Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mohammad's Turban

Canada pulls its troops out of Afghanistan's Kandahar province as planned, and leaves security where it belongs; in the incapable hands of the Government of Afghanistan. There remains yet U.S. troops to ensure that the province doesn't fall completely apart. Simply put, the government of Hamid Karzai is incompetent and untrustworthy.

And the irony is that the Karzai family has its roots in Kandahar.

President Karzai's brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, took his place as his brother's emissary and strongman in the province. Deeply invested in the drug trade, he was little more than a warlord and drug kingpin. Feared and hated in an atmosphere of tribal and clan disputes, entitlements and belligerent claims and counter-claims. Where vengeance is the order of the day.

And where religious zealots have turned themselves into despotic Islamists determined to turn the country back into the terror-driven, Sharia theocracy it was when the Taliban ruled and befriended and gave haven to al-Qaeda. Where conscripts into the Taliban ideology are readily absorbed in infiltrating government agencies, the national police and the military.

And where turbans are so symbolically engrained in peoples' estimation of piety that to touch one or to suggest it may represent a threat is unheard of. Understandably, a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad sporting a turban which hosts a bomb elicited threats and murderous condemnation of Denmark; such an insult to Islam could not be countenanced.

Leaving a young assassin free to lodge a bomb under his turban as he entered a mosque for the funeral service of Wali Karzai, and where the suicide bomber blew to smithereens the Kandahari senior cleric, himself and two others. And now another suicide bomber with yet another bomb under his turban has assassinated the mayor of Kandahar.

More than adequately demonstrating that no one anywhere in Afghanistan is immune to death. Mayor Ghulam Haldar, born in Kandahar, a personal friend of Hamid Karzai, answered his appeal to return from his residence and citizenship in the U.S., to aid his country. Mayor Haldar thought he could bring an end to corruption and civil disobedience and unlawful activities.

He succeeded in confusing himself with a politician in a civil and civilized country, when he was in reality a politician in an uncivil, tribal and uncivilized country. One where casual enterprise is the norm, with people setting up bazaar-like stalls in the streets to sell produce that can sustain their meagre livelihoods, and where impoverished children sell negligible items.

These age-old traditions of free enterprise were opposed by Mayor Haldar, who felt that Western-style shops only should be allowed to operate, and who felt that building permits should be obtained before any manner of construction was undertaken. And who, in the process of attempting to overturn a country's traditions, enraged and humiliated the population.

In Afghanistan it is considered a grave affront to touch a man's turban. In Afghanistan, explosives can be hidden in a turban to dispatch an enemy.

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