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Sun Feb 10, 2013, 10:23 AM

Astonishing Pictures Of Afghanistan From Before The Wars



Geoffrey Ingersoll
Feb. 8, 2013, 9:27 AM

Before the U.S. invasion, before the Russian war, before the Marxist revolution, Afghanistan used to be a pretty nice place.

An astonishing collection of photos from the 1960s was recently featured by the Denver Post.

Amateur photographer, and college professor, Dr. William Podlich took a leave of absence from his job at Arizona State to work with UNESCO in Kabul, bringing his wife and daughters with him.

Later, son-in-law Clayton Esterson revived the later doctor's photos and put them on the web. The response was amazing.

http://www.businessinsider.com/astonishing-photos-of-prewar-afghanistan-show-everyday-life-in-peaceful-kabul-2013-2

89 replies, 9812 views

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Reply Astonishing Pictures Of Afghanistan From Before The Wars (Original post)
rug Feb 2013 OP
niyad Feb 2013 #1
libtodeath Feb 2013 #2
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #32
mainer Feb 2013 #3
greiner3 Feb 2013 #10
lastlib Feb 2013 #78
mainer Feb 2013 #83
Initech Feb 2013 #45
truedelphi Feb 2013 #66
RedCappedBandit Feb 2013 #59
Mutatis Mutandis Feb 2013 #74
mountain grammy Feb 2013 #4
Spitfire of ATJ Feb 2013 #20
mountain grammy Feb 2013 #34
Spitfire of ATJ Feb 2013 #43
mountain grammy Feb 2013 #63
Spitfire of ATJ Feb 2013 #85
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #33
mountain grammy Feb 2013 #41
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #49
NYC Liberal Feb 2013 #53
mountain grammy Feb 2013 #55
NYC Liberal Feb 2013 #60
mountain grammy Feb 2013 #64
eridani Feb 2013 #70
JaneyVee Feb 2013 #5
L0oniX Feb 2013 #18
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #89
duhneece Feb 2013 #6
valerief Feb 2013 #7
xtraxritical Feb 2013 #19
valerief Feb 2013 #35
xtraxritical Feb 2013 #82
snooper2 Feb 2013 #8
polly7 Feb 2013 #9
ThoughtCriminal Feb 2013 #11
Junkdrawer Feb 2013 #12
kenny blankenship Feb 2013 #14
dreampunk Feb 2013 #22
dreampunk Feb 2013 #24
JeffHead Feb 2013 #13
LineLineReply .
Go Vols Feb 2013 #28
Historic NY Feb 2013 #15
SunSeeker Feb 2013 #16
woo me with science Feb 2013 #17
dreampunk Feb 2013 #21
bhikkhu Feb 2013 #23
Nye Bevan Feb 2013 #25
msanthrope Feb 2013 #65
eridani Feb 2013 #71
chicago guy Feb 2013 #26
Mnpaul Feb 2013 #77
JDPriestly Feb 2013 #27
Enrique Feb 2013 #42
Ashgrey77 Feb 2013 #51
awake Feb 2013 #29
mountain grammy Feb 2013 #37
awake Feb 2013 #39
Flatulo Feb 2013 #80
mountain grammy Feb 2013 #81
Flatulo Feb 2013 #86
mountain grammy Feb 2013 #88
Webster Green Feb 2013 #56
awake Feb 2013 #58
Webster Green Feb 2013 #61
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #30
cantbeserious Feb 2013 #31
Oilwellian Feb 2013 #36
polly7 Feb 2013 #40
Oilwellian Feb 2013 #50
upi402 Feb 2013 #38
Blue_In_AK Feb 2013 #44
polly7 Feb 2013 #46
Blue_In_AK Feb 2013 #47
polly7 Feb 2013 #48
Bryn Feb 2013 #84
Warpy Feb 2013 #52
NYC Liberal Feb 2013 #54
Iwillnevergiveup Feb 2013 #57
AnotherDreamWeaver Feb 2013 #62
UnrepentantLiberal Feb 2013 #67
polly7 Feb 2013 #69
mamayo Feb 2013 #68
dhol82 Feb 2013 #72
Liberal In Texas Feb 2013 #73
Sancho Feb 2013 #75
Democracyinkind Feb 2013 #76
Dalai_1 Feb 2013 #79
happyslug Feb 2013 #87

Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 10:35 AM

1. k and r--thank you for posting this

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 10:44 AM

2. That is so sad to see what war does.

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Response to libtodeath (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:14 PM

32. Yep, there's big money in the MIC, ask any defense contractor, it's all about $$$$$ and war

propaganda. Peace is not wanted, it cuts the bottom line profits way too much. War is a racket and it's big $$$$$ to those on the take. Just a small look at the US defense budget verifies that ...

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 10:45 AM

3. A sad reminder of how civilization can collapse anywhere

when the extremists take over.

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Response to mainer (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:00 AM

10. Uhhh,

I think the reason for the OP is that invasions by both the Russians and the US are the MAIN cause for Afghanistan's being 'bombed into the Stone Age.'

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Response to greiner3 (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:42 AM

78. no, it was already stone age by the time we got there......

...made official by the Taliban artillery-blasting the Buddha statues in Bamiyan, 2001.

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Response to greiner3 (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:22 AM

83. It wasn't the Russians and the US who put women in burkhas

When I look at the photos, what I see are women with their faces uncovered, smiling.

Their current status as animals is all due to extremists.

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Response to mainer (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:40 PM

45. Or when a CIA coup overthrows the government and establishes an extremist theocracy.

Then declares war on them in an attempt to get their resources. There's always that.

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Response to Initech (Reply #45)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 08:36 PM

66. Hi Initech.

And your explanation is spot on. The Taliban is the dreaded reason, supposedly, that we are there now, but too many people forget that it was our government officials (Poppy Bush, for one) who created the Taliban.

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Response to mainer (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 05:56 PM

59. Yes, neoliberal foreign corporate extremists.

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Response to mainer (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:27 AM

74. like the USA, where the bi-partisan consensus is deep foundational support of a global empire

 



The collapse will come, slowly, grindingly, crushingly, methodically, and will sweep up the populace in its tyranny of surveillance state paradigms, an utter stripping of most productive wealth and resources from 99% of the people, and an utter loss of power to resist this fall in any meaningful way.

Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant

They (Rome) make a desert, and call it peace

Calgacus' Speech to his Troops - A.D. 85

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 10:48 AM

4. More chilling than astonishing, and it's

what happens when religious fundamentalists take control of government. It dates back to the "Dark Ages," another time in history when religion ruled.
See, America? See what happened here? This can happen in America so easily. American extremists and fanatics are well armed and very dangerous. They are preparing for war against our "secular" government.
The revered second amendment pales in comparison to the first, which forbids the establishment of religion in government, and that's ignored daily.

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:45 PM

20. Let's not forget intervention from without....

A lot of real nutcases were released from all over the Middle East. They emptied their prisons and sent them over there with the fondest hope that they would become martyrs. Instead, they used the fact that they had been tortured by the various regimes as a badge of honor.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #20)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:24 PM

34. Oh yes, there's much more to Afghanistan than the Taliban

but there's no doubting the effect of religious fanatics on the country.

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #34)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:30 PM

43. And no doubt that the same is true here....

There are actually members of the clergy who would like nothing better than to ordain a King who would impose religious doctrine enforced by the police. Just like they do in Saudi Arabia.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #43)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 07:30 PM

63. First they'll come for the athiests, no wait, the gays, no wait, the mooslims,

so many choices! Who to lock up first?

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #63)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 12:30 PM

85. Anyone not white....

....then they go after whites who have a problem with getting rid of the non-whites.

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:21 PM

33. Well said! And, sadly, we have those types trying to gain power in the US gov. at many levels. Way

too many Americans are sooo damn gullible and naive. And then they go vote. Around here I now see signs in yards saying "Respect Religious Freedom." Like WTF, do they want crosses burned on our foreheads too. The American Taliban is alive and well and far too many Americans do not get WTF is going on.


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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #33)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:53 PM

41. My in laws said if I voted for Obama, I wasn't a Christian

They live in Texas. Religion is TAUGHT in public schools in Texas as the "intelligent design theory" answer to evolution ("theory".)

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #41)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 03:03 PM

49. Yep, "Idiocracy." n/t

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #41)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 04:54 PM

53. Shit, I went to a private religious school

and in our science classes religion/God wasn't mentioned at ALL. Not even "God set evolution in motion" or such. That's how it should be (and of course in public schools, religion shouldn't be taught at all).

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #53)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 05:41 PM

55. You know what? You're right! I had lots of friends attending Catholic schools in the 60's

They were all taught real science, just like I was. Also had a couple of friends in Yeshiva who were taught real science. In college in DC, I knew students at Georgetown whose science classes were like mine.
Much of this has changed with the fundamental Christians. Liberty U, Oral Roberts U, and the like are religious scams. Michelle Bachmann a proud grad of Liberty!

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #55)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 05:57 PM

60. My Catholic school was pretty progressive

The priest who was teaching my religion class in junior year (iirc) actually took a bible and threw it on the floor. He said "The physical object doesn't mean anything; it's the words and message inside that matter" (I think the context was a news story about desecrating the Bible... or something similar).

Several of the priests and deacons who taught freely talked about their belief that women should be allowed to be priests. One of my teachers even said he was all for marriage equality during class.

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Response to NYC Liberal (Reply #60)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 07:44 PM

64. Many years ago I had a good friend who was a Jesuit priest. Very progressive.

He agreed with Roe v Wade decision. Lost track of him, but I'm sure he's no longer a priest.
As far as religious schools go, I think (my opinion only) Catholic and Hebrew schools have too much respect for education to not teach real science. They were there for the Dark Ages and the Enlightenment and value a real education. The hierarchy of the church is highly educated.
But for the fundamental Christian, "it's my way or the hi way, and my way is the Bible and it means what I say it means, and he who believes in me, oops, Jesus..." well, you know the rest. Jesus plus nothing.

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #64)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 09:29 PM

70. There are quite a few progressive Catholics who want to change the church from within

I'm not one myself, but I understand where they are coming from.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 10:49 AM

5. Same with Iraq in the 60's. Baghdad was a cosmopolitan city considered the Paris of the Middle East.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:15 PM

18. They had free higher education. We can't be having that go on. n/t

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 12:08 AM

89. I think it was actually Beirut that was considered the "Paris of the Middle East"

until it became Ground Zero in the Lebanese Civil War.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 10:50 AM

6. We need our awareness raised

Thank you, thank you for sharing.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 10:51 AM

7. This is what happens when people join the military. nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:35 PM

19. Exactly, stay out of the military at all costs, do NOT enlist for this bullshit. WalMart pays more.

 

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #19)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:24 PM

35. Don't be silly. Occupy Wal-Mart. nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #35)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:13 AM

82. I'm not recommending, just sayin'...

 

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 10:52 AM

8. Those mountains in the background, did they just rise

over the last 40 years?

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 10:54 AM

9. They're in the first one, too.

Just hard to see against the sky until you blow the photo up a bit.

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:00 AM

11. Mostly blocked by the trees

and lost in the haze with low-contrast 1967 color film.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:05 AM

12. Easier to get to all those yummy minerals now....

It's all in how you look at it. Sure, if you're an Afghani it's not so good, but the same could be said for West Virginians who are NOT mountain top mine owners.

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Response to Junkdrawer (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:26 AM

14. Without all the buildings and people in the way

it should be easier to dig up all the "rare earths", if you can figure out a cost-effective way to separate the ore from the gore.

Most likely we'll be as welcome as herpes in Afghanistan after we withdraw our occupation forces. Just like Iraq. So it'll be China who benefits.

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Response to kenny blankenship (Reply #14)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:48 PM

22. those rare earths

are, in fact being dug up. There is a site (I can't remember the name) that is right in the middle of a centuries old important archaeological site. The scientists are working like crazy to rescue as much as they can!

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Response to Junkdrawer (Reply #12)


Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:20 AM

13. Yeah but, aren't they better off now....

now that we have forced a little freedom and democracy on them?

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Response to JeffHead (Reply #13)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:59 PM

28. .

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:29 AM

15. Wiping out the past......

its amazing.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:09 PM

16. K&R

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:14 PM

17. K&R

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:46 PM

21. Saddam, Shah of Iran, etc etc, all American stooges put in by the CIA

to KEEP it that way. REMEMBER - the CIA installed Saddam as leader and he KEPT A LID ON IT. You remember, don't you?

Who in the WORLD would blow up beautiful cultural spaces or icons in Afghanistan? You remember, don't you?

Perhaps it is time to post pictures with more like a timeline with CAPTIONS giving an idea of what who when?

I have a friend who was an embassy brat. That was back when the us gov. sent the embassy employee families over on the SS United States - that sort of thing. Guy's got stories, but I hardly ever go visit him as he is a drunk and a vapid tea partier.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:49 PM

23. Their old way of seeing themselves - "Afghanistan: The Friendliest Country in the World"

They still have this old website up - http://www.afghan-web.com/

Lots of things there that aren't there anymore, lots of things to be nothing but sad about...

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:50 PM

25. Wow. Women used to be allowed to dress like that in Afghanistan,

without being accosted on the street by the religious police and flogged or stoned to death?

I hope that one day Islamic fundamentalism will cease to exist and that these countries can become modern democracies.



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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #25)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 08:26 PM

65. Indeed, my first though about that pic was about the women. nt

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #25)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 09:39 PM

71. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of our prized 80s "freedom fighters"

--got his start throwing acid in the faces of women like that in the 70s.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:54 PM

26. Here are some pictures of Iran

Pictures of Iran not the place you would think

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Response to chicago guy (Reply #26)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:14 AM

77. Rick Steves - Iran

Is a good watch. They hate us so much that their road signs are in English and Farsi. Just watch and see how much they hate us. Some of the mosques are beautiful.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:59 PM

27. Had the Taliban and Al Qaeda entered Afghanistan yet?

Was the Taliban just always there?

The pictures are great, but are the changes in Afghanistan due to the wars or were the wars due to internal changes in Afghanistan that preceded the wars?

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #27)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:59 PM

42. due to the wars

the Cold War devastated Afghanistan, it's a horrendous crime of epic historical proportions.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #27)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 04:34 PM

51. The Taliban rose to power after the Soviets left.

You need to read the modern history of Afghanistan. Also the word Taliban is a western thing like Al Qaeda. Taliban means simply Student just like Al Qaeda simply means The List. The Taliban were actually Mujahideen, but the western powers don't like to admit that since we trained, equipped, and funded the people that they eventually called the Taliban. Just like Al Qaeda. Ironic isn't it, our proxy wars with the Soviets eventually bit us in our ass.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:08 PM

29. I remember some Kick Ass Afghan hash in the 70s

Not to mention the afghan vest to go with bell bottoms

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Response to awake (Reply #29)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:37 PM

37. There's a whole lot of the "war on drugs" that

translated to war on Afghanistan. I feel sorry for any country after WWII that America decided to keep safe for democracy, but leaving some countries to their own devices can result in disaster as well.
I can't even pretend to know enough to argue intelligently about this.

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #37)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:44 PM

39. Well said

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #37)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:58 AM

80. I dunno, Western Europe and Japan did pretty well under American protection.

I think the religious fundamentalism is the problem. It was always there, but only emerges as the dominant political power when there's a vacuum, such as when the Soviets pulled out.

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Response to Flatulo (Reply #80)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:09 AM

81. The Marshall Plan was a progressive and effective effort

to rehabilitate western Europe and it worked amazingly well. Oh, what America can do when intelligent people are in charge. We do have the capability, but we also have Republicans. And, yes, I know Ike was a Republican, not the same thing as the current GOP.

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #81)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 12:32 PM

86. The Marshall Plan worked so well that most

European states enjoy higher standards of living, are much better educated, happier and healthier than we are.

Ironic.

But we make the finest weaponry money can buy. Shows where our national priorities are.

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Response to Flatulo (Reply #86)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:51 PM

88. Yep, sad but true.

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Response to awake (Reply #29)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 05:48 PM

56. Still smoking it!

A lot of the strains we grow in Northern California are Afghani, so all the hash that winds up on your fingers and clippers during processing is pretty much the same dark gooey stuff I used to get in the 70s. Very potent indeed.

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Response to Webster Green (Reply #56)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 05:55 PM

58. Ya but does it have that indent of a official seal on the brick that the Afghani Hash used to have?

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Response to awake (Reply #58)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 06:03 PM

61. Heh.

No. That part isn't included. Those were some amazing little bricks!

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:09 PM

30. Yep, war bringing more peace to the world. More wars, more guns, yep, that'll fix it all.

War = a racket = $$$$$ for the oppressors.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:13 PM

31. Dubya And The Neocons Quest For Oil Destroyed All

eom

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:32 PM

36. I'm reminded of this tribute I created for Bush

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Response to Oilwellian (Reply #36)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:49 PM

40. Powerful, and well done.

I hope you sent it to him, though I'm not sure that would be safe.

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Response to polly7 (Reply #40)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 03:29 PM

50. Thank you polly

I fear Bush would find it too entertaining.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:39 PM

38. Theocracy sucks. Christians take note

STOP IT!

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:35 PM

44. The late ConsAreLiars had beautiful photos of Afghanistan from the '70s.

It's a shame what has happened over there.


(And for those who didn't know, ConsAreLiars, who had been TSed from DU for some unknown reason, did pass away last year.)

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Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #44)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:49 PM

46. Aww ... that's very sad news.

I do remember reading his / her posts on Afghanistan and seeing the pictures.

I'm sorry for your loss.


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Response to polly7 (Reply #46)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:57 PM

47. He was a good man

whom I came to know quite well through the photo group. He was one of my biggest boosters and mentors when I was first learning photography skills. I imagine that it was something he posted in the I/P forum that ruffled some feathers and got him banned.

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Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #47)


Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #47)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:53 AM

84. I remember him.

He was a great guy.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 04:38 PM

52. I've actually seen a few pictures of what it was like

courtesy an acquaintance whose family left when the Russians rolled in. He was a kid and the family was wealthy enough to own cameras. He said they all dreamed of going back to their home and their land but know nothing is left but rubble and mined fields.

These pics look like they were taken by Russian "tourists" right at the beginning of their occupation.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 04:54 PM

54. Amazing. And more sad than anything else.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 05:50 PM

57. If you've lived there and are of a certain age

it must seem like a never-ending bad dream to watch the disintegration. Looking through family photo albums must be an incredibly painful experience.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 06:20 PM

62. does anyone know the animal in picture 54?

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 08:37 PM

67. Here's a video.

 

Very sad.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #67)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 08:52 PM

69. That poor country:(

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 08:38 PM

68. this is just so sad.

I had no idea that Afghanistan had ever been so beautiful.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 10:53 PM

72. just a bit of history


Afghanistan has been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and human migration. Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation from as far back as the Middle Paleolithic. Urban civilization may have begun in the area as early as 3,000 to 2,000 BCE. Sitting at an important geostrategic location that connects the Middle East culture with Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, the land has been home to various peoples through the ages and witnessed many military campaigns, notably by Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and in modern era Western forces. The land also served as a source from which the Greco-Bactrians, Kushans, Hephthalites, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Khiljis, Timurids, Mughals, Durranis, and others have risen to form major empires.
The political history of the modern state of Afghanistan begins in 1709, when the Hotaki dynasty was established in Kandahar followed by Ahmad Shah Durrani's rise to power in 1747. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between the British and Russian empires. Following the 1919 Anglo-Afghan War, King Amanullah began a European style modernization of the country but was stopped by the ultra-conservatives. During the Cold War, after the withdrawal of the British from neighboring India in 1947, the United States and the Soviet Union began spreading influences in Afghanistan, which led to a bloody war between the US-backed mujahideen forces and the Soviet-backed Afghan government in which over a million Afghans lost their lives. This was followed by the 1990s civil war, the rise and fall of the extremist Taliban government and the 2001–present war. In December 2001, the United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help maintain security in Afghanistan and assist the Karzai administration.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghanistan


i have read that kabul, before the various invasions, was a wonderful city full of fountains and fruit trees. one can only wonder about what it might have been today without all of the multiple decades of western manipulations.

sad.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:00 PM

73. And the pictures are Kodachromes.

Amazing how the color has stood up to time.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:42 AM

75. I suspect you could have seen something similar everywhere we've destroyed a country...

ever since WWII, the US hawks have started unnecessary wars every chance they get. There is always loss of life and destruction. It's so sad for me as a "60's peacenik" who really hoped we could put resources into a better world instead of record budgets for weapons. We are not only the world's armory, but we have created a world that hates us - and rightly so.

I'd love to see a woman president, because I think it would be much more likely to get us out of this insane cycle of wars.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:04 AM

76. My granddad in October 2001:

"Then years from now, people will have to come to face the fact that the Soviets, overall, we're more succesful in this utopian folly"...

He always was quite the prophet. He also predicted that I would witness people paying corporations for their own excrements. (We have lively debates about this prophecy.. I always argue that the advent of pro-biotic yoghurts validatesthe prophecy..)

Anyway, I wish the people of Afghanistan will get a fair deal somewhere along the line. Surely, it must be their turn too, once.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:54 AM

79. K& R n/t

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Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:23 PM

87. Set up by Joseph Stalin himself

Afghanistan was a Soviet Satellite from the 1920s onward, just like it had been a Russian Satellite since the British Afghan Wars of the 1800s. Stalin did NOT think Afghanistan was ready for Communism so left the existing political system intact. Khrushchev followed a similar policy. Under Brezhnev Afghanistan became a sore spot in Communist theology, it was within the Soviet Sphere of influence but NOT a Communist state and that had to be change.

Part of the problem under Brezhnev was that the system became so corrupt that it was on the verge of collapsing (and eventually did) but the ideologues stepped in and said the problem was that communism had NOT been implemented enough and the Soviet Union needed to purify itself (Sounds like the GOP of today, except the theology is radical right wing economics not communism). Thus the King of Afghanistan had to be overthrown and replaced with a True Communist Government. This just turned most of the people off from what ever support they had given the Central Government and the situation deteriorated.

Lets remember Afghanistan before the overthrow of their King was more a Geographical expression then a real country. Some wags commented that Afghanistan was created by the British, for it became unfashionable for British Map Makers to mark any area of the globe "Tribal Areas".

When the Russian Empire took over most of what is now referred to as "The Former Soviet Central Asian States" in the late 1800s, even the Czar decided Afghanistan was better left as a buffer state between them and British India then as part of the Russian Empire. Joseph Stalin made the same decision in the 1920s when he drew up the present lines of the various states that made up the Soviet Union (and are now independent nations).

Thus from the late 1800s to the 1970s Afghanistan was a loyal Satellite of Russia and later the Soviet Union. At the same time Russia and later the Soviet Union left it alone.

In the 1970s, the internal conflict between the followers of Brezhnev (mostly tied in with the Military-Industrial Complex of the Soviet Union) and what remained of the True Communists. The True Communists wanted reduced military spending and a more open society (and lead by the KGB, which was a combination of what in the US is the FBI, CIA, and your State Police, Khrushchev was held in high respect by this crew and Gorbachev came out of this crew) and the people tied with with the Soviet Military-Industrial Complex. The Soviet Military-Industrial Complex to defeat the True Communists decided to make a big deal of non-communist elements in the Soviet Sphere of Influence and Afghanistan was the chief example of said non-Soviet communist state within the Soviet Sphere if Influence. Thus they insisted that the King do things to impose communism on Afghanistan, then overthrew the King and replaced him with a Communist Government, and when that Government failed to implement the entire plan, overthrew it and moved the Soviet Army into Afghanistan, all in the name of preserving and spreading Communism.

The Soviet Military-Industrial Complex thus provided an area of opportunity for the US to show its opposition to Communism after the US lost Vietnam. The US supported Pashtun tribesmen against the Afghan Government. The Pashtun have always been independent of what ever country claims to rule them, be it British India, Pakistan or Afghanistan. Unlike Iraq tribal tradition (with an elected Tribal head that everyone in the tribe must obey), the Pashtun tribal system is more like the Native North American tribal system, blood relatives who may or may not follow whoever is technically head of the tribe today. Given that the Pashtuns were on both sides of the border, it was thus easy to supply them with weapons and once they had weapons superiority over others (including other Pashtuns) move in to take over land and smuggling routes. Thus once the King of Afghanistan was removed and replaced it was easy to get the Pashtuns to attack and undermine the Government of Afghanistan, and thus force the Soviets to intervene to save the Communist Government of Afghanistan AND once the Soviet intervene to make the situation impossible for the Soviet to win, given 1/2 of the Pashtuns lived in Pakistan.

This was what the Russian Czars had avoided by NOT taking over Afghanistan and what Joseph Stalin avoided by keeping the King of Afghanistan. Notice it was driven by Communist ideology more then anything else. Worse, not by ideologues but by people using the ideology to further they own interest (in the case of the Soviet Military-Industrial Complex to keep money going into buying Military goods).

The cost of the intervention became to high, it took eight years, but the Soviet Union under Gorbachev did pull put, as Gorbachev tried to reduce the power of the Soviet Military-Industrial Complex. The Soviet Military-Industrial Complex revolted against this cut back, but the KGB and the men in the Russian Army refused to back them, and thus the Soviet Union Collapsed. The old Communist Party was dissolved, but it still gets about 1/3 of the vote in every elections (And some observers have remarked that if the elections in Russia where actually fair, they would have won the last two elections). The two groups that had been fighting broke up, the Soviet Military-Industrial Complex people and elements of the KGB formed Yeltsin Government and divided up the assets of the Soviet Union Among themselves. The old true Communist stayed with the party and continue to sell themselves as protectors of the various improvements the people of Russia had when the Soviet Union still existed (and thus why the Communist Party of Russia has been increasing in Strength since the 1990s).

As to Afghanistan, once the Soviet Union withdrew, so did American support and the country then went slowly into chaos, as the Government left by the Soviet Union slowly lost control to various fractions of the opposition. This was the situation in the 1990s, Afghanistan had ceased to exist, it was divided among various war lords who proceeded to exploit the people for they own benefit. Into this mess, Pakistan decided to support various religious elements of the Pashtun (Now called the Taliban) to unify the country. In this regard the Taliban were quite successful, slowing defeating each of the war lords by first undermining their support from among they own subjects, and then moving in. This was successful till they ran into areas with non-Pashtun population. These held out as independent of the rest of Afghanistan till the US intervention (Which permitted the war lords back in and with their reintroduction support for the Taliban increased).

Side note: The best leader of the Anti-Taliban forces was one of the few decent War Lords, he actually tried to accommodate everyone, but did not have enough military might to defeat the other warlords. As the Taliban defeated each of the other warlords, he retreated to the northern part of Afghanistan and was the leader of the opposition, when the Taliban killed him just before the US intervention (Until the threat of US intervention, the Taliban fought against his forces and tried to undermined his support from the people of the area he controlled, but did NOT make a determined effort to kill him. This changed with the possibility of US intervention, then they sent in an agent who blow himself AND this leader up).

More on the Northern Alliance:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Alliance

The leader of the Northern Alliance:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmad_Shah_Massoud

As to the Taliban, they are creation of the Pakistan Secret Service, to develop Afghanistan as a place the Pakistani Army could retreat to, if they lose a war with India. Thus, the leaders were Islamic, they support was not. The same with the Soviet Intervention, it was in the name of Communism, but more to show that the intervenors were still true communists, and the people who opposed the intervention were not.

Just a background on Afghanistan and note Religion had little to do with the war except to unite the various groups against whoever was ruling Afghanistan (and to keep them united once the Taliban had united most of Afghanistan).


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