September 17th, 2010
07:51 AM ET

Opinion: Wild Wild West in Afghanistan

Editor’s Note: Farah is an Afghan-American businesswoman in Kabul. The opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Farah.

Afghanistan has been the graveyard and battlefield of empires for centuries. Now I see the slow tortuous death of my ancestral nation and people. Sacrifice of the lambs - that is what I feel our people have become.

In September 2002, I remember my grandmother and I boarded the old Ariana Airlines plane for Afghanistan. Afghanistan: the myth for me and Afghanistan the motherland for my grandmother. We landed and were both so overcome with emotion – with tears for different reasons. For me it was the fact that I had landed somewhere I had never known and for my grandmother it was the return to a home destroyed. At least when we got home and saw everyone, there was a great energy of optimism as much as the devastation. Optimism and a will to change were in the air — more like a high. I was enjoying every minute of being in Afghanistan. I extended my trip an extra month to keep working with my mother and her NGO at the time. The Taliban are gone. We can fix Afghanistan I thought: We can.

Now, we are almost in October 2010 and everything is unraveling. The Taliban are back and stronger than ever. Taliban are now Pakistanis, Arabs and Chechens. I came back from a recent vacation very charged and very motivated to get back to work. But the events of the past few weeks have put me in a dark place. I have explained this to some of my friends that in the span of one week: we lost a team of foreign doctors with their team, heard about dozens of kidnappings, read about the stoning of a couple in Kunduz, seen more civilian deaths and there was a suicide bombing on my street. I used to be able to deal with this over the years but these events had more impact on me not just because some of them hit close to home, but it is apparent that the downward spiral which is Afghanistan is getting darker and deeper — more like a black hole where all the hard work of so many for the past eight years is going to be lost. Everyone who is in power has eaten hundreds of millions from the West to play puppet to the grand scheme. No one is brave enough to step up for the people or those who do are killed or ridiculed into some political exile. A lawless Afghanistan: that is what is happening right now. The Wild Wild West revisited.

During the “Great Game” — the British-Russian rivalry during the late 1800s — Afghanistan tried to be neutral; the British, of course, declared war on Afghanistan. Yes, I do think that imperialism has ruined this world. After studying the whole region all fingers point there. Pay off the leaders – use them to divide and conquer the people — create chaos. Sound familiar? Shame on us: during the reign of Zahir Shah (the leader for decades until the 1970s), we were a unified Afghanistan. No one asked, “What part of Afghanistan are you from? Oh you’re Mazari? Oh you’re Pashtun?” Everyone worked together as AFGHANS. Working together as a nation to build a better life for the future. How progressive we were in those days. I remember reading in one of author Ludwig W. Adamac’s books about the timeline of Afghanistan. It broke my heart. Seeing how high we were going and how we were stopped from so much as a nation.

As the years went by, the West or larger powers have always tried to divide us and for us to do their job for them … KILL EACH OTHER. “Kill your Afghan brother. I will give you money or power.” I wish we loved each other more. I wish.

I think of the lineage of strong Afghans I come from — especially Afghan women: mother, grandmothers, great-grandmothers. Today they are not the same — they have been destroyed beyond belief. Afghan women were the heads of the houses and the families. The men had integrity and honor — would fight for what was right. The people of Old Afghanistan are a dying breed and I see the genocide of my people here everyday. This is what has happened to our women and children: raped, mutilated, sold, killed. Here’s the latest: Afghan women, kids turn to drugs

There is only so much we can do. I say that Afghanistan is like a “treasure chest on fire.” With all the minerals, artifacts and oil that has been discovered recently, of course, let's bring chaos so we can control all these resources. We have a choice. I am so fortunate to carry an American passport. I can get on a plane and leave. Millions here cannot do that.

God help those who are in the provinces suffering everyday as well as the people suffering around the world because they have no choice. Nothing I can do about it because this whole thing is a lot bigger than me, than all of us.

Sacrifice the lambs.

Dedicated to my mother and grandfather who have sacrificed their lives for years for their people ... This is also for those who are suffering everyday in Afghanistan. Sending you light.

Filed under: Voices • Your View
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. sara from allentown

    CNN – you should be ashamed of yourselves for letting this nonsense be published

    September 18, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    Wrong Answer, .

    September 18, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    still blocking MY Words ?

    September 18, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Wash Your mouth out with Soap and maybe We would Block You Out!!!

      September 22, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mehdi General Dr Bad


    (View Source)

    I Never Liked Denver Anyway.

    September 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Soda

      You need help, dude.

      September 18, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mehdi General Dr Bad


    (View Source)

    September 18, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    so much for "Talks".

    September 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    so Much for "nice".

    September 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    wrong answer little girl.

    September 18, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    CNN International – Nic Robertson – ‎3 hours ago‎
    By the CNN Wire Staff Muscat, Oman (CNN) - Before beginning her journey back home to America, freed American hiker Sarah Shourd on Saturday thanked Oman for securing her release and said that nation would forever occupy a special niche in her heart as ...

    September 18, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mehdi General Dr Bad

      now they blcok my comment on this "again".

      September 18, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob Loblaw

    Maybe we need to be nicer to them. Maybe we just haven't been nice enough yet. Let's send more tree huggers and doctors and money to be nice to the extremists. I believe they need hugs and understanding. Maybe if they get more hugs and understanding and yes, love, that will end their maniacal, all-consuming desire to expunge Israel, the United States, Canada, and Western Europe from the face of the earth. Yes, yes, I definitely think we just haven't been nice enough. Being nice will fix everything, and we should never, ever, ever fight or be mean to people even if their singular goal is to kill and torture every one of us in the name of their God, to whom our every collective breath is an affront.

    Yes, let's be nicer. Let's send them more of our resources and more of our soldiers to kill. That will do it for sure.

    September 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mehdi General Dr Bad

      blocked message.

      September 18, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robby

    Mehdi...Americas Godessness lays at the feat of radical Islam...what sane person would entertain a faith in allah who commands the slaughter of innocent civilians...

    September 18, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Lubin

      What's a Godessness? is it the excellence of a Godess?

      September 18, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Lubin

      I would not like to go near the feet of radical islam, the stench would be overpowering not to mention the toenails.

      September 18, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mehdi General Dr Bad


    September 18, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mehdi General Dr Bad


    September 18, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mehdi General Dr Bad


    September 18, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Lubin

      Otis Redding?

      September 18, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    OH and LOOK, There ARE MY DRONES INSIDE AMERICA. Alhumdiallah.

    September 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Robby

    As long as Afghanistan sees itself as a vicim, they will always be ruled by someone else...Afghanistan has to take Afghanistan...

    And Imperialism is not only a friend of the west...It is Persians who have often enslaved and addition to Pakistanis...Laying the blame for Aghanistans ills at the feet of the West only proves the point of Western superiority...otherwise the roles would be reversed and we would be fending off the Mujis on our turf (I doubt they are such innocent lambs as to have to worldly amibitions to better their land...they lack the ability to do it)

    September 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    Those are just SOME of MY Troops. How many do YOU count?

    September 18, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    hey you hear that out side mY Hotel right now?

    September 18, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad »

    ABC NewsFreed American hiker begins her journey home
    CNN International – Nic Robertson – ‎1 hour ago‎
    By the CNN Wire Staff Muscat, Oman (CNN) - Before beginning her journey back home to America, freed American hiker Sarah Shourd on Saturday thanked Oman for securing her release and said that nation would forever occupy a special niche in her heart as ...

    September 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Mehdi General Dr Bad

    For The Last year America has been printing and handing out new " Marked Money" so if YOU have ANY of it? Dump it.

    September 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Robrob

    @Mehdi General Dr Bad – are you mental?

    September 18, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  22. ground_pounder

    typo: nepotism.

    September 18, 2010 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Lubin

      I think Mehdi needs his Mehdication increased.

      September 18, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Curious

    Empires are not a Western invention. Also, Afganistan has NEVER been free of tribal divisions/affiliations. And, we didn't go over there because of Afganistan's mineral "treasure chest"–anyone remember 9/11 and 3,000 Americans murdered by Bin Laden's people? Otherwise, it is too bad the Afgans were not able to keep the Taliban from coming back. It's even more a pity that young Americans are dying in the effort to save the Afgans from the Taliban. Ultimately, if the Afgans don't want to be ruled by the Taliban and have their women all wearing burqas, they are going to have to take on that job for themselves.

    September 18, 2010 at 4:43 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Do You really think the the Afghanistan People don't want to be free from Tarriest??? The problem is they don't want corrupted People there either!!! Would You???

      September 22, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  24. ground_pounder

    The US/NATO is not telling Afghans to kill Afghans. The clear objective is to destroy the terrorist element existing there right now. Unfortunately, Afghans are content with the neoptism and apathy that has carried their country through the better part of a millenia. Had they exercised a little more social consciousness and self-governance while terrorist training camps were running throught their country, we could have avoided this mess. Unfortunately, those virtues are now necessary to succeed at present time, inconvenient as it may be...

    As a side note: If your fellow countrymen are planting bombs to kill NATO forces, they are not your "Afghan brethren". If you really feel that way, then you're part of the problem. I do not align myself with wackos who kill foreigners in the US on the simple grounds that they're my "American brethren". Wake up, take accountability for yourselves, and help us help you.

    Also, the oil/minerals debate is laughable. I'm currently in Afghanistan and trust me when I say this: Nobody over here is worrying about minerals. If you think so, you're just uninformed...

    September 18, 2010 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Lubin

      Well done, that is the first time you didn't type genitals!

      September 18, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  25. AfghanWarVET

    Foreign interference from Pakistan, Arab states, and west has used Afghanistan as a battlefield for their sick ideologies...The united nations must have all those who interfere in Afghanistan sign a declaration of neutrality and non-interference in Afghanistan's affairs...No one can subdue Afghans, even after 1000s of years, they have fought every empire and the final empire to fall will be the PUNJABI(Pakistan) empire- Afghanistan have fought against Punjabi domination for 250 years and that is exactly what the British left them with...Thus, anyone interfering in Afghanistan's affairs should face sanctions, especially Pakistan for supporting terrorist who had singed articles in Geneva to declare it will not interfere in Afghanistan in 90"s.

    September 17, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • dindy Sri lanka

      well written vet

      September 23, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Ernie Beatty

    That ought to turn the NATO forces on!!!

    September 17, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  27. bailoutsos

    "Afghanistan has been the graveyard and battlefield of empires for centuries." - So why the he// are NATO troops dying there?

    September 17, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Genghis Khan

      I enjoyed being there.

      September 17, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • Quantum 360

        So did I

        September 17, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Snipe

    Wow, what a heartbreaking view from an Afghan. I remember when I was in Vietnam during that war and observing the general population just trying to survive and thinking we as Americans are so lucky that we haven't as a country experienced the horror of war in our homeland for such a long time, until 9/11 when we got a taste of it. Afghanistan is such a tragedy right now. I have a son in the Marines deployed their right now and I worry about him everyday. Just no easy solutions to the whole Afghan problem. I know that the view of the majority of Afghan’s is that they don’t care who wins they just want peace and stability. But, my hope is that s the Afghan’s, even after we leave, and will unite as a country, which will be needed to continue the fight from the terror of the Taliban, and take control of their own county as a united nation and not hundreds of different factions and war lords looking after their own selfish needs. Without that unification it will all fall apart into continued lawlessness or be ruled by the terror and dictatorship of the Taliban.

    September 17, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |

      Unlike what you think Snipe,there is a very simple solution to the Afghan problem.The US and it's NATO allies should just leave Afghanistan to the Afghans.Whether you believe it or not,the Afghans simply do not want foreign rule and that's all there is to it!!!

      September 17, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Andrew Lubin

        That's why they oppose the taliban.

        September 18, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  29. IdeaMaker

    You mention the British Empire... why not the Soviet Union? You talk about the West as if we are all the same...

    Sad, sad situation. I wish we could empower the Afghans to fight for themselves...

    September 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • President Bush

      Idiots. we have faught for ourselves and we still are fighting againist thirty plus nations !!!! .. The West And U.S. is fighting for themselves and their pockets... they dont mind sacrficifing their troops at all.. So shut the fuc up cuase u have no idea .. drink ur coffee its getting cold

      September 17, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |

        Hey Bush i see your spelling hasn't improved, neither has your intellect.

        September 17, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |

        Thank you,Johndro.You may be trying to be funny but I like your post anyway even if it is under my name.

        September 17, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        It is funny Israel has fought against the Arab League 4 times already and none of Their wars lasted as long as just one of Ours!!! Maybe we should learn from Israel???

        September 22, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  30. Kulashaker

    Read this recently in a Pakistani newspaper

    What are the basics? India is the enemy. Afghanistan is your playground. And the American superpower must be milked, bilked, just the right amount, taking care to do just enough of what it asks — a modern-day, statist version of Goldilocks.

    Those pretty much are the central tenets of Pakistan’s foreign policy over much of its history, and, if you think about it, there’s little reason to believe Kayani may be reaching for a new playbook at this late stage.

    September 17, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Ironically

    As usual a 2nd generation American born and raised individual is belly-aching about the wrongs and injustices that she is oblivious to. These are the people who truly annoy me. They offer criticism with no offering of solutions.

    Ironically, just 10 years ago her family – had they been living in Afghanistan- would be killed for such an article.

    Why: a female with an intelligent opinion with reach to the outside world.

    Taliban justice: "Where is her Mahram? Why hasn't he gotten complete control of this wench? The family must be destroyed. "

    Rainbows and butterflies do not occur with out some ugliness first (floods and worms).

    September 17, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Some Guy

    "Think about it" and Brett... you are BOTH guilty of applying conservative and liberal conceptions of today to people of the past. Those conceptions change continually, I think its safe to say given the values of all Americans today that today's liberals and conservatives would be equally appalled by the pre-revolution British colonial control. But back to Afghan, this opinion is right in laying blame on imperialism but as usual I see absent any blame laid on Islamic Extremism. Imperialism alone did not create the extremists, in the modern world imperialism is not needed to spread culture and the hatred of Western culture will grow without any concerted effort by the western nations due to the increasingly inclusive global trade/communication networks. The US should leave Afghan and Iraq, but its easier said than done at this point. Those who think there will miraculously be peace if we were to leave today are foolish and indeed quite naive. The West's concerted effort to leave the Middle East must be met with a concerted effort of the leaders of peaceful Islam to speak out against not just Western control but the danger of extremism.

    September 17, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      Hey some guy you are very correct in saying that the Islamic states must stand up to the extremists within their religion or their religion will not be worthy of God him or herself!! Their is no super being that would stand for a people that allows such actions from the ranks of Islam!

      September 19, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        Why should things be any different there than it is coming here??? The only difference is the Muslin are doing it there and the Catholic Church is doing it here!!! Two wrongs don't make it right for either religion...

        September 22, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  33. Think about it

    Brett, In fact, it was the more conservative faction of the colonials that was more royalist...Revolution was a radical idea, and not "right wing" at all (by modern definition). PS: you had better get back to working on that GED...

    September 17, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Nicely put,Think about it.How true that is.

      September 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • What?

      This is a pointless argument but Ill jump in anyway... I think today's conservatives would be the ones more upset about taxation without representation and overly centralized distant control given the recent trends in Democrat federal government and tax policy. Furthermore, your assumption that "right wing" somehow indicates non-radical upholding of the status quo is patently false. Right wingers and left wingers are equally capable of radical ideas (really its Moderates you are thinking of who probably would not have such opinions). The American Revolution was not framed in terms of "right wing" and "left wing" and an attempt to frame it as such is in complete ignorance of historical perspective.

      September 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Boom!

        There goes the dynamite.

        September 17, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Bledsoe

    There will be no real peace in Afghanistan until the NATO forces live up to their moral obligations and leave.What we need to do is wise the public up to this fact but the right-wing thugs won't stand for that and therein lies the problem.

    September 17, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      hey...I have a three point plan to rid the country of Islamic nut called to"2 to the chest, and 1 to the head" we get back to doing that, NATO will leave.

      September 17, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • Soda

        Why don't we build schools and create jobs. That will create a deficit of recruits the Taliban needs to use against NATO forces, and, in doing so, will create a social sector that will see taking control of their own country as a moral obligation.

        September 18, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        We be better off if Racist Like You Would Leave!!!

        September 22, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        Soda: You have to get things right in the regent before You can do that!!!!

        September 22, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • chicago

      Sounds like the lambs need to grab a mitt and get in the game. Time to standup or fall down.

      September 18, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Robrob

      Right -wing thugs? What are you talking about.

      September 18, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lex

      Yes, lets cede the country to the Taliban and let them have at it, because I'm sure they will bring about peace and happiness for the Afghans, instead of the NATO "thugs" trying to build a functioning democracy. You can support a withdrawl from Afghanistan, but don't pretend you're doing any favors to the Afghan people by inviting the Taliban to retake power. They will be just as ruthless as they were before, only now the blood will be on our hands for abandoning the country to them.

      September 19, 2010 at 4:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      You will continue to be slaughtered until you quit acting like sheep. The future of your country is at stake. You can't afford to sit on the sidelines. Pick a side and fight or shut up and accept the consequences of your inaction. Freedom isn't Free.

      September 20, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
      • ff

        Funny coming from someone who probably didn't have to fight for his own freedom. Freedom aint free, unless your ancestors did all the work for you.

        September 22, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Capt. NoDuh

      If Afghanistan is the wild west and the Taliban today are Pakistani, Chechen and Arabs then Afghanistan is being invaded and being taken over by religious zealots from foreign countries. That being said, Afghanistan has every right to declare war upon those countries and ask the UN for military and social support. Maybe China would like to bring its military in country to protect its mining and timber operations?

      September 21, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
      • dindy Sri lanka

        well written Capt

        September 23, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • U. No Who

      The US Gov ment. took over the heroine for Brits & CIA & Israel, hired Kharzi the trafficker to run it.

      September 21, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      We already did that in Iraq and had to go back again... If Bush Jr would have stayed in Afghanistan instead of going to Iraq We be better off today all around!!!

      September 22, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |