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Afghanistan: Where Empires Go to Die

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posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 04:29 AM
"The United States Empire is following a long line of empires and conquerors that have met their end in Afghanistan. The Median and Persian Empires, Alexander the Great, the Seleucids, the Indo-Greeks, Turks, Mongols, British and Soviets all met the end of their ambitions in Afghanistan.

In 2002 there were 5,200 US soldiers in Afghanistan. By December of this year, there will be 68,000.

Compared to the same period in 2008, Taliban attacks on coalition forces using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) has risen 114 percent.

Compared to the same period in 2008, coalition deaths from IED attacks have increased sixfold.

Overall Taliban attacks on coalition forces in the first five months of 2009, compared to the same period last year, have increased 59 percent.

Genghis Khan could not hold onto Afghanistan & neither will the United States, particularly when in its desperation to continue its illegal occupation, it tosses aside international law, along with its own Constitution."

It is a cying shame that todays politicians take no notice of the lessons that history has to offer us or perhaps they just do not care and instead pursue the goals of their shadowplay puppetmasters. How many good people must die in the pursuance of multi-billion dollar contracts for the largest US companies?


posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 04:37 AM
I love the subject of your thread.

Nice reading too. Cheers.

posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 04:47 AM
No lie.

As far as I've been able to discover, in all of recorded history, no one has ever hung onto Afghanistan for long except the Afghanis.

But a whole lot empires either gave it up as a bad job or died trying.

I wonder how many Afghanis wear one of my favorite buttons:

"It's you and me against the world...when do we attack?"

posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 04:56 AM
reply to post by Rigel Kent

The opening paragraph of your post is woefully inaccurate and the title is misleading. Empires don't go to Afgahnistan to die, in fact it's only since the British Empire invaded in an attempt to stop the growing influence of Russia during what was known as the Great Game that people have run into trouble there. Even then, the British incursion into Afghanistan was not exactly the death of the Empire, as the first War occured in the early days of the Empire (1840's) and was viewed as a setback. The Second Afghan War saw the subjegation Afghanistan by Britain and annexation of alot of territory.

Also, Alexander had no trouble, the Seleucids had no trouble, nor did the Indo-Greeks, the Mongols or the Turks. In fact the Mongols utterly crushed Afghanistan and slaughtered it's populace so much it had knock on affects in the country for centuries. The only thing that caused each and every one of those Empires to lose control of Afghanistan was another, larger, more powerful Empire turning up on the doorstep for a slice of the pie.

Your essentially trying to distort hostorical events to try and fit into your current view on Afghanistan. Only in recent years has the place been the "Imperial graveyard" you're trying to paint it as, however it's hardly the unconquerable bastion you seem to think it is though.

posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 05:04 AM
I understand that the Taliban now actively support the growing of the Papaver somniferum poppy in Afghanistan from which the terminal cancer ward drug heroin is derived. Exported to the West, it now finances the Taliban's purchase of bombs & bullets, courtesy of 'metaphysical' terminal cancer ward heroin users!
Ironic indeed!

posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 06:05 AM
reply to post by stumason

Actually, none of those you cite ever really conquered Afghanistan. Oh, most certainly, they conquered the cities. Every single one of them. Then they discovered what a pain in the ass it was to get from one city to another. They all ran into the very same problem: too damn many hills, valleys and Aghanis with attitude. Truly conquering a place means you can get from here to there within it without the necessity for an armed escort every time. And not even the Mongols pulled that off, not for long, anyway.

posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 06:23 AM
reply to post by apacheman

Hmm, slightly twisting reality there. Find any country prior to the modern period where you could safely travel from one town to another without fear of banditry and I'll give you credit for your statement.

Bottom line is, even at the height of the Roman Empire for example, they had problems everywhere with bandits, thieves and rebellions from irked locals. Same with the Greeks. Even in Georgian England in the 18th and 19th century, highway bandits and gangs of rougues would plague travellers anywhere outside the main towns and cities.

So, what was your point exacty? The OP claimed that all the above Empires invaded Afghanistan and met their demise, which isn't correct even in a single example. Some of those Empires stayed for centuries before being ousted by other Empires.

So again, what point are you trying to make?

posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 08:18 AM
reply to post by stumason

A few examples,


The first, which became known as the First Anglo-Afghan War, took place in 1838. The British seized most of the major cities in Afghanistan with little resistance, but their heavy handed rule soon resulted in a popular uprising by the people which resulted in the massacre of the entire British army of 15,000, save one.

1878 saw the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Again the British were able to occupy all of the major cities, but unlike the last time, the British got wind of an impending rebellion against their occupation, and brutally crushed it in a pre-emptive move.

Afghanistan would remain a British protectorate until 1919


The Soviet Union invaded in 1979, once inside Afghanistan, they found themselves forced to commit more and more troops and material to prop up the unpopular PDPA government. Several Islamic fundamentalist groups sprang up and began waging guerilla warfare.

After the overthrow of the brutal and autocratic Shah of Iran, the United States took an active interest in the Islamic fundamentalists waging war on the PDPA and the Soviets. The CIA began providing military training to the Mujahadeen. They provided what in the end amounted to billions of dollars worth of weapons, including stinger missiles which allowed the guerillas to take out modern Soviet tanks and jet planes.

Gradually the Soviet military became discouraged. They were able to occupy and hold all of the major cities, just at the British had been able to the century before, but they were unable to subjugate the countryside.

At the same time the CIA kept increasing and updating the Mujahadeen’s supply of weaponry, the Saudis and Persian Gulf Emirates contributed billions of dollars to their coffers, and thousands of Arabs responded to the Mujahadeen’s call for jihad, against the Soviets – including the wealthy Saudi playboy, Osama bin Laden – who quickly became one of the CIA’s most important operatives in its proxy war against communism.

recommend reading the book "Ghost wars" by Steven Coll for a detailed account of this part of Afghanistans history.

Alexander the Great:

In 329 BCE Alexander the Great invaded Afghanistan after moving his troops over the Hindu Kush. During the grueling journey, his starving men were forced to eat their pack animals. Afghanistan at that time was composed of satrapies, or provinces, in the Achaemenian Kingdom. Alexander conquered the Achaemenians and most of the Afghan satrapies including Aria (in the region of modern Herat), Bactria (Balkh), Sattagydia (Ghazni), Arachosia (Kandahar), and Drangiana (Seistan). But as soon as he left for India in 327 BCE Alexander felt his hold on the region slip away as many of the satrapies revolted.

The point I am making here is that towns and cities can be conquered and controlled to a certain extent and for a certain length of time, but the country as a whole can not, history has shown us this.

Furthermore, It is an illegal war.


posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 09:26 AM

Originally posted by Rigel Kent
The point I am making here is that towns and cities can be conquered and controlled to a certain extent and for a certain length of time, but the country as a whole can not, history has shown us this.

Same as anywhere with a large and very inaccessable terrain.

In fact, prior to the modern era, anywhere outside of the immediate vicinity of a town or city could be regarded as a damn site more lawless than the towns themselves.

England, for example, up to the 19th century, would have bandits, rebels and other groups wandering around because law was difficult to enforce in remote areas.

However, you kind of disproved your own argument with the wiki quotes your produced. The Second Afghan War saw the British crush any rebellion, keeping the country under heel for decades more. The Soviets adopted the wrong strategy and lost, had they pursued the Afghans and pressured them, instead of barricading themselves into their firebases could have been much more successful.

Oh, the "entire British Army" wasn't destroyed in the first Afghan war. It was barely a Brigade in strength. Most of the casualties were the wives and children of the soldiers whom the Afghans massacred. (one of the regiments involved was a local one to my home town. We have a huge monument in honour of the dead)

As for Alexander, I think you'll find he built his Empire so rapidly and was so reliant on local Nobles for support, that he had issues all over. These came to a head right after his death as even his own generals and trusted warriors fought amongst each other, some establishing Empires which controlled the region for centuries after his death.

Afghanistan isn't some bastion of unconquerable uber-warriors and it has been sugjegated many, many times before. It didn't even exist as an independant state until the end of the 18th century and even then was eventually divided between Russian and British spheres of influence and had huge tracts of territory annexed until 1919.

You seem to focus solely on Afghanistan as if it is some magical talisman, but I challenge you to find ANY Empire in history that DID NOT at any given time have issues with upstart locals. Sometimes there are setbacks, but Afghanistan was conquered over and over again by many Empires throughout history, some holding the place for many centuries.

Originally posted by Rigel Kent
Furthermore, It is an illegal war.


Ah, so now we know why you're adopting this stance. Your line of thinking is thus:

"If I can warp and twist historical fact to show Afghanistan is unconquerable, then maybe I can pursuade people not to back the war".

Which is obviously an erroneous assumption.

I might add here that I do not support the war myself, but I won't let someone twist history to suit a political agenda either.

EDIT: To add, even a cursory glance at Afghan history shows your opening gambit of Afghanistan being the "Graveyard of Empires" is utter rubbish. That is the main thrust of my argument.

[edit on 8/11/09 by stumason]

posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 12:52 PM
Exactly Stumason , Afghanistan is'nt unconquerable , where there is a will there is a way.Russia could have won in afghanistan if america and the saudis did not interfere , same as america could have won in vietnam if russia and china did not interfere. Now don't get me started about the "way" part , as political and military leaders(bad combination by the way) seem to be like b@h$%ded chickens when it comes to the art of war.

This is an insurgency they are fighting most armies have not done well at fighting insurgencies unless they were patient and willing to go to the extreme in terms of slaughter as the mongols did and espionage on the cold war level. You have to do 2 things , destroy their will to fight or destroy their ability to wage war. Accomplishing both would the perfect hand. Breaking their will is a psych war in which you instill doubt , fear , horror and pain into the enemy , that their will to fight is so defeated before it has even begun.Then there is attrition and espionage.

Shock and awe falls into the category of psych op but this is more of a blitzkrieg than a long term breaker of men , but it can be used too as knowing the enemy can unexpectedly strike anywhere , anytime , hard and fast using powerful weaponry can be a deterrent. Just like how they commit acts of terror unexpectedly anywhere , anytime and use IEDs , kidnappings , beheadings etc.War of attrition is the guerrilla warriors highest goal , to waste the enemy away , expending himself in fruitless efforts which cost him dearly and holding onto tactically and strategically useless positions."Take everything but give them nothing!".Espionage could also be employed for asymmetric warfare as the Hashasins(assasins) did.

Destroying the enemies ability to fight employs the bodycount tactic of Westmoreland(less fighters to fight) , breaking vital supply lines(HO CHI MINH TRAIL) , confiscating weapons and especially food. Hitting factories and bases even if they are temples. Sabotage and freezing wealth assets. And last but certainly not least infiltrating the ranks and destroying the enemy from within(OBAMA?).This phase would ideally be carried out by special forces and CIA.

Maybe the U.S needs a lesson from china or Sri lanka on how to fight insurgencies.

Doesn't bode well for the NWO if they can't even deal with Afghanistan let alone the globe.

[edit on 8-11-2009 by De La Valletta]

posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 01:26 PM

Originally posted by Rigel Kent
The CIA began providing military training to the Mujahadeen. They provided what in the end amounted to billions of dollars worth of weapons, including stinger missiles which allowed the guerillas to take out modern Soviet tanks and jet planes.

At the same time the CIA kept increasing and updating the Mujahadeen’s supply of weaponry, the Saudis and Persian Gulf Emirates contributed billions of dollars to their coffers, and thousands of Arabs responded to the Mujahadeen’s call for jihad, against the Soviets

This is exactly why the Taliban are presently at a disadvantage. They don't have the support of a rival super power the way the mujaheddin had against the Soviet forces. Also the unlike Soviet forces the US/West have the support of the Majority of the Afghan Population who don't want the Taliban's twisted view of Islam to return.

There seems to be a belief here at ATS that the Taliban are superhuman. This Mythical belief is a fallacy. The Soviets took a beating to the tune of over 18000 dead in the same amount of time that the west have been in country.

As far as the war being an illegal war. Well then somebody better tell the EU and NATO. Contrary to pop culture beleif they support the war and contribute forces.

This is war.
People die.

[edit on 8-11-2009 by SLAYER69]

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