Iran, United States’ best ally in the Tribal Belt Wars in Afghanistan

Iran may be United States’ best/only ally in the hellish war of the tribal belt region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

tribal belt iran afghanistan pakistan micheleroohani

An ignorant approach to the Afghan realities and the “benevolent negligence” regarding Pakistan will have more dire consequences for the U.S. and the schizophrenic government of Iran (saddled by Iraq and Afghanistan’s unrest on both sides) may be a necessary ally in the necessary war…The Islamic Republic will do anything  to avoid facing up to the “enemy within” (aka millions of unhappy/angry Iranians)

pakistan afghanistan tribal belt map micheleroohani

Look at the map of the world’s most dangerous place; most of the 4,000,000 Pashtuns who live in the tribal belt between Afghanistan and Pakistan refuse to recognize the British-drawn Durand Line, which divides the two nations and splits families. Afghanistan, the fifth poorest country in the world with a life expectancy of 44 is deservedly called the “graveyard of empires”. It has been in a civil war in the past three decades.

exodus from afghanistan 1990 reza deghati michele roohani

The above picture, Exodus from Afghanistan,  from the formidable photojournalist Reza Deghati has haunted me for years—the silence of this cold journey moves me deeply. I almost forget the picture was taken just twenty years ago; “Time” has indeed suspended its flight in this  godforsaken country…

the old wise man reza deghati afghanistan 1983 michele roohani

I met Reza in Paris last month at the opening of the exquisite exhibition (organized by my friend Anahita Ghabaian) of 165 year of Iranian Photography at the Quai Branly Museum. Stay tuned for next week’s post about PhotoQuai.

I was once again impressed by Reza,  the great master photographer. We talked about his humanitarian work at Aina, a media & Culture center in Afghanistan. His extraordinary talent deserves a post all to itself—I became a fan years ago thanks to his National geographic’s photos like this one:

reza deghati national geographic dervish 1993 turkey micheleroohani

Only a few months ago, the Pakistani military was still inclined to view the Taliban as agents of influence able to provide their government with help to contain the Afghanistan in the west as it confronted India to the east. As Roger Cohen puts it: “the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing—the result is self-amputation. Even Pakistan’s competent General Kayani, noted for his patience, diligence, intelligence and sheer determination, may be doing the wrong move in the right direction, too little too late.

Today’s news that Abdullah Abdullah has pulled out of the Afghanistan’s runoff election exasperated me even more; I can’t believe his official explanation for doing so but as Churchill says:

“in wartime, Truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of Lies”

and Afghanistan is deeply at war…

Take a look at Reza’s Webistan here.

Visit Aina here.

Visit the PhotQuai here. (click on “honoring Iranian Photography” to see some great photos)

2 thoughts on “Iran, United States’ best ally in the Tribal Belt Wars in Afghanistan

  1. Dear Michele:
    AaH!You made my day today by introducing Reza Deghati , my friend from the old days in the school of architecture, Tehran University. He was a genius photographer to begin with right from the first field trip we went together. My interest in photography started in the school of architecture right beside him. But his revolutionary life separated us for more than 35 years now. I miss him so much and every now and then when I see his works here and there I would miss him further. If you have his email please forward to me. Once I tried to contact him through his website never heard of him.
    Thank you

  2. Les alliances tribales ou les communautés culturelles (culture au sens que Margaret Mead donne à ce terme : une manière de vivre ensemble)n’ont jamais respecté (heureusement) les frontières déterminées par des conflits ou la décolonisation. Un Alsacien en France est plus proche d’un Allemand de la Sarre ou du Bade-Würtemberg que d’un habitant du sud de la France. Les habitants de Genève ont plus de points communs avec leurs voisins français qu’avec les Suisses alémaniques.Quant aux Belges, les Flamands exècrent les Wallons, qui le leur rendent bien. Faut-il pour autant redessiner les cartes de géographie politique? L’ex-Yougoslavie s’est déchirée en raison de revendications identitaires pour donner naissance à des Etats qui ont des structures quasi tribales teintées de xénophobie et dont la seule vocation semble être d’assurer le pouvoir à des potentats locaux. Il en va de même pour certains Etats de l’ex-URSS.Il y a quelques années le slogan “small is beautiful” était à la mode. Pour ce qui est de la géographie politique, il est malheureusement possible de dire que “small is ugly”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *