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Monday, September 3, 2007

Afghanistan update Sept 2nd 2007

This summer has been the most devastating year in Afghanistan since 2001 and perhaps is worse than 2001. The Taliban and al-Qaeda are still hiding in the Pakistan Tribal region. This region is the staging point for the terrorist attacks on Afghanistan. They currently are targeting Afghan Police and Afghan Boarder Guards in South Afghanistan and Kabul and areas south of Kabul. The Taliban now prefer to launch attacks from civilian populated areas to try and cause the coalition forces inflict more civilian casualties. This tactic can not work too long. Also they are actively kidnapping people to raise money.

The one thing every army (including Pakistan's army) seems to be afraid to launch missions in the Pakistan tribal region. This area is famous for foriegn invaders losing battles large numbers of troops. Yet they attacked in large formations against a well hidden enemy who where the native people. Also these previous battles throughout modern and ancient history all have one thing in common. They were attacking the area to occupy it, not to liberate the areas from foriegn insurgencies like al-Qaeda.

Until serious political efforts and proper counter insurgency tactics are employed in the Tribal areas no real progress will be attainable. Currently the Pakistani Army does not understand they need to stay in towns they liberate much like the surge in Iraq. The Army has also been reluctant to lead the attacks and coordination is poor at best. The Army currently only assists Tribal leaders who wish to oust al-Qaeda and Taliban. Some times the Army has been fooled and tricked by Taliban and al-Qaeda to attack local Tribal leaders who want to stand up and speak out. They push the terrorists out of areas but then retreat and hope the citizens keep the terrorist out. This tactic has proved again and again, that the terrorists easily re-occupy areas that are liberated. Another problem is the lack of trust the Tribal areas have for the Pakistan Government, Army and ISI (Pakistan's secret service).

The following article I have put some info I found interesting about history and dates and the other info. It helps fill in some gaps on the history I have learned about Afghanistan. HOWEVER I do not believe this guy is "the last Jew" in Afghanistan. Much like Iraq most keep their religion secretive. I have heard Muslims speak that they have friends and/or neighbors who are Jewish. So I think it is silly to claim someone is the last when there is most likely many who live with the acceptance and protection of their Muslim neighbors. Kabul would be a hard place to live even today if you are Jewish, but there is areas in Central and North Afghanistan where other Jews are likely to be able to live with relative peace. Bottom line people do not like to leave their homes or birth places, no matter how much danger or threat, people have a natural need to live where they feel an attachment to their forefathers.

The last Jew in Afghanistan

ALONE ON ******* STREET: He survived Soviets, Taliban - and outlasted even his despised peer

Jason *******, ****** Foreign Service
Sunday, September 2, 2007

(09-02) 04:00 PDT Kabul, Afghanistan -- The first question Zebulon Simentov asked his uninvited guest, eyes wide open: "Are you Jewish?" There was a tinge of disappointment when the reply came back negative, but the last Jew in Afghanistan didn't miss a beat.

"Humanity is one, religion doesn't matter," he said.

Moments later, a Muslim friend entered the room, unfurled a prayer rug and bowed toward Mecca. On a nearby table, an open box of Manischewitz matzo sat next to an empty whiskey bottle.

Locals refer to Simentov, 47, simply as "the Jew."

Born in the western city of Herat, he dons a yarmulke with the traditional loose pajama-like shalwar kameez and swears "half of Kabul" knows him - though probably not for the reasons he believes..................

...............This was not always the case, Simentov said, giving a visitor a history lesson about the Jewish community in Afghanistan, which traces its beginnings to exiles from Assyria in 720 B.C. and Babylonia in 560 B.C......

....In the 10th century, the Karaite historian Yaphet ben Heli de Basra, cited that the "Land of the East" (Afghanistan, Iran and southern Central Asia) had Jewish inhabitants. El-Idrisi, the Muslim geographer (1099-1166), mentioned Kabul's thriving Jewish community in one of his many tomes. The city was a major hub on the trade routes between Central Asia and India, and Jewish merchants were considered to be among the business elite. They lived in a separate quarter, known as the Mahall-i-Jehudiyeh, that is long gone.

By the late 19th century, the Jewish community across Afghanistan reached 40,000 after thousands of Persian Jews arrived to avoid forced conversions in neighboring Iran. While Hebrew was spoken in synagogue and religious studies, most spoke the nation's major language of Dari.

By the mid-20th century, about 5,000 Jews remained, but most emigrated to Israel after its creation in 1948. The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan drove out nearly all the rest. By the end of the Soviet war in 1989, some 20 Jewish families remained in Kabul, each of which soon moved away, mostly to Israel, where some 10,000 are said to be still living.

Oddly, Simentov said he preferred the communist period and even the Taliban to the current government of President Hamid Karzai, which he calls a "mafia regime." He says he had been a successful carpet and antiques dealer until a state customs official confiscated $40,000 worth of his goods on what he calls bogus grounds, leaving him with nothing but the synagogue. He gets by, he says, with donations from Jewish groups abroad and sympathetic Muslim families.

Although Simentov's wife and two daughters left for Israel years ago, he has no plans to join them any time soon. He is concerned there may be a property dispute with Levin's son, who lives in Israel. He believes the synagogue is worth a hefty sum for its central location in one of the capital's main commercial districts.......

Link to Full Article = Contact me if you would like the link to the full article.

For I do not wish to help terrorists who may wish to target this man or his friends. As one person so well put it in the comments section of the full article:

Camellolucas wrote:

I am an American Arab . I think that is so beautiful that he lives in the middle of chaos and they still know him and respect him. Execept I don't think it is right to publish this article because if news get to the wrong ears you put this mans life in danger . Have a concious and think about what you write about .