Afghanistan conflict from A to Z

A Afghani, the currency of Afghanistan, which increased in value from 36,000 per USD to 25,000 in one day, upon the signing of the Bonn Treaty. The relationship between confidence and economic stability is proven again. B Burhaniddin Rabbani, the Tajikh leader of the Jamiat-i-Islami, a party which he controlled only in name but never in influence. The ex-President of Afghanistan is left out of the new government. C Collateral Damage, the euphemism used when military hardware fails to hit its target and instead kills or injures innocent civilians. It is the military way to say “Whoops! Sorry!” D Diplomacy. The absence of diplomacy isolated the Taleban from the rest of the world and the use of diplomacy was the solution of the conflict. D is also for Deceive and Deny, the term used by opposing sides in a conflict to denounce the information released by the other side as propaganda. E Ethnic groups. Pashtun (45%), Tajikhs (30%), Hazaras (10%), Uzbekhs (5%), others (10%) in that order, the ethnic composition of Afghanistan’s 25 million population. F Friendly Fire, another military euphemism used when military hardware is deployed by accident against the same side. Friendly Fire is the antithesis of Precision weaponry. G Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, former Prime Minister of Afghanistan, supported by Iran, leader of the party Hezb-i-Islami, currently rent in two factions fighting each other in Nangarhar. G is also for Gul Agha, the Pashtun tribal leader who fought the final battle for Kandahar with Hamid Karzai. H Hazara, the ethnic group based in northern Afghanistan. H is also for the Head of the new administration, the Pashtun tribal chief Hamid Karzai, who led the final assault by anti-Taleban Pashtun militia against Kandahar and narrowly escaped death in Wednesday’s friendly fire incident caused by his allies in the Pentagon. I Islam vs. Islamist, the religion based upon the revelations of the Archangel Gabriel to Mohammed (the Koran) and the Sunnah (teachings and examples of the prophet) versus the radical movement, Islamism, centred around a confrontation with non-Moslem values, epitomised by the Taleban movement. J Jalalabad, the city in Eastern Afghanistan which the Taleban left without a fight. The caves of Tora Bora, where Osama Bin Laden is believed to be hiding, are south-east of this city. K K is for Kandahar in the south of Afghanistan and Kunduz in the north. Kandahar, founded by Alexander the Great, was the Taleban heartland and capital of the Durani Pashtun regime in the 18th century. Kunduz, from which thousands of Al-Qaeda foreign fighters were spirited abroad during three successive nights under the watchful eyes of the USA, would suggest that there is more to this war than meets the eye. L Loya Jirga, the traditional meeting of tribal chiefs, which must by custom be convoked by the King inside Afghanistan. This meeting will agree on a Carta Magna, laying the foundations for a new state in Afghanistan. M Mazar-i-Sharif, the northern city, the loss of which spelt the beginning of the end for the Taleban regime. N Northern Alliance, the group of parties and factions representing the Tajikhs, Hazaras and Uzbekhs of northern Afghanistan. Unable to make any inroads alone against the Taleban for five years, they took maximum advantage of the military might of the USA. Their Foreign Minister, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, will remain in the post in the new administration. O Osama Bin Laden and Mohammad Omar, respectively, the leader of Al-Qaeda (the base), the international terrorist movement which promotes violence against values it perceives as being hostile to Islam and the spiritual leader of the Taleban regime in Afghanistan. Osama Bin Laden, hero of the Moslem world (and the USA while he was fighting the Soviet Army in Afghanistan), turned against the USA when his offer to use his Afghan veterans to oust Saddam Hussein from Kuwait was turned down, after the US administration applied pressure on King Fahd of Saudi Arabia to allow the American-led international coalition to perform the task. September 11th was just one more (the most serious) of a string of terrorist attacks against US interests. P Panjshir Valley, which the Soviet Armed Forces never managed to take, home to the Lion of Panjshir, Ahmed Shah Massoud, assassinated by Al-Qaeda operatives two days before September 11th. P is also for Precision Weaponry, much vaunted by the USA but which has to improve greatly if it is to gain any credibility. Too many accidents, as in Yugoslavia, delay the hailing of Precision Weaponry as the new age in military hardware. Q Qu’ran, the Noble. The perversion of the noble message of this Holy Book gave rise to the Taleban movement. R Russia. The conflict in Afghanistan and the global alliance against terrorism saw the importance of the Russian Federation increase daily throughout the conflict. Moscow is firmly back on the world diplomatic stage and no important decision with international implications is taken without its nod of approval. A triumph for Vladimir Putin and Igor Ivanov. S Shah Massoud, Ahmed, the Tajikh Lion of Panjshir who held the valley against the Soviet Forces in the 1980s, later to become Defence Minister until the Taleban swept through the country from the south in 1996. He was killed by Al-Qaeda suicide bombers on September 9th, two days before the terrorist attacks on New York which brought the question of international terrorism to the attention of the world. T Taleban, the “Students of Theology”, whose eccentric interpretation of the Qu’ran, mixed with Pashtun traditional lore, involving also an influence from Saudi Wahhabism, was the theory behind the stern imposition of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on the Afghani peoples. Its prohibition of a long list of activities and objects, from television to enamel, lobster to toys and its refusal to allow women to have an education, made this movement an anachronism which was bound to fail from the start. U Uzbekhs, the ethnic group in the north of the country which makes up 5% of the population of Afghanistan. V Victory for Afghanistan and its people over a repressive regime, provided by all present at the Bonn Conference. W War Lords, the real power in Afghanistan, composed of wider ethnic groups (Pashtun, Tajikhs, Hazaras, Uzbekhs), and tribes, each with its own leader and zone of influence. Controlling the tribal leaders will be the cornerstone of the new administration’s internal policy in the near future. X X-ray sights, infra-red scanners, laser-guided missiles and billions of dollars of military hardware failed to avoid collateral damage. Y Yunis Qanooni, the Northern Alliance Interior Minister, the member of the new administration with most to do, in preparing the way forward towards a Carta Magna and lasting peace and stability for the country. Z Zaher Shah, Mohammed, the ex-King of Afghanistan. At 78 years of age and a long period in exile, he will preside over the Loya Jirga which will form the basis of the new state of Afghanistan. Back from the cold to serve his country, Zaher Shah still has an important role to play, maybe as a constitutional monarch to unite the dozens of factions in this divided land.