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Great PaulVDV 2021-08-17 4:11

Hello Gert,
I know a couple here in Belgium who also visited Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion and the country also left a very big impression on them, more than any other country they visited.
Looking at the recent events, I have a question: Hasn't the West been unable to completely eliminate the Taliban in all these years? Or was this never the intention? Do certain Western politicians perhaps benefit from the continued existence of an enemy?
Anyway, the citizens of the country are victims more than ever. The Taliban promise peace. But it will not be a liveable society for the inhabitants.
The photos of the crowded plane that took off in Kabul yesterday and the people still hanging on the outside of another plane as it took off, say it all.
The street scene in your main photo reminds me of certain Iranian cities. Not the people. But the rows of trees on the sides and the open water drainage.
I'm a little surprised to see an adult on a bike. In Iran, many consider the bicycle as a means of transport for children but not for adults.
Interesting pictures from days long gone.
But what hope can we still have for the country and its people?
Best regards, Paul

Old 08-17-2021, 01:12 PM
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Default To PaulVDV: taliban traditions

Thank you Paul,
Travelling in both Afghanistan and Iran about 50 years ago I found Afghanistan incomparably much nicer and friendlier. The Afghans remain the most hospitable people I have met (along with Yemenis and maybe a few others).

But Afghanistan has always been a very religious and very conservative country, and already during political turmoil in the 1920's there were militant movements similar to the Taliban (as well as Tajik warlords). So it would be impossible for any Western power to completely eliminate the Taliban, because those ideas are deeply rooted in the population. The difference between the militant leaders and the broader population is that people are usually quite tolerant and pragmatic, as witnessed not only by me and your friends but by lots of earlier travellers who wrote books about their journeys to Afghanistan.

In the years since the Taliban were chased from power in 2001 there have been so many changes in the Afghan society that it should be difficult to force the same medieval style of life on at least a large part of the urban population. I have no idea how these inevitable cultural clashes will turn out.

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