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Film from Afghanistan

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:26 pm
by Neil Foxlee
Channel 4 News had some remarkable film of the so-called Taliban last night:

http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/international_politics/living+with+the+taliban+on+the+afghan+frontline/3734447.

I say 'so-called Taliban' because the men involved might just as well have been ordinary Afghans fighting against the occupation of their country. I could be wrong, but perhaps the label 'Taliban' is used for propaganda purposes, to associate them with the notorious regime of that name.

From the other side, watch out for Restrepo, http://www.restrepothemovie.com, a feature-length documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. Quote: 'Our only goal is to make you feel as though you have just done a 90-minute deployment. This is war, full stop. The conclusions are up to you."

I'd suggest the only possible conclusion from watching the Channel 4 news report is that the war is futile and - for the coalition forces - unwinnable (the terrain is tailor-made for guerillas, for a start). But you probably thought that already.

Re: Film from Afghanistan

PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:10 pm
by Neil Foxlee
The third part of the 3-part Channel 4 series Our Drugs War (which nobody seems to have commented on) is on Afghanistan (8pm on Mon 16 August). Here's the advance blurb:

"The third and final part of Angus Macqueen's exploration of the failure of present drugs polices takes the viewer to the frontline. Birth of a Narco-State shows how the war on drugs is actually fuelling the long-term civil war in Afghanistan, possibly creating what he calls a 'Narco-Theocracy': a toxic mixture of drugs money and religious extremism.

Meanwhile, western demand for heroin generates huge profits that finance warlords on both sides, corrupting the very government that British soldiers are fighting to protect.

This film gets under the skin of the drug trade in Afghanistan, from the deserts of the Afghanistan-Iran border to the smuggling centre of Heart and the courts in Kabul, engaging with those working to establish some sort of order in the face of overwhelming odds; all the time questioning whether it is our drug laws or our drug demand that is causing the problems in the first place.

Macqueen meets General Aminullah - former head of security at Kabul International Airport - who was sacked after exposing widespread corruption and then placed under investigation himself. We see shocking footage he took of a young, female Afghan burqa-clad drug smuggler demonstrating brazen disregard for the law, who then got off scot-free. Rarely has such an open example of what 'corruption' means been caught on camera.

Filming in the newly-opened - US and UK-financed - drugs courts, it becomes clear that many of the traffickers who are arrested are still 'small fish'. The big players always seem to get off; even the judges admit that they are too well-connected, often high up in the government, to the very people the British troops are fighting for and dying to protect. Afghanistan's president himself, Hamid Karzai, pardoned five convicted drug traffickers connected to his election campaign.

Allied policy to the drugs issue has been in confusion since the invasion of 2001: our troops have been told in some years to eradicate all poppies, and in others to leave them so as to win hearts and minds of the peasants. Sometimes different policies are carried out in different areas.

And all the time around 60 to 70% of the Taliban's funding comes from the heroin trade. The profits are staggering, with 10 kilos of opium - valued at around £400 in Afghanistan - making one kilo of heroin worth £40,000 by the time it reaches Europe
."

You can watch the first and soon the second episodes on Channel 4oD (on-demand, not overdose): http://www.channel4.com/programmes/our- ... sode-guide .

Re: Film from Afghanistan

PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:47 pm
by Des
Have you a view of your own?

Re: Film from Afghanistan

PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:31 pm
by Neil Foxlee
I'm more interested in presenting other people's arguments or what might be regarded as relevant evidence on an issue than in giving my own opinion without arguments or evidence.

In point of fact, I did express at least two opinions on the situation in Afghanistan in my opening post (the Channel 4 news report being the evidence). But somehow, Des, I don't think you're really interested.