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Life In Talibanistan, Part 1: Throw these infidels in jail
Posted by The Agonist on September 1st, 2010

From our partners at The Agonist

Pepe Escobar | Sept ! | Asia Times

Dear reader: let’s sit back, relax, and take a trip down memory lane to prehistoric times – the pre-9/11, pre-YouTube, pre-Facebook world.

Ten years ago, Taliban Afghanistan – Talibanistan – was under a social, cultural, political and economic nightmare. Arguably, not much has changed. Or has it?

Ten years ago, New York-based photographer Jason Florio and myself slowly crossed Talibanistan overland from east to west, from the Pakistani border at Landi Kotal to the Iranian border at Islam Qillah. As Afghan aid workers acknowledged, we were the
first Westerners to pull this off in quite a while.

Those were the days. Bill Clinton was enjoying his last stretch at the White House. Osama bin Laden was a discreet guest of Mullah Omar – hitting the front pages only occasionally. There was no hint of 9/11, or of the invasion of Iraq, or of the “war on terror”, or of the rebranding of the AfPak war, or of a global financial crisis. Globalization ruled, and the United States was the undisputed global top dog. The Clinton administration and the Taliban were deep into Pipelineistan territory – arguing over the tortuous, proposed Trans-Afghan gas pipeline.

We tried everything, but we couldn’t even get a glimpse of Mullah Omar. Osama bin Laden was also nowhere to be seen. But we did experience Talibanistan in action, in close detail. So why revisit it now? Blame it on the lure of archeology and history. This is both a glimpse of a long-lost world and a window to a possible future in Afghanistan.

If schizophrenia defined the Taliban in power, US schizophrenia still rules.

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