Sunday, September 12, 2004

I wish the media was not so intent on reporting the detail-by-detail occurence of events but rather focused instead of the larger stories. A good example: a story run by the Times today on the protests following the removal of Ismail Khan (pictured above) by the Kabul government.

Khan, a warlord who ruthlessly ruled Herat prior to being overthrown by the Taliban, has returned to being Herat's warlord governor after the US invaded Afghanistan. Generally considered among the most powerful of the regional governors - the media had previously reported he comandeered an army of 25,000 men though this seems overstated - he allegedly had strong Iranian backing, making money from the black market trade with Iran (Herat is close to the Iranian border) and using it to build a private army.

Given that the major problem of postwar Afghanistan is the powerlessness of the central government and the return of the reign of the warlords, the apparently succesful removal of Khan represents a tremendous step forward. You wouldn't figure this out from the Times piece, which, failing to provide any context for Khan's removal, concentrates on gathering reactions to a few hundred protestors (who, anyway, were most likely among those with financial ties to Khan's government).


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