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Afghanistan is a “Fictive State”

Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2002 12:49 PM
Subject: I appreciate your website

Dear Mr. Rÿser and staff:

It was a pleasure to visit the CWIS homepage for the first time today. I appreciated reading your column about Afghanistan in the Sept. edition of Fourth World Eye, and will continue to explore your site.

I thought I would send you links to two publications that may be of use to you and your staff for upcoming research/reference, book reviews, or even as recommendations in your site's "publications of interest" section. They are both about the history and culture of the Armenian people, and both publications offer background about the Turkish Genocide of indigenous Armenian people on historic Armenian lands. When you have the opportunity, I would welcome your thoughts on whether CWIS may have occasion to use such volumes.

For more about Armenia and the Armenian-Americans,

Keep up the fine work!

All best wishes,
Lucine Kasbarian
journalist/educator

2001 by

Non-consenting nations are the key to the Region

While Afghanistan has been defined as a "state" in the modern political sense of the word since 1788, its statehood has largely been a fiction that has been preserved by the international community for purposes unrelated to the Fourth World nations inside. Britain fought three wars to put in place an Afghanistan to its liking in the 19th century. Russia fought its ten-year war to establish an Afghanistan to its liking ending in 1989 to prevent states leaving the U.S.S.R. on the Soviet southern flank. Pakistan took a stab at creating a state of Afghanistan to its liking after 1994 with the installation of the Taliban regime in hopes of creating a stable northern border. The United States of America and Britain have entered the Afghan theatre aiming to perform surgery on the Taliban government to create yet another Afghanistan satisfactory to US and British tastes. Afghanistan like other failed states (Somalia, Congo, Burma, Colombia, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nicaragua, Cambodia, and North Korea) is a region on the map largely ruled by the competing interests of Fourth World nations sometimes competing with immigrant populations inside and unruly forces outside.

Afganistan

Indeed, the United States of America and Britain are by virtue of their "new kind of war" in Afghanistan engaging in "state rebuilding" that is doomed to fail. The reason will be that no externally created state has succeeded in creating a stable state, and Afghanistan is a perfect example of past failures. If Afghanistan were carefully and systematically dismembered with the different peoples becoming realigned with their natural cultural groups and geography, the state of Afghanistan—unstable and destabilizing in the Central Asian region—would be replaced by the formation of a state of Pashtunistan, two enlarged states of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and probably a new state of Balukistan. Where states are not possible the United Nations must assume trusteeship over the nations not agreeing to a state.

Central Asia is a region of the world that has for thousands of years seen historic movements of peoples. It has been the place of nomadic peoples who have cultures that reflect the rugged terrain of the high steps and majestic mountains. The peoples of this region include the Uzbeks, Kirghiz, Kazakhs, Pathan, Hazar, Tajiks, Balukis, Uygurs, Turkmen, Chahar Aimaks and the Karakalpak. These nations have defined the region in the past and they will define its future.

Fourth World Geopolitics

The Uygur of western China, Pashtun of Afghanistan and Pakistan are likely to be the primary Fourth World players in the future of Afghanistan.

The Uygur are an ancient people in the region with an estimated population of 8 million people living under the jurisdiction of 9 states in Central Asia. Most of the population is located in Xinjiang (New Territory) Province in western China. A people related to Turkic nations to the west of China the Uygurs have formed their won kingdoms and states in centuries past and maintained their own cultural identity in practice and literature for more than 2000 years. They have modern aspirations to form a new state called East Turkestan which would border Kirgisia, Tadjikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan on the West and China on the East. The Uygur figure to play an important role in the future of Afghanistan by virtue of their very limited shared boundary at the far northeast of Afghanistan. The government of China seeks to suppress the Uygurs and wages a daily suppression of their culture and Turkic identity. China does this through means of displacing Uygurs by transmigration programs moving 20 million lowland Han into the Gobi desert territory of Xinjiang.

Within days after the airliner attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon the Chinese government began to intensify surveillance and policing of Uygurs on the suspicion that more militant elements in the population might cause an uprising in Xinjiang. One hundred Uygurs were arrested and by the end of the month of September seven people were executed for the crime of "disrupting social order."

The Chinese government seems intent on breaking down the Uygur independence movement and has turned to the United States, in its hour of grief, to suggest that the Uygur Independent East Turkestan movement constitutes as terroristic threat to the People’s Republic. The US government seems interested to give cover to the Chinese government on its more intensified Uygur policy with an apparent eye to gaining access to the small border area China has with Afghanistan. The US clearly wants Chinese endorsement of American military policies in Afghanistan, and China may want a quid pro quo in connection with the Uygurs as a condition for that support.

The Pathan (Pashtun) are the largest nation in the region with an estimate 28 million people straddling the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The overall population is comprised of 60 clans located in specific territories. In Afghanistan the main Pashtun clans are the Durrani and the Ghilzay. The Pashtun have aspirations of creating out of Afghanistan and northern Pakistan a new state called Pashtunistan. Indeed, their numbers, tenacity, economic power, natural resources, independent mindedness and their constant demand to assert their distinct culture make the call for a new state quite sensible.

"In Pakistan, Pashtoon predominate north of Quetta between the Sulaiman Range and the Indus River. In the hill areas the main clans are, from south to north: the Kakar, Sherani, and Ustarana south of the Gumal River; the Mahsud, Darwesh Khel, Waziri, and Bitani between the Gumal River and Thal; the Turi, Bangash, Orakzay, Afridi, and Shinwari from Thal to the Khyber Pass; and the Mohmand, Utman Khel, Tarklani, and Yusufzay north and northeast of the Khyber.

The settled areas include lowland tribes subject to direct administration by the provincial government. The main clans there are, from south to north: the Banuchi and Khatak from the Kurram River to Nowshera; and the Khalil and Mandan in the Vale of Peshawar." (West Asia, Dr. Herman Wouters, Ferni – Geneva, 1979), (Gérard Rovillé, 1988. "Ethnic Minorities and the Development of tourism in the Valleys of North Pakistan" in IWGIA Document #61, pp. 147 –176) (www.sabawoon.com/afghanpedia/People.Pashtun.shtm: 2001)

The alternating tense and cooperative relations between the Pashtun and the ruling powers of Pakistan indicate the importance of a Pashtunistan as a political buffer that has been used to reduce and eliminate longstanding tensions between Pakistan and the peoples of Hazara (population about 840,000) and the Balouchis (1.5 million) in eastern Iran, western Pakistan and souteastern Afghanistan.

The Tadjiks would be more appropriately joined as a part of Tadjikistan and the Uzbeks ought to be joined with Uzbekistan and the Turkmen ought to be joined with Turkmenistan by extending the territorial reach of these three states to the southeast.

Afghanistan is a collapsed state. It is not economically, political, strategically or culturally viable. It is an unstable region that has been made increasingly unstable in recent decades as a result of violent interventions by the ten-year U.S.S.R. war that involved many other states’ parties including the United States. Afghanistan has existed as a political entity mainly as a convenience to the surrounding states and other states’ powers. The state has done little or nothing to serve the peoples who make up the several nations on top of which Afghanistan was formed. What have been described as "civil wars" following the embarrassing withdrawal of the U.S.S.R. in 1989 have really been conflicts between nations with the messy, self-serving support of neighboring states like Pakistan. These "are conflicts," I wrote in 1994, "which result from the failure of the state to perform its function. They are conflicts resulting from a failure of states to ensure the full sharing of political power by all nations within the framework of a state." ("State-Craft, Nations and Sharing Governmental Power, 1994, International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs and the University of Amsterdam)

The Americans and the British are engaged in a war precipitated by a politico-religious organization that uses terrorist tactics as a substitute for conventional warfare. The armed forces of the United States and Britain are attacking a failed Afghanistan that cannot defend itself in the conventional sense. They attack a political fiction that sits astride Fourth World peoples from many different nations that want nothing to do with the corrupted, collapsed state. Threatened sufficiently, these same nations (Pashtun, Hazara, Uzbek, etc) will join in their common defense against the "outsiders." The United States and United Kingdom should both recognize this obvious truth.

The United Nations must assume responsibility for settlements in the Afghan region. Belligerent states should halt their actions immediately and work to put in place an international peacekeeping force with the responsibility of easing the collapse of the state. The principles that should guide the international community as it approaches the "de-Afghanicization" of the mountainous region I have suggested in other forums. They include these five points:

The State system is not perfect; it is an experiment of human problem-solving that does not always lend itself well to solving problems for all of humanity.

Nations are natural human organisms, which persist and must have an acknowledged place as active participants in international intercourse coexisting with states.

Where States exist and serve the needs of humanity they should be nurtured and celebrated, but where States fail to serve the needs of human society, they should be allowed to disassemble in a planned process which permits the nations within to systematically reassume their governing responsibilities.

If a State is no longer viable politically and economically and it does not have distinct nations within, its structure should be replaced temporarily with international supervision followed by the formation of an internationally recognized variant of human organizational structures deemed appropriate to the extant human cultures and geography of an area such as a trust territory, freely associated state, commonwealth, or other configuration established for a protected population; such a non-self-governing status must have the potential of being changed to a self-governing status in the future.

Nations, which do not wish to remain within an existing state, must have the logical option of changing their political status through peaceful negotiations; and the nations, which choose not to leave a state, should be permitted to exercise self-governing powers appropriate to their scale and to their proximity to the problem requiring government decisions.

There are many other failed states in the world and engaging in "state building" may only exacerbate tensions or delay the ultimate collapse. The international community has an obligation to address the role of Fourth World nations in these collapsed states and take a proactive role easing the dismemberment. Fourth World nations are a geopolitical fact that defines and determines international political outcomes. They are a central reality to the stability and continuity of modern states. In recognition of that fact the international community must consider the future role of these nations when states collapse. Just as the international community has a duty to support the exercise of political self-determination in the recognition of new states, so it has the duty to facilitate the dissolution of states that fail.

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