Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Slovakia
    Posts
    4,191
    Thanks
    5,154
    Thanked 2,053 Times in 1,109 Posts

    Frightening Implications

    I'm no expert, and I hope someone more educated than I can correct me here - maybe relieve me of my worry. America's been involved in the war in Afghanistan for over a decade now, with no end in sight, and no clear progress, or even tenable goals.

    One question that's been avoided time and again by all the major press is the Taliban's finances. Yes, we know they sell opium/heroin, and there was one long article in the New Yorker about selling illegal timber. All interesting. But where do these goods go? What harbors do they go to? And when they get on ships, what languages are the sailors speaking? Are these same ships sending bomb equipment to the Taliban? What language is written on the sides of the IED's anyway?

    No one's saying...

    Today I found a little clue: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...istan?page=0,0

    Gwadar, on the western coast of Pakistan, near the border with Iran, previously a fishing village, now a major port, with 80% funded by China... Note how the article refers to "Ethnic Baluchi rebel leaders." Weren't these guys previously referred to as the Taliban? Weren't they involved with invading the SWAT valley a year or two ago?

    The article states China mostly wants a nice port along the way to take care of its ships and bring through oil from other places. But when you visit the port's own website: http://www.gwadarport.gov.pk/Home.aspx

    They say their main goal is to help bolster the economy of North and Western Pakistan - i.e. the Taliban. And what is their economy anyway? Well, it's that opium and illegal timber.

    The website even mentions Quetta as one of the first towns to benefit from this new trade. Quetta. If you go to wikipedia, and look up Quetta, you won't find a single word about the Taliban. But look here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/wo.../10quetta.html

    So, is the US war in Afghanistan a proxy war with China? Someone teach me something.


  2. Hide this ad by registering as a member
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    832
    Thanks
    312
    Thanked 216 Times in 151 Posts
    Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia...

    Ok, 1984 poetic waxing aside, I'm not too familiar with the politics of the region, or global geo politics anymore - since they were making me uber jaded and cynical. But from what I do understand, China going to war against the US is suicidal for both parties, more so the entire world.

    China is holding trillions worth of US debt, if things go south, China releases debt, US economy tanks, China now suddenly has trillions in bonds that are now worthless, Chinese economy tanks, and as a result, the whole world's economy tanks as well. (At least this is how I remember it going in economics class years ago - if I am wrong or anyone can explain it better, please do so/correct me)

    Proxy wars, I can probably say would inevitably happen when 2 super powers with world ending arsenals come into abrasion (Happened with the USSR of the previous century), with neither side willing to engage in complete annihilation, and kept in check with M.A.D.
    "Never regret thy fall from grace, O' spirit of Icarian flight, for the greatest tragedy of them all to face, is to never feel the burning bright"
    Believe my lies, for I tell the truth about them. Or would you rather me lie about telling the truth?

    | Sketchbook | Portfolio | dA | Facebook |

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    464
    Thanks
    102
    Thanked 182 Times in 101 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    They say their main goal is to help bolster the economy of North and Western Pakistan - i.e. the Taliban.
    There are members of the Taliban spread over a number of countries and varying concentrations-- that does not mean the entire population of Northern and Western Pakistan represent some terrorist bootcamp.

    And frankly, as far as I'm concerned, an economic boost would quell the sense of desperation in these places. And desperate people, as you might imagine, are a lot less likely to do desperate things.
    Follow Me! | DeviantART | Twitter

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Slovakia
    Posts
    4,191
    Thanks
    5,154
    Thanked 2,053 Times in 1,109 Posts
    Okay. First of all, there is no "Taliban" as our news likes to call it. It's a misnomer for a collection of different tribes. Second, these tribal bands have leaders, who form about the only semblence of government order in the tribal regions, such as Baluchistan. So it doesn't have to be one big bootcamp. Anyone who's doing any work there to build the economy is helping the war effort of the Taliban, and it seems all the major players in that region's economy are helping the Taliban war effort.

    It's not like they're some hidden element in the city of Quetta. They're the leadership of Quetta, and its militia. The Pakistani government in the east has no influence there. Any American or European can't even walk the streets there, without fear of kidnapping or outright shooting - as far as I've read.

    It'd be nice to help the poor people living there, who may for the most part not care who wins the war - not liking either the US or the Taliban. But we're at war. I'm sure a lot of Germans improved their economic situation during WWII, up until the fight came to them. And if the Taliban do expand their influence back into Afghanistan, and extremist policies, they will continue to be a thorn in the side of the rest of the world. Remember, as a functioning country, the Taliban were one of the only state sponsors of terrorism in the world.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    464
    Thanks
    102
    Thanked 182 Times in 101 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    It'd be nice to help the poor people living there, who may for the most part not care who wins the war - not liking either the US or the Taliban. But we're at war.
    You might be "at war" but I'm Pakistani, and my country needs the economic support of nations like China to fend off an infection like the Taliban. Poverty does not a peaceful people make.
    Follow Me! | DeviantART | Twitter

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Slovakia
    Posts
    4,191
    Thanks
    5,154
    Thanked 2,053 Times in 1,109 Posts
    True. My question is, to what extent are the Chinese helping Pakistan build itself up to weaken the influence the Taliban, and to what extent are they helping finance the Taliban? After all, Pakistan already has much bigger ports in the east. Also, if you're Pakistani, aren't you worried about the divided state of your country? A stronger Baluchistan does not equate to a stronger Pakistan.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    464
    Thanks
    102
    Thanked 182 Times in 101 Posts
    Sadly, there's a very long list of reasons I, and every other Pakistani, worry for my country... but it's not the kind of list that the world at large is all that interested in. To answer your question more specifically though: I don't think any Pakistani equates more economic stability in Balochistan as anything other than what it is: more prosperity for a region that desperately needs it.

    As for what China's intentions are? I'll be honest and say I can't speak to that. In my personal opinion (not based on any research or anything) I don't think a country as powerful as China would need to muck around in messy business with the Taliban-- but again, that's just my opinion.
    Follow Me! | DeviantART | Twitter

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Slovakia
    Posts
    4,191
    Thanks
    5,154
    Thanked 2,053 Times in 1,109 Posts
    I just googled interpol and found a couple interesting facts. Apparently the biggest players in heroin smuggling are Turkey and Kazakhstan. Maybe I was wrong about China, and then again, maybe they're opening up a new route, or maybe they're more interested in the timber for construction. Who knows.

    Here are some links:
    Interpol on heroin: http://www.interpol.int/Public/Drugs/heroin/default.asp
    The heroin silk road: http://www.stopoxy.com/silk-road-heroin-smuggling
    More about the silk road: http://www.newsweek.com/2001/09/16/t...of-death.html#
    Last edited by TASmith; May 31st, 2011 at 02:39 PM.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Dioscorida
    Posts
    78
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked 23 Times in 18 Posts
    The black market is effectively a supra-national organization - in as much as it is an organization. They also don't need special ports or trade routes, most of this is conducted through otherwise legitimate avenues.

    The more illegal substances (like drugs) do require more covert smuggling, but many things are transported under the guise of being perfectly aboveboard. For example, someone who transports lumber may pick up an illegal load every now and then and then cover up its origins.

    We're also talking about part of the world that is experiencing severe poverty - which means they're used to surviving with very little money. Throw in all of the weapons that the US and Russia handed out and surprisingly little money has to change hands.

    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    What language is written on the sides of the IED's anyway?
    What language is written on the side of an Improvised Explosive Device? Just about anything

    Actually I suspect IEDs often don't have anything written on them. While a group may be able to steal commercial explosives from a construction site, or buy cold war era surplus from an arms dealer, it's quite easily to make the bomb from scratch. With a recipe and some very basic chemistry you can make a powerful explosive out of innocuous materials - diesel and fertilizer being as a classic (I believe that's what Timothy McVeigh used).

    It's hard to ban fertilizer when you're attempting to promote agricultural developement, and agricultural developement is key to ending poverty and stabilizing the region. It's also hard to ban diesel, it's pretty much the required fuel for big trucks and construction equipment.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Slovakia
    Posts
    4,191
    Thanks
    5,154
    Thanked 2,053 Times in 1,109 Posts
    Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Afghani IED's:

    In January 2010, it was reported by military experts that Taliban fighters had developed a new generation IED, that would be almost undetectable, because it had no metal or electronic parts. The expertise for this new generation came likely from foreign fighters and the devices were being mass produced in Pakistan on an industrial level. Before this new development, IEDs would be mostly triggered by two hacksaw blades separated using a spacer. Stepping on or driving over these blades would close an electronic circuit which so detonated the explosive – often an artillery shell.

    In the new model, these metal saw blades have been replaced with graphite blades and the artillery shells with ammonium nitrate. The damage then is caused by the power of the blast rather than by metal fragments, or shrapnel.

    According to a report by Homeland Security Market Research in the USA, the number of IEDs used in Afghanistan had increased by 400 percent since 2007 and the number of troops killed by them by 400 percent, and those wounded by 700 percent. It has been reported that IEDs are the number one cause of death among NATO troops in Afghanistan.[11]

    A brigade commander said that sniffer dogs are the most reliable way of detecting IEDs. Explosive detection Dogs are a proven way into indication and detection of IED'S, with great results.[12]

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Dioscorida
    Posts
    78
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked 23 Times in 18 Posts
    In this context "mass produced" doesn't mean there's a large IED factory in the industrial complex of a Pakistani city; these are made in covert locations, often in improved labs and workshops. I don't have any percentages but often they're just the basement of someone's house.

    Ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer, I'm not sure if it is easy to produce but it is very easy to purchase and it not a substance that is easy to ban. Personally speaking I think modern agriculture is far too reliant on fertilizers, especially those with very high levels of nitrogen, like ammonium nitrate. However attempting to ban this in favor of other fertilizers could cause tremendous problems and would likely just result in ammonium nitrate being smuggled or a different explosive being used.

Similar Threads

  1. First Post is Frightening
    By nio nio in forum Art Critique Center
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: June 14th, 2009, 04:01 PM
  2. Replies: 63
    Last Post: January 22nd, 2009, 05:29 PM
  3. Thunder and Lightening (very very frightening)
    By Katfayheirti in forum Artist Lounge
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: July 19th, 2007, 01:51 AM
  4. Replies: 13
    Last Post: January 3rd, 2006, 09:32 PM
  5. Art: Perhaps one of the most frightening creatures ever
    By figure2 in forum Finished Art
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: February 23rd, 2005, 11:28 AM

Members who have read this thread: 0

There are no members to list at the moment.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Designed by The Coldest Water, we build the coldest best water bottles, ice packs and best pillows.