ally.

Or, as I've been suggesting for 17 years, we could always decide to stand
up to the Paks for a change re: Afghanistan and see if they back down.

But actually, on the question of a post-Taliban government, I do think
they're right to press for a broader united front. But how broad and
who? The devil may be in the details.



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 16 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Oct 12, 2001 (20:26) * 37 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Fri Oct 12 '01 (17:46) 31 lines

how and why the in-fighting began. It was the Pakistani puppet and
funamentalist freak Gulbuddin
Hekmatyar -- the one that all of us warned the US about giving aid to --
who broke from the united fron (as usual) and began shelling the capital.
With Pakistani military support. They backed him just like they later
backed and installed the Taliban in power. This guy was the precurser to
the Taliban. And before the Paks instructed him to break the united front
and start a war (Pakistan did not want to see an independent government
in
Afghanistan, nor do they now), the Northern Alliance was a faily stable
government that was and still is recognized by the UN and 46 countries.

So yeah, chaos reined. But not because the Afghans are constitutionally
unable to unite and form a stable government. It was because Pakistan
deliberately tried to destabilize the new government. And succeeded.

Now I don't want to make excuses for abuses of power. But remember, the
ones who led the fighting against the Russians, who actually liberated
the
country and restored Afghan independence, were mostly not from the
country's elite and educated and westernized class. They were often just
barely-literate villagers, unaccustomed to governance and all the rest.

As for their being quarrelsome, well that's not automatic failure. Plenty
of other societies have had their "bad" periods or times of great
internal
conflict (the US Civil War?) and still managed to outgrow it and unite.

Whatever their faults as a people (and they have many), one thing can
surely be said about the Afghans: don't underestimate them.

The Brits did, the Russians did. And paid for it. They are incredibly
resourceful and I think they'll learn whatever they have to learn to
survive. Including the "habits of democracy", if neccesary.



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 17 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Oct 14, 2001 (20:11) * 19 lines 
 
chilling thought:

David Kline (dkline) Sun Oct 14 '01 (18:08) 15 lines

Whatever the reason or cause, the bombing of innocent villagers represents
such a threat to the survivability of the fragile anti-terror coalition
that we should all be invoking the Gods to spare us another mistake.

I'm not being critical. Believe me, I know there aren't 2 or 3 other
countries in the world (if any) that would devote as much effort and
concern towards avoiding civilian casualties as the US has.

But all that effort and concern won't mean squat if the coalition breaks
down the middle. That's why, if necessary for strategic reasons, I'd
recommend that we stop the bombing and incurr greater casualties among
our troops as a result -- anything to keep the coalition together!

That's the key. If we lose Pakistan, we're toast. Not even America can
defy the whole world for long.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 18 of 38: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sun, Oct 14, 2001 (21:22) * 1 lines 
 
Indeed...! Terrorism and anarchy will surely follow the dissolution of the coalition. Do you want to die a free man for freedom or die slowly and horribly at the hands of a madman in a world gone crazy. No one emerges from this war unscathed. If they think our stopping bombing is going to bring an end to this horror, they are sadly mistaken. The "wild bunch" has determined that we are the infidel and we deserve to die. They will not stop until either we put an end to it, or they win an most definitely Phyr ric victory!


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 19 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Wed, Oct 24, 2001 (22:42) * 35 lines 
 


Personally, I'd love to see B-52s carpet bomb Taliban front line
positions. The NY Times said today that the Northern Alliance forces are
explanation. I mean, why not just tell NA forces to retreat half-a-mile
and then send in the B-1s and B-52s?


From my experience watching many years of refugee relief efforts along
the
Afghan-Pakistan border during the 1980s, you really need people on the
ground to do effective work -- either food, medical or whatever. So our
food packets are not enough -- but then no one ever claimed they were.

As I understand it, the Taliban are the greatest hindrance to relief
efforts right now, if reports of their seizures of relief supplies and
denial of access to relief workers are accurate. Our bombing doesn't help
matters, but it's sufficiently localized that if the Taliban allowed it,
food transport by truck to regional feeding centers could be achieved.

In response to an earlier question about the pronounciation of Pathan or
Pashtun or Pashtoon or whatever, everyone uses a different spelling. But
the prounciation is usually "Posh-toon." Emphasis on the "posh" when
referring to the people; and on the "toon" when referring to language.


What's that Kipling poem about "if ever you are caught on the Afghan
plains, better to roll on your gun and blow out your brains" then let the
Afghans get you? During the 80s, we journalists had a helluva time trying
to convince the Muj to keep their Russian prisoners alive. They were not
at first greatly impressed by the phrase, "Geneva accords."

If Taliban ever capture an American, however, you can be sure he will be
kept alive and paraded on worldwide TV. Much more media savvy these days.



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 20 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Oct 28, 2001 (16:54) * 59 lines 
 
This is a complex, if not
unprecedented, situation that we're all trying to make sense of on-the-fly
with imperfect and incomplete information. A small tilt one way or another
in, say, assessing the savvy of our military leaders from day to day can
make a big difference in the viewpoint communicated in any one posting.

There was an article in today's NY Times discussing Haq and the bogging
down of our military effort. It quoted someone from the Center for
Strategic Studies who said that the military keeps bombing and bombing --
in some part unwisely -- because that's what they know how to do.

It's our natural blindspot, derived from our historical experience in
war. It doesn't mean that we're uncapable of recalibrating our war effort,
nor unable to learn and deploy new tactics, or that we're doomed to fail.

Like you perhaps, , I'm a lifelong student of World War 2 and as you
know, learning how to fight successfully did not come easy to us in that
conflict. Many, many mistakes were made, and disasters wrought, especially
during the first 14 months of that global war (until shortly after Torch).
In fact, we came one-inch away from seeing Nazi fascism triumph throughout
the world all because of a profound difference in strategy in late 1941
between the Chiefs of Staff under Marshall, which unanimously urged the
abandonment of our Europe first strategy (because of Bitish stonewalling
on a 2nd front), and Roosevelt who managed to resist their Japan first
recommendations. Had he buckled under to them, we would have lost the war.

Forgive the digression. It's meant just to acknowledge that success in war
isn't miraculously pre-ordained but learned and earned only in the course
of trial and error, as knowledge and experience grows. Hopefully we'll
keep learning until we win.

But I'm worried about our current direction, that's all. I know we're not
razing cities, and cluster bombs (I hope) are only being used against
troop concentrations, which is what they're designed for. But I think our
present emphasis on bombing non-human assets is ill-advised, and reflects
our military's experience in fighting *past wars*. I'd love to see much
more thought and emphasis and resources committed to building Afghan
capabilities. To me that's the only way to reliably win this war, and the
only way to win it without losing all-important Muslim support completely.

As for 30-40 km forced marches, I nearly died from them. But that's
nothing for an Afghan, and I know that sounds like war lore but it's true
-- these people are almost inhuman in their stamina. I don't know what
Taliban units carry today, but the Mujahadeen I travelled with in the 80s
could carry rifles, RPG's, ammo, 2-3 days food, a small amount of water,
and stripped down "dashakas" (12.6 mm heavy machine guns) while literally
running -- and I mean *running* -- up and over 10,000-12,000 foot mountain
passes in a non-stop day-long advance without even pausing for rest.

During the early years I was there, communication was solely by messenger.
And I'm sure that with some of their communications severed, the Taliban
are relying again in some cases on runners. I forget the distance from
Kandahar to Kabul, but whatever -- these people can move so rapidly in any
terrain that the use of runners becomes a viable military option for them.

Amazing, but true.


- source, David Kline


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 21 of 38: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sun, Oct 28, 2001 (17:13) * 1 lines 
 
Ask Herman Neuman about what WW2 was like. (Books conference toopic 31) Megalomanics seem to come to power periodically to relieve the population crunch. That is the only way I can understand this horrific impulse to destroy life and civilization. We cope as best we can. David Kline has put a face on this horror just as Herman Neuman did for me for WW2.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 22 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Oct 28, 2001 (19:19) * 18 lines 
 
It's not an either-or kind of thing.

Short term, we need to use violence to attempt to destroy the operational
ability of Al-Queda and to oust the Taliban in order to eliminate
Afghanistan as a staging area for global terrorism.

Long term, we need to use politics -- including a frank admission of past
errors in the Islamic world (e.g., Shah of Iran) -- to isolate the Muslim
extremists from the broad masses of ordinary Muslim citizens.

In some ways, we can borrow a page from our mostly successful effort
against communism. Military might to contain overt aggression, combined
with protracted political, economic and even philosophical struggle
against communist ideology.

It took decades, but we won. Same thing here, I think.

David Kline.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 23 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Mon, Oct 29, 2001 (16:13) * 68 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Mon Oct 29 '01 (09:05) 25 lines

God, I can just imagine snow-mobiling up in the Afghan mountains and
going over a tiny little ridge and ... dropping a thousand feet. Ugh.

As for all our high-tech gizmos, I know there's a place for that. But
ultimately, I think we'll need the kind of guys that can sneak up quieter
than an Afghan on a Taliban encampment and cut the throats of a dozen
men.

Let's say we devoted 1/1000th of our present efforts and resources to
seriously enhancing the military capabilities of the Northern Alliance,
Ismael Khan, and other anti-Taliban forces. Do people here think that in
time, with money and equipment, we could help construct a force powerful
enough to oust the Taliban?

I've been suggesting this sort of redirection of effort away from city
bombing. And I think it would work, but I'm not sure if I'm being fully
objective about it. All I know is, even the NY Times talks about the
"tepid" US effort to build a broad-based coalition, and our "perfunctory"
coordination of military action with NA forces.

So clearly, we're not putting a whole lot of effort into this -- to me it
looks like the same old go-it-alone approach by the U.S. But I'm just
wondering if people here think that this is appropriate and that there's
little chance of helping to build an effective Afghan fighting force, or
if they think we should put more effort into it.





I think we're exaggerating the venality of the Afghan resistance.

First off, the primary reasons why things went to hell after the Soviets
were defeated were not simply because of Afghan quarrelsomeness -- that's
always existed, even during decades of peace. Rather:

1) The US abandoned the reconstruction of Afghanistan after the
Soviet withdrawal. Economic aid would have been a stabilizing factor, and
it could have been contingent on maintaining peace between factions.

2) Pakistani sabotage -- first in instigating Hekmatyar to quit
the coalition government and start shelling the capital, and second in
arming, financing and directing the Taliban to take power.

As for warlords, etc., partly that's always been true of Afghanistan --
again, even in times of peace. But I also wouldn't get all high & mighty
about how screwed up they are. If we had suffered proportionately -- 26
million dead, 65 million living as refugees -- we might have a few
rapists
and warlords running around, too.

In any event, we are not presented with any perfect options. Consider:

1) We could try to exterminate the Taliban all by ourselves and then quit
Afghanistan again, but that'd leave another mess there *for sure* and
it'd
also turn the whole Muslim world against us.

2) Simply going home & leaving the Taliban in power won't work either.

3) Against those options, I think it's entirely reasonable to devote
serious economic, political and military help to anti-Taliban factions
and
trying to create a stable, non-terrorist regime in Afghanistan.

Unless I'm forgetting something, it's the only choice we have.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 24 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sat, Nov  3, 2001 (20:54) * 11 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Thu Nov 1 '01 (10:13) 8 lines

My wife says I've been having nightmares about my Afghan war reporting
days, crying out about bombs falling and people being torn apart. I
haven't had nightmares like these since I quit covering the war in 1988.

These are heavy heavy times we're living in. But still I can't help
thinking that there'll be a great many positive results from all of us
having to learn to deal with our fears -- and from recognizing more than
ever before just how precious life, love and family truly are.



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 25 of 38: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sat, Nov  3, 2001 (22:56) * 1 lines 
 
He's right. Just hope you have found the right soul mate. It is difficult to deal with the war and worry when there is no love at home...


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 26 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Nov  4, 2001 (19:50) * 66 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Sun Nov 4 '01 (16:55) 56 lines

One interesting but little-studied aspect of the WTC disaster is the role
that intellectual property is playing in helping to make our economy more
resistant to terrorist attack.

Consider that intellectual assets have now replaced tangible assets as the
chief form of corporate wealth -- accounting for approximately 70% of the
total market value of the S&P 500 today. This is also true even among
manufacturing firms, where the asset base has shifted just in the last 20
years or so from one in which physical assets such as plant, equipment and
real property constituted 62 percent of firm market value in 1982, to one
in which such assets represent less than 30% of firm value today (the
other 70% of firm value being composed now of intellectual assets).

Put another way, the business battles once fought for control of markets
and raw materials are increasingly being waged over the exclusive rights
to new ideas and new innovations.

How does this make our economy more resistant to terrorist attack?

When the WTC was attacked, America sustained untold billions of dollars in
real property and other economic losses. There's no doubt that consumer
and other markets were severely affected. But the underlying health of the
U.S. economy -- the intellectual asset strength that currently underlies
70% of the market value of all public companies in America -- remains
largely unaffected.

Indeed, in the case of Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost 700 of its 1,000
employees on September 11, intellectual property may even "help shape the
firm's rebuilding effort," noted the Wall Street Journal (10/25/01 "Cantor
Fitzgerald Wins Round in Patent Dispute"). A patent governing online
futures trading that it bought last April for $1.75 million could bring in
as much as $100 million in new licensing revenue this year -- double the
2000 revenues of the business unit (called eSpeed) that Cantor spun-off in
1999 to manage this patent, according to J.P. Morgan analyst Greg Smith.

In the words of Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick: "Intellectual
property is a fundamental asset of [ours], and that's never been more
obvious and important than now."

The fact of the matter is that the U.S. economy no longer depends as much
as it used to upon access to raw materials, manufacturing plant or other
physical assets, which can be interrupted or even destroyed by terrorist
attack. The good news from all of this is that America's fundamental
economic strength -- its knowledge-based economy that outpaces the rest of
the world in the production of new ideas and new innovations -- is largely
impervious to Al-Queda assault.

Indeed, only one nation on earth currently relies on its own innovative
strength to produce the majority of its science and technology assets --
the United States. All other nations, even Germany and Japan, import over
50% of the science and technology needed in their economies from abroad
(chiefly from the U.S.).

Our intellectual property strength not only makes us more resilient
against terrorist attack, it also provides us with the innovative new
tools and technologies we'll need to fight modern-day terrorism.










 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 27 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Nov  9, 2001 (09:44) * 56 lines 
 
David Kline:

One of my favorite Herat stories involves yours truly, as a
semi-sentient
18-year-old hitchiking around the world in 1968. I had just passed through
the Iran-Afghan border at Mashad and hitched a ride into Herat. I knew to
play it cool, as King Zahir Shah's rule was reported to be very strict.

While walking near the city center, a policeman braced me.

He demanded to see my passport.

"Hmmm ... Ah-merry-con?" he asked, flipping the pages of my passport.

"Yes," I replied helpfully.

He paused, looked at me curiously. "You have hasheesh?" he demanded.

"Oh no, no hashish!" I lied.

"No?" he repeated. "Well then here ..." he laughed, handing me a little
packet of dope and enjoying my surprise. "Welcome to Afghanistan!"


Man, what a lost world that is.


I arrived in Luxembourg in August of 1968 with no return ticket and a
hundred dollars in my pocket. Spent the first 2 months travelling around
western Europe and Scandinavia, then with my last dollar took the Orient
Express to Istanbul. Whereupon my passport was promptly stolen and I
slowly began to starve. So I learned how to help tourists in Istanbul's
Grand Bazaar find what they were looking for (for a fee), and I hooked up
with a minor Turkish gangster who paid me to smuggle cars from Bulgaria
into Turkey. Dumb dumb dumb ... but that's what being 18 is all about, I
guess. Anyway, I fled Turkey the night before a major "Midnight Express"
bust of foreign hash smokers in Istanbul and made my way to Iran, where I
met and stayed with members of the fledling anti-Shah resistance. From
there I wandered into Afghanistan and then up and over the Khyber Pass at
last into to Pakistan, where thanks to dysentery (sp), I arrived in
Peshawar weighing exactly 121 pounds. Had no money for medical care, the
US consulate laughed in my face (just as it did in Kabul when I snuck in
in 1981 posing as an importer with Pier 1 imports and he refused to offer
me shelter one hour before a Soviet shoot-on-sight curfew fell), but I
managed to get enough money for medicine by selling hash to hippies.

Then I went to India, spent a few months in Goa, went to Nepal, then swung
around back through Southeast Asia and after a year gone then back home
through Hawaii where, genius that I am, I figured I could just breeze
through customs wearing a body vest holding 6 kilos of the finest Nepalese
government-stamped hashish on earth.

But that's another story.

Now, I just sit home playing with my five month old and growing old
probably a little less than gracefully.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 28 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Thu, Nov 15, 2001 (13:44) * 54 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Thu Nov 15 '01 (11:43) 52 lines

Omar and Bin Laden are toast.

Remember 4 weeks ago how we were talking about how when the regime started
to crumble, Afghan (not Arab) Taliban might strike a deal to kill or turn
over Bin Laden to NA or US forces?

It looks like this may be exactly what happens.

I pray that the Afghans try him and hang him. There's no martyrdom for him
if he's executed by a newly-liberated nation of devout Muslims.

And Afghans are devout Muslims. They're just not fanatics or
fundamnetalist Muslims.

Did anyone see today's huge color picture in the NY Times of Afghan women
bathing and washing clothes in a river? Miraculous! Wonderful! And they
really are quite a handsome race of women, with ready smiles.

And to think just 8 weeks ago most Americans thought: "Oh those terrible
Afghans, look how they treat their women."

Now everyone can see without doubt that, no, it's only how 7th century
fanatical village idiots treat their women.

The news gets better and better. Order in the streets. Few if any
reprisals, even against the bastards who assasinated the two greatest
and most beloved living Afghans -- Ahmed Shah Massoud and Abdul Haq.

I spoke to Abdul Haq's nephew last night -- the man Abdul Haq raised as
his own son when his father (Haq's brother) was killed in battle against
the Soviets. And now, in full loving circle, this nephew is now raising
Abdul Haq's son as his own, no different than his other children.

Okay, I gotta stop getting teary now ...

Anyway, Haq's nephew and I shared some stories and some sense of final
victory, of peace at last.

And I realized something that had not occured to me before: the Afghans I
have known and lived with have always been struggling, always fighting,
always burying their children, always on the run, never giving up, but
always living with fear and hunger and brutality all their lives. And now,
for the first time last night, I heard an Afghan crying out his joy and
gratitude to God for that which they have hoped and prayed for so long.

Peace. Normalcy. A chance to go back to their farms and raise babies and
later teach them to fly kites (which no one does better than Afghans) and
once more play their instruments around village campfires spitted with
cooking lamb and great God even to sing and dance at weddings again!

I'm sorry to be so sentimental about this. But the transformation in their
lives is su huge, so rich, and so justly deserved.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 29 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Nov 16, 2001 (13:24) * 99 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Fri Nov 16 '01 (08:57) 96 lines

And here's another reason, besides the dreaded ISI that I had to dodge for
10 fucking years while over, that I don't like Pakistanis: they inherited
and then exaggerated the British penchant for bureaucratism.

Here's a short scene from my screenplay "Bazaar" (a love story set against
the backdrop of the Afghan war -- "Year of Living Dangerously"-style).
It'll give you a very accurate taste of the Pakistani way of things.

The backdrop is that the lead character NATE (a jounalist -- surprise!)
has been called in for questioning by the local ISI commander. As with
everything involving Pakistani, it is 110 degrees with 90% humidity. For
those unfamiliar with screenplay terminology, EXT. means an exterior shot,
and INT. obviously means an inside a building shot.

_____________________________________________


EXT. SPECIAL BRANCH HEADQUARTERS - LATER

It is a huge, stone-walled compound the color of caked mud,
fronted by large, swinging iron gates. Atop these gates a sign
reads: "NORTHWEST FRONTIER POLICE - SPECIAL BRANCH."

Sentries armed with rifles, bamboo riot sticks and the arrogance
of power push and club a mayhem of supplicants. The supplicants--
businessmen in dirty suits, women with crying babies--wave little
slips of paper like religious icons at the unseeing guards.

INT. WAITING ROOM - SPECIAL BRANCH

The pitted stone walls look like they haven't been painted in a
century. Nate sits on a rickety old chair, legs splayed out and
head tilted back, sweating heavily and gazing up at a ceiling fan
that barely moves. Flies are having their way with him.

He hears the MUFFLED ECHOES of men shouting and women pleading
somewhere in the compound. He looks at his watch, then sits up
and speaks to the RECEPTIONIST.

NATE
Does he know I'm waiting?

The receptionist, a fat, unshaven man in local clothes, pokes at
a typewriter. TAP . . . TAP. He ignores Nate. TAP . . . TAP.

NATE
Excuse me . . .

RECEPTIONIST
(torpid, indifferent)
Yes okay.

TAP . . . TAP . . . TAP. He pulls the paper from the typewriter
and, with unbearable slowness, carefully applies a dab of white-
out. He fans it dry with his sweaty palm.

Pleased with his work, he leans over and hawks some phlegm onto
the floor. He wipes his hand across his mouth, drawing out a long
streamer of yellow spit. He sees it, wipes his mouth again with
his other hand. Then he reaches for the typing paper, smearing it
with his spittle, and re-inserts it in the typewriter.

NATE
(trying to keep calm)
Excuse me . . .

RECEPTIONIST
I have tell him.

NATE
You have told . . .

RECEPTIONIST
(TAP, TAP)
Yes sir.

NATE
When?

RECEPTIONIST
Now.

NATE
(beat)
Excuse me. You *have* told him? Or you *will*
tell him?

RECEPTIONIST
Yes sir.

Nate falls back against the chair, his head rolling back.

______________________________________________


And so it goes, another day in the romantic life of a war correspondent.



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 30 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Thu, Nov 22, 2001 (16:01) * 108 lines 
 

"The Death of Masoud": Vice magazine interviews a Brit journalist named
Jason Florio, who interviewed Masoud shortly before his assasination, and
who was also in New York on Sept 11.

http://www.viceland.com/issues/v8n8/htdocs/afghanistan.php

Report in the LA Times today about the situation in Herat: a myor's
race; NA soldiers breaking up a pro-King really, the usual stuff that
never would have even existed 5 ndays ago (unless it was 25 years ago, in
which case this sort of thing was daily life for Afghans).

But there's a very funny bit that shows the dry humor of Afghans under
the
worst of circumstances. Ismael Khan (gotta love an old-fashioned
"warlord"
who runs schools for 75,000 girls while being chased by Soviet special
forces troops for 10 years) is complaining aboiut the fact that the
Northern Alliance "can't get no respect," as it were. He was recently
quoted (including here) as saying he didn't want a long term presence of
Western troops in Afghanistan (which if he'd been a Sandinista, would
have
earned him praise as an anti-imperialist but since Afghans can't do
anything right in the minds of "progressives" only earns him a rep as
"ungrateful" or even anti-American).

Anyway, the reporter notes that while Khan in this interviemade a point
of
NOT criticizing American involvement, 'US efforts took a plunge of
sorts" when several 1,000-pound crates of pre-packaged meals from America
"crashed through the roof of the famous Sunni Muslim philosopher's
shrine" as well as the outhouse of a "local resident."

Commented local resident Habib Allah Nour Ahmad: "If they do not drop
these things in such places, it is better."


Also in the "Northern Alliance cxan't get no respect" department, the
ever-whining spokeswoman for RAWA was on NewsHour last night again
demanding that the NA NOT be allowed to participate in any future
government of Afghanistan because many of its members are not in favor of
full human rights for women.

In other words, because many NA members are simple village men and not
college-educated Afghans who have enjoyed these past 20 years living in
the safety of London or New York or other Western capitals.

My response: How many Taliban have you killed, miss? Oh excuse me, let's
go back further: how many Russians have you killed?

Because to me that's got to surely be one of the major pre-requisites
forf
participation in a post-Taliban solution: who actually fought for and
sacrificed for the liberation of Afghan men, children and yes women?

Now it is true that some RAWA members made great sacrifices. But hardly
more, I suspect, then the millions of uneducated (and therefore sometimes
backward-thinking) men who gave their lives over the past 25 years.

So give it a rest Tameenya or whatever your name is.

Watch her the next time she gves an interview. I will pay you $50 if her
response to the first question asked -- no matter what that question is
--
is not the following: "Yes, but first I want to say that the
fundamentalists of the Northern Alliance must NOT be allowed to
participate in the future government of Afghanistan."

You heard the offer: $50 to anyone who watches her speak and doesn't hear
her say the above.

You know what RAWA's real problem is. Sure, they're sectarian like
everyone else. But that's not their real problem. Their real gripe is
that
for better or worse (and it is for worse I'll agree) most ordinary
Afghans don't yet have the same prtogressive views re: the role of
women as RAWA does.

And RAWA doesn't want to have to have to wage the long-term political
effort needed to educate their fellow citizens, man and women.

Well boo-hoo ladies. French women had to fight like hell just to get the
right to vote AFTER World War 2. We all know what women everywhere have
had to do to fight for their rights & stop mistreatment.

Just because RAWA crybabies can't stand it that many Afghan women still
prefer the veil (if not i8n many cases the burqa) is not sufficient
reason, to my mind, to disqualify from the political [rocess the VERY
PEOPLE who made this politic al process and this liberation possible.

So on this Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks to the 10 million or more
ordinary Afghan men and women -- people of all different levels of
political progressivesness and backwardness -- who gave up their livesor
their homes and families to keep the faith these long 25 years and broing
about this miracle of liberation in their wounded nation today.

And as my extended family reminded me last nigght, we should also thank
them for giving me back 10 years of my life there that, until September
11, had been forgotten by me and ignored by everyone else.

They gave me back some meaning to it, and for that I'm very greatful. A
small thing when stacked up against what's happening., but important for
me no note on Thanksgiving Dayu.

I hate this unfamiliar keyboard I'm on.

Sorry for all the misspellings.



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 31 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Thu, Nov 22, 2001 (16:01) * 40 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Thu Nov 22 '01 (13:38) 37 lines

My point is not that RAWA doesn't deserve to be praised for whatever good
work they've done, or that they ashouldn't be asllowed to partici[pate in
the future political process of their country.

They should!

My point was that they should stop demanding that oters NOT get to play a
role -- especially whyen it is those others who more than anyone else, for
better or worse, have brought about the liberation thyat now enables a new
political process! I mean, what hypoocrisy!

They can scream all they want about the "crimes" of the NA and others, but
if we're gonna start tallying up "crimes, " well RAWA has a few of its own
to explain in the way they invited and supported Soviet advisors into
their country in the late 1970s.

Educatiuon of women? Yes, RAWA has done great work, but did they educate
more girls than NA so-called worlord Ismael Khan, who put 75,000 girls
through school?

The point is, they have to stop bickering and condemning othyers (the
curse of all Afgfhan factions) and start working together.

In any event, I guarantee you that the LAST thing that is going to happen
is that the armed resistance forces most responsible for the liberation
of the country are going to be denied the right to participate.


That's ludicrous, and it'll never happen. So it's time for RAWA to put the
nation ahead of its socialist agenda, just like it's time for this or that
faction of the NA to put aside it's own particular agenda for the goodf
of the whole nation.

And actually, that's what'll happen, despite all the blame-laying and
screaming. Because it's either work together, or die as a nation.

And the Afghans are not suicidal. They'll work it out.



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 32 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Mon, Dec  3, 2001 (12:56) * 27 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Mon Dec 3 '01 (10:16) 33 lines

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the first woman in five years
had registered at Kabul University -- a college that once had 3,500 female
students before the Taliban came to power.

A brief excerpt:

__________________________

Escorted by her father into the chancellery building of Kabul University
at 8:40 this morning, Farida Afzali, 21, had no idea she was walking into
history. She reacted to the half- dozen staring men the way she would have
in the past. She bowed her head and looked at the floor. When a question
was shouted, she let her father answer. "Yes," he said, beaming and
granting her permission to give an interview. "You should speak bravely
and courageously."

For the next hour, Ms. Afzali talked about what it was like to be the
first woman in five years to register for classes at Kabul University.

` __________________________

When you read the full article, you'll know why I feel that with women
like Ms. Afzali around, Afghanistan's future is bound to be bright.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/02/international/asia/02SCHO.html?searchpv=past7 days


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 33 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Thu, Jan 10, 2002 (10:29) * 61 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Wed Jan 9 '02 (15:51) 58 lines

Sebastian Junger has a very nice article in the new Vanity Fair entitled
"Massoud's Last Conquest." He quotes Massoud when he was in Europe last
April trying to rally the West to presure Pakistan to stop maintaining
the Taliban in power:

"If I could say one thing to President Bush," Massoud said at a pess
conference in Paris, "it would be that if he doesn't take care of what is
happening in Afghanistan [by forcing Pakistan to stop backing the
Taliban], the problem will not only hurt the Afghan people but the
American people as well."

But while the State Dept. refused to listen, it seems some in the US
counter-terrorism community understood the wisdom of Massoud's request for
help. According to Junger, one high-level counter-terrorism official
acknowledged to him, "Counter-terrorism means getting bin Laden, and the
best way to do that is to help Massoud."

One thing I've always liked about Junger's Afghan reportage is that he's
one of the few who really grasps the central role of the Pakistanis in
fueling the Islamic fundamentalist threat not only in Pakistan but around
the world. An excerpt from his Vanity Fair article:

"For decades the United States had essentially followed Pakistan's lead
when it came to Afghan policy. During the Soviet occupation, America
relied on Pakistan to put $3 billion worth of weapons and support into the
hands of the mujahadeen. It was all funnelled through the ISI, the
infamous Pakistani intelligence service, and many of the weapons wound up
in the hands of anti-Western fanatics.

"The power vacumn that followed the 1989 Soviet withdrawal was finally
filled by the Taliban, the creation of fundamentalist lunatics recruited
by the ISI from the refguee camps on the Afghan border. By 1996, Pakistan
had created a rogue state that exported two-thirds of the world's heroin,
brutalized its citizens with harsh Islamic laws, and hosted a terrorism
network dedicated to destroying the West."

Junger then mentions State Department disinterest in terrorism and oil
company interest in a potential oil and gas pipeline across Afghanistan.

"While American counter-terrorism efforts struggled to contain the threat
posed by Osama bin Laden, oil interests and Pakistani intelligence were
holding American policy firmly by the ear."

One final note: I've gone back over more of my articles on the Afghan
situation from the 1980s, and I see that on a number of occasions I warned
of the dangers of allowing Pakistani intelligence to use our money and
arms to create a powerful anti-Western army of extremists in Afghanistan.

And I was by no means the only one.

I know that in hindsight all issues look clearer than they do when you're
actually facing them in real time. But I don't believe it's fair to say
that there's NOTHING we could have done to prevent September 11 -- that
there were NO warnings about the growing threat of fundamentalist
extremism that we could have acted upon in some way.

There was also a certain amount of myopia at work here, although I doubt
this will ever be acknowledged by the powers-that-be.



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 34 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Fri, Jun 14, 2002 (07:58) * 28 lines 
 
David Kline:

Well, whaddya know.

Less than a year ago, women in Afghanistan were being executed in public
stadiums and beaten like dogs on the street.

Today, an Afghan woman received 171 votes for President of the nation, out
of about 1,500 cast at the Loya Jirga assembly.

Although she came in way behind Hamid Karzai's 1200 or so votes (I'm not
sure of the numbers, having only caught it on the radio), she appartently
defeated another male candidate for second place position.

This is *Afghanistan* folks.

Who says life isn't full or miracles?


1295 votes out of 1575 cast

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/south_asia/newsid_2042000/2042040.stm

"The people of Afghanistan are acquiring [their] voice
for the first time in 23 years."


-- a senior advisor to Hamid Karzai


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 35 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Mon, Jul 22, 2002 (12:54) * 50 lines 
 
David Kline today:


I support the U.S. role in Afghanistan. In fact, I think it should be
strengthened. And I certainly do not condemn Washington in the abstract
for causing civilian casualties; I know some are necessary and the Afghans
know it and accept it as well. The question is, if our military tactics
are causing *unneccesary* casualties, and as a result straining our
alliance with the Afghans while not appreciably reducing enemy strength or
capability, then shouldn't we make some adjustments in those tactics?

Although overall I think the U.S. has done an excellent job in
Afghanistan, I do think we've erred at times in relying too much on
airpower. Some of you may recall that in this forum last October I
criticized our "bombing-only" approach and argued that taking out fuel
depots (or Red Cross hospitals) was of little benefit and that we should
instead put some Special Forces troops on the ground to work with the
Northern Alliance and help kickstart anoffensive against the Taliban.
Subsequently we learned that in mid- and late-October, the American
command was debating precisely the ame question, and when they finally
decided to use Special Forces to help organize a military offensive by the
Northern Alliance, the Taliban fell like a house of cards.

(Of course, the debate wasn't just between the advocates of airpower vs.
ground action; the Pentagon also needed to finally reject Pakistani and
State Department fears of a Northern Alliance conquest of power without
a political solution having been devised.)

More recently, I've argued that our *tactical* over-reliance on airpower
was producing uneccsary civilian casualites and straining our alliance
with the Afghans. Many Afghans and some in the U.S. military argue that
we'd be far more effective militarily and politically by deploying ground
forces against suspected Al Queda pockets rather than bombing them.

By the way, perhaps I mispoke when I refered to the American military's
*traditional* over-reliance on airpower. It just seems to me that since
the days of Vietnam, our generals have oftentimes believed that they could
accomplish a lot more with airpower than in reality they could.

Anyway, as events in Afghanistan have certainly proved, bombing alone --
or bombing as our *principal* tactic -- can lead to many problems and in
any event cannot be relied upon to achieve our objectives.

So I just want to make clear my critique is tactical only, and I believe
that on the whole we've done a really great job in Afghanistan. We helped
overthrow the first-ever terrorist-owned state power, and helped liberate
the Afghans from a horrific tyranny. I hope we have the wisdom to avoid
frittering away these gains, and to consolidate them through stepped up
economic, political and military support of the fledgling government.



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 36 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Sep  8, 2002 (09:36) * 44 lines 
 
I have been watching CBS Sunday morning and they just showed an exhibit of remarkable photos about 9/11/ The photols were mounted without frames, hung with binder clips on long wires which criss crossed the big galeery in NYV.

Just before this, they had done a piece on the music that relates to 9/11. Tim Buckey. The Who. Steve Earl. Bruce Springsteen. James Taylor (Fire and Rain). Alan Jackson.

Then I read this piece by David Kline about this thoughts a year after 9/11.

David Kline (dkline) Sun Sep 8 '02 (07:14) 36 lines

The roots of this "clash of civilizations" goes way back, in one form or
another, for centuries. This is true of all greta historic trends. The
epic struggle between communism and capitalism, for example, had roots
that went way back to at least the mid-19th century, right?

And yet there are defining moments when the opposing historical forces --
or rather, the people involved in them -- become "conscious" of each other
and of the enormous stakes involved in their conflict's outcome.

In the struggle between capitalism and communism, the defining moment was
the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. That's when the whole world saw that an
epic battle had been joined, and it was time to choose sides.

In the clash between Western enlightenment democracy and Islamic
obscurantist fundamentalism (will somebody please think of a better
headline to define this?), I can't think of a single defining moment right
now -- except maybe the assassination of Sadat, or maybe the Iranian
revolution and overthrow of the Shah, or maybe one or two other possible
momentous events. But we should look for that defining moment sometime in
the late 1970s or early 1980s period.

I was a reporter in the Islamic world then. And I remember how it seemed
almost suddenly like everything changed. All of a sudden, all issues
seemed to be defined against the backdrop of the rise of fundamentalism.
Little groups which had previously seemed to be not much more than purist
radical sects suddenly had "reach" -- the ability to attract public and
media and governmental attention -- even though their memberships had not
grown from one day to the next. And the members of these Jihadist sects
suddenly had a sense of their "historic mission," if you will.

Anyway, while this clash of civilizations has deep roots, it only became
an active, "conscious" determinant of global human development about 20
years ago, I think.

Or at least that's how I'm seeing things at 7:15 AM Sunday morning after
being up with the baby sindce 5 AM.


 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 37 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Wed, Sep 11, 2002 (11:43) * 18 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) Wed Sep 11 '02 (09:17) 15 lines

Regarding Bin Laden and Iraq, there are no deep ties between them and
there is a fundamental and irreconcilable schism of outlook.

However, Bin Laden has previously made use of America's attacks on Iraq to
bolster his call to Jihad. Shortly after 9/11, I believe, Bin Laden issued
a video where he made specific reference to the suffering that the Iraqi
masses have endured as a result of U.S. attacks and sanctions. Of course,
in that same video, he attacked sell-out Arab and Muslim leaders.

But yes, a new American assault on Iraq would be a Godsend to Bin Laden. I
believe he would make a public appearance in response to such an attack,
and position himself as the leader of all the world's Muslims by calling
anew for global Jihad ahgainst the Jews and Americans.

We couldn't give our enemies a better gift than to attack Iraq right now.



 Topic 54 of 96 [news]: David Kline, former war correspondent in Afghanistan
 Response 38 of 38: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Wed, Oct  9, 2002 (07:43) * 41 lines 
 
David Kline (dkline) on Tue, Oct 8, '02

Although I have read some of Thomas L. Friedman's post-9/11 foreign
affairs columns in the New York Times, I only this past weekend read the
whole collection of them (for which he received his third Pulitzer Prize)
contained in his new book, "Longitudes and Attitudes."

And I must say I was deeply impressed with the clarity of his vision of
the meaning of 9/11 and the nature of the challenge we face in combatting
fundamentalist terror. You may have read my posts in this conference on
the "clash of civilizations" between the modern, pluralistic and
democratic social systems of the West and the backward, obscurantist and
anti-modern ideology of fundamentalist Islam. Well, Friedman quite rightly
rejects that formulation, pointing out that what the world really needs is
a war *within* Islam to defeat the forces of Jihadist fundamentalism.

There are two basic components of Friedman's vision in "Longitudes and
Attitudes that I think are very much worth discussing and debating:

1) We must ruthlessly hunt down and kill Bin Laden and the other leaders
of fundamentalist terror groups. No quarter can be given in this battle.

2) But we must also adopt a non-imperialist, united front foreign policy
that seeks to encourage modernist, moderate and secular forces within
Islam to finally confront the cancer of fundamentalism that threatens not
only their own societies but the whole world as well. Unless we do so, new
Bin Ladens will always emerge and the ultimate battle will be lost.

Assuming there is interest in these issues, I would like to post some of
the columns (or portions of columns) from his book as catalysts for
discussion in this topic. I encourage others to do the same.

Again, I was extremely impressed with Friedman's clarity of vision.
Perhaps that's because he says more or less what I have been trying to say
here for the past year -- only he say it much better (which is why he won
the Pulitzer, not me, of course). As someone who has spent years in the
Muslim world, I can assure you that Friedman knows what he is talking
about. His achievement was to synthesize his "behind the veil"
observations of Muslim societies into a broad-brush vision of how to wage
the "War on Terror" in a way that leads to a world we want to live in.


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