Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"Warlords"

I am dismayed when the media uses the term "warlord" to describe various Afghan notables. There are very few that deserve that epithet. Try a Google search of "Afghan Warlord" - 434,000 matches.


Ismail Khan did. Fortunately, he's gone.


Dostum did. But he was co-opted.

People like Mohammad Almos (Below and Left) are often described as "warlords" or "former warlords", especially in press accounts that parrot each other's points about the new Afghan parliament.


The best and truest example of "warlords" was in China, early in the 20th Century. Anybody who commanded troops in the fight against the Taliban doesn't automatically qualify as a "warlord". People like Ismail Khan, that had to be pried away from power - they probably deserve the label. I may be quibbling semantics here, but the press is supposed to convey information - and when you employ a term laden with so much baggage, such as "warlord", I feel you should be very careful in using it broadly. it just smacks of stereotyping and laziness.

UPDATE: Check the first comment out - very insightful. This is why I love the readers of this site... they can correct me, contribute more to the overall knowledge that I am attempting to spread. Good work...I only wish I could credit the person directly.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ismael Khan wasn't really removed from power, just moved - he is now the Minister for Energy for the Afghan government. And as evidenced by Pres. Karzai recently sending him back to Herat to attempt to quell the unrest, he still weilds a fair amount of power.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Major John said...

Indeed - but his first choice was to get into Parliament (immunity and all that). As Energy Minister he has a post, and position - kind of like Dostum got, but not the localized authority he craved. You are absolutely correct in pointing out that he still swings a big stick in the area - and that may not ever go away.
Good point, and thanks for making it!

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Nick said...

http://superpatriots.us/
Some good info on this site. don't know how much is BS, but still good info on the innerworkings of afghan politics.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Phoenix said...

Thanks for stopping by my site and thank you for the compliment.

I don't have much time these days.. but will try to write what I can when I can..

I don't mind if you blogroll me.. and as far as the other info.. email me.

Take care and nice to meet you!
Army Girl Out

2:22 AM  

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