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Importance of understanding the Pashtun tribal code & customs watch

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    - (The Pashtuns are the majority ethnicity of Afghanistan mainly presiding in the south of the country where the fighting against the Taliban is most concentrated)




    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michae..._b_839372.html

    A fair and informative article I believe.



    I think by now most here will understand that the war in Afghanistan is not as simple as going in killing some Taliban, getting Osama and getting out.


    If NATO or any other organisation wishes to take military action in Afghanistan they must understand a bit about the history and customs of the locals & their opinions. I think this has been neglected to a degree contributing to anger emanating from the local Pashtun populace against NATO and the corrupt government.


    Pashtunwali is an ancient code of honour for the Pashtuns in Afghanistan and it may be seen as backward and silly by the readers here but the fact is that it is an age-old belief held by the locals and won't change any time soon. Therefore if the West wants any success in the country they must acknowledge this (as well as other local issues) otherwise i'm afraid we're gonna be in Afghanistan for quite a while yet.

    Alexander the great acknowledged the existence of the locals and made compromises to make his military campaign run as smooth as possible (well I say smooth - it was anything but! hah. He had to station 1/4 of his army there just to 'keep the peace' while he thought in India). He fared comparatively well there than say the Soviets or British did.

    The Soviets funded the PDPA Communist party which was brutal and repressive. Little thought was given to what effect this might have on the locals and how they would accept this - they were just supressed. They obviously would not stand for this. The mujahudeen rose up and removed them (quite bloodily).


    Forced regime change won't work. Foreign interventionsim won't work. Corrupt and ignorant puppet leaders won't work. Why? - It does not take into account the many many issues concerning the extremely proud ideals/customs and beliefs of the locals.





    Just thought I would share this and if anyone has any thoughts on the matter please feel free to contribute.
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    A Pashtun sees himself as a free man and accepts no other as his ruler, as a tribesman told a visiting British official in 1809: "We are content with discord, we are content with alarms, we are content with blood...we will never be content with a master."
    That is something I truly respect and admire - also it explains why the Afghans never fatigue, even in the face of a far superior millitary force.

    Afghan tribalism produced its own unique form of democracy, as formal and informal power structures were relatively distributed, vertically-structured, rarely abused and egalitarian in nature, in which nearly all decisions were made based on consensus-building as opposed to orders handed down from a hierarchical command structure.
    As a Westerner I am pretty shocked that the Pushtun culture values individual liberty and equality. I just presumed that barbaric acts were deep-rooted in the culture. Excuse my ignorance

    Thomas Rutting of the Afghanistan Analysts Network described this lack of options: "In today's violent atmosphere, between the anvil of the Karzai government and the hammer of the Taliban, there are no viable political alternatives for Pashtuns."
    Do you agree with this statement? Are there no viable alternatives for Afghans?

    Are there any groups which actively work to oust the extremist Taliban and the corrupt-puppet regime of Karzai, in favour of the old system or any alternative system? Or is any such group far too weak to take on such an audacious task?
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    (Original post by B-Man.)
    As a Westerner I am pretty shocked that the Pushtun culture values individual liberty and equality. I just presumed that barbaric acts were deep-rooted in the culture. Excuse my ignorance
    You're one weird person.
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    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    You're one weird person.
    :upyours:

    But seriously why am I weird?
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    (Original post by B-Man.)
    That is something I truly respect and admire - also it explains why the Afghans never fatigue, even in the face of a far superior millitary force. ?
    It is a recurring theme in our history. Daoud Khan who was the first president of Afghanistan (after the overthrow of a monarchy) said this to the Soviets:

    "We will never allow you to dictate to us how to run our country and whom to employ in Afghanistan. How and where we employ the foreign experts will remain the exclusive prerogative of the Afghan state. Afghanistan shall remain poor, if necessary, but free in its acts and decisions."

    Incidentally he was assassinated by the gutless Communists supported by the Soviets (who then proceeded invade Afghanistan).


    (Original post by B-Man.)
    As a Westerner I am pretty shocked that the Pushtun culture values individual liberty and equality. I just presumed that barbaric acts were deep-rooted in the culture. Excuse my ignorance ?
    Take the loya jirga for example. It is an ancient system used to select a leader or to decide difficult/controversial issues. This form of democracy is ancient and native to the Pashtuns. It was used to select Ahmad Shah Durrani (the first emperor of Afghanistan after the Persian king was assassinated) and was even used to select Hamid Karzai in 2002.

    (Original post by B-Man.)
    Do you agree with this statement? Are there no viable alternatives for Afghans?
    The Western notion of democracy is different from the Afghan (Pashtun) notion. As I stated above the loya jirga has been in use for hundreds of years and is ingrained into our culture and is convention. Just suddenly implementing a western style democratic system will not work. This can evidently be seen when studying the electoral turnout figures for the 2009 presidential election and the 2010 parliament election. The turnout was extremely low - to the point of it being useless. Afghans do not care for such a system. My grandmother who still lives in Afghanistan only voted for Karzai in 2004 because she heard that the other candidate was a Tajik lol (Karzai is a Pashtun).

    We do not want Karzai or the Americans, we do not want the Taliban. Who else is there?

    (Original post by B-Man.)
    Are there any groups which actively work to oust the extremist Taliban and the corrupt-puppet regime of Karzai, in favour of the old system or any alternative system? Or is any such group far too weak to take on such an audacious task?

    This would be assuming that there are a group of Afghans who are united! Such a feat rarely happens - Only when Durrani united the Pashtun tribes to fight & conquer the Indians and and when the Pashtuns united to fight against the Soviets when they invaded.

    There are political parties but with the immense corruption in the government they stand no chance against him. They are also no better. They work for their own interests and only for the benefit of their own ethnicities.

    Other than the army there is no-one who actively works to oust the Taliban. And there is not really any movement to restore the old system as you put it. Lol life isn't as romantic as we'd imagine it to be.


    The people just get on with their lives and do not care much for the greater political debates and arguments that we are interested in. As long as they get enogh harvest from their crops they do not care for much else. They only unite when their entire existence is threatened. They are not as enthusiastic as you think....After over 30 years of war what do they have to fight for?
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    Long live pakthuns.
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    (Original post by B-Man.)
    But seriously why am I weird?
    'Cause you obviously didn't presume that barbaric acts are deep-rooted in Afghan culture. You only have to see your previous posts in which you called people out on believing such things.
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    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    'Cause you obviously didn't presume that barbaric acts are deep-rooted in Afghan culture. You only have to see your previous posts in which you called people out on believing such things.
    Care to give an example?
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    (Original post by B-Man.)
    Care to give an example?
    Can't be asked, atm.
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    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    Can't be asked, atm.
    :confused: I can ask you and I did ask you.
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    (Original post by B-Man.)
    :confused: I can ask you and I did ask you.
    He does not understand my culture and I do not blame him for that.

    He may have heard about certain stories like that woman whose nose and ears were chopped off because she tried to run away and so he believes that such acts are deeply rooted in the culture of the people.

    That is his opinion.
    He has probably never been to Afghanistan and I assume he probably does not have any knowledgable Pukhtun friends to explain to him.



    What happened to that girl is disgusting but it is not what any sane Pukhtun man would do.


    I do not disagree that there are aspects of our culture which may seem 'barbaric' and in most cases I agree that they are. We follow a very conservative tradition and this means keeping old conventions around in the modern age where the need for such may have dwindled but I guess he just thinks we are all barbarians.


    The honour of women is highly respected in my culture. The main reason for this is that we are a warrior culture or a martial race as the British describe us. This is not neccesarily through our own choosing. We happen to live on a piece of land that historically has been contested many times over. Mongols, Greeks, Indians, Persians, Russians, British and the rest have throughout history tried to plunder our lands. In war it is always the women who lose out wether it is because the husbands die in battle and they cannot provide for themselves or when an enemy army comes to the house and takes the woman to be a slave and raped. It is therefore a part of our culture to defend our women vehemently. It has been tied to honour to help maximise a man's ability to defend his wife from barbarity.

    That is where it originates from. Ofcourse you will get wackos but they are in every culture. The Western media chose to capitalise on that story to help increase support for the war (as you may know through wikileaks, NATO has devised tactics for increasing support). As a result many ignorant people in the west think we all treat our women like that.
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    'The honour of women is highly respected in my culture.'.....Agreed but sometimes in a ****ing warped way, there's no denying that one.
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    (Original post by *Dustinthewind*)
    'The honour of women is highly respected in my culture.'.....Agreed but sometimes in a ****ing warped way, there's no denying that one.
    Yes indeed. There are still many problems in Afghanistan and the situation of women is one of them...However that is largely due to the Taliban. They may be Pashtuns but those in control are Arabs and wahabbists/deobandis. They distort what being Pashtun is all about and sadly many young Pashtuns follow them because of the foreign troops, little opportunities or through force.

    They do not reflect our tradition.

    I just gave reasons as to why someone like Anonymous-Mouse might think badly of our culture and that he should not regard our culture as having deep rooted barbarity in it.



    edit: There was the story of that heroic woman who grabbed the dropped Afghan flag in a battle against the British and charged against the enemy British who were stunned by this act of bravery...... from a woman! She instantly raised the morale of the Afghan troops who were prevoiusly dying. I think they went on to win!....I can't remember which battle it was or who she was but she is a historic hero!


    Our women are the best in the world.





    eidt:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malalai_Anaa
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Maiwand
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    (Original post by Pukhtun)
    I do not disagree that there are aspects of our culture which may seem 'barbaric' The honour of women is highly respected in my culture
    *Mutilating women with acid for dishonour

    * cutting the ears and noses of women for dishnour (which is not an isolated case as you make it out to be)

    * Executing little girls for learning how to read.

    * Marrying and copulating with pre pubescent girls which can only be described as rape.

    And have a look at this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_jNHxT9JQo

    Afghanis treat women like sub human filth.
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    (Original post by Pukhtun)
    He does not understand my culture and I do not blame him for that.

    He may have heard about certain stories like that woman whose nose and ears were chopped off because she tried to run away and so he believes that such acts are deeply rooted in the culture of the people.

    That is his opinion.
    He has probably never been to Afghanistan and I assume he probably does not have any knowledgable Pukhtun friends to explain to him.
    Lol, I haven't stated anything about Afghan culture. Don't know how you're making all these accusations.
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    (Original post by Riddle Me This)
    *Mutilating women with acid for dishonour

    * cutting the ears and noses of women for dishnour (which is not an isolated case as you make it out to be)

    * Executing little girls for learning how to read.

    * Marrying and copulating with pre pubescent girls which can only be described as rape.

    And have a look at this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_jNHxT9JQo

    Afghanis treat women like sub human filth.
    Ignorant person.
    It was the Taliban who did the above things. You very obviously did not read my last post.

    I agree that is sick and that marrying at a young age is also sick. In all my time throughout Afghanistan I have not come across girls marrying at that age and I too believe it is disugsting.Do not try and twist it to accuse our culture of being like that.



    And its Afghans not Afghanis.




    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    Lol, I haven't stated anything about Afghan culture. Don't know how you're making all these accusations.
    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    'Cause you obviously didn't presume that barbaric acts are deep-rooted in Afghan culture. You only have to see your previous posts in which you called people out on believing such things.
    ...?

    In anycase if I interpreted that wrong, my apologies.
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    (Original post by Pukhtun)
    In all my time throughout Afghanistan I have not come across girls marrying at that age

    ...?
    I do not believe this for one moment.

    http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=24431

    Kabul, 13 July 2004 (IRIN) - A high proportion of marriages in Afghanistan involve girls below the legal age, according to reports from the Ministry of Women's Affairs and NGOs. As many as 57 percent involve young women under 16, some of them as young as nine.
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    (Original post by Pukhtun)
    ...?
    That's me stating that I find it hard to believe b-man believed barbarism is deep-rooted in Afghan culture. I haven't made any claims about Afghan culture in that post. Lol.
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    (Original post by Riddle Me This)
    I do not believe this for one moment.

    http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=24431
    Have you been to Afghanistan? Do you know what it is like to be an Afghan? It is a terrible situation there.


    That article was written in 2004. The effects of the Taliban were still widespread and currently are widespread. Many women in Afghanistan still do not go to school and the vast majority are illiterate. That does not mean that throughout our history women have been treated like ****. It is the result of the Taliban. Look at the 50's for example. Before the Soviets invaded women had many rights....They were even walking about in skirts on the way to college. After the soviets came a civil war and from that the Taliban. During this time Afghanistan has been destroyed - not only the buildings but law and order too.

    I have been to many weddings and although the women marry young, the youngest I have seen marry was 17.

    I am not denying that there are serious problems in Afghanistan. What I am saying is that historically it is not a part of our culture to marry off kids or treat women like ****. That's only beeen happening in post-war Afghanistan.
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    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    That's me stating that I find it hard to believe b-man believed barbarism is deep-rooted in Afghan culture. I haven't made any claims about Afghan culture in that post. Lol.
    Yah like I said when I typed that

    (Original post by Pukhtun)
    ...?

    In anycase if I interpreted that wrong, my apologies.
    ....
 
 
 
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